Welcome to the exciting world of FERMI questions! If you’re reading this, you’re likely preparing for the MMI and want some strategies to ace FERMI questions MMI. No need to worry, with these MMI practice questions, you’ll be able to tackle FERMI questions like a pro. Let’s get started!

First of all, let’s clarify what FERMI questions are. They’re a type of estimation question that ask you to estimate a quantity or provide a rough answer to a complex problem. The interviewer is usually not looking for an exact answer, but wants to see how you approach the problem, think critically, and arrive at a solution.

For example: How many people attend a professional football game?

This might see like an impossible question to answer, but it is the strategy of demonstrating your problem solving skills and critical thinking that will score you high points!

Here are some key strategies to help you tackle FERMI questions:

- Start with an order of magnitude estimate: This is the first step in approaching any FERMI question. Your goal is to estimate the answer to within an order of magnitude. For example, if the question is “How many people attend a professional football game?” you can estimate the answer to be “tens of thousands”.
- Break down the problem: Once you have made an order of magnitude estimate, it’s time to break down the problem into smaller, more manageable parts. For example, if the question is “How many books are sold in a year?” you can break it down by considering the number of books sold by each genre, and then summing those estimates up to get a rough estimate for the whole year.
- Use available information: Research is key to approaching FERMI questions. You can’t look things up live on the MMI, but you can state WHAT you would look up and why. This demonstrates your understanding of using existing data to help you make decisions. For example, if the question is “How many cars are manufactured in the world in a year?” you can say that you would look up statistics on car production, and average number of cars manufactured by each country. But for now you will estimate that the number is in the millions.
- Make assumptions: In many cases, you may need to make assumptions in order to arrive at an estimate. Just be sure to clearly state your assumptions, and explain how they might affect your final answer. For example, if the question is “How many people use ride-sharing services in a city?” you can make an assumption about the average number of rides per person per week, and then use that assumption to estimate the total number of riders.

With these strategies in mind, let’s look at some examples to help illustrate the concepts:

Example 1: How many people attend a professional football game?

- Order of magnitude estimate: tens of thousands
- Break down the problem: Consider the average attendance of each team in the league, and then add them up
- Use available information: Average attendance statistics for each team in the league
- Make assumptions: Assume that each game has roughly the same attendance

Example 2: How many books are sold in a year?

- Order of magnitude estimate: millions
- Break down the problem: Consider the number of books sold by each genre, and then sum those estimates up
- Use available information: Sales data for the publishing industry
- Make assumptions: Assume that the number of books sold is proportional to the popularity of each genre

Example 3: How many cars are manufactured in the world in a year?

- Order of magnitude estimate: tens of millions
- Break down the problem: Consider the average number of cars manufactured by each country, and then add them up
- Use available information: Look up statistics on car production and the average number of cars manufactured by each country
- Make assumptions: Assume that car production has remained consistent over the past few years

In conclusion, FERMI questions are a great way to demonstrate your critical thinking skills and ability to estimate answers to complex problems. By following these strategies, you can approach these questions with confidence and impress the interviewer with your skills. So don’t be afraid to tackle FERMI questions head-on! Our coaches love to practice FERMI questions so if you find these challenging, book a session with a MedCoach!

- For general info and more examples, check out these links!
- https://innovativeteachingideas.com/blog/an-excellent-collection-of-fermi-problems-for-your-class
- https://www.dam.brown.edu/math-coop/presentations/Fermi.pdf