Getting in to the MEP: Interviews

I know that I wasn’t the only person who thought the MMI interviews were fun. Yes, I said fun! They were actually a blast. The interviews felt like a game show where every question was a spotlight to showcase my talents and experiences that would make me an excellent midwife. Don’t get me wrong though, in the days leading up to the interview, I was nervous – so nervous I felt like throwing up pretty much any time I thought about midwifery. The few things that I did to prepare helped me out so much, so I thought I would share them with you here.

First things first: I cannot discuss the questions asked at the MMI, so please don’t ask. I signed a confidentiality agreement and it wouldn’t be fair to discuss the questions and answers with anyone. The questions change every year and plus, knowing the questions doesn’t necessarily give you an advantage.

I believe that the MMI is fair. I think that every single interview should follow this format, even for “regular” jobs. The reason is because the MMI naturally pulls a candidate’s, ethics, morals, empathy, and critical thinking skills out in the open in a stressful scenario and asks them to defend their opinions. There are no right or wrong answers. I repeat: there are no right or wrong answers.

ShebaMakeda Art
One of my good luck charms by ShebaMakeda Art. Not only did it provide me good luck, but I think it made me memorable. A lot of evaluators asked me about it.

I’m sure you already know how the MMI works, but I’ll explain the nuts and bolts of it. MMI stands for Multiple Mini Interview. You and nine other candidates will be standing in a hallway each in front of a door with a number on it. Underneath that number is the question you will need to answer for that station. A buzzer goes off and you have two minutes to read the question. After two minutes, another buzzer will go off and you enter the room to greet your evaluator. I recommend shaking hands, introducing yourself, and smiling! The evaluator will ask if you understood the question and then you begin to answer. I said something to the effect of… “from what I understand, this question is asking me to consider…” You have eight minutes until the next buzzer goes off and you’re onto the next station.

Eight minutes seems like a long time. Trust me, it’s not. The time flies. Even if you are in the middle of a sentence, you need to leave the room. At my first station when the buzzer rang, I said “Oh, we’re out of time!” and bolted from the room. Try not to do this. After giggling at my nervousness before reading the next question, I reminded myself to thank my evaluator and shake hands before leaving. Thankfully, I did that for the remainder of the stations.

Even though I made a bit of a blunder on my first question, I recovered fast. That is the beauty of the MMI – you can totally bomb a question, recover quickly and make it up in the next question. The evaluators don’t talk about you in between stations, so really every station is a blank slate, ready for a perfect score. Another beautiful thing about the MMI is that you can re-tell experiences and stories at different stations. Remember, the evaluators aren’t talking about you in between stations, so if you have an incredible story that relates to six out of the ten questions, tell it! I used one particular story in at least four of the stations because it worked so perfectly.

The first thing I did to prepare for the interview was watch this incredible Ted Talk. I literally stood like Wonder Woman while reading each question with my hands on my hips, chin high, and feet pointed out. I can’t describe how much this helped me. I felt my heart rate drop, my stress diminish, and my confidence sky rocket. I feel like this is one of the main reasons I felt like a rock star throughout the entire interview.

Feeling confident in a stellar outfit and wearing two good luck charms.
Pre Interview Game Face: Feeling confident in a stellar outfit and wearing two good luck charms.

There were so many lovely women waiting at the interview location before we got started. My game plan however had me standing far away from everyone with my sister. Just having some coffee and talking about some backyard renos she was planning. This worked for me. It’s not that I wanted to be antisocial or rude, I just didn’t want to get frightened or anyone to kill my positive vibes. That preparation time was for me and me only – I’m glad that I spent it alone. If you are one of those people that needs to talk things out with others, please go right ahead. But keep in mind that other candidates might get freaked out if you talk about how many times you’ve interviewed or if you were wait listed last year. Please respect people’s privacy.

Another little tidbit to remember is that you cannot bring your purse in with you to the interview, nor can you bring water, a pen or paper. I am a writer, so I thought not having paper would be a huge set back for me, it wasn’t. Don’t drink a lot before hand because you’ll be clutching your kegels for dear life instead of knocking those questions out of the park.

I practised answering some basic MMI questions with my partner. We set a timer for two minutes, I read the question and then we started talking for eight minutes. You can find tons of questions on the internet. Try to answer the most basic ethical and moral questions. I don’t really recommend attempting to answer the super convoluted questions where they say: “You are a doctor with a patient with an aggressive stage five cancer…” Mostly because you’re not going to be asked questions that start with “You are a doctor…” and because they can be very disheartening. Look at questions that might focus on the qualities of a midwife, the three pillars of midwifery, and midwifery philosophy. To be honest, I didn’t practice answering too many questions but I sure as hell knew why I wanted to be a midwife and why I wanted to study at McMaster.

After the interview was over, I wrote down all the questions I could remember and then moved on! The interview went as well as it could go, I know I tried my best. I know it’s going to be hard but mulling over your responses isn’t going to change anything. Trust me, waiting to hear back from the University will be enough torture. Try and have something fun planned for that evening with your family and friends.

The most concrete piece of advice is of course, to just be yourself. Don’t worry about what the evaluators are thinking, don’t say what you think they want to hear. All of us that have been accepted this year come from very different life paths (almost all of us have absolutely zero birth experience) and I really believe that is what makes us all unique and that is what will make us wonderful midwives.

I wish you all the best in your journey to becoming a midwife. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know!

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