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Good preparation is essential to a successful interview, but being prepared for a postgraduate interview requires yet more work. But don’t be put off, simply read our guide to help you practice for the big day.
Interviews often begin with the interviewer asking you to describe yourself and your current position, so have a short, concise answer prepared before you go in.
Follow this up with an explanation of any CV gaps and finish by explaining why you think this course is the logical next step for you.
Prepare your outfit of choice ahead of the day and smarten up by booking a haircut a couple of days before to finish it off. Make sure to shine the shoes, iron the trousers and hang your outfit the night before so it’s ready to go and you can spend the morning going over your notes rather than rushing around with the iron.
First impressions are incredibly important so putting on a smart outfit really will help your chances and let the admissions team know you're serious about your place.
Plan out the best route to reach your interview a few days ahead, making sure you know which mode of transport you are taking and if you plan to drive then work out where you can park.
It might be an idea to locate a nearby coffee shop to stop in just before the interview so you can take five minutes to relax too.
Although interviews for postgraduate courses often follow a more laid-back format than a standard job interview it's always advisable to prepare as if you were getting a grilling from a future employer.
Make sure to swot up on the university to find out about your particular department. Has the school or your future tutor won any awards? Do they have particular specialisms that you could reference and have they been positively mentioned in any of the news outlets recently? Even if your chosen area of study isn't current affairs or journalism your interviewer will likely be impressed by the effort you’ve made to research, and you'll have some small talk to break up the discussions about yourself and the course.
It's the oldest advice in the book but never underestimate the importance of knowing your background inside out because there is nothing more unprofessional than stumbling over dates and details in your career or academic history.
Most university websites offer practice tests for future postgraduates on a range of subjects, and these will often be real questions they’ve asked in the past.
During the Interview
Remember to listen rather than panicking about what your next answer could be. And if you get asked a question where your mind goes blank (it happens to us all), don’t panic, it’s fine to pause to think of your answer, so don’t rush yourself.
Similar to job interviews, if you have questions you'd like to ask your interviewers, make sure you prepare these - here are some common questions you could ask.
Make sure you're attentive, polite and at the end, remember to thank your interviewers for their time.
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