Is there one UK university you would love to study at? Or have you found the perfect course for you? Then getting the grades might not be enough. They may want you to attend an interview or submit your work to see if you are the right kind of student.

Don't worry about your interview

With a bit of preparation you can ace the interview and get into your dream university in the UK. Here are some tips to help you.

Why do universities ask for interviews?

They may want to assess how good your spoken English is, or how committed you are to studying your chosen course – and typically prestigious universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, use interviews to select the very best students.

What if I can't come in person?

Many universities conduct interviews online via Zoom and Skype. If you have been invited to an interview and can't attend in person, ask about remote interviews.

Things to do before the interview

  1. It is important to prepare for an interview

    You'll be competing against many other strong candidates.
  2. Most universities will ask the same type of questions

    Such as ‘why do you want to study the subject’ and ‘why do you want to attend this university’.
  3. Review your personal statement

    They are likely to ask you to expand on what you have said about yourself, your achievements, and your ambitions.
  4. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions

    Make sure you’re prepared and have thought about these beforehand. Asking smart and well thought out questions shows the university you are interested in the course. To best prepare these questions, look through the course guide and the university website. Also make sure you have read up on the latest developments in your field – you won’t be tested, but it shows you are truly interested in the topic.
  5. You may be asked to bring a portfolio of work

    Or to send it before the interview. It's important you follow the guidelines when doing so. Creative arts courses will normally ask for examples of your work and will focus their interview questions on it. Make sure your portfolio is well presented and marked clearly, and you can articulate your influences and how you went about creating the work.
  6. Sleep well

    Getting a good night sleep will help you excel in the interview.

What to do on the day of the interview?

  1. It is important to arrive on campus at least 30 minutes before the interview starts

    Campuses can be big and easy to get lost on. Arrive early so you can familiarise yourself with the place – don't arrive late to an interview feeling stressed or flustered.

  2. Make sure you have the right body language

    Whether the interview is in person or online, don’t slouch in the chair – sit up straight. Don't yawn or fold your arms. Always try to make eye contact and look alert when the interviewer is talking. Interviewers will learn as much about you through your body language, as through your words.

  3. Remember not to be too overprepared on the day

    Try to act relaxed. They really want to get to know you and what you can personally offer their course. They may also ask unexpected and apparently random questions, to see how well you act under pressure.

  4. You might be put into a small group with other hopeful students

    As well as the one-to-one interview, you might be given a task or be expected to contribute to a discussion with competitors who want to get onto the course. Make sure you participate, as not saying much will reflect badly.

How to dress for your interview

It's important to look presentable – but that doesn't mean wearing a suit if that is not something you would normally wear.

Universities will generally expect students to dress smart or smart-casual. Even if you have an interview on Skype or Zoom, you'll be expected to look presentable. Feeling comfortable is important though, to help you perform better.

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