February 2014| ISSUE 10
The Inside Scoop on MMI

By Sufian Suderman
Executive, Communications & External Relations

While applicants’ BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) results and academic qualifications demonstrate their learning capabilities, the third component of LKCMedicine’s rigorous admissions process – Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) – seeks to identify those who have a real passion to study and appreciate medicine as a profession.

A departure from the traditional panel interview, MMI has been known to stress many applicants, mainly because it is a new approach to assessing candidates suitability for medicine.

With the upcoming MMI just around the corner, we talk to Melissa Chia (M), Tiong Wen Shuo (WS) and Joseph Wong (J) from our inaugural cohort who survived to tell the tale.

What were your initial impressions of MMI?
WS: I started off believing that the interviews would be stressful sessions where each round would place more and more mental stress. After watching some videos and reading about it, I became more worried that there would be tough questions hidden in the interviews, or secret assessments of character. I cannot be happier to say that all the fear was in my mind.

M: I felt that the direction of the questions also depended on your responses so it felt somewhat personalised. Also, I was pleasantly surprised at the warm reception we received during the interviews.

J: I thought the logistics were very well rehearsed and the preparations by the School and faculty were well done. The staff was confident about the process and where to bring us once we stepped into the interview building and that made for a seamless interview process.

What do you want to say to those who have doubts about their BMAT results despite being invited for the MMI?
J: Congrats! The very fact that you made it to the MMIs means that you are a good candidate! Stop worrying about your BMAT scores because it is not the only determining factor in your admission. Your
interview offer means one thing and one thing only - you have a chance - and it is no different from another person’s chances.

WS: Don’t be too concerned. The BMAT results act as the first round for selection. Keep calm, cool and collected, and you’ll be fine. Besides, you can’t do anything about your results now, so might as well
focus on the present!

From left to right: Melissa Chia, Tiong Wen Shuo and Joseph Wong

What was going through your mind when you were doing the MMI?
WS: As I went through the rounds of the MMI, my mind basically had one thought going through it: “I’m hungry. I’m so hungry. I’m so super hungry.” Have a satisfying meal before you go for the interviews. Apart from that, I was a bit nervous, and I kept looking around at the other candidates. It was quite reassuring to see someone you know going through the same things as you, so I’d recommend getting to know someone before the session. That way, when you’re stressed, at least you can look at a friendly face.

What were your thoughts on the MMI scenarios?
M: The scenarios were challenging and meant to stretch your potential but they were definitely manageable. Some scenarios looked simple at first glance but the follow-up questions were usually
used to explore my ethical principles and evaluate my critical thinking abilities.

J: I thought they were relevant to the challenges that the Singapore healthcare system will be facing in the future. I like that they used different styles of questioning - pictures, scenarios, diagrams - to try
to elicit the qualities they want medical students to possess.

Do you think that MMI managed to distil your true interest in medicine?
WS: I believe that the MMI allows for a good gauge of character. Looking at my classmates now, I believe that the MMI allows for a very good selection of people with great interest in medicine.

In retrospect, how was the overall MMI experience at LKCMedicine?
J: I thought it was good! I began a little nervous but as I started each new station, it became easier to get into the flow of things. I think the fact that we were placed into interview groups of eight made it easier because we knew that we were going through the same situation and experiencing the same stress.

M: The MMI experience was a little intimidating at first but overall it was rather relaxing and enjoyable. During the actual interview, there was a two-minute preparatory time where I could read the scenario and reflect upon it before I met my interviewer. I felt that this greatly helped in organising my anchor points, which is important because you only have five minutes for each interview.

What is your advice to applicants who are about to take the MMI?
M: The best thing about MMI is that every station is a fresh start for you. It doesn’t matter as much if you think if you have messed up on the previous stations because each of the eight stations are scored separately by a different interviewer!

J: Sleep and rest well before the MMI. Also, keep in mind the reason that made you want to do medicine in the first place!