October 5, 2015

Part 4: How to Prepare for the Acting Scenario of the MMI

Alison Herr

In case you missed it, we already covered the overview of the MMI as well as which schools use this format and how to respond to ethical scenarios.  Today, we’re going to cover how to tackle the weirdest scenarios: the acting stations.


Acting Scenario: Please enter the room to meet your aunt. You are about to leave for medical school, but you want to talk to her before you leave. You and your family have noticed that she has been drinking large amounts of alcohol and smoking cigarettes regularly. This is out of character for her. Please go speak to her.

  1. For acting stations, go with the flow.  The actor has information that will help you.  Enter and act as though you are the niece of the woman in front of you, even if she is your age.  If names are not assigned in the note outside the room, make up one you are comfortable with.  “Hi Aunt Jackie, it’s so good to see you.”
  2. Ask questions and listen to the answers.  Don’t assume that you know what is going on.  “Aunt Jackie, it’s been so nice being home before I leave for school.  How are you?  Is anything going on with you?”
  3. Don’t beat around the bush.  You only have a few minutes to act out the scene, don’t waste it making small talk.  “I really want to talk to you about something sensitive.  Please don’t take offense, but I feel like you have been acting like something is wrong.  Your drinking and smoking worry me, as that is not like you.  Would you like to talk about anything?”
  4. The actor may get defensive, but this is part of the scene.  Just be patient and calm, but don’t drop the topic.
  5. Act like a young doctor talking to an older patient, with genuine concern and respect.  Do not condescend.
  6. The actor may offer up a nugget of information.  “I’ve just been having a hard time at work lately, so what if I want to have a few glasses of wine when I get home.  I’m an adult.”  There is a clue in there.  Use the comment about work to ask more questions.
  7. Problem solve collaboratively.  “Aunt Jackie, it sounds like you have a lot to stress about.  What would help you relax?  I think there is a great hiking group in your neighborhood.  Would you like me to help you find it?  What do you like to do for fun?  Weren’t you a painter when you were younger?  Why don’t we find a place you can paint or volunteer with kids’ art programs.”
  8. End on a positive note.  “Aunt Jackie, I just want you to know that I’m here from you whenever you may need me, even if it’s not now.  I care about you.”


You hit Bob’s car in the parking lot. You need to enter his office and inform him about the accident. Bob is angry and does not accept your apology. How do you handle this situation as his anger escalates?

Also Read:

Part 1: How to Prepare for the MMI

Part 2: Which Schools Use the MMI?

Part 3: How to Prepare for the Ethical Discussion Scenarios of the MMI


Learn to be Savvy! Get creative pre-med strategies delivered right to your inbox.
FREE Medical School Application Timeline when you subscribe.

We follow the email Golden Rule: we will never send you anything without your permission.