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Ten top tips for interviews

Ten top tips to help Y13 students prepare for university interviews

1. Interviews are fun! Or at least they can be enjoyable if you do some preparation, try to think about what questions are likely to come up and get into some really good habits when you are answering them

2. You need to SHOW OFF what you know, remember that interviewers don’t know you know anything unless you actually tell them!

3. Use plenty of RELEVANT EXAMPLES to illustrate your answers – these may be from outside reading, books, poems, plays, newspaper or magazine articles, a topic on a website, from a documentary, the news, a lecture or a masterclass

4. NAME DROPPING is also fine – giving examples of experts in your subject area you may have studied or read about – poets, photographers, scientists, architects, philosophers etc

5. If you are answering maths and science questions, ensure you TALK THROUGH your thought process, don’t just present them with an answer, they want to know how your brain works!

6. The questions will not be impossible! What would be the point?.........You would cry. You can actually work out what quite a few of them could be……:

  • questions based on your application (keep a copy!!!)

  • subject-specific questions based on your current knowledge

  • questions about your relevant work experience – what have you observed and learned?

  • what you have read recently (make sure you have an article you are happy to talk about)

  • what you are most looking forward to studying on this degree

  • questions about you – your useful skills and qualities eg how you handle stress, how you multitask

  • why you’ve chosen to apply to this particular university

  • how you are planning to contribute to university life as a whole

If you mention something, don’t be surprised if they pick up on it to ask for more detail so only talk about topics you are confident you can expand upon, using lots of relevant examples

7. In a group interview, make sure your voice gets heard and, if you usually dominate, give others a chance to speak too!

8. Try to arrange a practice interview with someone you don’t know – it’ll help to boost your confidence before the real thing

9. Logistics:

  • you need to make sure you know exactly where the interview is taking place – universities can be quite big

  • you need to aim to arrive early – being late is unacceptable

  • you need to wear something smart – the time to express your individuality through your clothes is AFTER they have made you an offer…..

10. Smile and try to enjoy the process – if you’ve done your preparation and you remember to include lots of examples and show off your knowledge, it might actually be quite fun after all!

For anyone needing additional interview practice, I offer mock interviews across all subject areas - please see my website for full details or email

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