Multiple-Mini Interviews (MMIs)

Last updated: 10/07/2021

What is a multiple-mini interview (MMI)?

MMIs are by far the most common type of medical and dental school interviews in the UK.

You do a series of short interviews, each usually lasting somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, like speed dating. They are designed to minimise the relationship between the interviewer and the applicant and instead focus attention on how the applicant performs in a series of standardised situations.

  • The entire interview process lasts around 2 hours
  • Expect around 10 separate stations

The guidance offered here is a useful overview of MMIs, but if you really want to get on top of your application, get our comprehensive medical school interview course, which includes an entire module dedicated solely to MMIs including scenario and station types, how to handle them and sample questions.

Medical school MMI interview online photo

What you’ll encounter in MMIs

  1. Questions: The interviewer asks all applicants the same stem question, but may ask different follow-up questions depending on the answer. Questions can focus on professionalism, teamwork, communication skills and thinking processes.

 2. Scenarios: There may be an actor involved. The student receives a prompt or a set of instructions      before entering the room, and then responds by interacting with the actor, who is trained to      deliver a standardised performance. Scenarios test social interactions, communication skills,      compassion and problem solving under stressful situations.

  1. Tasks: The student is given a task to complete and the interviewer rates each student. Tasks can test teamwork, problem solving and communication skills.

Which medical schools are using MMIs in 2021?

Medical School

Aberdeen

Anglia Ruskin

Aston

Brighton and Sussex

Buckingham

Brunel

Cardiff

Edge Hill

Edinburgh

Exeter

Hull York

Imperial

Kent & Medway

Lancaster

Leeds

Leicester

Manchester

Norwich

Plymouth

Queen's University Belfast

St Andrews

St George's

Sunderland

Warwick

MMI format

Each mini-interview takes place in a different room or area. When the applicant comes to the door, they will see a card that describes the scenario specific to that station in a few lines. 

The applicant will have 2 minutes to read the information and will be told when they may enter the room. A second copy of the scenario will be placed in the room in case the applicant needs to refer to the information provided once more. 

The mini-interview will take a set time. When the session is over, the applicant moves to the next mini-interview station.

 What should I say during my MMI? 

There are no right answers for many of the scenarios that applicants will see. Different candidates approach the interview in different ways. They are simply asked to adopt a position and defend any ideas they put forward.

Steven, University of Warwick
‘A lot of students dislike MMIs, but I love them. You get to try out a little bit of everything and your mistakes aren’t as important’ 
MMI interview handshake photo.

MMI interview secrets to success

MMIs can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Think of the types of questions/scenarios you will face and practise your answers. 

Many people have difficulty formulating logical, cohesive, polished answers within the allotted preparation time prior to the start of each station.

Here are a few tips:

  • Frame answers in terms of medicine

List attributes you believe are essential for doctors, such as the ability to think critically. Practise using these qualities in your answers.

  • Time management

Once your time is up at a station the interview must end, even if you still have something to say. 

Give yourself only 7–8 minutes to answer questions in practice.

  • Listen carefully

The interviewer will often provide prompts. Listen carefully to the cues provided so you can take advantage of any new information that is introduced. 

  • Treat each station like the start of a new interview

You need to make a good impression with each interviewer. Introduce yourself, smile and try to create rapport. 

  • Use your preparation time wisely

Before each station, you’ll usually have 1 to 2 minutes to understand what the station is about and read the question. 

Use this time to organise your thoughts:

- What topics are you going to talk about? 

- What will you talk about first?

Sean – University of Dundee
‘Unlike a formal interview, each station is a fresh start with a new topic; the time-specific nature of each station means you need to pack in as much as you can.'
Medical school interview. Woman shakes hands with girl being interviewed.

MMI stations, example interview questions and scenarios

Question stations 

In these stations, you can be asked questions about anything from the medical and dental interview topics. There are a lot of common questions that come up so be prepared to answer them - and remember our interview course gives a lot more guidance on each of these and tips to succeed.

Ethics

You could be given an ethical dilemma or a scenario in which you’re faced with a conundrum and asked what you would do. It’s important to be comfortable with the 4 pillars of ethics:

  • Autonomy 
  • Beneficence 
  • Non-maleficence 
  • Justice

Consider this question in relation to the qualities above:

You receive a patient’s test results and are unsure of how to proceed. A colleague from another hospital, who has nothing to do with the case, is likely to have the answer, but it means sharing the patient’s information with her. 

How should you respond?

  • It’s okay to spend a few moments in silence and let the patient cry and vent out their feelings. 
  • Explain what you do know and what you’re going to do to get answers for the patients
  • Don’t make any false promises or claim anything that you don’t know is true. For example, don’t say, ‘I promise you’ll have the results in 10 minutes time’ or ‘I’m sure there’s nothing serious in the results’.

Empathy

You could be asked a question related to empathy in medicine. A solid understanding of the role of empathy in medicine is essential. 

An in-depth guide to empathy in medicine

You have a patient who is extremely upset. She thinks her test results have been lost due to a long waiting time. You do not know if this is the case.

Finally, the woman starts sobbing.

How should you respond?

  • It’s okay to spend a few moments in silence and let the patient cry and vent out their feelings. 
  • Explain what you do know and what you’re going to do to get answers for the patients
  • Don’t make any false promises or claim anything that you don’t know is true. For example, don’t say, ‘I promise you’ll have the results in 10 minutes time’ or ‘I’m sure there’s nothing serious in the results’.

Calculation station 

You may be asked to do some basic drug calculations at these stations, so make sure you’re comfortable with how to do drug calculations and also with how to convert between units.

Example question:

A patient weighing 75kg has been prescribed 3mg/kg of medication. A syringe is prepared containing 675 mg in 3ml. What volume of the solution in the syringe do you need to give?

How should you respond?

  • Take your time to answer and don’t get flustered it the answer doesn’t come immediately.
  • A 75 kg man would need (3 x 75) 225 mg of medication
  • If 3 ml has 675 mg then 1 ml has (675 / 3) 225 mg. So 1 ml is needed.

Role Play

You’ll be given a scenario to act out with an actor waiting in the room. It's most likely going to be a difficult scenario, such as giving someone a frightening diagnosis. Interviewers are not looking to see your acting skills. Rather, they’re looking to see how you respond to difficult situations.

Example question:

You are working on a task with an actor. The actor keeps frowning at you, and you suspect it might have been something you said. Before long they start shouting at you for a minor mistake.

How should you respond?

  • Listen patiently and allow the teammate to express their opinion
  • You need to stay calm - focus on de-escalation
  • Ask if there’s anything they want to discuss in a private place

Group tasks

You’ll have to interact with one or more other candidates. You may have to do a specific task or discuss a topic. Make sure you communicate with others clearly. 

Some medical and dental schools use a teaching style called problem-based learning (PBL)PBL. This style of teaching doesn't work for everybody and so interviewers use this station to assess whether you would be suited to this style of teaching. 

PBL can also be used to assess your team working skills. Make sure you are polite to all and don’t interrupt others when they’re speaking.

Example question:

You and another candidate are asked to arrange a collection of books before you on the table in the order you both think is most appropriate. Afterwards, you need to give feedback on how you felt each other person performed.

How should you respond?

  • Wait for a natural silence before you speak
  • Actively ask for the other person's opinion 
  • Don’t speak in an accusative tone when giving feedback and accept the feedback you’re given graciously
    Video station

You’ll be asked to watch a video and then be asked questions about it. It’s likely that you’ll have to take a reflective approach to the questions. You may be asked how the people in the video may feel or what somebody could have done better.

Example question:

You’ve just watched this video of a patient's experience:

You’re then asked these questions:

  • How would the patient have felt when they were first diagnosed?
  • What can you understand from this video about the importance of communication?
  • What can you understand from this video about the importance of a multi-disciplinary team?

How should you respond?

  • Take an empathetic approach.
  • Don’t make any silly jokes, for instance about the patient’s accent - as a doctor you’ll meet people with a range of different accents.
  • The patient talks about a lot of different members of staff. You could pick up on that and use that in your discussion.

Instruction stations

In this station, you’ll be asked to give either the interviewer or another actor instructions on how to do a basic task, such as tying shoelaces or wrapping a present. 

The person you are instructing will follow your instructions exactly as you say, so be specific and clear. Before you start, explain what you’re going to do. 

It might be frustrating when the actor doesn’t do what you wanted them to do, but remember that they’re only following your instructions so be patient and re-explain.

Example question

The interviewer sits in front of a shoe and asks for instructions to tie the laces. You cannot use your hands to gesticulate.

How should you respond?

  • Explain what the aim is
  • Plan out in your head what you want to say, so that your instructions are clear
  • Be polite and respectful when giving instructions - don’t get bossy!

Presentation Station

As part of a station, universities may ask you to prepare a short presentation on a topic. If this is the case, then the university will inform you of this in your interview invite.

Example question:

You are asked to prepare a 2-minute verbal presentation about your personal qualities. 

How should you respond?

  • 2 minutes isn’t a long time, so be concise
  • Don’t memorise your presentation - it will sound mundane and fake to the admissions tutor.

Practical tasks

Some stations may require you to do some sort of task, like putting a thread through a needle or putting pins in certain places. This station will be assessing your manual dexterity. As a dentist or a doctor, manual dexterity is very important. It can be hard to perform under pressure, but staying calm will help you do well in this station.

Find out more about the role of manual dexterity in healthcare careers.

Example question:

Place the thread through the needle, then place the needle into the tube without touching the sides. 

How should you respond?

  • Stay calm - getting nervous means you’re more likely to fumble and not complete the task
  • Don’t rush - there’s no point doing it really fast but doing it clumsily and messily

Reading Tasks

For this station, you could be given a text to read and you’ll be asked questions about it. It’s not about memorising the text; rather, it’s about drawing conclusions from the text and applying them to medical and dental scenarios.

Example question:

You are given this article on obesity and then asked to discuss issues raised and express your view.

How should you respond?

  • Quote data in the article to back up your answer
  • Give a balanced opinion 
  • Try to link your answer either to the NHS, being a doctor or NHS valueRemember, Medify’s interview course helps you practise for MMIs by taking you through how to approach challenging questions step by step.

The multiple mini-interview module goes into greater detail about question types and what to expect on the day.

Multiple-mini interview books

Making sure you are well-read is an essential part of preparing for medical school interviews

5 medical books to give you plenty of topics to talk about.

Medical and dental school interviews illustration of computer.

MMIs for dentistry

A lot of topics overlap between medical MMIs and dental MMIs but there are some things unique to dentistry. For instance, there’s an increased emphasis on manual dexterity. As a dental student you’ll have to do a lot of practical procedures which will require steady hands and a calm composure, so you’re more likely to be given practical tasks like threading a needle or putting nails in the correct holes. 

There are also some common topics that are likely to come up in dental school interviews:

  • Challenges facing NHS dentistry 
  • Private vs NHS dentistry 
  • Lifestyle factors that affect oral health like smoking 
  • The impact of Covid on NHS dentistry in the long term
  • Technological advancements in dentistry 
  • New research going on in dentistry 
  • What is the General Dental Council and why is it important? What are their views on patient care?

Final tips: how can you stand out from the crowd?

  • Think quickly and act confidently
  • Have a positive and assertive attitude
  • Revise medical ethics thoroughly
  • Keep up to date with current issues in healthcare
  • Read our medical school interview article for more tips

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