Non‐cognitive testing in medical student selection: the development and evaluation of a novel MMI station

Journal article

Sanwo, O. and Chan, P. 2021. Non‐cognitive testing in medical student selection: the development and evaluation of a novel MMI station. The Clinical Teacher.
AuthorsSanwo, O. and Chan, P.


Multiple mini-interviews (MMIs) are a well-established method of assessing non-cognitive skills in medical student selection in the United Kingdom; however, there are concerns that as MMIs become more predictable, candidates can be coached through the process. An innovative station was introduced at a new medical school to assess less commonly evaluated non-cognitive skills in the context of a skills task.


Our study aimed to evaluate candidate scores on the novel station and explore how they compared with scores on a traditional questions-based station and to the overall interview score.


Using a laparoscopic skills trainer, candidates were asked to pass a string through as many hoops as possible, only viewing the image on a screen. All candidates were assessed on decision making, managing stressful situations and creativity using several psychological parameters. Scores were then compared with scores on a traditional values-based question and the overall interview score.


Two hundred eighty-seven candidates completed the station. The average score on the novel station was significantly higher than the average scores on the other stations (paired Student's t-test, p < 0.05). There was no correlation between scores on the novel station and the traditional values-based question, suggesting different skills were being assessed in each station.


This station showed it is possible to test less commonly tested non-cognitive skills, in a realistic way. Unlike traditional stations, there is no reliance on candidate recall to award marks, therefore making it more difficult to coach. However, further work is required to refine and improve the testing environment.

KeywordsReview and exam preparation; Medicine; Medical students
JournalThe Clinical Teacher
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Online14 Dec 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jan 2022
Output statusPublished
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