What Types of Questions Do MMIs Use?

Last Updated on August 16, 2022 by Laura Turner

The multiple mini interview, or MMI, can be more anxiety-provoking than a traditional one-on-one medical school interview. Unlike a traditional interview, MMIs have several stations, each of which asks interviewees to respond to a different scenario. Scenarios range from open-ended questions about your application to navigating hypothetical ethical conflicts. The content of the stations is completely unknown beforehand. MMI stations are also timed, with your time in each typically lasting about 8-10 minutes. Your interviewer in each station may ask follow-up questions or otherwise engage with you, but they will not tell you how you are doing. 

Medical schools strictly forbid interviewees from disclosing the contents of the interview stations after their interview days, so you can’t rely on others’ experiences to help you prepare for an MMI at a certain school. However, there are some common question types that arise during MMIs that can help your general preparation for these kinds of interviews. Check out the list of MMI question types below to get ready for multiple mini interviews this interview season. 

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  1. The ethical dilemma 

    One of the goals of the MMI is to gauge how responsibly and ethically applicants act under pressure. The “ethical dilemma” scenario evaluates those qualities—how well can you see all sides of an argument? How do you resolve conflict? This kind of station might ask you how you would respond if you caught a friend cheating on a test or what you would do if you were privy to unethical clinical behavior by a superior. This station might also ask you about the morality of assisted suicide, the administration of placebos, or the use of life-sustaining measures in futile situations. The scenarios will not be presented in clear “right” or “wrong” terms, but rather will ask you to evaluate all possible perspectives around the issue as you formulate your response. 

    In the cheating scenario, for example, you might explain that while your friend might be having a hard time due to personal issues, academic dishonesty is inherently wrong and you would therefore encourage your friend to come clean about his or her behavior to administration. You might add that if the friend refused to be honest, you would report the behavior yourself. The key when responding to these scenarios is to acknowledge that there are several tenable courses of action based upon the perspectives involved, and to then choose what you feel is the most ethical response from the possibilities you’ve identified.

  2. The hot-button issue

    Universal health care, informed consent for procedures, and more controversial topics might arise in your MMI stations. While it may be daunting to take a stance on one of these issues, remember that these stations do not exist to discriminate against you based upon your political beliefs. Rather, they are asking you to defend your position on a controversial topic to evaluate how you might be able to explain your thought process in times of disagreement with patients or colleagues. Even if you think your opinion is “unpopular,” don’t be afraid to state it as long as you can identify concrete reasons as to why your beliefs lie where they do. 

    For example, if you are of the opinion that teenage minors should be able to consent for certain medical procedures, you might say that given their cognitive ability to understand complex situations, teenagers will likely understand the risks and benefits involved in the procedure and can thus satisfactorily complete the consent process. Though you cannot predict which topics might be included in your MMI ahead of time, developing opinions about hot topics in healthcare beforehand can help you ready yourself for your interview day. 

  3. The personal question 

    Not all MMI stations are about responding to novel scenarios. Some might instead take the form of a traditional interview, asking you to explain why you want to go to that medical school or to detail some aspect of your application. Still others might ask you about who you are outside of your application—what you do for fun, an experience that shifted your personal worldview, or a challenge you might have encountered growing up. The best way to respond to these questions is to answer honestly, professionally, and in a way that is true to your personality. Avoid crude language, off-color humor, or anecdotes about unprofessional topics (like partying), and let your humor, humility, and maturity show in the content of what you choose to share. 

  4. The teamwork task

    Some MMI stations wish to ensure that you can collaborate effectively with others by requiring you to complete a task with several other interviewees. This task might include coming up with a plan for a project, dividing up and delegating smaller tasks, or solving a puzzle scenario as a group. If you encounter such a station, use the teamwork skills you built while participating in group projects and lab groups during your undergraduate years. Be courteous to the other interviewees, make sure everyone has a chance to voice his or her opinion, and resist the urge to dominate the conversation or to take on too many tasks yourself. Remember that medicine is a team sport with everyone performing an essential part. The teamwork scenario in an MMI functions in a similar manner. 

While the MMI may be less familiar to you than the traditional one-on-one interview, it is possible to impress medical school admissions committees with careful preparation. Before your first multiple mini interview, review these question types.

Other interview prep resources to check out: