What is an MMI Interview?

Posted By: Paul   |   Interviews   |   7 Comments

wating for MMI InterviewInterview season has started at physician assistant schools around the country, and it’s becoming increasingly common for interview committees to use Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format.  It’s a trend that started in medical schools and that seems to be catching on in other fields as well.

MMI interviews make things easier on schools, but unfortunately can throw applicants for a loop.  In today’s video, I explain what an MMIs are and give you some basics on how to prepare for them.  Even if you don’t have an MMI interview, the skills you will need to do well in one can improve your traditional interview skills.

If you’ve had an MMI, it would be great to hear about it in the comments section.

7 Comments

  1. Angel September 6, 2014 at 3:25 am - Reply

    I had MMI, and I think it’s better than regular interview .u have chance to meet all faculty members (in saperate rooms in my case).The good thing about it is, if ur nervous and screwed up with u r first mini interview with one faculty, u have chance to prove urself to other faculty members.as final decision will be on vote :), say 3 out of 5 like u , u might get the seat , the more the better. Knowing background of that school faculty members helps a lot, so u can answer question in there interest , so do u r homework.and avoid negative comment and try something new., they get bored hearing same thing from people. In my case when they ask me how I can be good pa ? . I answered because I’m a pet owner and trainer , I communicate and care something that doesn’t speak and taught him tricks .which makes me even better to understand people:).they laughed and following questions were what tricks , what pet and so on.it was something new for them:).so good luck , listen and observe experience of other ppl went before u, face read faculty , take u r time to answer.

  2. Jax November 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for the awesome video! I have been an Inside PA Training groupie for a long time. I have my second PA interview on Tuesday at a school who uses the MMI format. My situation is a tad unique because the PA school where I am interviewing made a clerical error upon receiving my application and has already filled their 2015 class. In spite of this, I have still been asked to interview for a spot on the alternate list. Basically, I am going into the interview without other fellow applicants, so I am not 100% sure what to expect. My first interview consisted of one group interview and two individual interviews, so it should be interesting. I felt more prepared after watching your video. Thanks again!

    • Kelsey August 9, 2016 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Was your group interview one where they asked a question and everyone had to answer, or a project to complete?

  3. Jessica November 30, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Last year I had my first PA interview, and I had no clue it would be an MMI. At the time, I had never even heard of such a thing, so I prepared for a traditional interview. The MMI threw me completely off guard, and I bombed. However, this year I am more prepared (I am interviewing at the same school). The MMI you described in the video is nothing like what I experienced. It was simply three separate 15 minute interviews. The first had a panel of three faculty, and they took turns asking questions. The second was with the program director one-on-one (she was quite intimidating), and the third was with two faculty (this one was more about lifestyle and hobbies). Something I didn’t really like was that almost all the interviewers were on laptops, and very few made eye contact with me or made me feel like I was being heard. They also asked me, “If you were a care, what kind of car would you be?” I know this type of question is common, and I would love to hear your thoughts and advice on how to answer a question like that. Some examples I’ve heard are what kind of tree/cookie/car would you be? I’ve been contemplating the cookie question for over a year now…

    • Paul November 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      You didn’t have a typical MMI interview — more like a multiple panel interview (I just made that term up).

      The question that you mention is what I call an “oddball.” It’s generally considered a bad question type because it is so subjective — there is no right or wrong answer. Many schools have abandoned these questions, and I believe they all should.
      They are trying to get a quick snapshot of your personality, or at least how you see your personality. How to answer them? It’s hard, but I suggest you pick a trait that describes your personality 1) accurately, and 2) positively, such as “driven,” or “caring,” and try to think of an answer that (creatively projects that trait). The question invites you to use the right side of your brain, to be creative, so you need to be willing to be playful, even silly about it. Answer the question, and then realize that the most important part of the question is when you explain to them why you would be that kind of car/animal/tree/cookie.

      For the driven trait, you might say, “If I were a car, I would be an 18-wheeler. because I am designed for the long haul, and I get the job done, no matter the distance that I need to go.”

      For caring, you might say, “If I were a tree, I would be an apple tree. They give give and give and give their fruit. (They’re the only fruit tree that can actually bear two separate crops of fruit in one season), and they don’t require much to do it. I give to others because it’s who I am, not for something in return.”

      You get it? Don’t stress about the oddballs. Just Answer them in a way that portrays you positively, and hopefully sums you up accurately.

      • Jessica February 8, 2015 at 7:59 am - Reply

        Thank you for the advice! Fortunately I did not get any oddball questions this round. I interviewed at two schools this year, the one I mentioned before and another one. The second one didn’t have MMIs, but it had a component that you mentioned. There was a 15 minute group interview in which 3 applicants discussed an ethical dilemma (all groups had the same scenario), and it wasn’t a particularly difficult issue to decide on. Then the next day we had traditional individual interviews with a panel for 30 minutes. I much preferred this type of interview, but after hearing from other people I’ve concluded I may also have lucked out with the particular panel that interviewed me (one interviewer was, seemingly intentionally, making people cry). I loved my interviewers, they seemed to love me, I got a ton of positive feedback (straight up telling me I had an excellent answer), and I actually replay the interview over and over again in my head because it was so superb. Three days later I received an invitation to the program! I can’t wait to start school in a couple months! Thanks again for the advice!

        • Paul February 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm - Reply

          Awesome, Jessica! Sounds like you truly rocked it. Glad you felt prepared. Let me be the first to welcome you to the field — you’re going to love it! Keep my up to date on your progress; I’m always looking for people to write about their experiences in PA school…

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