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Comparison of the multiple-mini-interview with the traditional interview for U.S. emergency medicine residency applicants: A single institution experience. Soares WE et al. Academic Medicine 2015;90(1):76-81.


Reviewed by Alison Volpe Holmes

What was the study question?
How do applicants to a U.S. emergency medicine residency (EMR) program rate the experience of a multiple mini interview (MMI) compared to a traditional interview (TI) in the residency application process?

How was the study done?
MMIs consist of short (<10 minute) interview stations where the applicant reads a validated scenario and discusses it with a trained interviewer. MMIs focus on demonstration of character traits and evaluation of critical thinking skills, and have been shown to decrease perceived gender and cultural biases. (They are used extensively in Canada.) The Alameda Health System-Highland Hospital EMR program integrated a 4 station MMI along with a TI during the 2011-2012 interview season. Applicants to the program were informed in their invitation to interview of the inclusion of the MMI and were given MMI instructions and examples. The authors anonymously surveyed all 150 applicants after submission of rank lists.

What were the study results?
110 applicants completed the survey (73%); only 10% had prior MMI experience. In contrast to the majority of MMI studies, applicants preferred the TI to the MMI, 60% to 10% (P<0.01). Applicants commented on being unable to form a connection with the interviewer and being unable to elicit meaningful information about the residency program. Applicants rated the MMI as free from gender bias when compared with the TI (P=0.004).

What are the implications of these results?
Medical faculty should all become familiar with the MMI—both to best advise our students, and to incorporate it appropriately; particularly as we seek to increase diversity and eliminate bias in our processes.

Editor's note: MMIs, the speed-dating approach to applicant assessment, may become more acceptable and useful when American students/applicants have more experience with them (RR).

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