Since interview season is coming up for medical school applicants, I thought I would share with you what my interview experience was like for MMI and Panel type interviews. I was very lucky to have secured all 4 of my medical school interviews. They consisted of 1 Panel and 3 MMIs. I won’t be sharing the exact details and the specific questions asked since I had to sign a confidentiality agreement. But, I hope you can learn something from my experiences or at least get an idea of how some interviews might be like.
My MMI Experience
First of all, MMIs. They consist of multiple stations that you go around to answer different types of questions. For my MMI experience, I would like to talk about my first MMI experience, which I feel is more eventful than my other 2.
My first MMI experience wasn’t the best since it was also my first ever medical school interview. I was just really nervous (classic, I know but totally understandable :’)). I did mock interviews beforehand but did not know what to expect since I wasn’t given an overview of the stations beforehand (some medical schools give an overview of their stations a few days before).
I remember just hoping that a role play station wouldn’t come up because during mocks, I constantly did not know what to say for those and always had to pause in the middle.
For this first MMI, we were all taken into a big room for briefing and were each put in front of a station. Before we entered, we had around 2 minutes to read what each station was about. For some stations, they gave us information on what to do when you enter the station and for some, they gave us the questions the interviewers will ask when you enter.
We then entered the station and met the interviewers. For the first few stations I was really nervous that I couldn’t even smile or greet the interviewers and they went straight into asking the questions. For the first few stations, the questions were nothing unexpected. They were about my personal statement, work experiences, why I wanted to be a doctor, and ethical scenarios. I started to relax a bit and for the following stations, I started greeting the interviewers when I entered. This really made a difference, in my opinion. It made me feel relaxed and felt like I was just going in for a chat. It might’ve also given off the vibe that I am confident and friendly.
It was all going well until I arrived at the current news station. I was given a page-long article + questions to read within 2 minutes. It wasn’t enough time for me to finish reading the article and because of this, I had to infer what the rest of the article was about from the questions they asked. This was not a pleasant feeling and I had so much time left for that station.
After going through my worst station so far, I was faced with the station I was most worried about: the role play station. But, I decided to forget about my previous station and tried my best on it. I remember being pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve improved from the mocks and realised that I shouldn’t let the outcomes of my mocks intimidate me. It is also really important to practice in mocks, especially the stations you are afraid of and make mistakes so that you can get better to face these stations in the real MMIs.
My tips for MMIs would be look over the common types of questions that come up and to just practice them. Always be friendly to the interviewers even if you are nervous or feeling scared and not too worry about certain types of stations too much. MMIs like to include stations where you have to think on your feet but the medical school is not trying to trip you up with these questions. So, keep calm and work through them and I’m more than sure you’ll be fine!
My Panel Interview Experience
I only had one panel interview. Compared to MMIs, I wouldn’t say I enjoy the panel interview style more.
For my panel interview, I was examined by 2 interviewers. One interviewer had a list of questions with her and asked them to me one by one while the other interviewer observed and asked follow up questions if he wanted clarification about something.
Again, at the start of the interview, the questions were nothing extraordinary. They asked classic questions such as work experiences, why I wanted to be a doctor. However, after those, they started asking tougher questions. One particularly difficult question I had was about a debatable ethical topic. I said something about this and the interviewer started arguing with me. People say that I should be flattered if the interviewer starts an argument since it shows they are interested in what I had to say.
But, I was really worried since he started picking on what I had said and I did not really know how to respond since there wasn’t a right answer for ethical issues. I feel like in these types of situations, it is best to keep calm and depending on the situation, you can defend what you said or agree with the examiner and explain why. I kept calm and got myself out of the argument but because I got stressed after that question, I couldn’t answer the questions after that well.
This was why I didn’t really enjoy the panel interview because since it was the same interviewers, I didn’t feel like I could just forget the previous question and start afresh. Chatting for around 30 minutes straight with the same interviewers felt really long, especially when they put you in a difficult situation like for the ethical scenario question.
However, although it the panel interviews weren’t for me, some people prefer them over MMIs. There are limited skills and types of questions they can ask with a panel interview so having panel interviews over MMIs also have its own advantages.
I hope you enjoy this week’s blog about my interview experience! Stay tuned for more medical school interview blogs in the following weeks since it’s interview season and we want to be of as much help as possible! Some of it will be up on our Instagram page so make sure to check it out!