For many students, their medical school interview is one of the scariest and most intense experiences of their lives, as one day can determine your entire future. Here are 5 ways you can help prepare yourself for the multiple mini interview (MMI).
1. Do your homework
In the months leading up to your medical school interview you should read about the medical schools you are applying to. For every school you apply to, understand its approach to medicine and its core philosophies. Be familiar with what sets it apart. You should also read up on current events, especially where they are relevant to medicine. You should read a comprehensive book about medical ethics and be familiar with what the standards of medical ethics are in your part of the world. For instance, what are the attitudes towards abortion in your state or province? Be familiar with the ins and outs of commonly discussed controversial topics of medical ethics which may include: medical marijuana, euthanasia, abortion, pregnancy reduction, circumcision, minority issues, autonomy, confidentiality, deception, informed consent, capacity, stem cell research, etc.
2. Practice MMI questions with others
Inevitably, the real interview will contain some surprises and will test you in ways that you can’t prepare for. However, practicing with other pre-medical students will help you to get familiar with the format of the MMI. It will also help you to get used to talking through ethical issues and getting used to jargon and ethical conventions. Moreover, practicing will give you the unsettling experience of stumbling part way through your answer. All of these things are useful to let you know where you are at your preparation, in addition to preparing you for how to recover in the event of a misstep during the interview. The experience gained from practice is definitely an asset.
3. Practice role-playing with others
Role playing is tremendously important because many medical schools utilize it in their interviews. For most people who don’t have substantial experience in the fields of counseling or acting, taking on the role of another person is likely to feel contrived and even embarrassing. These are natural reactions, but appearing awkward on the interview because you didn’t practice role playing is not likely to be to your benefit. Much of being effective at role-playing involves making things up on the spot and showing you can think on your feet. It’s definitely worth the time to work through some role-playing situations with a friend before the interview.
4. Be mentally prepared
Many students work themselves up into an anxious state before the interview, leading to stuttering, sweating and panicking for the interview! To help avoid this, a healthy dose of preparation helps to build a sense of confidence. Importantly, you should exercise and eat well in the days and weeks leading up to the interview. It is essential to spend time with friends and family and live a balanced life leading up to the big day. You should do any relaxation strategies that you know work well for you. This might mean enjoying your favorite hobby (e.g. playing guitar or bike riding) or it could be meditation or yoga. Just remember that a relaxed and confident applicant comes across as someone who displays the attributes desired in a physician.
5. Remember to be yourself
Most importantly, as trite and superficial as this sounds, it is absolutely true. It is always best to be yourself, even if your views on a topic are a bit controversial. For the most part, there are no right or wrong answers to MMI questions. And, despite your best efforts, interviewers are able to detect when you are taking a position that you don’t truly believe. If you aren’t speaking from your heart, you won’t seem genuine and you are likely to fair very poorly on the interview. The MMI is a situation where you need to say what you believe and you need to inject part of your soul and personality in your answers. The more honest and creative you are, the more likely you are to score well.
Good luck on the MMI, you'll do great!