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Last year, one of our student followers contacted us asking for help. Misa told us that there was a big problem in the health science sector of public education. Not all students were getting equal accessibility to resources which help them enter Med School.
Each year, more than a thousand high schoolers enroll into the Biomedical Science program at the University of Auckland, with the hopes of entering the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB or Med), the Bachelor of Pharmacy, and the Bachelor of Optometry program the following year. To be granted acceptance into these programs, students must excel in the following standards:
- Tests and Exams throughout their Biomed year (in other words, a high GPA)
- UMAT ("A test designed to assess general attributes and abilities gained through prior experience and learning; specifically, the acquisition of skills in critical thinking and problem solving, understanding people and abstract non-verbal reasoning. These abilities are considered important to the study, and later practice, of professions in the health sciences. UMAT is an aptitude test; it is not a personality or IQ test." Source: https://umat.acer.edu.au/about-umat/introduction) (Only for MBChB)
- Multi Mini Interviews (MMI)
What are the Multi Mini Interviews?
The interview component comprises of 8 Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) stations. Each station has one interviewer and takes 8 minutes to complete. The interviewers include faculty staff members and invited members of the wider community.
The MMI assesses non-academic qualities that are important for those pursuing a healthcare career, including:
- Social responsibility
- A strong commitment to the study and practice
- Humanistic qualities such as empathy and sensitivity
- Excellent communication skills
- Fluency in English
- A strong academic background in sciences
- An enthusiasm for life-long learning
- A wide knowledge of New Zealand's multifaceted communities and cultures
- Awareness of prevailing health needs and community issues
- Awareness of the nature of the health profession
- Certainty about career choice
- Enthusiasm for people and their well-being
- All round abilities and interests across a wide variety of activities
After a grueling year-long process of uncertainty, only about half of the Biomedical students receive an offer. And that offer isn't even for their selected programs, it's just for the MMI. And only about half of that selection gets into Med.
All students want to be well prepared and equipped to do well in the interviews. But unfortunately, the university provides very limited resources to assist them and the only alternatives are with private tuition companies who charge at least $400 for a workshop.
The high cost barrier of these private services have created a landscape of inequality for more affluent students, having higher chances of being accepted into the medicine program and eventually being doctors.
But for a healthy public healthcare system, doctors should come from all types of socio-economic backgrounds, and not limited to just students who can afford extra tuition.
Misa asked us to help sponsor an event run by herself and her friends which provides free and accessible resources to help students pass their MMI. They all went through a similar experience of not being able to find additional resources to help them prepare for their MMI. They didn't want students to fork out a large chunk of money into something that didn't guarantee their acceptance into Med.
So together with Misa and her team, we ran a Free Mock MMI event. Where students can practice their interview techniques with senior Med students who've been through the same experience. Where students could receive a booklet with practice questions to take home to practice. Where students could attend and leave without needing to spend a single cent.
Last year, we helped 144 students. And this year, we're proud to say that we helped give 160 students the opportunity to practice their interviews and increase their chance of entry, with a 96% satisfaction rate. And what surprised us the most was that 100% of students who attended a paid event, rated our free event better or on par!
Volunteer Driven & Sponsor Supported
Of course, the event definitely couldn't have been done without help of the 80 volunteers, who gave up their Saturday to help their junior students. And our generous sponsors, the NZ Defence Force, Medisave, and Zambrero, for providing financial backing, gifts, and food for the volunteers.
Open Access to Education
We helped 160 students but even more missed out. We believe in open access to education so we've decided to make the Guide and Practice Questions by Ashleigh Brough & Míša Rektorysová, from the event, available digitally for free.
Download Free Mock MMI Resource Booklet 2018: https://nie.sh/6a9f1
We want to help even more students next year so naturally, we'd want to make it even bigger and better. If you'd like to be part of Free Mock MMI 2019 get in touch with us and we'll reach out to you when the time comes.