Receiving an interview offer to medical school is literally having one foot in the door to that official offer to study medicine. With that in mind, you know attending an MMI is filled with pressure, anticipation, and a high amount of career achieving goals at stake. My name is Dean, I am a 3rd year medical student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). I failed 2 MMIs before getting into medical school, and here are my 6 tips on how to prepare for MMIs based on my experience.
1) Prepare naturally i.e. do not rehearse answers
Many medical schools will want you to “think on your feet” when going through the stations in an MMI. I made a big mistake in my first MMI of rehearsing answers to the questions I thought would come up, which made me one of the worst performers at interview. Preparing naturally means being yourself, being honest, and letting the conversation flow naturally. When out on healthcare volunteering experience, focus on how you interact with patients and colleagues, and use that to help you on how to act in interview.
2) Use the most useful resources
There are many (free) helpful resources to help you prepare for an MMI. The best resource is the university themselves. Most universities will send you an email with information regarding what you can expect and how they would like you to prepare, do not ignore this! Other resources involve looking at “GMC: Duties of a doctor” which tell you the exact traits a doctor needs and you will need to demonstrate in MMI. In addition, every medical school will have an ethics station, so learning the 4 areas of ethics is vital for a successful MMI. Personally, my most powerful resource was using people who had already done an MMI and asking them for help and advice based on their experience. If you know anyone, ask them for help!
3) Timing is crucial
From experience and research, it is well known that most students lose marks on timing. Each station is roughly 8-10 minutes, and many students do not finish the station within this time, or finish too early. Practice your timing of answers, as this could save you many marks.
4) Do not let one difficult station put you off
One of the best aspects of an MMI is that you have roughly 6-8 stations, and each station is a fresh start, a clean slate. Many students (like myself), may perform badly in one station, and then let this affect the rest of their stations. In the MMI I did well in, I had a difficult station, but I was able to let it go, and move on to the next, which I excelled in. So do not panic, remove any previous stations from your head, and focus on the next station – easier said than done, it will come with practice.
5) Be aware of hot topics
Every MMI I experienced, I was always asked around current “hot topics” in the news such as the Ebola virus, Brexit, HIV vaccines and privatisation of the NHS. So, when you are preparing for your interview, be aware of the current hot topics in the news, both healthcare and none healthcare related.
6) Finally, try to relax
In my worst performing MMI station, it was because I put so much pressure on myself, and hyped the whole situation up. So many stations are paused so a student can compose themselves, so try not to be that student. The MMIs go so quick, and each station is behind you before you know it. Try to relax, focus on each station and take it step by step, it will certainly help your confidence and gain marks.
Author: Dean Hardy, MBBS Student, University of Central Lancashire
19 November 2019