Category Archives: MMI Process

May 13, 2015

Medical School Curriculum Changes

Prospective students in upcoming classes for medical school are going to have a significant change in curriculum than their previous peers. Many medical schools are beginning to take into account the undeniable fact that medical training for doctors should change as the practice of medicine is changing.

Typical medical school curriculum usually involves teaching based around  Abraham Flexner‘s once-famous ’2 Plus 2 Model’, which involves two years in the classroom and two years shadowing in hospitals. The curriculum for medical school is now starting to include classes meant to build communication skills, teamwork, and adaptability to change. The new MCAT makeover released last month, April 2015, has included testing for similar qualities/traits as well. These medical school curriculum changes are going to be taking place at many medical schools, including the University of Michigan Medical School.

Dr. Raj Mangrulkar, the Associate Dean for medical student education at the University of Michigan Medical School states, “Flexner did a lot of great things, but we’ve learned a lot and now we’re absolutely ready for a new model.”


The University of Michigan Medical School is implementing many changes to adapt to a newer, more innovative model. They are including classes within their curriculum based solely on improving communication skills, by giving negotiation scenarios to students to compromise and decide upon solutions with their fellow peers.

“Listed with the new prerequisites is a group of Core Competencies. The four competencies are analytical thought and problem-solving skills, written and verbal communication, mathematical/statistical analysis and application of hypothesis-driven methods of research.” Mangrulkar states, “These competencies began as expectations for residents, but have now trickled down to the pre-medical level.”

Along with the University of Michigan Medical School, many other medical schools have already began to look for those qualities in students and incorporate the search into their admissions process. Medical schools are searching for students who can exhibit not only top grades in school and scores on their MCAT, but also for students who exhibit teamwork, compassion, and communication skills within their activities and experiences. A well-rounded student who has the ability to display intelligence and communication skills, among other traits, is ideally the type of applicant that medical schools would like to extend offers to.

Evaluating applicants based on multiple variables and qualities can become difficult for schools, especially when trying to keep information on each applicant in order. ZAP Solutions admissions software, AMP, has the ability to simplify the process for admissions offices, keeping all student information securely placed in one system. ZAP has been continuously innovating AMP to incorporate new ways to evaluate these changes. AMP has also given schools the capability to use standard interviewing, MMI interviewing, or a hybrid combination. Each step of the admissions process is within AMP, making it easier, faster, and more effective for admissions officers to go through the process from the initial/secondary application to screening, interviewing, reviewing, and matriculation with each applicant. The goal of AMP is to customize the software specifically to each school’s process, growing and innovating with the school through their changes.

How do you think medical schools will continue to incorporate the new changes into their admissions process and curriculum?

February 18, 2014

Admissions Trends to Watch in 2014

2014With 2013 behind us, it is time to start planning for 2014′s admissions season. By following the ever-changing world of higher education admissions trends, you can ensure that your admissions staff is working to their full potential and that your department is selecting the best fit candidates.

A Focus on Competency

Competency based education gives credit for mastery of skills and real-life work experience. “We actually measure what students know and can do, not how long they’ve spent in a seat,” says Robert Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University (Quinton). A focus on competency credit will help President Obama to achieve his goal of reducing college debt for current and future students.

Next-level Data and Analytic Tools

For years now, an increasing number of schools have been making the switch to admissions software solutions such as AMP online admissions. Analyzing reports on applicant data has become the norm for a well-rounded admissions process. Now, schools are taking that data to the next level and looking for long-term trends in the admissions world. “Performance metrics and dashboards are the beginning, but using data to understand deeper correlations and causality so we can shape change will be critical as we strive to advance our effectiveness,” says David Lassner, interim presided and former chief information officer at the University of Hawaii (The Chronicle).

Price-savvy Prospects

According to data from Sallie Mae, a majority of families eliminated colleges based on cost at some stage during their college shopping and admissions process. Colleges looking for continued steady growth will do well to plan for predicted demographic shifts that foretell a lower volume of high-income applicants. Schools can track their success in recruiting new groups of prospective students by using a prospect module in an end-to-end admissions tool like AMP Paperless Admissions.

 Alternative Admissions

Amidst a looming doctor shortage, medical school admissions have been under the microscope. With a lot of attention on the need for change in medical admissions in 2013, the situation may appear dire at first glance.  However, it is also evident that high pressure breeds creativity. A number of medical schools have implemented new approaches to medical admissions. At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai University, their innovative FlexMed option allows students to apply without completing a PreMed program or taking the MCAT. Several schools have begun taking a holistic approach to applicant review, evaluating non-cognitive personality traits for compatibility with the medical profession. Additionally, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) have begun to gain traction as an alternative to the traditional 1-on-1 office interview.

What is your admissions office doing differently in 2014?

October 9, 2013

Trends in MBA Admissions

Selecting students for admission into a competitive and prestigious MBA program is no easy feat. In order to effectively evaluate applicants, the admissions offices draw upon a wide variety of data, including applications, essays, interviews, and test scores. Programs are constantly looking for ways to improve their admissions procedures by streamlining the process, vigorously screening applicants, and by searching for the subtle personality qualities that make an applicant stand out.

Trend #1: Smart Data, Smart Decision Making with AMP

  • Analyze data with data reporting tools to compare applicants.
  • AMP is a college admissions software built specifically to handle complex admissions processes. Originally developed for medical admissions, it is an extremely flexible product that can be customized for your existing processes.
  • AMP can handle complex admissions procedures such as Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), interview scheduling, committee evaluations, and applicant screening.
  • AMP’s powerful custom reporting tool means that you’ll be able to generate statistics to better evaluate your applicants and more efficiently narrow the pool to only the most promising prospects.

Trend #2: Evaluating Ethics with Turnitin

  • Turnitin.com is an online tool commonly used by professors to screen submitted papers for plagiarism. It has also proven useful for screening application essays in the admissions office.
  • Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal School of Business used Turnitin during the 2012-2013 admissions season and subsequently rejected 48 applicants because of plagiarism. At the UCLA Anderson School of Management, 15 applicants were rejected as a result of plagiarism.
  • Especially in an MBA program, ethical decision-making is a very important quality in a strong applicant.

Trend #3: Rethink the essay question

  • Several MBA programs are getting personal & creative when it comes to their evaluation criteria. These unorthodox methods put the applicant in an unexpected situation, catching them off guard. Then, the admissions office can better evaluate an applicant’s personality and grace under pressure.
  • At Chicago Booth’s MBA program, they allow applicants to submit a 4 slide powerpoint presentation instead of a traditional essay response.
  • Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business challenged applicants to tweet a reason why they want to attend the school’s MBA program.
  • The University of Toronto’s Rotman School has replaced a traditional written essay question with a 90-second video interview. “We wanted to know more about the personality and passions of our applicants”, explains Niki da Silva, Rotman’s Director of Admissions. “Candidates were picking out keywords from our website for their essays, and we felt that we were losing in authenticity.”

With abundant resources, here are many ways to improve the performance of your admissions office.

Has your school implemented any new evaluation methods?

December 8, 2011

The MCAT Makeover

Looking back at an article in The Chronicle from 1991 when the MCAT was revised to what it is today, the ability to communicate was a significant concern for admissions officers.  According to The Chronicle, AAMC officials stated, “The essay section was added because medical schools wanted a way to assess the applicants’ communications skills.”  The officials went on to say that, “Patients frequently complain that their doctors have poor bedside manners and either fail to tell them about important matters or talk in terms they don’t understand.”

Yet again it was decided that poor bedside manners are still an issue that patients face.  After the AAMC’s Annual Meeting this November, the association’s board of directors decided that the MCAT will be revised by 2015 to test for these recurring issues, leading to a MCAT makeover.  It is essential that communication skills are able to be correctly tested in the updated MCAT.  This will be a monumental change for upcoming applicants, considering the MCAT has been in the same format since 1991.  Some colleges have already started to change their curriculums in an effort to help applicant’s prepare for the adjustments on the test.  According to a recent article from The Chronicle, “A 21-member advisory committee, working with the medical colleges’ association, made the final recommendations after three years of study that involved analyzing 2,700 surveys from college and medical-school faculty members, medical residents, students, and advisers.”

Potential changes include adding sections on humanities and social sciences to test the applicant’s knowledge on biological systems, ethics, and psychology.  Additionally, there are plans to add a section testing critical analysis and reasoning skills while removing the current writing section, which was added in 1991 in hopes to test for communication skills.  Many of these modifications are to ensure that applicants have a good bedside manner on top of being academically competent.

So, what exactly does having a good bedside manner mean?  It implies that applicants are able to care for their patients and co-workers needs in an appropriate and responsive manner.  This requires applicants to have basic communication and social skills, along with the ability to work well in a team.  Many Canadian schools and a few U.S. medical colleges are currently testing for these skills by interviewing applicants using a multiple mini interview (MMI) process, which was discussed in last month’s College Admissions Today article.  Based on the upcoming revisions to the MCAT and some individual schools’ changing interview processes, it looks like it will be essential for future applicants to have personal skills besides from what they learn in their science and medical classes.

View the entire 1991 article and 2011 article from The Chronicle.

Interested in learning more about the MCAT 2015? View helpful resources from the AAMC for students and admissions officers.

November 15, 2011

The Benefits of the MMI Process

Has your college started using MMI as part of the application process?  The MMI process is when groups of selected students meet with 9 to 12 interviewers to discuss various situational topics.  By using multiple interviewers, it eliminates random bias and gives applicants a better probability of being accurately judged. These benefits of the MMI process are just a few of the many benefits that can come from using this process.

Virginia Tech Carilion was in an article in the NY Times as one of the most recent schools to use the MMI process, along with eight medical schools in the United States and thirteen in Canada.  These schools will commonly use MMI in addition to MCAT scores, applications, and essays.  The purpose of MMI is to see how well candidates communicate, problem solve, and work in teams.  These qualities and attributes in a student are extremely important in the medical world where establishing trust with your colleagues and patients is vital.  Many people in the medical field are ‘book smart’ and qualified academically, but some may fall short when it comes to basic communication, social skills, and the ability to work in a team.

Over 100 of the nation’s medical schools still rely on MCATs and applications to accurately judge whether the applicant is a correct match for their school.  Without checking for proper communication skills, the applicant may only be partially qualified. Can you imagine a doctor or surgeon performing the wrong medical operation on a patient simply due to miscommunication?  It happens much more than you may think.  A New York study by the Joint Commission found minimal communication to be among the leading causes of medical errors, which cause as many as 98,000 deaths each year.  This shocking statistic helps to confirm that screening applicants for essential qualities and skills needed in the medical field is a must!

To view the entire article, please view New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test from the NY Times.