What is an MMI Interview? (Definition & Tips for Your Multiple Mini Interview)

what is an mmi interview

An MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) is an innovative interview format developed by McMaster University in the early 2000s. It aims to assess applicants’ non-cognitive abilities, such as communication, ethical reasoning, and interpersonal skills in a more reliable and effective way than traditional interviews.

The MMI consists of a series of timed stations or mini-interviews. Each station presents a unique scenario or question, which may be task-based, open-ended, or focused on ethical dilemmas. Applicants usually rotate through 6 to 10 stations, spending about 7 to 10 minutes at each. A short break separates each station, and there are no conclusions or wrap-up discussions.

Some common components of MMI interviews include:

  • Situational questions: Applicants are given a hypothetical scenario and are asked to discuss their response or considerations.
  • Role-playing exercises: Applicants interact with an actor in a fictional situation to demonstrate their communication and problem-solving abilities.
  • Team-based challenges: Applicants collaborate with others to complete a task, showcasing their teamwork and leadership skills.
  • Standard interview questions: Applicants may still be asked traditional questions about their experiences, achievements, or motivation for the position.

The MMI is particularly popular among medical schools and healthcare-related programs, as it helps assess the essential soft skills needed for success in these fields. However, other types of programs and institutions have started to adopt the format, recognizing its benefits in evaluating a candidate’s overall suitability.

The key advantages of the MMI format are its ability to minimize biases, provide a more comprehensive assessment, and reduce the impact of poor performance at a single station. By exposing applicants to multiple interviewers and contexts, the MMI helps ensure a fair evaluation and a more reliable prediction of future success.

Key Components of MMI Interviews


MMI interviews consist of a series of stations, typically between 6 and 10, which applicants rotate through during the interview process. Each station has a specific focus or task that candidates are required to complete. These stations are designed to assess a wide range of skills, including communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, ethics, and decision-making.


At each station, applicants are presented with a scenario that simulates various real-life situations or ethical dilemmas. The scenarios may be related to healthcare or have a more general focus. They are created to test the applicants’ adaptability, ability to handle stress, and think critically. Some examples of scenarios can include:

  • A patient with a non-disclosure request
  • Prioritizing limited resources in a healthcare setting
  • Addressing a conflict between team members


The tasks presented at MMI stations will vary depending on the scenario. They can range from role-playing exercises, discussing ethical dilemmas, or even completing a group or individual activity. Applicants are expected to demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively, think critically, and adapt their approach as necessary.

An example of common MMI tasks includes:

  • Role-playing a conversation with a patient or colleague
  • Analyzing and discussing an ethical dilemma or policy issue
  • Demonstrating problem-solving skills through a written or verbal response

Sample MMI Station Format:

Station NumberScenario DescriptionTask
1Patient non-disclosure requestRole-play a conversation with a patient
2Limited healthcare resourcesPrioritize resources and provide reasons
3Conflict between team membersDiscuss a conflict resolution strategy

In summary, MMI interviews involve rotating through stations, tackling various scenarios, and completing tasks that assess an applicant’s skills in communication, critical thinking, and ethics.

Common MMI Interview Topics

Ethical Issues

In MMI interviews, medical schools often present ethical scenarios to gauge a candidate’s ability to navigate complex situations. Topics may include patient confidentiality, informed consent, and end-of-life care. Applicants should be familiar with key principles in medical ethics, such as autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.


Medical schools value teamwork since healthcare professionals often collaborate to provide patient care. MMI interviews might include group activities or questions about handling interpersonal conflict. Applicants should demonstrate their ability to listen, communicate effectively, support others, and adapt to different roles within a team.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a crucial skill for medical professionals, and MMI interviews commonly test this ability. Applicants might be asked to analyze case studies, solve problems, or discuss ethical dilemmas that require logical reasoning, evidence-based decision-making, and the ability to consider multiple perspectives.


Effective communication is essential in the medical field. MMI interviews often assess this skill through role-play scenarios or questions about breaking bad news, resolving conflicts, and educating patients. Applicants should practice active listening, empathetic responses, and clear explanations.

Medical Research

Many medical schools emphasize the importance of research in advancing healthcare. MMI interviews may include questions or scenarios related to understanding scientific literature, applying research findings to clinical practice, or discussing the ethical considerations in research. Applicants should be familiar with basic research methods and concepts in evidence-based medicine.

Male student at an MMI interview

Preparing for MMI Interviews

Understanding the Interview Format

Before you start preparing for an MMI interview, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the format. MMI interviews usually consist of several stations, each with a different scenario or question. You will be given a short amount of time, typically 5 to 10 minutes, to respond to each station before rotating to the next. Understanding the time constraints and logistics of the MMI process will help you feel more confident and prepared during the actual interview.

Practicing With Mock Interviews

Participating in mock interviews is one of the most effective ways to practice for an MMI interview. This allows you to:

  • Gain experience responding to various MMI interview questions
  • Reduce stress and increase comfort with the interview format
  • Receive feedback on your responses, communication, and body language

You can practice with peers, mentors, or MMI prep courses for comprehensive feedback and guidance.

Enhancing Communication and Body Language

Communication skills are crucial for MMI interviews. To enhance your verbal and non-verbal communication, consider:

  • Speaking clearly and at a comfortable pace
  • Using hand gestures and natural body language to emphasize points
  • Maintaining eye contact to show engagement
  • Practicing active listening when a prompt is being explained

Being mindful of body language can help convey confidence and professionalism in your responses.

Developing Soft Skills

In addition to effective communication, MMI interviewers will evaluate your soft skills, such as empathy, problem-solving, and ethical decision-making. To improve these skills, you can:

  • Participate in team-based activities or volunteer work
  • Reflect on past experiences where you demonstrated empathy or ethical reasoning
  • Learn from others’ experiences in similar situations

Developing your soft skills will help you connect with interviewers and give well-rounded responses.

Reviewing Scenarios

Lastly, familiarize yourself with common MMI scenarios and questions. You can find these online or in MMI prep resources. Some examples include:

Scenario TypeExample Question
Ethical DilemmasHow would you handle a patient refusing a life-saving treatment?
Problem SolvingDiscuss a plan to address a public health issue in your community.
Personal InsightDescribe a situation where you dealt with conflict or criticism.

By reviewing and practicing with various scenarios, you will be better prepared to tackle different questions during your MMI interview.

Female med student at an Multiple Mini Interview

Comparing MMI and Traditional Interviews


MMI interviews, or Multiple Mini Interviews, consist of a series of short, timed stations where applicants rotate through and are presented with different scenarios or questions. Each station is typically 8-10 minutes long, and applicants are given a brief period to collect their thoughts before entering. Traditional interviews generally involve a longer, one-on-one interaction between the applicant and an interviewer, usually lasting between 30 minutes to an hour.

Assessment Methods

In an MMI setup, each station is assessed independently by separate evaluators. The applicant’s performance at each station contributes to their overall score. In contrast, in traditional interviews, a single interviewer or a small panel of interviewers evaluate the candidate based on their overall performance throughout the conversation.

Interview TypeAssessment Method
MMISeparate evaluators for each station
TraditionalSingle interviewer or small panel


MMI interviews offer several benefits:

  • Objective evaluation: Since multiple evaluators assess different aspects of the candidate, biases are minimized.
  • Fairness: Each candidate encounters the same scenarios, allowing for a more standardized comparison.
  • Holistic Assessment: MMI stations can evaluate a wider range of skills and attributes than a traditional interview.

On the other hand, traditional interviews also have some advantages:

  • Personal connection: A longer conversation allows the interviewer to get a better sense of the candidate as a person.
  • In-depth discussion: Candidates have more time to elaborate on their experiences or articulate their thoughts.


Both MMI and traditional interviews have certain limitations:


  • Time constraints: Applicants may feel rushed and not have enough time to fully convey their thoughts or skills.
  • Less personal: The short interactions can hinder the development of rapport between applicants and evaluators.


  • Subjectivity: Evaluation of candidates might be influenced by personal biases from the interviewers.
  • Inconsistency: Each candidate may be asked different questions, making comparisons more difficult.

The Admissions Process and MMI Interviews

The admissions process for medical schools is a crucial step in selecting the future professionals in the healthcare industry. The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is a centralized platform that streamlines this process.

One innovative interview format that medical schools have adopted is the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). MMI is an approach designed to assess a candidate’s skills, such as communication, critical thinking, and ethical reasoning more effectively than the traditional one-on-one interview.

The MMI interview process consists of a series of short, structured encounters, typically lasting 8-10 minutes each. Candidates rotate through multiple stations, each presenting a unique scenario that prompts them to think, reflect, and communicate effectively.

Some key elements of the MMI interview format include:

  • Scenario-based stations: Candidates are presented with situations (e.g., ethical dilemmas, role-plays, or problem-solving tasks) that require them to demonstrate their skills and abilities.
  • Collaborative stations: At some stations, multiple candidates work together to address a particular challenge or task.
  • Individual reflection stations: Candidates have an opportunity to reflect on their performance and the qualities they possess that will make them successful medical professionals.

During the admissions process, medical schools evaluate applicants based on several criteria such as their academic record, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and ultimately, their MMI performance. Participating in an MMI interview can offer several benefits:

  • Reliability: By evaluating candidates in multiple scenarios, schools can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the applicants’ abilities.
  • Reduced bias: The interviewers meet with various candidates throughout the day, which reduces the impact of first impressions and subjective opinions on the admissions process.
  • Enhanced skill assessment: MMI interviews allow medical schools to evaluate the qualities they believe essential for future healthcare professionals.

As medical schools continue to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, the admissions process and MMI interviews serve as an avenue to select the best suited and prepared candidates for their programs.


MMI interviews have become a popular approach in evaluating candidates for medical and healthcare programs. They offer a more realistic and fair assessment, avoiding the weaknesses of traditional interviews.

The MMI format provides an opportunity for candidates to showcase a range of skills, such as communication, empathy, and problem-solving. By rotating through multiple stations, the process ensures that candidates are evaluated by a diverse panel of interviewers, reducing the effect of personal biases.

Remember to prepare well for your MMI by practicing various scenarios, reflecting on your experiences, and familiarizing yourself with the format and expectations. With the right mindset and preparation, you can excel in your MMI interview and take the next step in your healthcare career.

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