The first time I ever heard about an MMI was when I came to Canada. It stands for Multiple Mini Interview. It is a circuit style interview, in which interviewees rotate through a certain number of timed circuits.
McMaster University Medical School began the development of the MMI in 2001 to serve as a tool for medical school interviews but it was more known to the public in 2004. Its main functions are:
- To help predict more accurately the applicant’s performance in medical school.
- To assess a candidate’s non-cognitive skills (character traits, attitudes, social skills, social intelligence, people skills, emotional intelligence, communication skills, career attributes), ethical reasoning, and professionalism.
- Eliminate bias and create a more standard interview process.
It has now been adopted by numerous medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, and veterinary schools around the world.
In Canada, some of its uses in medical training include:
- As a pre-requisite into many medical schools.
- To assess international medical graduates who have been invited for residency interviews in University of British Columbia and Dalhousie University during the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CARMS) process.
- For international medical graduates applying for Alberta post-graduate training/residency positions. The exam is conducted by the Alberta International Medical Graduate Program (AIMG). To read more about applying for a residency program in Alberta, please click HERE. In Alberta, the MMI is designed to test the CANMEDs competencies.
CANMEDs competencies are personal skills that every doctor practicing in Canada is expected to demonstrate. It was developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). The seven competencies are Communication, Collaboration, Leadership, Health Advocacy, Medical Expert, Professionalism, and Scholar.
- Circuit-based. Candidates have to move from one station to another. Everyone taking the MMI at the same time will get to have the same stations.
- The number of stations is usually between 6 and 10 as determined by the examining body.
- Each station lasts between 5 – 15 minutes (also as determined by the examining body). Candidates usually have two minutes outside the door to read the scenario and prepare their response. Afterwards, the bell rings and the candidate will have to go into the room. When the time for that station is over, the bell will ring again and the candidate will have to go to the next station, read the scenario and the process repeats itself until all the candidates have rotated through all the stations.
- There are different types of stations: scenario, role play, teamwork, traditional interview, data analysis and logic puzzle. Not every MMI uses all types. Some may use only two or three formats.
- After most scenarios, you would probably get some more follow-up questions from the examiner.
- You are not expected to study for it. This is because it is said to be a test of your personal qualities. However, if you are an international medical graduate, you might not be familiar with the way things work in Canada, and it might be necessary to acquaint yourself properly with ethical issues.
- There is usually not a ‘wrong’ answer per se. Having said that, if your ethical reasoning or professionalism is clearly not what is expected, you will score low on the test.
- You will probably be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. This is why although I wrote and received my results from the 2017 AIMG MMI, I can’t give many details about the exam.
I. Exam Preparation
- Go online to look for MMI scenarios. Do take note that the exact scenarios will probably not appear in your test. They will just serve as a prep guide.
- AMA Journal of Ethics (Ethics Cases Index): I really liked these cases. However, the answers are extremely detailed so if you want to use this, start preparing a long time ahead.
- 100 Sample Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Questions BEMO ACADEMIC CONSULTING
- UBC Sample MMI Questions (PDF)
- MMI Interview Samples/ University of Calgary (PDF)
- Practice MMI Questions – McGill University (PDF)
- MMI Scenario Videos – Course Grinder – YouTube
2. Practise as many scenarios with a partner, using a timer. Also, practice your speaking mannerisms, quirks and body language.
3. Attend an MMI prep course or sign up for an MMI mock exam.
4. Develop a format to use for your presentations and use this while you practice.
5. Use a book to prepare. I liked these for my preparation: Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians and Multiple Mini Interview MMI: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty.
II. On the exam day
- Communicate clearly. Have an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Aim to discuss what you know about the scenario, the issues you can see with the scenario, the various solutions, their pros and cons, your stand and your reason for taking that stand.
- Be organized in your presentation.
- Stay focused and ensure that you answer the objective of the question.
- Try to be as empathetic as possible. If there is a patient involved in the question, make him/her your priority. If there are family members in the question, be empathetic to them as well but don’t forget that your patient always comes first.
- If you don’t know the answer, don’t ramble.
- Dress Code: Formal/Business
Have you done an MMI or are you preparing for one? Got some more questions? Please leave a comment below!