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Preparing for Interviews

By Scarlett Maria

The dreaded interviews; an incredibly stressful period for many. I have compiled five top tips that aided me in preparing for interviews, and I hope that these can help you too!

Look at practice interview questions

You can find these by searching for them online or watching past interviews. Consider how you would answer these. I’d recommend researching both course specific questions, as well as general interview questions, such as ‘Why did you apply to x college?’ Whilst you will never be able to predict the questions asked, doing this will help you start thinking critically. Also, try to answer these questions aloud, and talk them out to yourself. I spent lots of time in the build-up to interviews verbalising my arguments to myself, before critiquing, rewording, and redeveloping them. Whilst I looked rather bizarre to anyone watching, it really helped me to develop my ability to answer questions coherently, and effectively structure my thought process.

The most valuable teacher is experience

If you are able to, I would recommend trying to arrange some mock interviews. Ideally, practise with someone who is unfamiliar to you and is more experienced in your chosen subject. However, you could ask anyone, from friends, family, or current teachers. Have them research past subject specific questions, or general university interview questions. Ask them to challenge you on your responses, as this will give you the opportunity to elaborate or justify your points. Remember, the most important question in any university interview is ‘why.’

Personal Statement Memorisation

After the arduous process of completing your personal statement, some students may have the urge to put it behind them completely. However, questions surrounding your personal statement will likely be asked during the interviews; the interviewers will be curious about what you learned, thought, or gained from the materials, experiences, etc, that you have written about. In light of this, I would read through and refamiliarise yourself with any information you’ve already given to the university and consider some key points you’d like to make if you’re asked a question surrounding any aspect of your personal statement. I would also recommend considering how you would relate these to your chosen course.

Following on from the previous point, think about areas outside of what you have said in your personal statement to talk about in the interview/s. The personal statement gave a ‘snapshot’ of you, and your interviewers may wish to know about other things you have independently pursued. This could be an article or book you have read, lectures you have watched, or an activity you have taken part in that relates to your subject.

Believe in yourself

As cliché as it sounds, confidence in your ability can aid you in interviews, though I realise this is easier said than done! Ultimately, the interviewers are not trying to catch you out, but are looking for your engagement in the subject and an eagerness to learn more, so try to exhibit that enthusiasm in your interview.


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