University Interviews - The Tips and Tricks that helped me get five offers

You want to go to university? Go you! I applied to five universities to study BSc Paramedic Science, undergoing English and maths selection tests, multiple mini interviews (MMIs), individual interviews and group interviews, and I received five offers. This is how I prepared, practised and performed.

Choose Your Choices Wisely

Check what the requirements for the course are. Be aware of what you will require to get onto the course. Not being the strongest at English or maths should not reduce your chance for getting in, but speak to the university as they will be able to advise how you can revise, or they may say that the test is not selective and purely so they can gauge what and how much support you may need. Before ruling out a choice as you think you may not get in, enquire further and see what the university can do for you, so you can do the best for them.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice for the English and Maths tests using your school/college or university resources. Google selection tests specifically for your course, and even check out UCAS resources. Sometimes the university you are applying to will even supply you with practice tests so you know what to do. If you need to pass a fitness test, find out what they will test you on so you show that you are able to complete the exercises with good form. Practice your answers to the standard university questions, such as: 
  • Why do you want to study this course?
  • Why do you want to attend this university?
  • What qualities do you have for your chosen course/profession?
  • Describe a time where you had to show resilience.
  • Describe an achievement you are most proud of.
  • What do you think your greatest flaw is?
Go through lists of university intake questions and either discuss with a parent/friend/partner/teacher, or write down your ideas. It is always a good idea to practice spoken answers too as this makes you more comfortable with the words you are going to say. 

General Knowledge

I suggest knowing at least one article in the news within your field. Try to know a little on the latest developments, stresses and changes within the area. You do not need to know everything, but during interviews (especially MMIs) they may ask you to discuss your thoughts on your profession in the media. Knowledge also covers knowing what the course entails inside and out: placements, modules, style of learning (lectures, practicals or a mixture), although if you do not know then ask them at some point during your interview day, or email beforehand. Usually there will be a chance to ask questions, so take every opportunity you get!

Practice Makes Perfect

I promise that you cannot do too much preparation for an interview. Practice your Maths tests until you are completely confident. Revise your punctuation, paragraphs and vocabulary so you smash your English test. Speak your interview answers out-loud all the time! Once you think you have done enough interview practice, do a little more and then thank me later. Even practice your smile, confident walk with your head held high, firm handshake and happy personality so that on the interview day, the team will see the best you. 

Practice The Subject Specific Questions

These are probably the least difficult to answer, usually. Some universities do like to throw in the odd curve-ball, but remember that if you get stumped, most of the other candidates probably will do too. Before you answer ANY question, take a breath in and very quickly plan the direction of your answer in your head. Ensure you take a nice slow breath in to calm yourself down and you will be able to answer anything slowly and confidently. Here are a selection of questions that may come up, but obviously there are infinite numbers of potential questions so you may never be completely prepared. The important thing is to do your best!

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