McGill Medical School

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Dec 3, 2011
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I guess I'll start... Good luck to everyone interviewing next week!!!

And most importantly, it is a FUN experience! Just go in with an adaptable mindset being preprared to go with the flow in any situation and be your personable, communicative, ethical thinking, critical problem solving self who shows that you understand all sides of an issue. Whatever decision you may take on a given issue, be prepared to defend it when challenged in a manner such that the interviewer can see into your mind. Interviewers are more interested with your thought processes that tell them how you think or why you have arrived at your conclusion than the factual answer.

Answer as you would a written answer, i.e., introduce or summarize your position, develop it, either list the alternatives or explain the logic of your position and sum it all up again.

Remember to consider the ripple effect of every scenario given to you, to the family, community, persons who are similar, etc in your assessment and solutions.

You may be judged on the following criteria:
1. You need to be able to summarize the main issues
2. show sensitivity, awareness of ethical and responsible duties always in any given situation
3. show sensitivity to how health professionals can manage personal & cultural beliefs
4. non-judgmental
5. confidence to think thru difficult social behaviours
6. always consider the ripple effects of the scenario and any action taken

Good luck guys!
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You have 2 minutes to consider each question and to jot down notes. Expect to be interrupted, challenged and pushed in your answer – as they may test your resolve to your argument and position.

Sole Purpose: Determine your suitability as a desirable healthcare professional, give insight into your mind, your desired qualities, your abilities, your commitment to care for others, your empathy

MMI Reflects Non-Cognitive Qualities of Applicants - personal qualities, ethical considerations, critical decision-making abilities, commitment to helping others, awareness of social issues, etc. As each Interviewer introduces themselves, smile, shake hands and introduce yourself (even though you all wear badges)

MMI Scenario Questions
Each situation is meant to highlight a specific area of your strength or weakness, e.g.,

*Ethical considerations and judgment (ethical thinking)

*(Ethical) critical decision making and problem solving skills

*Effective Communication skills – ability to convey information and ideas clearly is essential to safe and effective healthcare. Listening and verbal skills are essential.

*Knowledge of issues relating to healthcare and ability to dissect and analyze problem.
Remember, in addition to the written scenario, there will be additional “prompt questions” by the interviewer so as to give them further insight into your thinking. You will need to address these prompts – as the interviewers are seeking further information from you. These “prompts” have been given to the interviewers in writing as part of their instructions regarding their communications with all interviewees.

Should you finish any answers early, you will need to remain in the room until the time limit and you can use this time effectively by chatting with interviewers, telling them this was an interesting experience, etc. They will make an overall assessment of your professionalism and this includes your professional interpersonal and social skills, so do not sit like a bump on the log.

Essential characteristics of Applicant:
Show ethical thinking and ethical decision making.

Show professionalism, i.e. honesty, compassion, team working, ethical understanding
knowledge of health care system.
Dress conservatively, and note that your body language is important throughout interview.

Effective communicator – ability to convey your ideas clearly and concisely

Good interpersonal skills with Interviewers

Always appear calm and in control

Show quiet confidence as a person

Think before opening your mouth

Understanding – know why you are there

Ability to understand the principal issue of the situation and other important issues

Complete the answer before the time runs out (wear watch in case no clock in sight)

Give an accurate overall portrayal of who you are

Be clear and unambiguous in your answers

Time Management is of the essence – not all applicants finish all answers. The ability to
complete the task in a timely manner demonstrates an important skill


Show no nervousness or anxiety no matter what

Thank Interviewers when each session is over (perhaps shaking hand again)

**Seeking behaviours having the following attributes:
*Integrity – having moral courage and honesty, being deserving of trust
*Sensitivity to the needs of others – kindness, empathy, understanding, benevolence,
recognizing the physical and emotional vulnerabilities of others in situations
*Understanding the difficulties of others
*Responding sensitively and appropriately to situations given
*Seeing the larger picture and the impact of the situation upon others of similar or other
vulnerabilities and upon the great community, seeing how to create practical or
innovative solutions
*Information Manager – sift the information given so as to focus on solutions to all
issues, including those not apparent on the surface
*Effective Decision maker – being able to identify the problem, break it down and to
identify the steps in problem solving
*Self-directed Learner – Inquiring mind to further knowledge and skills
*Ability to make a shared plan – your solution may involve cooperation of many parties
for its success
*Understanding of health professionals in society
*Explanation in Context – as a communicator, Interviewers must know clearly why you
have come to the decisions you have made, leave nothing for granted
*Ability to make shared plan in best interests of patient

Seeking people who will, in their professional relationships:
Take responsibility for their actions
Act ethically
Act in a congenial and collaborative manner
Be reflexive
Be reliable
Be trustworthy and honest
Demonstrate respect for others
Have commitment to help others
Maintain confidences

Seeking mental processes that include:
Ability to summarize your position as your first statements
Ability to assimilate and evaluate information in time sensitive fashion
Critical problem solving abilities in time sensitive manner
Prioritize and manage solutions in a sensible fashion
Ability to communicate decisions to others in appropriate manner
Ability to defend your position or ideas expressed – be prepared for interviewers to
rigorously challenge you
Ability to apply your general knowledge

Seeking students who will:
Be self-directed learners
Be an integral part of an interprofessional healthcare team
Be willing to self-assess
Be willing to work hard
Communicate effectively
Demonstrate ethical thinking
Demonstrate ability to manage time
Demonstrate ability to tolerate stress
Demonstrate good judgment
Demonstrate insight and empathy
Recognize and respect the benefits of science and role of others healthcare disciplines

Assess the facts in terms of what is normally expected, including social & legal standards and norms of responsible conduct, look to ripple effects to persons involved, their family, the institution involved if any, society, including others in similar circumstances

Diagnose the moral and other problems. Determine what the parties believe to have happened and the impact upon them

Determine the purpose of this scenario for you

Consider what, if any, ethical considerations are involved as between the parties and wider society, and how these issues may be addressed by persons in authority

Determine what, if any, legal, bioethical or medical ethics problems or practical problems exist. Consider these as unexpressed facts in your analysis to come to a satisfactory or creative solution

Consider and discuss:

the options of actions of the participants and authorities

fully the ethical principles for each action option and conclude with persuasive argument supporting your plan of attack

Establish and discuss the goal you set for resolution of the ethical problem. Convince them that your plan of action (decision) will be acceptable in resolving the problem on a practical level, while addressing the ethical issues involved.

Justify the solution in terms of practicality and ethical considerations – both with the decision made AND the process of reaching and implementing the solution

Remember your ability to master a new situation in a time sensitive manner, while considering all factors that are not obvious and maintaining your composure, is what is being assessed.







What are the issues, define them clearly in your mind, considering the ripple effect of the factual scenario.

What are your recommendations, and what is the basis for these recommendations.

Describe the evidence, your reasoning how you reach your conclusion. Defend your position using logical.

Show critical thinking skills in your response. If you make assumptions, state what your assumptions are.

Make your judgments and express your opinions, supporting them.

Acknowledge there is more than one possible answer that you considered, if this be the case, but definitely take a stand on your position, expressing it clearly.

By setting out not only those arguments that support your case, but also those that oppose it, you will be demonstrating that that you have a good understanding of the problem, thus making your own position more persuasive.

You are not expected to discuss each and every possible objection to the position you are supporting, however, you should address the more important objections, the ones that bear directly upon the points you are dealing with.

Keep your presentation focused.

By the manner and substance of your presentation, the interviewees must find you likeable, trustworthy, open and forthright and having a quick and agile mind.

In answering questions, deal with their issues but use the opportunity to reinforce the merits of your argument.

Establish eye contact and establish a steady, even tone and composure. Focus only on the issue before you.

Go where you are directed, i.e., answer questions directly when asked, do not deal with it later. Some questions or comments will not be to enlighten, rather to try to demonstrate the weakness of your case. Do not display discomfort, look the person straight in the eye and respond in a professional and firm manner. Do not evade the question or comment, deal with it squarely and move on. Your time is limited. Maintain control of the subject-matter and don’t allow yourself to be led down a meaningless path.

By testing your fidelity to your position or the validity to your basic premise, an interviewer may press you for a concession. Be careful in granting one – as if your position is sound, support it with further argument. They are looking for decisive people of sound mind, not people who cannot withstand the rigours of questioning and who does not have the courage of his convictions. In other words, do not cooperate in your own destruction.

Common MMI Interview Weaknesses & Suggestions
Answers are superficial, don’t have enough depth
Interviewers are more interested with your thought processes that tell them how you think
or why you have arrived at your conclusion – than the factual answer
Answer as you would a written answer, i.e., introduce or summarize your position,
develop it, either list the alternatives or explain the logic of your position and
sum it all up again
Don’t bore them with the same content repeatedly, watch their body language for cues
Focus directly upon answering the question given to you, nothing else
Be prepared but don’t be rehearsed, don’t memorize, you need to come across as
authentic, genuine. You need to practice just as you do for MCAT
Interviewers may strategically try to push your limits to dig into your answer and try to
see what makes you tick. Do not take this personally, defend your position in a
manner that lets them see into your mind and your thinking. Do not allow
yourself to feel intimidated
Except tough min-interviews and to be challenged constantly

The interviewers mark you from a ‘structured checklist’ ranging from “excellent”, “good”, “satisfactory” to “unsatisfactory”. Below is also an additional List of Skills and Behaviours that are specifically marked in one of the below categories:
4=Excellent, 3=Good, 2=Satisfactory, 1=Unsatisfactory Top Score=20
- Has a sense of establishing the facts to ensure fairness

- Demonstrates an awareness of the dilemma from a range of perspectives

- Ability to balance conflicting interests to come to a judgment about what is right

- Appreciates the need for students to consider the consequences of personal

- Is able to draw lessons from experience to inform future learning

EXCELLENT: shows a degree of originality and creativity, including showing a good appreciation of the general issues in the context of professionalism. There is good coverage of the topic with relevant and reasoned argument. The answers demonstrate a clear view of how the various aspects of the topic relate to one another. There is reasonable evidence of critical reflection on professionalism on both the interviewee and that of others. The answers appear authentic and honest.

GOOD: is the same as Excellent without the originality and creativity.

SATISFACTORY: the answers are relevant but do not address all aspects of the topic. There is demonstration of understanding of the issue being considered and just enough evidence that a reasonable argument has been advanced. There is evidence of critical reflection on professionalism but the answers are more descriptive than analytical. The answers indicate a modest understanding of the topic but appear authentic and honest.

UNSATISFACTORY: the discussion is not always accurate and relevant and key points are missed. The attempt at reasoned argument is of doubtful quality. Strategy is misfired.

Strength of your arguments, your communication skills, how you defend your position n/w/s provocation and the interviewer’s overall assessment of your performance and suitability to study of medicine and being a doctor are all factors

1. You need to be able to summarize the main issues
2. show sensitivity, awareness of ethical and responsible duties always in any given situation
3. show sensitivity to how health professionals can manage personal & cultural beliefs
4. be non-judgmental
5. show confidence to think thru difficult social behaviours
6. always consider the ripple effects of the scenario and any action taken


1. Tasers are under greater public scrutinty. What are the medical, public health, public policy, legal and practical issues involved? What is your position as regards the use of tasers by public officials and in the private sector?

2. What is the role of Electronic Record Management in the management and care of patients in the public and private sector now and in the future?

3. You learn from your best friend that she was involved in a hit and run accident one night when she had too much to drink and had hit a person crossing the street. She feels badly about this incident. What do you do if anything?

3A. You discover that your boyfriend has a substance abuse problem. His conduct has never been influenced by this since you have been together. How do you handle this?

3B. A friend has accessed your laptop and discovered your draft for an essay that is due by you both who are taking the same course. How do you handle this?

3C. You witness two girls hitting a homeless woman and taking items that belong to her. The victim has only a bleeding nose. You approach her after the incident and she tells you she is fine, this has happened before by the same girls and it is no big deal. How do you deal with it?

3D. A patient has just been diagnosed with cancer. The patient takes the news very badly and is concerned with pain and the immediate treatment. You know that is it extremely likely that the patient will die within 9 months regardless of course of treatment. What do you tell the patient, what are your ethical obligations, your legal obligations?

4. You are shift supervisor at McDonalds fast food restaurant. The owner of the franchise has called you over. He is very upset as he has received 3 complaints in the last 30 minutes about the meat in the hamburgers being poorly cooked. There are two people (one male, one female both 15 years old) who have been cooking the meat for the past two hours. The female is the owner’s daughter. How would you handle the situation?

5. You and 3 friends are watching a 70 yr old man prepare a hot-air balloon. The balloon is ready and the man is holding one of the 5 released anchors ropes that are all 6m long. His 10 yr old grandson is already in the basket. A gust of wind raises the balloon 2m off the ground. The man shouts for help and you and your friends each grab close to the end of one of the other anchor ropes. The balloon raises so high that even though you are holding onto the ropes, you are lifted off the ground to a height of 7m. What would you do in this situation.

6. Your older sister tells you that she values her career and is reluctant to take time away to have a baby. Her husband agrees with her. They have arranged to conceive an embryo through in vitro fertilization. A company in India will implant the embryo in a surrogate mother from a nearby village who will be paid $5,000. Two weeks after the baby is born, the company will deliver the baby to your sister and her husband. Your mother is opposed to this arrangement whereas your father supports her decision. Your sister asks for your support. How would you respond to your sister?

7. Your best friend is an identical twin. The other twin has been sick with a variety of illnesses most of their lives. Several times, the other twin has been so ill that your best friend has supplied tissue (e.g., blood, bone marrow) sometimes to help their sibling stay alive. The other twin now needs a kidney transplant to stay alive. Their parents have assumed that your best friend will automatically donate the kidney as usual when tissue has been needed. However, your friend is now balking at this automatic assumption of donation and is considering saying ‘no’. What would you say to your friend to convince him to donate the kidney?

8. Your best friend and partner are undergoing in vitro fertilization to have a baby. The technique allows for the selection of certain characteristics for the child by identifying them in the embryo before implantation. Your friend asks for advice on the characteristics they should select. How would you respond to your friend?

9. In the City of Plymouth in England, the City Council has introduced a maximum speed limit for all vehicles of 30km/h (previous limit was 50km/h) within city limits because this will reduce the number and severity of traffic accidents. The city councilors in Edmonton wish to introduce the same restriction. Would you support such a policy here in Edmonton?

10. Your friend is of Chinese descent and fluent in Mandarin. You both want to get into medicine. She registers for Mandarin 101, a course in Chinese language for beginners. The course coordinator asks that students who can already speak just a little bit of Mandarin should leave because this is a course for beginners. Your friend remains but makes a sufficient number of deliberate mistakes in the classroom discussions, in the required homework and in the examinations that she will not be detected and yet still receive an excellent grade. What would you do in this situation?

11. Your friend tells you that a piece of expensive electronic equipment he had bought for $3000 just two weeks ago had stopped working. The s tore where he bought it had a 7-day return policy. Your friend goes to the store, buys a new piece of equipment and then returns the old damaged equipment in its place for a full refund. The store is owned by your uncle who is struggling to keep the business going. How would you deal with the situation?

12. If the Prime Minister of Canada were to ask your advice on one change that could be applied to the healthcare system in Canada that would improve it enormously and have the greatest positive effect, whay would it be?

13. The daughter of the interviewer is 16 years old. She is adamant that she have a tattoo next week. The interviewer is against letting her daughter have a tattoo and this is causing much friction in the household. What advice would you give the interviewer?

14. At the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies, the Dean of your Faculty has offered to all of you the opportunity to swallow a ‘red’ pill. If swallowed, this pill would increase enormously your ability to ‘absorb’ all the educational material being presented to you in all your courses. In fact, this pill would basically guarantee that you would receive an A+ in all your future courses with a significantly reduced workload. Would you take the red pill?

15. The man who lives next door to you often rides his bicycle in the company of his two young children but without a helmet. In fact, on several occasions you have seen him riding with his helmet hanging by its straps from the handlebars. His young children sometimes wear a helmet, sometimes not. If the man fell off his bicycle and hurt his head in a way that would have been prevented if he had worn a helmet, would it be reasonable to ask him to contribute towards the treatment cost for his injury?

16. In his recent novel ‘I am Charlotte Simmons’, Tom Wolfe bases on life at a typical university in North America. He develops various characters and describes their lives, surroundings, beliefs, and moral behaviour while they are at the university. Wolfe acknowledges that it is 40 years since he himself was a student at university. Consequently, his children, currently at university, read the drafts of the book as it was been written and ensured that the descriptions associated with life at this fictitious university were appropriate for the modern day. What changes to the original script do you think Wolfe’s children made?

17. Imagine your friend’s father is 70 years old and has lived in Edmonton his whole life. He is taken to the emergency department at the University of Alberta Hospital. He has had good health until now and this is the first time he has been to hospital of any kind since he was 20 years old. What changes in the healthcare system and environment in the hospital do you think he would notice?

18. Preferential Admission (Knowledge of the Heath Care System) Due to the shortage of physicians in rural communities such as those in Northern Ontario, it has been suggested that medical programmes preferentially admit students who are willing to commit to a 2 or 3 year tenure in an under-serviced area upon graduation. Consider the broad implications of this policy for health and health care costs. For example, do you think the approach will be effective?

19. Parking Garage (Communication Skills) The parking garage at your place of work has assigned parking spots. On leaving your psot, you are observed by the parking attendant as you back into a neighbouring car, a BMW, knocking out its left front headlight and denting the left front fender. The garage attendant gives you the name and office number of the owner of the neighbouring car, telling you that he is calling ahead to the car owner, Tim. The garage owner tells you that Tim is expecting your visit. You enter Tim’s office.

20. Class Size (Critical Thinking) Universities are commonly faced with the complicated task of balancing the educational needs of their students and the cost required to provide learning resources to a large number of individuals. As a result of this tension, there has been much debate regarding the optimal size of classes. One side argues that smaller classes provide a more educationally effective setting for students, while others argue that t makes no difference, so larger classes should be used to minimize the number of instructors required. Discuss your opinion with the examiner

21. Circumcision (Ethical Decision Making) The Canadian Pediatric Assoociation has recommended that circumcisions ‘not be routinely performed’. They base this recommendation on their determination that ‘the benefits have not been shown to to clearly outweigh the risks and costs’. Doctors have no obligation to refer for, or provide, a circumcision, but many do, even when they are not clearly not medically necessary. Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) bo longer pays for unnecessary circumcisions. Consider the thical problems that exist in this case. Discuss these issues with the Interviewer.

22. Deterrent Fees (Knowledge of the Health Care System) Recently, the Prime Minister of Canada raised the issue of deterrent fees (a small charge, say $10, which everyone who initiates a visit to a health professional would have to pay at the first contact) as a way to control health care costs. The assumption is that this will deter people from visiting their doctor for unnecessary reasons. Consider the broad implication of this policy for health and healthy carecosts. For example, do you think this approach will save health care costs? At what expense? Discuss this issue with the interviewer.

23. Aspartame (Critical Thinking) A message that recently appeared on the Web warned readers of the dangers of aspartame (artificial sweetener – Nutrasweet, Equal) as a cause of an epidemic of multiple sclerosis (a progressive chronic disease of the nervous system and systemic lupus (a multisystem auto-immune disease). The biological explanation provided was that, at body temperature, aspartame releases wood alcohol (methanol), which turns into formic acid, which ‘is in the same class of drugs as cyanide and arsenic.’ Formic acid, they argued, causes metabolic acidosis. Clinically, aspartame poisoning was argued to be a cause of joint pain. numbness, cramps, vertigo, headaches, depression, anxiety, slurred speech and blurred vision. The authors claimed that aspartame remains on the market because the food and drug industries have powerful lobbies in Congress. They quoted Dr. Russell Blaylock, who said. ‘The ingredients stimulate the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees.’ Critique this message, in terms of the strength of the arguments presented and their logical consistency. Your critique might include an indication of the issues that you would like to delve into further before assessing the validity of these claims.

24. Placebo (Ethical Decision Making) Dr. Cheung recommends homeopathic medicines to his patients. There is no scientific evidence or widely accepted theory to suggest that homeopathic medicines work, and Dr. Cheung doesn’t believe them to. He recommends homeopathic medicine to people with mild and non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and muscle aches, because he believes that it will do no harm, but will give them reassurance. Consider the ethical problems that Dr. Cheung ‘s behaviour might pose. Discuss these issues with the interviewer.

25. A man has been responsible for taking care of his wife who is in a vegetative state for 6 years after a car accident She can breathe on her own but that is the extent of her abilities. He requests that her feeding tube be removed. What should you, as her physician do?

26. A student is working in a clinic, where the office double books aboriginal patients. The student asks their reasoning and the receptionist replies that “These people never show up for their appointments.” How would you deal with this situation?

27. You are working on a group project with 5 other students. One of the students doesn’t show up for meetings or if they do show up - they are late and leave early. They have put no effort into the group project but show up on the day of the presentation and try to take credit for the project. What do you do in this situation?

28. Mrs. Jones has signed a donor card indicating that she is willing to donate her body to science without notifying her husband and son. She gets into an accident and it is determined that she is brain dead. The family doctor, who is on call that afternoon, reviews the chart and determines that she would be perfect for medical students to practice the removal of organs for transplantation purposes. The doctor then talks to the family to discuss the procedure and to confirm their consent. They both oppose the procedure and refuse to allow their doctor to move forward. The doctor points out that Mrs. Jones could be helping hundreds of people by educating the medical students and that technically consent has already been provided. The husband understands how beneficial the educational experience is but is too emotional to allow them to continue. The son, a medical student, refuses because he knows the bodies are not treated with dignity. If you were the doctor, how would you proceed? Why?

29. You are a second year student shadowing a doctor in the O.R. Once the patient, an obese female has been given general anesthetic and the procedure is under way the doctors start to make comments about her weight and call her names that you find inappropriate but most of all unprofessional. Do you talk to the doctor about his comments or do you keep your comments to yourself? Why?

30. You are part of a committee to decide where the money for health care in our province is spent. It is your turn to inform the committee of your opinion on what you think is the single most important area requiring funding.

31. Discuss the social, legal, medical implications of a needle-exchange program with the interviewer. Follow up question: What are some viable alternatives?

32. You tell a mother her two year old child has leukemia, but she refuses chemo but insists upon seeing her family physician who is a naturopath. What do you tell her, how do you handle this so that you may continue to have some influence as regards the treatment of her child? [The child’s life is in the balance as the naturopath will be unable to save the child’s life and you have an obligation to your patient, the child, who cannot make an informed decision. In pediatrics, its beneficence and “the rule of rescue” that takes precedence.]
How long does it take for McGill to inform interviewees about acceptance?
I would like to hear from students(Mcgill University) who are in their 2nd or 3rd year medical studies, if it is possible to have a partime job while attending their studies
Hi guys

I have completed my application file on Minerva. Has anyone seen their documentation/application status change from Ready to Review to anything else?
Being a non-American and non Canadian what are my chances here? with a 3.66 cum, 3.58 sci and 31 Mcat score.

Mind you GPA is according to AMCAS.
Being a non-American and non Canadian what are my chances here? with a 3.66 cum, 3.58 sci and 31 Mcat score.

Mind you GPA is according to AMCAS.

I don't think you have a chance. McGill's acceptance rate average is closer to 35 MCAT and 3.9 GPA. On top of that, being an international student, you would basically need to be above the average because there are so few spots.
Does anyone know if McGill has started sending out acceptance letters to MD applicants for 2014 entry?
Old thread, but curious to hear of any US citizens (without Canadian citizenship or PR status) were admitted.