There’s cause for celebration for the School of Medicine as this year’s Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) are complete for a new group of prospective medical students. Embracing the spirit of innovation, MMIs were adapted to comply with COVID-19 restrictions by moving completely online.
MMIs are a popular form of recruitment because they help interviewers assess various soft skills including critical appraisal skills, personal and moral values and the ability to communicate across multiple different scenarios.
Normally, MMIs are held on-campus with candidates rotating through six stations with two circuits running simultaneously. This usually means that an entire corridor is filled with prospective students eager to give a good impression – which doesn’t leave much room for social distancing.
Planning to adapt MMIs began in September with St. Andrews being one of the first medical schools to run this critical recruitment process online. The decision was made with candidates in mind and Pamela Forbes, the Medical Admissions Officer, said that “we wanted to ensure we acted early to create a process which fully supported applicants and ensured no one was disadvantaged by the move to the online format.” Candidates were at the heart of planning the virtual MMIs. Specific changes were made, involving interviewers moving to different “stations” instead of the applicants. The team also held connectivity checks with applicants the day before to troubleshoot any technical issues and ease candidates’ minds.
A project of this magnitude required a major administrative undertaking with considerations having to be made with regards to security, and IT planning to accommodate multiple calls with candidates from all over the world. Training was also a significant component with nearly 20-30 hours of training sessions provided to interviewers and simulated patients to fully understand the online system.
Even with all of these challenges, the Medical Admissions Team managed to complete approximately 500 interviews spanning 17 interview dates with only a few minor technical glitches – which is a huge feat for the entire team. Overall, the process was a success, with one applicant noting that the online interview experience was “wonderful and very well structured!”
Face-to-face MMIs continue to be the preference for the School of Medicine as they offer the best experience for candidates and interviewers. The School are confident that the online process which was developed for this year’s interviews could be used if required in the future.