Medicine Applications: Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)

This article is based on observations of Multiple Mini Interviews for University of Buckingham Medicine applicants.

If you are applying for Medicine at a UK university you will probably have to complete a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) in order to be offered a place.

It’s highly unlikely that you will have experienced an MMI before so you may not know how they work. Read our advice on what to expect and how to prepare.

What are Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)?

MMIs are an alternative to traditional interview formats.

The majority of UK medical schools now use them and some universities also use MMI for admission to LawNursing, Pharmacy & Pharmacology and Teaching courses. This article focuses on how to prepare for a Medicine MMI, although the principles can be transferred to MMIs for other subjects.

How do MMIs work?

Every medical school will conduct their MMIs slightly differently. However, there are some elements common to all MMIs. 

MMIs are made up of multiple ‘stations’ (usually between six and twelve). Each station is designed to test your non-academic traits, such as communication skills, empathy and team-work. 

At each station, you are given a time limit to read the instructions and prepare your response. Candidates then have a set period of time to complete the station before being instructed to move onto the next one. The MMI finishes once every candidate has completed every station.

MKAC (002)
University of Buckingham Medical School 

Medicine MMIs at the 
University of Buckingham

At the University of Buckingham, the Medicine
course starts in January every year so it holds
four MMI days throughout the year. Each day
consists of three, two-hour sessions with 
between 20 and 25 candidates per session.

There are various types of station you could have to complete, including:

  • Role Play
  • Discussion of your UCAS application and relevant experience
  • Ethics question
  • Reading comprehension
  • Data analysis
  • Manual dexterity
  • Interpretation of scenarios/observation of scenes on a screen 

You are given a score based on the strength of your performance at each station. Your scores for each station are collated and from this you are given a score for how well you performed overall.

The strength of your overall score relative to those of the other candidates is what determines whether or not you are offered a place.  

Medical schools should give you details of how the MMI will work before you attend. Familiarise yourself with them to make sure you aren’t caught out on the day.

It is also important to adhere to confidentiality guidelines. You may be asked to sign a confidentiality statement, meaning you cannot share the specifics of your MMI experience.

Why do universities use them?

Universities use MMIs instead of traditional interviews for a number of reasons.

1. MMIs create a level playing field for all candidates.

MMIs are harder to prepare for because they are unconventional and therefore students cannot be coached for them. They are designed to test which students have the best skills for a career in the medical field, rather than testing which students are good at interviews or have access to a good interview coach. This means there is no advantage for students who are able to afford professional coaching or who have contacts within the medical field.

2. MMIs are more realistic.

MMIs allow medical schools to better recreate scenarios in which students will find themselves during their time as a medical student and a doctor. It is difficult to test for important traits such as compassion and patience just by asking a candidate questions. 
Evidence shows that MMIs can better identify students who will perform well at medical school, particularly in the later years of the degree when students spend most of their time in hospitals.

3. MMIs are more fun!

Having a variety of tasks is more challenging and interesting than simply responding to questions being asked by the same person. Your degree is meant to be enjoyable, so there’s no reason the selection process shouldn’t be as well.

What are the interviewers looking for from candidates?

Interviewers are looking for candidates to show that they have what it takes to be a doctor besides academic excellence.

Give or take a grade or two, all candidates at an MMI will have the same, outstanding predicted or actual grades. Interviewers are looking for candidates to show that they can cope with the challenges of medical school and being a doctor. They want candidates to show confidence, composure, ethical integrity and good interpersonal skills.

How can you prepare for an MMI?

MMIs are deliberately harder to prepare for than normal interviews. However, there are some ways you can prepare for them:

  • Create your own stations. If you know other people who have MMIs coming up, a good way to get into the mindset for doing one is to make your own stations. This will get you thinking about what skills are required to succeed at medical school and as a doctor. Once you’ve created these stations, practice completing them within a five to ten-minute time limit in exam conditions.
  • Know your personal statement. There could be a station at your MMI which gets you to talk about your personal statement and any previous experience you may have. Before the MMI, look over what you wrote and have an idea of how you would respond to this type of question.
  • Know what’s going on in the UK and global health sector. If you are serious about studying Medicine you should be prepared in this way already. You may or may not be asked about an issue in the health sector, but either way it is important to know the key issues that medical staff face today. You don’t have to read medical journals cover to cover, just read the news!
  • Be wary of any websites who claim to be able to coach you for your MMI. Universities will change their MMI stations each year and so any insider information these websites claim to have will be outdated and lead you to practice in the wrong way.
  • Treat it how you would treat an exam. Get to bed early the night before so you have a good night's sleep. Wake up early on the morning of the MMI so you have enough time for a good breakfast and aren't rushing to get ready. Arrive at the MMI venue early to familiarise yourself.
    Most importantly, relax! You've earned your place at the MMI and if you have prepared well you'll have nothing to worry about. 

Being invited to an MMI is a great achievement. You should relish the experience and treat it as an opportunity to showcase the qualities you have to make it as a doctor. Remember, it is very competitive and if you aren’t offered a place do not be disheartened. Instead, you can think about applying again or look at alternatives to medicine.