Applicants selected for stage two of the admissions process will be asked to attend a multi mini interview (MMI) to determine non-cognitive performance.
MMIs are being used to test non-cognitive competence and the applicant's personal statement is considered within this process. For 2021 entry the interviews will be run on-line. There will be no face to face interviews. It would be inappropriate to ask applicants to travel to Belfast from a variety of destinations in the current circumstances. The interviews will still be in an MMI format though the number of stations may be changed. All applicants will be interviewed in the same process. Applicants asked for interview will be given detailed information as to how the process will be run when they receive their invitation to interview. This means that we must interview smaller numbers of candidates on each day. Therefore interviews will be spread over a longer period of time. Candidates who meet the criteria for interview may expect their interviews to take place anytime from mid-December to March.
These interviews have been designed to test the following which have been identified by both patients and academic staff as key non-cognitive competencies for medicine:
- Moral reasoning
- Communication Skills
Sample interview station 1
You the candidate are asked to assume you are a first year medical student and that on your way home from class you reach a bus stop. At the bus stop a class mate is sitting there looking glum, obviously upset. You don't know their name. Demonstrate how you would approach this situation. Your classmate will be waiting at the bus stop when you enter the station.
This station has been designed to test the candidate’s ability to communicate and to demonstrate empathy.
The video shows the candidate (left) interacting with an actor playing the part of a fellow student as in the scenario above. The assessor (far right) is using a structured marking sheet to assess the competencies.
Click to watch a simulated interview (3:43 min).
Sample interview station 2
You the candidate are asked to assume you are a first year medical student living in a student house with other students enrolled in a variety of courses. The neighbours have complained about noise coming from your house. What options do you have to deal with this situation?
The assessor will ask you some questions.
This station tests the ability of the candidate to communicate with the assessor and test their problem solving skills.
Watch a sample video (4min:48sec): View in a new window.
Sample interview station 3
The format of this example is a semi-structured interview with an assessor.
Non Cognitive competencies being assessed:
- Problem solving
- Ethical reasoning
Instruction to the candidate:
Your mother rings you and asks you to come round and help with a major family decision. Her 70 year old father has been diagnosed with a condition that will kill him sometime in the next five years. He can have a procedure that will correct the disease and not leave him with any long term problems, but the procedure has a 10% mortality rate. He wants to have the procedure but your mother is not in favour of it. How would you help mediate this issue?
Aim of the question (seen by the interviewer only) to find out if the candidate:
- Demonstrates sensitivity to the needs of others
- Understands the right of the patient to be fully involved in decisions about their care
- Can think of ways to help resolve a situation when emotional issues may cloud one’s judgement
- Understands the limit of their own knowledge and experience
Advice on preparation for MMIs
Look at the non-cognitive competencies that we are testing (problem solving, ethical reasoning and communication etc) and look at your own background to see how you could demonstrate these qualities.
Before you go into the interview station consider what the scenario entails. You will have 1 minute to do this.
Ask yourself what competencies might the senario be trying to test. If it is a problem you are faced with, ask yourself what steps you would take to solve the problem, what are the options. Consider these with the assessor so that they can appreciate your decision making processes.
Remember that each station carries equal marks and that if you crash in one station you have lots of others to make up marks in.