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

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Abstract

Purpose:

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

Method:

Of the five California Longitudinal Evaluation of Admissions Practices (CA-LEAP) consortium schools, three used TIs and two used MMIs. Schools provided the following retrospective data on all 2011–2013 admissions cycle interviewees: age, gender, race/ethnicity (under-represented in medicine [UIM] or not), self-identified 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 one 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, -.08]) than non-DA applicants. Neither UIM status nor MCAT score were associated with interview performance.

Conclusions:

These findings have potentially important workforce implications, particularly regarding DA applicants, and illustrate the need for other multi-institutional studies of medical school admissions processes.

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