Preparing for Your Upcoming Medical School Interviews – Know Your Interview Format and Tailor Your Approach Part 2

Make sure to catch up on Preparing for Your Upcoming Medical School Interviews – Know Your Interview Format and Tailor Your Approach Part 1

Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) 

The MMI is a commonly used interview format by medical schools. The hallmark of the MMI format is having  several stations (6-12), each with its own prompt for you to answer or act out. Usually, you are given 2-3 minutes  to read the prompt, followed by 6-8 minutes to answer and receive follow up questions. Please note that this  varies across schools, and you should verify the format at each school you get an interview at. The types of MMI  stations include ethical dilemmas, personal questions, acting, problem-solving, and stating your opinions or  thoughts on a certain topic or quotation.

The best way to prepare for the MMI is first to keep up to date with current societal issues and controversial  topics. If you do not already do so, I suggest the following: 

– Briefly look into the main ethical principles that underlie ethical dilemmas. You can do so through the  book Doing Right by Philip C. Hébert, a website commonly used for interview preparation known as the  University of Washington Ethics in Medicine (,  Ethics podcasts (e.g. Ethics Talk by AMA Journal of Ethics), or other sources you deem appropriate. I  suggest focusing on one or two resources, as they mostly overlap and the main goal here is to understand  how to apply basic ethical principles to various scenarios. 

– If you are interviewing at Canadian schools, I also suggest listening to the podcast “White Coat Black Art”  by Dr. Brian Goldman, which highlights the current issues the Canadian medical system faces, particularly  through the social equity lens. 

There are plenty of practice MMI questions that you can use to get comfortable with the format, timing, and your  answers. I suggest initially learning how to answer the questions in an organized and clear yet concise fashion,  then focusing on timing and how to manage fitting your answer within the time limit. One approach to answering a  typical MMI question is as follows: 

1) Very briefly summarize what you understood from the prompt 

2) Identify the dilemma at hand and all the parties involved. 

3) Rationalize why this is an important dilemma, and how it is affecting the parties involved and society at  large. 

4) Explain your position and why you would make the decision you would make, how you would make it, and  who would you involve in making that decision. Additionally, justify why are you making such decision by  explaining the alternative and how it would be less ideal in your view. 

5) If you have time, provide a concluding statement that ties up all your points together and welcome any  questions by the evaluator. 

Modified Personal Interview (MPI)  

Similar to the MMI, the MPI is set up in stations. However, the MPI takes a relatively more personal approach to  questions. Therefore, reflecting on one’s personal and professional experiences is high yield here. With that being  said, you may encounter ethical scenarios or questions similar to the MMI, thus a similar approach to preparing for  the MMI can be used for the MPI. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools that hold the MPI format ask  applicants to record their answer to the prompt within a 5-minute window as opposed to answering in a real-time  fashion with an evaluator online. 


Panel interviews are not divided into stations, unlike the MMI and MPI, and usually last between 45 to 60 minutes.  The panel interview most closely resembles typical interviews, where you start off by introducing yourself, answer questions from several members on the panel, and then have the opportunity to ask questions at the end. Similar  to the MPI, reflecting on one’s personal and professional experiences is relatively higher yield here. Additionally, it  would be helpful to look into the school’s mission and program structure and prepare questions for the panel once  you are given the opportunity to ask questions, as this will show your genuine interest in the school. I would avoid  asking “when should I expect to hear back” as your only question, as the timeline is standard across medical  schools if you are in Canada and is usually around the same time every year. Remember that just like any other  interview, you may be challenged on your answers by evaluators to assess how you react. Thus, it’s important to  remain calm, rationalize your decisions, and re-evaluate your answer only when you genuinely believe that your  opinion or answer has changed. 

Collectively, although interview formats may differ, the core principles of interview preparation for medical school  remain the same. Focus on building the foundation, and then tailor your approach to each interview style. 

I wish you all the best of luck, and I hope this was helpful!

Learn more about the medical school interview process in our other blogs!

Guideline for Medical School Interview Preparation
5 Tips for the vMPI at the University of Toronto
Preparing for your Virtual Medical School Interview
General Medical School Interviewing Tips
5 Tips for Acing your Virtual Medical School Interview
3 Steps to Prepare for Healthcare Topic Questions in a Medical School Interview
5 Tips for Navigating Virtual Medical School Interviews
Conflict Resolution Interview Questions
Preparing for Medical School Interviews
5 Tips for Medical School Interviews
Interview Tips from a Medical Student
How to Appropriately Respond to the Ethical Station in Medical School Interviews