10 MMI Prep Strategies to Conquer Your Multiple Mini Interviews


Your success during multiple mini interviews depends on the strength of your MMI prep. While undeniably more complicated than a traditional interview, the multiple mini interview (MMI) format being adopted by more and more schools is nothing to be scared of. MMIs are actually to an applicant’s benefit, as if you mess up during one of your interviews, you have plenty of other chances to make a strong first impression.

In this post, we break down 10 MMI prep strategies to help you master the multiple mini interview.


Regular vs. Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)?

MMI Interview - people standing in line

The difference between regular interviews and multiple mini interviews is right there in the name. For a regular interview, you sit across from your interviewer, either online or in-person, and answer their questions. There’s generally only one interviewer (or a few at most) and one interviewee. Multiple mini interviews are a series of small interviews conducted by several different interviewers.

During multiple mini interviews, applicants typically rotate through six to ten stations over the course of a morning or afternoon. The exact structure will vary from school to school and can also change from year to year, and the stations can vary from a regular interview format to acting out a scenario with a patient actor to essay writing stations and more.

This is what makes it so difficult to thoroughly prepare for multiple mini interviews. You can never truly be 100% prepared because there are so many variables.

But on the plus side, more interviews mean more chances to impress schools. If you mess up one of your multiple mini interviews or get the sense your interviewer really doesn’t like you, you have more chances to improve and more first impressions to give. In a regular interview, if you mess up, there’s not a whole lot you can do except hope for the best. Multiple mini interviews give you plenty of chances to optimize your performance.

For more information on MMIs, check out our companion Multiple Mini Interview Guide on the Med School Insiders blog. It covers the multiple mini interview format, how to answer sample questions, and frequently asked questions about the MMI process.


10 MMI Prep Strategies

1 | Understand the MMI Format

The multiple mini interview format is quite a bit different than that of a regular interview. It’s imperative to your success that you know what to expect and begin practicing in that format as soon as possible.

Not all medical schools have the resources to run multiple mini interviews. Utilize the MSAR as well as individual school websites to research which schools have MMIs and what the MMI format is like at those particular schools.

Exactly what to expect will vary from school to school based on the chosen format and number of interviewers, which are often dependent on a school’s resources. Running MMIs may be more effective for gaining a full picture of who a student is, but they are far more expensive and time-consuming to run.

Even though there is variance across schools, generally speaking, an MMI will have 6-12 different stations, with the average being 8-10 stations. It’s standard to begin each MMI station with a prompt, which could be a traditional interview question, a behavioral question, or a scenario with a patient actor.

AAMC’s list of possible multiple mini interview stations:

  • Scenarios involving interactions with an actor or a medical school’s standardized patient.
  • An essay writing station; this station may take longer than others.
  • A standard interview station.
  • A teamwork station where candidates must work together to complete a task.
  • An ethical scenario involving questions about social and policy implications.
  • A “rest” station to help students catch their breath and relax.

2 | Start Early and Be Proactive

The most essential strategy for any type of interview is to start early and be proactive. You can’t hone your adaptability and learn to effectively think and communicate on your feet in a few days or even a week before your interview. Multiple mini interview skills take time to build.

Get started about two months before an MMI, but know that how much prep time you need depends on your interview comfort level. Starting early will give you more time to evaluate and enhance your skills.

The multiple mini interview format is designed to keep you on your toes. Your interviewers want to see how you perform under pressure. This is why it’s so crucial you take all the time you need to practice your critical thinking, ethical problem solving, and adaptability skills and hone your confidence.

The multiple mini interview is going to roll around much quicker than you think. Start early to determine which skills you need to develop most, and be proactive about doing so leading up to and during interview season.

3 | Practice Within a Timed Format

While it’s also important to be concise during a regular interview, there is an actual time limit on your answers for MMIs. You must be able to articulately get your points across in the small window.

This is why it’s vital you practice within a timed format. Train yourself to communicate your entire point within a short, inflexible amount of time. Since MMI formats vary across schools, practice answering questions within different time allotments, such as six minutes or eight minutes. Do this for different types of MMI questions, such as policy questions, writing stations, acting scenarios, etc.

On the day of your interview, you’ll need to get your points across succinctly within a limited amount of time. The sooner you begin practicing within this format, the better.

4 | Simulate the Pressure of an MMI

There’s a lot riding on your performance, and for MMIs, you simply don’t know what stations or questions you’ll encounter. It’s a lot of pressure.

As you practice, simulate the same pressured environment so that you build your adaptability and problem solving skills. Surprise yourself with random questions to become more confident thinking on your feet. You won’t get the same questions you practiced, but you’ll be able to adapt no matter what curveballs they throw at you.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

To further simulate the nerves that are sure to greet you on your actual interview day, some students have effectively used caffeine in their prep. Consuming caffeine can put you on high alert and make you feel nervous, just like you will be on the big day. This may help you get more comfortable with the adrenaline rush that comes on the day of your interview.

When the actual day rolls around, since you’ll already be stimulated, don’t use caffeine. You’ll be used to overcoming your nerves to perform effectively.

5 | Turn Interview Prep Into a Habit

Timeline September calendar

Don’t leave your prep to the last minute. Build your interview prep into your daily routine and make a habit out of it so that your interview skills become lived in and natural.

Extra preparation time won’t magically appear, and with all of your other responsibilities, it may be hard to carve out a few hours every day in the week leading up to your interview. Instead, set a manageable daily goal that you can consistently accomplish.

Repetition in your interview prep will help build your confidence and adaptability. Surprise yourself with a few practice MMI questions every day in the months leading up to your interviews. This will only take 30-60 minutes, depending on how much prep you feel you need.

If you’re unable to find that sort of time, start smaller with an amount of time you can consistently fulfill every day. For example, even 20 minutes of prep every day will add up over time if you start preparing one to two months before your first interview. That time compounds. 20 minutes a day (if completed EVERY DAY) is 2 hours and 20 minutes a week. That’s over 9 hours of interview preparation after four weeks.

Set a goal for yourself early on and stick to it. Practicing a little every day is better than trying to cram it all into one or two days.

Again, how much time you set aside each day will depend on your current strengths and weaknesses in interviewing. That’s why it’s so critical to begin preparing and testing yourself in pressured scenarios months before your first interview to determine how much prep is required. You can always ease up on your prep time if you find you are absolutely nailing surprise, on-the-spot questions, but if you’re struggling, you can’t get more time if you start too late.

6 | Practice “If/Then” Statements

It’s very likely at least one of your MMI stations will involve ethical scenarios, and ironclad ethics are fundamental to a doctor’s code.

This means many questions may not have a clear right or wrong answer. These questions seek to uncover and evaluate your understanding of the Hippocratic Oath as well as your ethical decision making skills, so while the correct answer may be unclear, it’s imperative that your answer be as ethical and unbiased as possible.

Do not come out swinging with a strong opinion. An effective way to respond to ethical dilemmas is by using if/then conditional statements. This way, you can put your ethics on full display while also providing a diplomatic answer to ambiguous moral questions.

For example, “If this is the situation, then I would respond this way. However, if this is actually the situation, then I would respond this way.”

Typically, ethical questions are vague on purpose. Responding with an if/then statement enables you to reframe the situation and add critical context. These conditional responses also show your ability to evaluate both sides of an argument, think ahead, and consider the possible consequences of your decisions.

Here’s an example scenario:

You see a fellow student, Samantha, steal some food from your school’s cafeteria. What would you do about it?

An if/then conditional answer might look something like this:

“I would find a time to calmly approach Samantha in a private setting and encourage her to explain her actions. It’s possible Samantha is experiencing a financial crisis. If so, I would offer to help her apply for a scholarship or find additional opportunities for financial aid so she could afford food. If she agrees to let me help her, then I would support her through the next steps of solving the core issue. If, however, Samantha ignored me and became agitated or aggressive, then I would have no choice but to report her to security. In doing so, I would tell Samantha first and remain nonjudgmental throughout the entire process.”

7 | Record Yourself and Review it Back

Since we’re often our own worst critics, recording ourselves and watching it back can be a challenge. Is that really how I sound? Do I always make that face? Am I that much of a sloucher?

However, this is an essential interview preparation strategy, as it’s vital you understand the kind of image you will be presenting to interviewers. Are you projecting confidence? How is your posture? Are you enunciating clearly? Be sure to answer within the timed format of the MMI and surprise yourself with unexpected questions to accurately simulate the pressure of the real MMI experience.

This is also a good opportunity to check out your interview attire. Record yourself responding to questions in the outfit you plan to wear to your interviews. Are you able to speak, move around, sit down, and stand up easily? Does your outfit inspire you with confidence, or is it time for a wardrobe change?

Recording yourself in your professional clothing will make this exercise feel more real and give you a more accurate impression of your performance.

8 | Participate in Mock Interviews

Participating in mock interviews is essential to understanding what the interview experience is actually like. A mock interview is a practice interview that simulates the conditions you’ll face on interview day. They are as close as you can get to the real interview experience, with the added benefit of receiving direct feedback on your performance from your interviewers afterward.

While practicing in front of trusted friends and family is also useful, they are more likely to sugarcoat their responses. Plus, if they do not have admissions committee experience, their advice may not be as valuable as they think, as they won’t know precisely what medical school interviewers are looking for.

The mock interviews offered by Med School Insiders are conducted by former interviewers with admissions committee and MMI experience who provide objective feedback on your performance.

Additionally, take advantage of any help your college may offer, such as free mock MMIs if they are available. But be cautious of relying on these supports alone, as, unfortunately, many schools have limited resources and cannot provide feedback from experts with admissions committee experience.

9 | Utilize an Interview Study Guide

An interview study guide is an invaluable tool you can use to refresh your memory and perform last-minute prep on the day of your interview or any travel or downtime leading up to it. It will ensure you present yourself professionally and are ready for whatever the day throws at you.

An interview study guide includes important points to review right before your interview. It should include your application, a few unique notes about the school, any research publications, and a document of common interview questions with bullet points of how you want to answer. This document is particularly useful when it comes to current hot topic issues in the medical field, such as COVID-19 and vaccines or AI’s impact on healthcare.

The study guide will also include notes to help you improve after each interview. After a multiple mini interview, write down exactly what you faced in each of the stations, what you struggled with, and what you excelled at. This way, when you face another MMI, you’ll be able to read through your guide for insight into what you can expect and how you can improve your performance.

Continually update your interview study guide after every interview to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for the next one.

Learn how to Create an Interview Study Guide.

10 | Warm Up Before Your Interview

Woman preparing Face and Vocal Exercises

You wouldn’t run a 100-meter dash or deadlift 300 lbs before warming up, would you? If you don’t warm up, you could make a mistake and injure yourself.

The same is true of interviews. While you very likely won’t sprain your tongue or sustain any kind of physical injury by ignoring facial and vocal warm ups pre-interview, you could severely damage your chances of medical school acceptance by slouching and mumbling your way through.

In order to feel as confident and prepared as possible, you must warm up your body, face, and voice before an interview to ensure you feel and project confidence.

Vocal warm-ups like tongue twisters help to ensure you enunciate and speak clearly. Without them, it’s easy to trip over your words or mumble. Your interviewer has enough to do without asking you to repeat yourself again and again.

Facial warm-ups involve a few simple face yoga exercises, such as rapidly switching between big, exaggerated faces and small pinched ones. Make a face like you’ve just seen a ghost, and then do your best impression of a small fish or make a face like you’ve just bitten into a lemon.

This gets your blood flowing and eases up the tense muscles in your face, making you appear more natural, approachable, and confident. (Note that if you’re wearing makeup, check your face for lines after completing facial warm-ups.)

Vocal exercises, facial warm-ups, and correct posture help you to speak clearly and look more confident. Check out our guides on Face and Vocal Exercises to Perform Before Interviews and How to Improve Your Interview Confidence.


Take Your Multiple Mini Interview Prep to the Next Level

Early practice and consistent preparation will give you the confidence you need to impress each of your multiple mini interviewers. By starting early, you’ll have a better understanding of just how much MMI prep time is needed to succeed.

Even if you’re confident in a regular interview setting, multiple mini interviews are a different beast entirely. A mock interview will put your MMI skills to the test in a pressured environment that simulates the types of situations you’ll face on interview day. Med School Insiders offers mock interviews with former interviewers who provide insightful, direct feedback on your performance—feedback you can use to improve before interview day.

The Med School Insiders blog holds dozens of guides on the medical school interview process, including on how to effectively schedule interviews, reduce interview costs, and prepare on the day of your interview.


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