The time will soon be here for the next step in the AGPT application process: your RTO Multiple Mini Interviews (RTO MMIs). While they may seem a little daunting, these interviews are an important way to find out more about you and your desire to become a GP.
In this article, John de Vries, GPTQ’s Acting Deputy Director of Medical Education, speaks about the RTO MMI process and also offers some handy tips to help you confidently navigate through them.
What is an MMI?
No matter which college you’ve applied to train through – the RACGP or ACRRM – the MMI process is essentially the same. You will be required to rotate through a series of five to eight interview stations, answering one question at each stop. When you arrive at the station, the question will be posted on the door and you have two minutes to prepare your answer before going in. A bell or buzzer will sound inviting you into the room and the interviewer will ask you the question. You will then have approximately eight minutes to provide your answer.
The whole process takes at minimum one hour but is likely to be more depending on how many questions you must answer.
What are the differences between the RACGP and the ACRRM MMIs?
There are two main differences in the MMI process based on your pathway and GP college choice. The first relates to the amount of questions you’ll be asked.
John says: “As far as we know, RACGP General Pathway registrars will get five questions. RACGP Rural Pathway applicants will get between five and eight. The extra three questions specifically look at your willingness to go and live rurally to do your training. The critical word there is ‘live’ rurally not just ‘practice’ rurally,” he says. “We are less clear about the ACRRM questions but we believe there will be eight. Again, there will be considerable emphasis on judging whether you are committed to living and working rurally.”
On this note, it’s worth having a look at page three of ACRRM’s AGPT selection fact sheet under the section ‘How candidates are selected’. It provides a bit more detail about their selection criteria and the areas in which you might be questioned. For RACGP candidates, refer to page 21 of their selection guide for their core competencies to refresh your knowledge on these areas.
The other difference pertains to the composition of the panel members. For RACGP candidates, they have all been sourced by GPTQ and many of them will be GP supervisors and GP educators. ACRRM differs slightly.
“ACRRM are potentially pulling from a wider source for panel members. There could be someone from GPTQ, ACRRM and a rural community member representative whereas RACGP will only have doctors on their panel,” John says. “If you’re an ACRRM applicant, that’s good to know as it means you’ll have to address somebody who is not a doctor so you might have to adjust your communication style.”
What type of questions will I get?
John says the questions are designed to find out your motivation for undertaking GP training but also assess your ‘aptitude and attitude.’
“There are no clinical knowledge questions in these MMIs. You need to reflect on your previous medical training and experiences and how they’ve shaped you into the doctor you are today.”
This year, both GP colleges have compiled a new set of MMI questions so it’s difficult to provide examples. However, based on previous years, John can offer a few suggestions.
“You might get a simple question such as ‘Why have you decided to undertake GP training?’ Or it could be a question about conflict management, for example ‘Discuss a time when you disagreed with advice you got from another doctor you were working with and how you went about resolving this issue.”
Another area that may be discussed is whether you consider yourself a leader or team player.
John says one area that will be assessed at every MMI station is your ‘communication ability and whether you can express yourself clearly.’
What prep work can I do beforehand?
There are a number of steps you can take to prepare for your RTO MMIs.
1. Reflect on your motivation to become a GP
Take the time to consider why you want to be a GP. Write it down. Some helpful questions to ponder: What’s your understanding of what it means to be a good GP? Why did you choose to be a GP over any other specialist? What did you do during your medical training that led you to decide to become a GP?
2. Memorise some examples from your working experience
When thinking about answering the MMI questions, John advises you to think about your past clinical experience and come up with some example scenarios. Keep these up your sleeve and use them liberally to add further weight to your answers.
3. Practise your time management with mock interviews
Pacing yourself while giving your answers is vital to ensuring you cover all the ground you want to within the allotted time. Ask a friend, relative or colleague to run a few mock interview questions with you so you are comfortable with timing.
Do you have any further ‘on the day’ tips?
John says some of these are common sense but others are unique to the MMI process.
1. Dress appropriately
“We are assessing your professionalism so dress smartly. Suits and bow ties are a bit over the top but dressing scruffily doesn’t do much to form a good impression about your suitability either,” John says.
2. Make sure you really understand the question and listen to any prompts
When you first see your question, take the time to fully grasp what it’s asking you and only then start formulating your response. As you enter the room, it can be quite easy for stress to take over your logical brain but John says panel members have a handy in-built mechanism for that.
“If this happens, the examiner will prompt you. Listen very carefully to these prompts because the interviewer will never give you one to lead you astray. They are a good guide. If you go off track, we’ll give you one to bring you back,” he says. “We’re not trying to trip you up or trick you. We just genuinely want to find out what you’re thinking.”
What are the next steps?
Keep an eye on the GPTQ website for upcoming dates, times and locations for the RTO MMIs. Both GP colleges – ACRRM and the RACGP– also have this information on their respective website and in their applicant guide.
If you have been successful in securing an RTO MMI with GPTQ, you can expect to receive an email from us containing all of this vital information. In the meantime, get busy mentally preparing some example answers and remember; breathe through the stress.