Medical and Health Science Interviews

Sitting the UMAT in July is not the final hurdle for getting into your dream course. There is one last thing that you need to think about and prepare for - Interviews!

Generally, selection into undergraduate Medical and Health Science courses depends on the following three criteria:

  • ATAR score or equivalent
  • Performance in UMAT
  • Interview

Most universities that require students to sit the UMAT will also require them to sit an interview. Interviews are held mainly in November and December - there may also be some in January. Whether or not you receive an interview offer depends on your performance in the UMAT, which means that success in the UMAT is vital because if you do not receive an interview offer from a university that requires an interview you will not be eligible for a place in that course.

It is important that you find out the exact selection criteria for the courses you wish to apply for so that you know exactly what is required for selection into those courses.

The type of interview as well as the type of questions can vary between institutions. Interviews may be in the form of a regular panel interview, a semi-structured interview or a MMI (Multistation/Multiple Mini Interview). The questions can range from personal to scenario based questions.

Multistation/Multiple Mini Interview (MMI):

Development of the MMI system began in 2001 in order to address some of the issues with standard interviews. It is an interview format that involves short, independent assessments, usually in a timed circuit, much like speed dating. The scores for each of the assessments are combined to create a total score. Research shows that the structured format of MMIs are more efficient than other unstructured formats.

The MMI is slowly being introduced as an interview format for entry into undergraduate Medical Courses, particularly those that require the UMAT, for example the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Monash University. It is generally a candidate’s UMAT score that determines whether they are offered an interview. For information on the interview requirements for all participating UMAT courses click here.

MMIs usually involve eight to nine stations: eight active stations and one possible rest station. Each station lasts for 8 minutes, plus 2 minutes for scoring and changeover (total = 10 minutes per station). An entire circuit should take between 80 and 90 minutes in total.

Each station will pose a scenario as well as associated questions or tasks that focus on relevant personal qualities:

  • motivation
  • communication skills
  • collaboration
  • empathetic reasoning
  • critical thinking
  • ethical reasoning

The MMI system has many benefits that include: independent sampling of candidates compared to the traditional interview before a panel, it eliminates non-verbal communication from some members of the interviewing team/panel, and students are able to recover from a poor performance in a previous station, all whilst still in an interview setting.

The total score yielded by the MMI is then used in conjunction with other selection criteria, such as, written application, UMAT score, ATAR, OP, TER, UAI etc.