Monday, April 6, 2009

Multiple Mini-Interview... Here I Come!!!

**Happy Dance** **More Happy Dance**

I got my invitation to an admissions interview for McMaster's OT program today!!!

Dear Ms. SweetPea,
We are pleased to inform you that based on the rank order interviews list, you have been selected for a personal interview which serves as the final stage for recommendation for admission to the Master Science program in Occupational Therapy at McMaster University.

That was a nice present to wake up to. And now... the preparation begins!

Penny Salvatori, who is a member of the McMaster OT/PT admissions committee, wrote a chapter for the book Innovations in Rehabilitation Sciences Education titled "Evidence Based Admissions in Rehabilitation Science." If you can get your hands on a copy, check it out (this link might work). In it, she details that Mac uses a 7-station circuit and notes what the general topic of each station will be.

"The MMI involves seven interview stations for each applicant over a 70-minute period.
Each of the seven stations had a different focus.
Four of the stations pursued the applicant’s knowledge of:
- the occupational therapy or physiotherapy profession,
- the McMaster Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy Program,
- problem-based learning, and
- health care issues in general.
Three of the stations involved ethical scenarios that required moral reasoning.

Interviewers were drawn from the faculty, clinical community, and student body and were required to attend a training session.
Applicants were assessed at each MMI station on the quality of his/her response, general communication skills, and overall impression in terms of suitability for the McMaster program and/or profession."

So, now the question becomes: How do we best prepare?

Personally, I'm going to break it down by station type.

Occupational Therapy Profession:
- Rehearse personal experience statement.
- Continue reading online blogs written by occupational therapists.
- Stay up to date on reading of the CAOT website, with particular attention to the Position Papers.
- If you haven't already seen this, check out this 2007 PowerPoint presentation posted by CAOT about trends affecting healthcare and the role of OT.

McMaster OT Program:
- Review course structure and rationale.
- Look up information about the Northern Studies Stream option, including additional information on the Northern School of Medicine.

Problem Based Learning:
- Mac gives a good run down of this approach and their rationale for using it in the FAQ of the admissions section of the webpage.
- Read the publications Mac references in the above mentioned run-down.

Health Care Issues in General:
- Probably look at a lot of the same resources I used when I was trying to write my personal submission for my other OT program admissions.
- Read back-issues of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ online).
- Ditto for the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research (CJNR) and the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership (CJNL).

Ethical Scenarios and Moral Reasoning:
- The training manual for Interviewers has some great information. For instance, they note that there is no right or wrong answer for these questions. What they look for in an answer is a well articulated response, good support for opinion, and evidence of an appreciation for alternate points of view. Think "grey" rather than "black and white."
- Read the rationale given for the answers to questions in the CAOT Certification Exam.

I've been searching online for some practice ethical scenarios that are specific to OT, but haven't had much luck yet. If anyone else finds some please share!!
Here's the one I did come across (unfortunately, it doesn't say how you should respond):
"A physician refers a patient to you with specific instructions to treat osteoporosis. Upon assessing the patient, you disagree with the course of treatment suggested by the physician. What would you do?"

Okay... and that's enough from me for one day!!
I hope someone else finds this information useful. I by no means claim to have the best suggestions... and would sincerely love to have recommendations from others based on their approach to preparing for this interview. For example, one question I have is: How should I dress for this interview? Do I want to be conservative/generic or is it better to dress nicely but in a way that shows your personality (say with bright colours or bold jewelery/ties)?

I'll be finishing my thesis this week and then will be spending a lot of time preparing for this interview!!! I'm happy to share more ideas and would love to hear from other students who were invited to Mac. Send me an email! (address in my profile description)

Best of luck to all!


  1. I hope you got in. I've found your blog on a google search in 2011. So it might be too late to add anything, I
    If you got in, could you answer a few questions, please?

  2. Hi SweetPea, thank you so much, i found ur blog in 2011 tooo~ very informative~

  3. Great study plan! I have interviews for OT and PT at McMaster in a few weeks. I'm excited! Fingers crossed.

  4. We love you sweet pea!