By: Maham Zulfiqar
Ethical dilemmas, all-time lows, the intricacies of healthcare policy, patient interactions, and the freakishly sought-after skill of foresight are all fair game for you to tackle at your MMI interviews. "MMI" might as well stand for "Mucky Medical School In-It-To-Bomb-It" Interview because let’s be fair: mucky is the word for how you will feel when you bomb questions like what course of action you would take after being appointed the President of Mars.
What can you do to avoid being stumped? How can you prevent yourself from launching into a ramble? While the Savvy Pre-Med has offered these tips for a while now, here is another pick of head-scratching MMI sample prompts and tips on how best to answer similar questions.
You see a man with his children. They are all riding bicycles, but none of them are wearing helmets. Would you approach this man about this issue? Why or why not?
The essence of the issue is so simple, so everyday, that it is easy to be caught off guard by such a question. It's a fairly mundane scenario, but you have to explain your behavior and/or reaction to something you may not have otherwise deliberated over.
Since the purpose is to deliberate, follow this simple process: what are the possible long- and short-term consequences if you intervene and if you do not?
Questions of ethical concern can often be tackled using such a strategy, and this approach demonstrates how extensively you can foresee the consequences of your and others’ actions. You can also flesh out the scenario for yourself - is the father a congenial man or someone who is aggravated by uninvited suggestions? - and use that to outline your course of action based on the situation.
Based on the consequences of each possible course of action, choose the one that you think would either do the most good or least harm overall. It would also help to note whether there are any negative outcomes in the approach you choose.
Finally, as in life, ethical dilemmas are hardly black-and-white. Make sure to consider the grey strip. A light suggestion to wear helmets as you pass them by may be just as good a strategy and would indicate that you are aware that not everything is clear-cut and easy when it comes to telling others/patients what to do in life.
“Medicine is as much an art as it is a science.” How true is this quote?
You spent your premed years volunteering at long term care homes, cold-emailing professors for pertinent research positions, while submerged in MCAT ANKI decks and really, was there any art to that? Will there be any art to your medical practice, past the Banksy print hanging in the waiting room?
This prompt is presented as true to begin with, so the question is how you present your reasoning in support or denial of it. Unlike the first prompt, this is not a question of ethics or consequences. It needs less if/then reasoning and more of a dive into your own experiences and your understanding of art and medicine.
There may not be an easy way to cook up a response to such line of questioning on the spot, especially if you may not have considered it previously. So in preparation of such - arguably - funky MMI prompts, you can get started on creating your own abstract mind map of medicine.
What even is that? It can be anything that you can relate to medicine that may otherwise be unconventional.
Create an interdisciplinary understanding of what each aspect of the profession means to you: how patient interaction relates to customer service, how setting up your own practice will be a business venture with its own challenges and how coming up with a treatment plan for a patient, keeping in mind their insurance coverage, health conditions, familial and social support systems and more might just be Picasso’s Guernica coming together.
About the Author:
Maham Zulfiqar graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in Neuroscience and Evolutionary Anthropology. She has finally stopped ricocheting between art and science and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. Her interests include abstract art, history, reading, and cricket.
Have any questions about MMI interview questions? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll respond to you personally!