Top tips on how to prepare for a university interview

So you've been invited for an interview. Here are our top tips on how to prepare for it.

  • Before your interview, go back over your application form and remind yourself what you said in it. Make sure you can answer questions on anything that you raised, such as a particular book or topic.

  • Prepare answers to some of the most obvious questions, such as: why do want to study this subject?

  • Read through the course prospectus and be able to say something positive about it in case they ask you why you want to study this subject at this university.

  • Get a friend, teacher, or family member to stage a timed practice interview. Use the resources from this site and others to help.

  • Prepare for your interview by revising your chosen subject as much as possible in the weeks before the interview.

  • Make sure you are up to date with current affairs that relate to your chosen subject.

  • Dress smart - read our blog on what should I wear to a university interview

  • Be polite, friendly and act pleased to be there. The tutors have taken their time to interview you and will have to see you a lot over the next few years if they offer you a place. There's nothing more offputting than an ungrateful, grumpy student who acts like they would rather be doing something else. Don't worry about seeming a bit nervous. The tutors know to expect this, but they will also expect you to try to go in with the right attitude. Demonstrate that your willing to do your best despite your nerves.

  • Don't be phased if they ask you about something unfamiliar to you. This is a classic interview technique. They are probably trying to see how you think on your feet, so engage your brain, engage in active discussion and ask for some tips if you need them. Demonstrate that you are interested and up for the challenge.

  • If you don't know what to say straight away, allow yourself some time to think about an answer before speaking. But avoid very long silences. Ask for pointers if you are stuck.

  • The interviewers are likely to ask you if you have any questions at the end of the interview. Don't feel pressured into coming up with a question to ask. It's fine to say that all of your questions have been addressed at other stages of the admissions process. This is certainly much better than asking a question that they know you could have got an answer to from the website or during chats at open days.

  • Be polite at the end of the interview by saying Thankyou.

  • Get a good night's sleep before the interview. Don't be tempted to go to the pub the night before, even if the other candidates are.

  • Make sure you have some food and drink with you for the day (preferably that can be concealed in a rucksack etc during the actual interview process). You may be able to leave bags outside the interview room, but not necessarily.

  • Don't brag to other candidates about the questions you got asked. Often the same questions will be asked to everyone. If one of the other candidates gets in because you told them the questions and you don't, you'll be kicking yourself.