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So you’ve managed to secure an interview for a PGCE course. First of all, good work – getting through the initial application process is no easy feat, and getting an interview means you’ve got your foot firmly lodged in the door. But what about the next step?
The thing is, PGCE interview days can vary between universities in terms of structure and format, so there are a few different things you may need to prepare for…
First up, you may well be asked to complete tests on subjects like Maths and English when you arrive (which will probably require you to achieve a certain pass mark). These tests will most likely vary depending on the type of PGCE you are applying for, but you should be given an idea of what to expect in advance of your interview day (giving you time to prepare).
If you’re applying for a PGCE in Primary Education, for instance, you’ll probably have to complete a basic Maths test and a writing exercise (such as a description of a teacher who inspired you or an imaginary letter to the parent of a child). Make sure you keep an eye out things like grammar, punctuation and spelling in the latter!
Some interview days will also require you to do a presentation. This may be something you’re asked to do in front of your interviewer or even other candidates, and the topic will most likely be something along the lines of ‘discuss your current teaching experience’ or ‘describe a lesson you’ve witnessed that you thought was particularly effective’.
Remember, although the content of your presentation will be important, your assessors will also want to see how you carry yourself when speaking to a group of people – this means you should aim to be as enthusiastic and engaging as possible!
So, on to the interview itself. By the time you’ve made it to the actual interview you might be feeling a bit drained (and you’ll almost certainly be feeling nervous), but if you remember a few key things you won’t go far wrong:
Gen up on the news – you may be asked to discuss a current education issue in your interview, so make sure you’re aware of what’s going on in the UK!
Prepare some examples – in the world of interviews, questions like ‘give us an example of a time you’ve had to deal with a such and such a situation’ are always popular. Think of some times on work experience when you’ve solved a problem or dealt with a particular issue, then memorise them as examples for your interview.
Show your enthusiasm – don’t be afraid to show how keen you are to get on the course. Being enthusiastic and full of energy is important in the world of teaching, and you’re interviewer will be looking for signs that you’re passionate about becoming a teacher.
Express your interest – don’t be afraid to ask questions. Not only will it show that you have a real interest in the course and the profession, but it will also indicate that you’ve thought carefully about the interview and prepared some things you’d like to discuss.
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