MMI Interview Prep: The Regular/Oddball Interview Question

Medical School
August 30, 2019

Medical School MMI Prep

During your MMI interview, it is likely that you will get a regular interview question.

These are the common questions that you get in a normal medical school interview.

Tell me a little about yourself.

Why do you want to become a doctor?

What is your greatest strength/weakness?

In that way, this feels more like a normal interview. However, there is a possibility that you will get an oddball question. Something like:

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?

If this makes your palms sweat, don’t worry. This post will cover how you should answer both so you can crush your MMI interview.

Resources you should check out before reading

Since this is similar to a regular interview, we suggest that you check out these resources.

The Complete Guide To Medical School Interview Preparation

A good place to start out. It will give you good advice on how to prepare for an interview and what to expect on your interview day for a regular medical school interview.

7 Common Medical School Interview Questions (And Answers)

This resource will get into some common medical school questions and give you a formula on how you should answer them. Again, this is for a regular medical school interview, but the information will be applicable for this type of MMI station.

A Guide To The Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI): Prep And Tips

This is an overview of what to expect and how to prepare for the MMI. It talks about the other types of stations you will have as well. You need to understand how the MMI process works before reading this post.

After reading these, you will have the tools necessary to incorporate the techniques outlined in the rest of this post.

What questions should I expect?

As we already stated, you can expect two types of questions.

Regular Interview Questions

These are the normal questions you would expect to see in an interview.

Tell me a little about yourself.

Why do you want to become a doctor?

What is your greatest strength/weakness?

Oddball questions

These are supposed to be unexpected and confusing. Questions like:

How lucky are you?

How many quarters could fill up this room?

If you were a fruit, what kind would you be?

Some say you are more likely to get these kinds of questions on your MMI day. This would not be surprising since MMI interviews like to see how you handle the unexpected. Later on in this article, we are going to teach you how to do just that.

But first, let’s talk about how to answer the regular interview question.

How to prepare for the regular interview question

You prepare for them like any other non-MMI interview (that is why the resources are linked above, so check them out).

The biggest difference will be the MMI format.

In a regular interview, the “tell me about yourself” question would merit a one-minute response.

However, the MMI gives you 6-8 minutes for a response. You must be prepared to give a longer answer.

You don’t have to give a super long eight-minute speech (don’t feel the need to take up the whole time), but don’t be afraid to elaborate.

Hit all the points you want this medical school to know about you and attach them to personal experience.

Tell the story about how you volunteered at a hospital that helped the underserved and how that fueled your passion for access to medical care. Tell the story about the doctors that saved a family member's life and how it fueled your passion for medicine.

Telling your personal experience as a story allows the interviewer to attach to you and that story. Filling up the time you need and making your point that much more impactful.


Candidates have also reported this station to ask multiple questions, treating it like a normal interview, only shorter.

If this is the case, don’t feel the need to elaborate as much. Just treat it like the normal interview it is.

How to answer the oddball interview question

The first thing that you must realize is that they are not asking you this question for a literal answer.

They are trying to find out more about you as a person, how you approach something and how you deal with the unexpected.

As an example we are going to use the prompt from above:

If you were a fruit, what kind would you be?

There are a few things to think about when answering an oddball interview question.

How can I show who I am through this question?

How can I show the qualities this school wants through this question?

What out of the box ways can I answer this question?

When answering, guide the interviewer through your thought process.

This is one example of how you could do that:

“Well, the first thing that I thought about when asked what fruit I would be was which fruit seems to have it best. For that, we have to start with how it grows up. A few fruits that instantly popped into my mind were apples, oranges, and grapes.

Oranges and apples both grow on trees while grapes grow on a vine. For me, grapes are too close together and it seems like it would get a little crowded. So I will say no to the grapes just on that principle.

So now we are down to oranges and apples. They both have a little more space in between each other which is nice. If they want to say hi to their apple or orange neighbors they can but at least they are not all jammed together.

Next, both of these fruits will probably be eaten someday, which is fine it is the way of the fruit. However, the orange feels more versatile than the apple. The reason I say this is because it is protected by an outer layer. If people drop it, that protects it from a fall. It is also juicier than an apple and hydrates people.

So oranges seem to grow up pretty nice and they are more durable and versatile for people’s use. Lastly, they are nutritious and allow people to live a healthier life.

This makes me feel like being an orange would be the best choice.”

Remember those questions you asked yourself?

How can I show who I am through this question?

This response gives insight into the personality of the candidate.

The answer takes the interviewer through the start of being a fruit to the end. Talks about multiple fruits, with their own advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, the candidate picks a fruit that they think was best.

This shows that the candidate can consider a problem from multiple angles and tackle the problem creatively.

How can I show the qualities this school wants through this question?

At the end, the candidate discusses how an orange is more beneficial to people. (It does not matter if the apple or grape is technically more beneficial for someone's health. These questions are not about being right, as the questions are usually ridiculous in the first place. As long as you explain your thought process, you will be fine). This shows that they care about people and their wellbeing. Something interviewers want to see in future doctors.

What out of the box ways can I answer this question?

This helps you come up with a response in the first place. This is just one example of how you could answer. There are thousands of others.

Play along, and put those out of the box answers out there!

How to practice for oddball questions

You do just that. Practice.

You will feel more comfortable with this type of question when you have answered similar ones before. You will develop your own strategy on how you think about them and be able to come up with answers faster.

Simulate your interview day.

Put a stopwatch on and give yourself two minutes to prepare with an oddball question you have not seen before (or at least have not given much thought).

Then respond within an eight-minute time-frame.

You can find a list of oddball questions online, but here are a few questions just to get you started.

Remember, don’t look at them too much! Save them for when you want to practice.

Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?

Are you a hunter or a gatherer?

If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you?

You are given an elephant that you may not give away or sell. What do you do?

If you could have dinner with any person living or dead, who would it be?

Why are manholes round?

How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?

Last Note

MMIs are unpredictable, so if you feel you have to answer the question in a way that was not covered here, do so! This article is meant to guide you in the right direction but it can’t give you a foolproof formula.

However, no matter what you face on your MMI interview day, if you follow our guides and practice, we know you can do well.

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