December 2012 | ISSUE 3
Searching for the Right Attributes Through MMI

By Tan Kia Yen

The LKCMedicine has a clear vision of the attributes we wish to see in our graduating doctors.  Some may be easier to achieve depending upon the qualities of the medical students entering the School.  The selection process LKCMedicine adopts has been carefully designed to help the school identify students with the most appropriate personality, attitude and aptitude that are required of a doctor.

For a start, LKCMedicine is using the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) to ensure entrants to our School have optimal scientific aptitudes.  Comprising three sections, the BMAT is currently being used by top medical schools in the UK including Imperial College London. The test has been found to provide information about a student’s aptitude for medicine and has been a good predictor of a student’s performance in a medical school. To date, a large number of prospective students have sat for BMAT, showing keen interest to apply to the School once applications are open.

To explore other areas, the traditional interview will be replaced by Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) in which we hope to understand the applicants’ attitude and understanding of patient-centredness, empathy, ethics, as well as capacity for critical appraisal – qualities we think make really good doctors.  The MMI approach in LKCMedicine uses a series of eight interviews to assess specific skills and qualities and assigns the same interviewer to rate all applicants at a station with that specific question or scenario. 

     

1) Applicants will have to complete eight stations of interviews. 

2) Applicants will be given two minutes to read the scenario outside the interview room.

 3) Applicants will be given about five minutes for the actual interview.

During MMI, applicants will be given two minutes to read the scenario outside the interview room before they begin their five minutes of actual interview. The applicants will then move sequentially to the next room until they have completed all the eight stations of interviews. This method addresses some of the weaknesses of the standard interview format used at other medical schools.  It is perceived to be a fairer and less stressful method of interview. Bias and pressure to impress early on in the interview is potentially eliminated in MMI. 

Our interviewers include a balanced cross section of scientists, clinicians, lay people, academics and nurses. All will have had equality and anti-discrimination training, undertaken trial interviews and the questions carefully tested for reliability, validity and consistency.

The School has not put MMI in our selection process to stress the applicants or make things difficult for them. Further, there is no right or wrong answers to the scenarios. Our advice to students selected for the MMI: just relax and enjoy the interviews as that will help them to express their thoughts well, bringing out the best in themselves during the session and more importantly, help the interviewers determine if they are genuinely suitable for the medical programme and to eventually graduate as good doctors for Singapore.