What is the MMI?
The MMI consists of a series of short, carefully timed interview scenario/questions. Scenarios aim to draw multiple samples of applicants' ability to think on their feet, to critically appraise information, to communicate their ideas, and to explore their professional reasoning.
Applicants will complete a circuit of eight ten-minute mini-interview stations, rotating from station to station. At each station, candidates will have two minutes to read a 'scenario' or question. Candidates then have eight minutes to either interact with a rater who may ask questions or be observed by the rater while interacting with an actor or another applicant.
Advantages of the MMI:
- More reliable
- More chances to perform well
- More equitable opportunity for those of diverse backgrounds to demonstrate quality
- Less biased way to evaluate applicants
- Test characteristics such as cultural sensitivity, maturity, teamwork, empathy, reliability, and communication skills
The MMI has been evaluated by many Canadian and U.S. medical schools and shown that it can be more reliable and valid than the traditional one-on-one interview process. In addition, both MMI raters and applicants alike report positive feedback regarding the MMI.
Education theory portends the performance of an individual is highly variable across situations; therefore, evaluation using multiple scenarios is a sounder psychometric approach. This is advantageous for applicants. If an applicant has trouble with a scenario or question at one station, they have the opportunity to recover with a performance in another. Individuals with diverse backgrounds have a more equitable opportunity to demonstrate the quality of their educational and personal backgrounds.
The MMI does not test applicants specific knowledge in any given subject. There is absolutely no intent to test their present knowledge of the health sciences. Clinical knowledge is no more useful than knowledge from any other discipline, including chemistry, music, or literature. We are, however, trying to assess the applicant's ability to apply general knowledge to issues relevant to culture and society in which they will be practicing should they gain admission to PA school. Equally important, is the applicant's ability to communicate and defend their personal opinions.
In order to prepare for an MMI, the applicant must understand the goal of the MMI, which is to observe whether you are able to excel as a student and able to be an outstanding Physician Assistant in the future. Make a list of the attributes that would comprise both a good student and Physician Assistant and incorporate these characteristics (integrity, altruism, responsibility, etc.) in your interviews. Practicing time management will also help the applicant to familiarize with the eight-minute time limit.