MMI Mock Interviews
Running a mock MMI is vital for students preparing for their medical school applications. The interview is one of the last parts of the application process, and around ¾ of UK medical schools use MMIs. The MMI is seen to be more reliable and objective than earlier forms of interview. It is also thought that the MMI is less susceptible to coaching and tutoring, although this is contested. In general, an MMI will consist of 7–10 different interview stations, and each one will last 3–10 minutes, which each applicant moves through in a timed circuit. There will be some form of break (also of variable lengths, depending on the university) between each station, allowing the applicant to read the instructions for the next station. Each station will assess a different skill. Running a mock MMI can prepare students for something that they otherwise might feel to be very alien, and thus would be wary of. Simulating an MMI accurately will mean that students can make errors and learn in a safe environment, and thus progress their performance and reduce interview stress. Here we’ll take a brief look at how to best run a mock MMI.
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How to run a realistic mock MMI
Key to deriving value from the process is having the MMI be as close to the real thing as possible. That means structuring the simulated MMI just like a real one. If the simulated MMI almost-exactly replicates what a student will actually face, they will find that their stress is reduced, and that they are able to better represent their true knowledge and ability. Suggestions to make the MMI as realistic as possible include:
– Have the students dress in professional attire as they would for the real interview
– Have unfamiliar members of staff interview the students
– Have different MMI stations in the same room to replicate the noise of different students and interviewers speaking over one another
– Try to reach out to other schools or even GP surgeries to increase the number of interviewers and the ability of the interviewers
– Encourage the interviewers to vary their acting – e.g. have them act as ‘kind’ interviewers or ‘stern’ interviewers, etc
Examples of MMI Stations to Include
Sensible stations to include in such a simulation would be motivation for Medicine, ethics, insight into the NHS and healthcare in the UK, a roleplay station with a patient, a communication skills station, a teamwork or group exercise, a problem solving exercise, and a personal attributes exercise drawing on past experiences.
Try to include one of each station for each student, allowing each to show off their attributes, and find out which areas they are more likely to struggle in. Ensure that you have a mark sheet specific to each station. This will both make the process as objective as possible and ensure that students have detailed, actionable feedback.
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You may have either one interviewer or two interviewers per station – for a role play station, try to have both an actor and an interviewer.
Brief and Debrief
After the entire MMI has taken place, allow students to reflect and discuss their performance through a debrief. Have the principal teacher act as a facilitator here, but allow students to ask questions and drive the discussion as much as possible. The debrief should be a chance for students to pinpoint weak areas and better understand where, and how, they can focus their preparation for their real forthcoming MMIs.