Interview Day

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Don’t know what to expect on Interview day? In this post, I recount the McMaster University Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) that I had on May 3, 2014. I made headings, so feel free to skip the more personal accounts of the day.


The night before the big day

Things you must bring to the interview:

  • One piece of government Issued ID
    • I brought both my drivers license and passport, just in case
  • Passport-size photo
    • I just brought my passport photo

My outfit – I kept it simple and safe. Black on black on black!

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For make-up and hair, I did not do anything special. I want to be in my most comfortable state, which is my everyday look. I also opted out of any flashy accessories. My student advisor said that the focus of the interview should be on me and not my  accessories, which can also be distracting for the interviewer.

After I laid out my outfit, I made sure I had my IDs and passport photo in my bag, and double checked the location of the interview. I went to bed early (10PM). Needless to say, I COULDN’T SLEEP! I was feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement. I read somewhere that if you imagine yourself doing something, it makes you less nervous when you’re actually preforming the task. So I start imagining going through the MMI in my head. Eventually, I started counting sheeps and fell asleep around 2AM.

My interview check-in time was at 8:00AM. We left North York, Toronto around 6:30AM…incase some ungodly traffic is to occur on a Saturday morning. Luckily there was no traffic and we were able to grab some McDonald’s coffee (the BEST) on the way. We arrived outside McMaster University at 7:30AM so we had a few minutes to look around campus. It was my first time in Hamilton. As everyone else said, McMaster University has a beautiful campus.

Upon stepping inside the Health Sciences Centre (was surprised it’s actually a hospital!), the adrenaline kicked in and my heart began to pound! I was so excited! Wandering the halls looking for the sign-in table, I met a girl who came from Barrie for her interview that starts later in the day (she also studied Psychology!). Together we found the sign-in table. Another girl I met was in third year studying in Windsor. I also met a fellow UWaterloo student who was in Kinesiology.

Signing In

Right at 8:00AM, the staff started signing in students. Judging from the number of name tags given out, there were 24 interviewees for the 9:00AM interview. I presented my driver’s license and passport photo to the staff. I had to sign a confidentiality agreement form (all questions asked during the MMI remains a secret!). We then proceeded to the orientation room.

  • FAQ: “Can you please tell us what kind of questions are on the MMI?”
    • Questions pertaining to the MMI are confidential information that I cannot share since I signed the confidentiality agreement. For information on how to excel on the MMI, visit this post by Anne.

MMI Orientation

All 24 interviewees sat in the same room for a presentation by a first and second year PA student. They went through what the program entails and also how the MMI interview will proceed. At that point I could not contain my excitement! I imagined myself working in groups, running in the Emergency Room, and studying hardcore at night for class…I had the biggest smile on my face! “I want to get into this program SO BAD!” Lastly, there was Q&A. The most important question was:

Q: “When will we get the results? Will they let us know if we didn’t make it or leave us hanging?”
A: “Within a month and they will let you know then when all the spots in the program are taken”

The MMI

Anne, from AnneCCPA, has an in-depth description of what and how the MMI works. She also has a visual diagram of the rotation. I’ll give my own perspective on the interviews and also how some of mine went.

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) are exactly what the name entails. Instead of answering 10 questions with the same interviewer(s), there is a different interviewer for each question. The major plus for MMIs is that if you stumble on one question, it will not hurt your chances with the other questions since it would be a different interviewer! For McMaster’s PA MMI, there are 12 stations consisting of 10 question stations, 1 rest station and 1 station for us to talk to a PA student regarding the program. We were given a sheet with many stickers of our name, which we are to give one to each interviewer when we enter the room. One interview question is posted on each door. Interviewees get 2 minutes to read and think about the question outside and 6 minutes to answer inside the room. A buzzer (loud enough to be heard inside and outside the room) will go off signalling the beginning and end of the 2 and 6 minutes.

My MMI Experience

Our interviews were held in an area with many medical examination rooms. It’s almost like your family doctor’s clinic but more rooms and inside a hospital. Outside that area, we were separated into two lines (I was on the green track) and we lined up according to the number on our name tag (I was #6). The number corresponded to the room we are to begin our rotation. We stood outside, backs facing the door (heart pounding like crazy). The buzzer went off and we all turned around to start reading the question.

I was lucky…my first interview room was a non-question station. I was not marked or anything (the PA student in the room did not want the sticker with my name on it). We chatted about her experience as a PA student thus far. Short chat though, since I can only spend 6 minutes in the room. The next stations were the real deal! When the buzzer went off, I thanked her for her time, went out the door and began reading the question on the next door. I felt that I did very well on some of the questions. My answers were all within the 6 minutes time range with enough time for follow-up questions (I was mindful not to speak too fast as well). I remember one question that threw me off! I don’t think I passed that question but that’s why MMI’s are advantageous to us!

Overall, the MMI was FUN and ENJOYABLE to go through! I came out smiling and happy (adrenaline still in my system). I kept my name tag as a keep-sake. The interviewers were mostly friendly. I was worried because my student advisor said the interviewers may have a straight face and are unresponsive when I answer the question (their job is to stay neutral). However, there WAS one interviewer who was checking her phone when I was in the room answering the question. Her body language was a bit offending as well (arms crossed). Other than that, I had a great time!

I conclude my interview day here. If you have any questions about the MMI, just leave me a comment!

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7 thoughts on “Interview Day

  1. Lowell says:

    I read a couple posts before reading this particular one, and thoroughly enjoyed each! Reading through your MMI experience reminded me of the butterflies I had the privileged of witnessing. I’m glad I came across your blog and please continue to inspire through your writing!

    1. spkvuong says:

      Thank you Lowell for your kind words! I am happy you enjoyed reading my MMI experience! And yes! I will continue to write in hopes of reaching out to more students to know about the PA program and the profession itself 🙂

  2. farwa says:

    can i just ask if the questions are academic or personal (why chose mcmaster, why do you wanna be a pa,etc.) thanks for your help!

    1. Sandy says:

      Sorry, this is confidential information that I cannot share since I signed the confidentiality agreement. For information on how to excel on the MMI, visit this post by Anne.

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