How I passed my Medical School Interviews at University of Melbourne

Preparation

Job Interviews

My preparation for University of Melbourne’s medical interviews happened to coincide with preparing for job interviews. My preparation for these interviews meant that I learnt how to structure my responses, discuss my experiences in the STAR format and also practiced speaking in front of friends and family.

I believe that practicing interview situations where I had to discuss my opinions clearly and succinctly was really useful in helping me to answer to a variety of MMI stations.

Research

As with any job preparation, I tried to learn more about the structure of University of Melbourne’s medical program. Whilst this was interesting and reaffirmed why I wanted to study medicine here, it didn’t really help with the MMI stations.

However, some of the more important things I found useful included research on:

STAR format

The University of Sydney has a fantastic article on the STAR format. You can use this in a discussion of your strengths and weaknesses. Below is an example from this website: https://www.sydney.edu.au/careers/students/applying-for-jobs/addressing-selection-criteria.html

Criterion: Demonstrated problem solving skills and initiative.

Situation – where, when, and context of your example.

As the event coordinator for the University’s Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, I volunteered to organise a barbecue fundraising event for Ronald McDonald’s house children and their carers whilst in my final year of my Bachelor of Science studies.

Task – the task or problem to be solved.

The sudden departure of several members in our executive team and a budget cut during our planning stage meant that I had to devise a strategy on how to run the event with only half the funds and volunteers I was anticipating.

Action – how you solved the problem, fulfilled the task or handled the situation. What did you do and how did you do it, that demonstrates the criterion you are addressing?

In the first instance, I calculated the critical expenses that could be covered in our current budget. Next, I sought out discount stores (e.g. Costco) and members that could help source groceries at a cheaper cost. I created an online poster to outline the benefits of getting involved and placed them around the university campus and on our Facebook page.

Result – the outcome/s achieved as result of your action/s. Quantify the result where possible.

As a result of my actions we were able to fundraise over $1000 after covering our expenses. The barbecue attracted many volunteers and attendees and we were able to donate this money to Ronald McDonald House. The responsibility of organising this event whilst understaffed, has taught me how to be a flexible leader ready to take on extra responsibilities and the importance of communicating well with other team members.

Interview Day

I flew into Melbourne for the interview day as I was still finishing my undergraduate studies in New South Wales. It was my first time in Melbourne and I had 3 hours to spare. Excited about being in a new state I explored as much of the campus as I could, and even had time to duck across to the Royal Melbourne Hospital!

Interview waiting room

The lecture theatre was cavernous and bustling with nervous activity. We met other medical candidates; for some it was their first time and others their 2nd or 3rd time.

We were shown a video about the exam conditions and given plenty of time to talk to the people next to us. We talked about where we were from, expectations and feelings about the interviews before we had to go in.

Click here to watch a Melbourne Medical school MMI briefing: https://vimeo.com/180305453

MMI stations

There were 8 stations in total. We were given 2 minutes to read the sheet outside the door and 5 minutes to respond to the question upon entering. As everyone lined up across 9 doors, we stood facing our door and focused on creating our plan of attack.

They were in-person at the time so you can imagine the nerves of having to sit in front of two examiners. They are currently online (answer questions on a blank screen) but this is likely to change to being in-person once again.

Types of Stations

  1. De-Technicalisation
  2. Behavioural Question
  3. Public health Issue
  4. Ethics station (1)
  5. Ethics station (2)
  6. Communication
  7. Motivation to study medicine
  8. Role playing station

It all felt like it happened pretty quickly, moving from station to station every 5 minutes – a bit like this:

What is the MMI Testing?

The Multiple Mini Interviews is the process by which medical applicants are selected in many medical schools across Australia. They are testing qualities and attributes such as “maturity, motivation, communication skills, ability to develop rapport with patients and provide support, and attitude to team work and decision making.”

Possible domains that are tested through the interview process:

  • Interest in the course
  • Aptitude for collaboration
  • Capacity for establishing rapport
  • Aptitude for decision making
  • Communication skills
  • Professional behaviour

Acceptance into CSP Doctor of Medicine Program!

This was the most exciting part of my year! When I received my email, I was stoked and could not wait to begin.

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