Here are some helpful tips that can make you stand out from other interviewing applicants:
Read, read, read!
Much like the CARS section on the MCAT, the best piece of advice to prepare for an MMI is to stay up to date with current events. Medical schools do not expect you to know the detailed intricacies of health law or care management for complex conditions, but they do expect you to be a well-rounded human being. Having an awareness as to what is going on in the world around you can help you be prepared for prompts on “hot topics” like gun violence or climate change.
Stay organized and focused
There is a reason that most medical schools give you a couple minutes to look over the prompt by yourself outside of the interview room. They want you to collect your thoughts efficiently and organize them so that when you enter the room, there is less fumbling over words and concepts. You want to maximize your time to give your pitch about a prompt, which in turn leaves space for the interviewer to probe you with more questions and go deeper. Make good use of that pen and paper that the school gives you and don’t let them become untouched souvenirs from the interview trail!
Draw from your own experiencesDo not be afraid to speak about your lived experiences with regards to a prompt. This does not mean that every prompt should be turned into a personal narrative. However, interweaving a past job or volunteer experience can give you more authority and credibility to speak on certain issues if you have first-hand knowledge about them. It also gives the interviewers more insight into who you are as a person and your own ethics.
View all sides of an argument
Pick a side and defend your stance, but also acknowledge counter-arguments exist and explain why you disagree with them. By exploring the other sides when you walk in the room, you demonstrate a more thorough understanding of the scenario without being prompted. You want to strike a balance so that you are not perceived as either overly ambivalent or certain to the point of being stubborn.
Think outside of the boxWhen I was on the interview trail, an upperclassman categorized some responses to MMI prompts as being the “Miss America” answers. While this analogy was not made to discredit beauty pageants, she did have a point. The MMI prompts are phrased vaguely enough that there is always a “good” generic response, much like the cliché of “world peace,” that practically anyone can answer. Challenge yourself to really dissect the prompt at hand because there is no perfect answer. The interviewers are looking to see your thought process and how you approach problems to reach a solution. To stand out from the crowd, get creative and think about hypothetical scenarios, don’t just run with the obvious response.
Applying to medical schools is tough. Which makes a certain amount of sense: if it were easy, everyone would do it. It involves a primary application, a round of secondary applications (or supplemental materials), and interviews at schools that are considering your candidacy more closely. The process is arduous largely because it takes, start to finish, at least several months, and because it is very writing-intensive, involving not just your AMCAS personal statement but multiple secondary essays as well. And this is where a lot of applicants get tripped up: after years of stuffing every square inch of your brain with molecules and formulae, it can be a shock to discover that your dreams hinge upon your ability to express with clarity (and maybe a little poetry) why you want to be a doctor.
This is where Cambridge Coaching comes in: we are the most qualified team of medical school writing coaches available anywhere. Our team is composed of MD, MD-PhDs, like Chris, and professional writers because we understand that the best coach is going to help you produce a dazzling AMCAS essay, as well as a suite of supplementary materials that provides a persuasive, integrated argument for why you belong in medical school.
Are you considering a career in medicine? Check out some of our previous blog posts below!