With the first few interview offers trickling in, some of you may have heard of a little thing called the MMI (or a MMI, or an MMI, not really sure about the grammatical article). MMIs are used by several UK vet schools as part of the admissions process and involve rotating round a circuit of 5-10 minute interview stations, each with a different interviewer and topic.
Now, I can’t do all the work for you here, but I’m going to give you some tips on how you can prepare for the different types of station you may encounter, starting with the ethics stations for PART 1 (because they took me much longer to write than I was initially anticipating)!
The ethics station(s)
Ethics is a big deal when screening applicants at interview (because they want to make sure that you’re not a serial killer) and they can assess it in a couple of ways:
1. The situation
I know this sounds kind of ominous but I couldn’t think of a better descriptor. This type of station assesses how you would respond if you were in a particular situation and, incase the section title wasn’t clear, they’re usually a bit ethically dodgy. Here are a couple of examples:
- You’re a large animal vet and forget to lock your car. All your drugs get stolen. What do you do?
- You made a surgical error and your patient died. What do you tell the owner?
- Your practise sent out an automatic reminder for annual vaccinations to a 70 year old client whose patient has just been euthanised. They’ve come to the practice and are shouting at everyone. What do you do?
I had all three of these when I was being interviewed back in the day and to answer any of them you just need to remember a couple of key tips:
- DON’T LIE. NO LYING. DO NOT LIE. I’ve said it enough times now. Here, you’re being assessed on personal ethics. Lying is not ethical. Don’t do it. Always admit when you’re in the wrong and move forward from there.
- Act like a rational person. This is an actual tip for a reason. Some people get to interviews and the adrenaline and stress makes them say weird stuff that they’d never normally come out with. Don’t get political, don’t be rude or defensive, just be normal and professional.
- Practise makes perfect. As with anything (and to help you out with tip 2) practicing these situations will stop you freaking out when you get asked at interview (and saying something that makes you sound like a psychopath). Essentially look at the kind of questions I’ve given you above and think of similar, difficult situations that make your brain hurt.
- If in doubt, ask the RCVS. So this doesn’t work for everything, but for legally challenging stuff (so losing drugs or cocking up surgery) you can say that you would ask our regulating body (the RCVS) for advice. This is a great option to throw in anyway because it shows understanding of the profession as well as giving you something to say if you can’t actually think of anything!
2. The principles
So again, I’m winning no prizes for naming here but the second kind of ethics question is kind of more about your thoughts on ethical problems facing our profession as a whole (versus whether or not you’re a good person). So, whereas the other type of question we looked at did have a right or wrong answer in a sense, these are more about debating current affairs and showing you’re up to date with vet news. Some examples:
- Do you think culling badgers is an effective way of controlling bTB?
- What are the pros and cons of animal testing?
- What are your opinions of the use of working animals?
So again, my tips:
- PREP. You can try your best to bullsh*t these, but if you don’t know what TB is or what’s going in the news you’re going to get stuck pretty quickly! Any loyal readers will know that the key for interview prep is getting organised and if you make some notes on current affairs and put them in a folder with the rest of your interview prep, you have something to read over while you’re waiting around!
- Be balanced. So I know that there may be some vegans among you, or you may be a card carrying member of peta but you need to be professional here. When you’re a vet, you can’t tell every farmer you meet that they’re a cold blooded murderer and your interviewer will want to see that you can put any personal issues to one side. Think about both sides and come up with a rational argument. Just play nice.
- Don’t be afraid. One of my personal lowlights from interview was at the RVC! We were talking about ranking best to worst working animals and all of a sudden my interviewer started arguing back because I thought collies would have better welfare than a camel carrying tourists in Egypt. They do this for a reason (which I only realised after I got my offer and it turned out I hadn’t failed miserably) and that is to see how you form arguments and respond to difficult questions under pressure. It’s all part of the process and it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve done something terribly wrong. Just don’t be a dick and you’ll be fine!
So that was my first set of tips for the MMIs! Tune in next time to hear about the work experience stations, prioritising in practise, and the delight that is drug calculations! Want to hear about anything else? Don’t forget you can say hello on instagram, facebook, and twitter!