Medical School Applicant Characteristics Associated With Performance in Multiple Mini-Interviews Versus Traditional Interviews: A Multi-Institutional Study

Acad Med. 2018 Jul;93(7):1029-1034. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002041.


Purpose: To examine applicant characteristics associated with multiple mini-interview (MMI) or traditional interview (TI) performance at five California medical schools.

Method: Of the five California Longitudinal Evaluation of Admission Practices consortium schools, three used TIs and two used MMIs. Schools provided retrospective data on 2011-2013 admissions cycle interviewees: age, gender, race/ethnicity (underrepresented in medicine [UIM] or not), disadvantaged (DA) status, undergraduate GPA, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score, and interview score (standardized as z score; mean = 0; SD = 1). Adjusted linear regression analyses, stratified by interview type, examined associations with interview performance.

Results: The 4,993 applicants who completed 7,516 interviews included 931 (18.6%) UIM and 962 (19.3%) DA individuals; 3,226 (64.6%) had only 1 interview. Mean age was 24.4 (SD = 2.7); mean GPA and MCAT score were 3.72 (SD = 0.22) and 33.6 (SD = 3.7), respectively. Older age, female gender, and number of prior interviews were associated with better performance on both MMIs and TIs. Higher GPA was associated with lower MMI scores (z score, per unit GPA = -0.26; 95% CI = -0.45, -0.06) but unrelated to TI scores. DA applicants had higher TI scores (z score = 0.17; 95% CI = 0.07, 0.28) but lower MMI scores (z score = -0.18; 95% CI = -0.28, -0.08) than non-DA applicants. Neither UIM status nor MCAT score was associated with interview performance.

Conclusions: These findings have potentially important workforce implications, particularly regarding MMI performance of DA applicants, and illustrate the need for other multi-institutional studies.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Interviews as Topic / standards*
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • School Admission Criteria / trends*