The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) was designed as a clinical tool in order to probe all the various areas in which cognitive skills may have been lost. The data were then examined to see whether skills in some of the MMSE domains were particularly associated with interview ability. When the presence or otherwise of cognitive impairment is the subject of investigation the question of whether the respondent can give accurate or meaningful responses does not arise. The visual construction and registration tests were unhelpful —there was no statistically significant difference between the interview able and non-interview able respondents. With a threshold of MMSE 10, 77.5 per cent of the interviews were achieved satisfactorily. If the threshold had been 15 and over this proportion would have been very nearly 90 per cent — but it is not until the MMSE score of 26 and over is taken as the threshold that 100 per cent interview ability is achieved.