Making the most of Mini multiple interviews (MMI's) by our student blogger Catlin

Monday, December 1, 2014 12:00 AM

Faced with many applicants with identical GCSE and AS grades, some universities are now using Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) to ensure they select the best candidates for their courses (particularly in healthcare).

Firstly, if you get asked to attend for an MMI then the first thing to say is well done! You have already jumped over the first hurdle, i.e. you will have made it through the initial sifting process (not everybody does). The next step is to ensure that you shine on the day and sprint over the finish line in style.

So, what is it and what kinds of things might you be expected to do?

As the name suggests, it consists of a series of short, structured, interviews that are designed to test a range of skills. The kinds of topics that might be covered include communication skills, team working, cultural sensitivities, critical thinking, ability to show empathy, ability to make a reasoned decision under pressure and ethical dilemmas, e.g. ‘You’re in charge of a lifeboat and can only save two people from the following list. Who do you choose and why?’ Courses with a heavy practical content such as dentistry, medicine or veterinary science may also have stations designed to test your manual dexterity.

Each station is timed. You will typically be given a couple of minutes to read through a scenario. This is followed by a further 8 or 10 minutes spent with the interviewer, when you will typically be required to answer questions, make a decision, give an opinion or carry out a simple practical task. This is then repeated until you have completed the test ‘circuit’.

An MMI sounds like the Spanish Inquisition, but it does have some big advantages over ‘conventional’ interview methods.

Remember that here are multiple opportunities for you to demonstrate that you are the kind of candidate that the university is looking for. It is not necessary to excel at every station. If you don’t think you didn’t do well at a particular station, don’t dwell on it, move on mentally.

The decision to give you a place is not dependent on just one or two people‘s opinions of you. Many interviewers are involved in the process and your final score is a combination of the station marks across the whole test.

So, how can you go about preparing for an MMI and present yourself in the best light?

Remember that there is frequently no correct answer to the questions. Often what is being tested is your ability to make a reasoned choice or decision under pressure. Perhaps you are not the sort of person who finds quick fire decisions easy, but the absolute worst thing you can do is to sit there and say, ‘er, um, I am not sure...hmm I don’t really know.’

If you know that the university uses MMI (or indeed conventional interviews), regularly scan the newspapers and internet for topics that relate to your chosen subject. MMIs often include a station that involves telling the interviewer what you know about recent discoveries, developments or research in your chosen field.

Finally, GOOD LUCK!

MMI - Make the Most of It.

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