In recent years, some medical and dental schools have switched to the Multiple Mini Interview format in lieu of traditional interviews. This approach was used initially by medical schools in Canada and Australia and has been adopted by a number of medical and dental schools in the U.S. in recent years.
During an MMI, the applicant rotates through a series of stations. Each station is timed and will require the applicant to evaluate a scenario or situation, answer a question or even take part in a hands-on task. For example, one station may describe a scenario in which a physician prescribes a placebo to a patient. The interviewee may then be asked to name and discuss the ethical dilemmas presented by such the situation and to describe under what circumstances it would be appropriate for a physician to prescribe a placebo. Other stations may ask more traditional interview questions such as “What qualities do you possess that would make you a good physician/dentist?” At dental schools in particular, some stations may require the applicant to perform a task that will demonstrate his or her manual dexterity. Finally, some stations may involve the applicant interacting with an actor. The interviewee is given some background information about the situation and then enters the scene to demonstrate how he or she would handle the situation.
In addition to providing a more standardized interview experience, MMIs help committees assess qualities such as communication skills, critical thinking, professionalism and even empathy. All of these are valuable skills in a future dentist or physician and may not be revealed during a traditional interview.
Preparing for such an interview is significantly different than getting ready for a traditional medical or dental school interview. An applicant who will be interviewing at a medical or dental school that uses MMIs should practice responding to ethical dilemmas and other scenarios under timed circumstances. The vast majority of applicants will not have encountered such an interview set-up previously and practice is essential in order to learn to respond quickly and effectively to each scenario, question or task. Performing well in an MMI will give you an excellent opportunity to show that you not only have the academic qualifications to become a doctor or dentist but also the interpersonal skills and real-world ability to handle difficult situations under stress. With targeted practice and preparation you will be ready to use this opportunity to increase your chance of admission to medical or dental school.
To schedule a mock interview for medical or dental school with an experienced admissions advisor, contact us at (626) 768-2154 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 20 minute phone consultation.