Admission Committees say that within the first minute of meeting a candidate, their minds are already made on whether or not they will accept the student. This realization has driven most medical schools to adjust their interview format to give students a better chance at making a good impression. This widely adopted format, referred to as “Multiple Mini Interviews” (MMI), is a fortunate departure from the typical hour-long “firing range” format where students have the limited opportunity of making only one first impression in front of a board of experts and Admissions Committee members.
The format of this type of interview allows the interviewee 2 minutes to privately read over and formulate responses for each passage, which are most often scenarios that deal with professionalism and medicals ethics. Don’t be surprised if you get an acting station! These types of stations are designed to see how you would react in novel situations. The interviewees are then given several minutes (usually 7 or 8 minutes) to give their response, and will often be prompted with follow-up questions if there is a substantial amount of time left after the initial response. The number and types of stations vary within schools across Canada. For instance, during the interview process for the University of Calgary, applicants are required to write two “on-site essays” based on topics designed by the Admissions Committee in addition to the typical MMI verbal component.
Finally, most students who have been through the interview process will agree that practice is key. Practice formulating a position on various issues and be able to discuss reasoning behind your thinking on controversial topics. Consider the merits and deficits to various sides of an argument and be able to support which you believe is the right answer. Most importantly, however, is to make sure that you do not memorize answers to questions that you expect them to ask you. This is dangerous because if you forget a part of your practiced answer, you will likely fumble and be unable to resume seamlessly to finish your response. These are experts at identifying people who are insincere so make sure your responses are as genuine as your opinions! Furthermore, most interviews are designed so that they are not easily anticipated – in other words, don’t expect them to ask you why you want to be a doctor! Be sure to come to the PMSA MMI Interview Workshop event held in January for more information and practice.