Pip to the Post: Interview Tips

University courses that require interviews can put people off.  Don’t let something as small as a 10-minute interview stop you from following your dreams.

Just a few years ago I submitted my UCAS application and some weeks later I began to receive invitations to interview days for Primary Teaching Degrees.  Just reading the word interview in the letter made my heart race. Then I read further, a presentation, assessments and an interview!! I didn’t like the sound of this, but I knew if I wanted to get onto my course, I would have to find a way to get through it.

In reality, an interview day is nothing to get strung up or stressed about! I attended 4 of them in a short space of time and in the most part you get to chat to other like-minded students who are passionate about the same subject as you.

Presentations are your chance to showcase your passion, interviews are a chance to win over the course tutor and assessments just confirm to the university that you meet the standards required for the course.  Nothing will come as a surprise if you are prepared.

Many courses don’t even specify an ‘interview day’!  These days are usually reserved for high demand courses such as Teaching, Nursing & Midwifery.  It is more likely that you will come along for a short ‘interview’ which is more like a ten-minute chat with a course tutor.

Still worried?  Then follow my simple and easy 4 step process to pip your competitors to the post and use your interview to get that place on your course.

  1. Preparation
    Preparation is the key to your interview success. Firstly read the letter. Then read it again. The letters inviting me to interview made it very clear what would be expected of me on the day. This enabled me to prepare in advance.I looked up possible interview questions, researched current news in my subject area and took online practise tests (for literacy and numeracy skills tests required for primary teaching). For entry onto a teacher training course, I was also required to prepare presentations.  Think outside the box.  Instead of preparing a presentation, I used origami to get everyone involved and make the presentation interactive.
  2. Practise
    Practising any presentations or asking your teacher or tutor to give you a practise interview can make all the difference to your performance on the day. They can give you feedback on how to improve or ideas of extra information to research.  Also, if you are planning an interactive presentation it will give you a chance to check for any problems or mishaps that could occur.  Practise, practise and practise again.  If you do, your flow and confidence will be so much better on the day.
  1. Interview
    If you follow steps 1 & 2 you will arrive at your interview fully prepared.  All you need to do now is RELAX and try to enjoy the experience, but most of all show your passion and commitment to the course and subject.
  2. Place
    After the interview, you should receive confirmation of whether or not you will be offered a place.  Some universities will send their decision very quickly and others take a little longer.  If you don’t get a decision straight away, don’t panic! All universities work slightly differently and some will take longer than others.