Sweaty palms, upset tummy and the urge to bring your breakfast back into the light? Looks like you have a med school interview - congratulations!
Medical interviews are very different animals today than they were a few years ago. These days, the ‘Multiple Mini Interview’ (MMI) is the one to worry about, or not if this kind of thing does nothing to faze you.
What is the MMI? The multiple mini interview was designed to prevent candidates from preparing too much for interviews, and possibly ‘faking’ parts of the process without realising it, and also so interviewers can get a much better understanding of the candidates.
When it comes to answering interview questions, a problem many people face is ‘I can show you much better than I can tell you’, and very often more capable people are passed over in favour of better speakers.
The MMI goes someway to addressing that, because now interview candidates are invited to role play various situations, instead of merely answering a series of standard questions.
When moving from scoring station, to scoring station candidates are placed with an interviewer who will play a role. The way the candidate engages the character, treats them and makes ethical decisions is monitored very closely. When more ‘direct’ questions are asked, it is the explanation rather than the answer that is more important.
For instance, if the question is:
“Your friend Bob has been made redundant, but has some savings to see him through until he either gets a new job or claims benefits. Carl, your other friend, has a job but is struggling to pay his rent and sometimes has to decide between food and warmth.
You have £10 until your pay day at the end of the month. Do you give it to Bob, Carl or keep it because while they have something, it is all you have for another 3 weeks?”
Simply saying, “I’d give it to Carl” is not going to be good enough. You need to explain your decision, and very clearly state exactly why Carl is more deserving of your last £10 note.
These kinds of questions are designed to elicit an ethical, moral and analytical response. The answer you give highlights your problem solving skills, while your explanation is in an indicator of your ethical ideals and your ability to analyse a situation, in a timely manner, before making a decision.
PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW THAT CANNOT BE PREPARED FOR
Where there is a will, there is a way. You can prepare for the MMI, kind of, but not in the traditional sense. Your ‘cramming’ should consist of keeping up with current affairs, trending topics and the evening news.
Because the multiple mini interviews take much of their inspiration from current affairs, and generally what is going on in the world today, keeping up with what’s going on around you can prove invaluable come interview time.
Housing, racial tension and elections are hot topics recently so boning up on those if you have an a medical interview looming may not be as silly an idea as it sounds.