If you apply to study Medicine at ARU, you may be invited to attend Multiple Mini Interviews, or MMIs. Here are my top tips for putting your best foot forward (virtually) at your medical school interview and securing your place.
1. Do as much practice as possible with your friends and family
There is a big difference between thinking an answer in your head and being able to confidently and coherently vocalise it. I know it may seem daunting and embarrassing but practising with friends and family will be helpful. If you can’t rope your friends and family in, you could also record yourself and play the answers back.
2. Know your interview
Medical school interviews vary widely: even two medical schools that both run MMIs may have subtle differences. It’s important to know what those subtleties are, so you know how best to prepare yourself and what to expect on the day.
Find out about how ARU MMI’s are run and how they are assessed.
3. Use reliable, up-to-date resources
To study for my interview, I used a book called Medical School Interviews – A Practical Guide to Help You Get That Place at Medical School by Oliver Picard. I found this really useful; however books become out of date and there are plenty of free online resources that may be more useful.
My favourite medical school interview resource is Medic Portal.
4. If you fluff up, detach yourself and move on
The beauty of MMIs is that if you underperform on one station, it has no influence on how you are scored on the next station. I know it’s hard, but if you don’t do as well as how you’d have liked, forget about it and focus on the station ahead of you. Take a few breaths and remind yourself that you’ve been invited to interview for a reason, and this is your chance to showcase why you would make a great doctor.
5. Don’t be spooked by MMI questions
Unlike traditional interviews, chances are you will never have practised the stations you will face at MMI. So why bother with those Medic Portal practice questions, then?
To write this blog, I visited the site again for the first time since my interview and I was surprised at how reflective their stations were of the stations I did in my own interview. For example, their second station is ‘role play with an angry friend’. I did not get this station in my interview, however the skills the practice question requires you to demonstrate prepared me for a similar role play.
Most MMI stations revolve around set skills and attributes the interviewer wants to see you display. When you’re reading the question, home in on what those skills and attributes are (communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, etc) and think about how you will go about showing them. This is where practice questions are important. Whether you’re dealing with an angry friend, colleague or patient – the skills you need to show are similar.
That being said, don’t disregard the context. Respond to the setting (work environment or social setting) and the person you are addressing (How old are they? What is their relationship to you in this context?). These factors should affect how you choose to tackle the situation.
6. Make sure you have a quiet space where you will be left alone
This is a tip I did not have to think about when I faced my interview. However, due to interviews being online this year, I wanted to include this point. It’s important that you let everyone in your house (or wherever you are logging onto the interview) know what you're doing. Your medical school interview is very important, and you need to be able to concentrate without disruption.
Also, check the rough timings but ask to be left alone a little bit longer than necessary. Medical school interviews are a very important occasion in any household and I know, had I been interviewed at home, my mum would’ve wanted to know how I got on immediately. Had the interview gone on longer than anticipates, she would’ve ended up disrupting me. To avoid this, remind your parents/siblings/housemates not to disturb you until you give them a text or leave the room.
7. The waiting game and what happens next
Once you have done your interview, put it to the back of your mind. What’s done is done and you won’t gain anything from mulling over what you did or didn’t say. The waiting was the hardest part for me because it is completely out of your control however it’s important to not get in your own head too much.
If you are unsuccessful then that is not the end of the road. You may have other interviews to focus on, you could take a gap year and apply next year or if there are spaces available, you could try get a place through clearing! Channel the negative energy you are feeling into what you can do better next time to secure your place.
If you are successful, then congratulations! This is a huge achievement and all you have to do now is focus on meeting your offer. Get your head down for the next few months, achieve your grades and you’ll be on your way to medical school in September.
Best of luck with your interviews and remember that whatever the outcome, it is a learning opportunity that will help you in the future.