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Interview advice

The list below offers some advice to help you prepare for your upcoming interview, as well as some tips on how to present yourself well on the day.

  • Interview advice

    • Plan your journey

      Make sure you have money on your Oyster card and that you know the bus or train times. It could also help to plan an alternative route in case your train is cancelled or the person who offered you a lift has forgotten all about it.

    • Arrive early

      This will give you the chance to collect your thoughts before the interview.

    • Dress appropriately

      Or at the very least, make sure you're presentable. You won't be expected to wear a suit, but you should dress appropriately for the situation. If you're interviewing for a Business course it helps to present yourself as a future professional.

    • Look over your application and personal statement again

      It's likely the interviewers will ask you about something you wrote, and it's equally likely you haven't looked at it for quite some time. You might have completely forgotten that sentence about the work experience you did at HSBC in year 10, until the interviewer asks what you learned there.

      Don't be caught out by your own statement.

    • Stay calm

      This one is easier said than done but it's still worth mentioning. A little nervousness isn't necessarily frowned upon, it actually shows that the interview means a lot to you. However, you do need to show that you can continue to perform under pressure.

      Take a few deep breaths before you enter the room, listen carefully to the questions and consider your answers for a moment before speaking.

    • Think ahead

      You'll never be able to predict the exact questions that will come up in an interview, but there are some universal questions which are almost certain to appear.

      Why do you want to do this course? Why did you choose this institution? What makes you think you're a suitable candidate? What experience do you have in this field?

      Try to anticipate as many of these questions as you can and prepare an answer for each.

    • Show knowledge of your subject

      The best way to convince interviewers that you're passionate about your subject is to be knowledgeable. Make sure you know your terminology, you're up-to-date with new developments and you're able to have an intelligent discussion around the subject.

    • Read up on the course

      Before the interview, make sure you know as much as possible about the course. If you can identify a specific module you're really excited about and explain why, the interviewers will see that you've given this a lot of consideration.

    • Think of questions to ask at the end

      Everyone who has ever been to an interview has experienced that awkward moment when the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions you'd like to ask us?" It's not a complete disaster if you don't have any burning questions, but you're missing a final opportunity to hammer home your passion for the course.

      Think of a couple of insightful questions in advance so that you can end the interview on a positive note.

    • If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification

      It's better to have the interviewer repeat the question and then give a good answer than to guess what they might have said and answer completely the wrong question.

    • Show you can think for yourself

      Don't regurgitate material from textbooks or repeat word-for-word what your sixth form teacher told you. University is all about thinking for yourself so interviewers are looking for students who have their own ideas and can reach their own conclusions.

    • Show them who you are, not just what you've done

      The university already has an idea of what you've achieved from your UCAS form and personal statement The course tutors want to meet you, hear about your interests and get an idea of your personality so they can tell if you're the kind of student they want to teach for the next three years.

      Don't rely completely on what you've done in the past, make sure you explain what you'd like to do in future.

Interviews at Middlesex

We hope the general advice we've given so far is useful for everyone to think about. At Middlesex every School assesses students' strengths differently depending on the kind of qualities they value. For example, Art and Design students will need to bring a portfolio whereas Nursing students will have to pass a skills test.

Below is some advice specific to certain subject areas that require interviews.

  • Subject specific interview advice

    • Art and Design

      For Art and Design courses at Middlesex, candidates are asked to bring a portfolio of their work along to the interview. This is not meant to be a test, it's more to give the tutors an idea of what you can do.

      Our Senior Admissions Communications Officer, Malathi Kanapathy says there are no surprises: "We include a portfolio guide video with every interview invitation to give candidates an idea of what tutors would like to see."

      Third year students are on hand to assist in the interview process as well, giving candidates a tour of the facilities and telling them about their experiences here.

      Sophie, a third year Illustration student recently helped out at a group interview: "We were there to be a friendly face and help the candidates feel comfortable so they could give the best possible interview."

      Remembering back to her own interview, Sophie offers the following advice: "Be prepared, make sure your portfolio shows your best work. Also, it's really important to express yourself and put across your enthusiasm for the subject. That's what tutors at Middlesex are looking for."

      It's normal to be nervous before an interview, says Sophie: "I was so scared, I remember my hands were shaking, but it was all worth it when I got the place. I'm so glad I did it."

    • Law

      Interviews with the School of Law at Middlesex are a chance for the tutors to get an idea of your personality.

      Hossam Selim, Senior Admissions Communications Adviser, says: "The interviews are fairly informal, the tutors want to know about you and your interests. They will try to keep it as relaxed as possible so that you feel free to talk openly."

      Candidates who stand out are always those with a clear idea of what they want to achieve: "Do your research on the course," says Hossam, "Explain your interest in the programme and what you feel you'll gain from it. Most of all, show us your passion for the subject."

      In addition to this advice, Joann Alexander, Marketing Manager for the School of Law says: "We want to see an aptitude for critical thinking and the ability to express opinions using evidence. Overall, candidates should show us they can think for themselves."

    • Media

      First year Film student Marko Sulic-Woodgate remembers attending his interview at Middlesex: "We did some really cool group exercises, like creating a story around a series of pictures. Some of the people I met at the interview actually remembered me later when I started the course."

      Marko acknowledges that interviews can be intimidating: "I was nervous beforehand, worrying that if I didn't succeed I wouldn't be going to uni at all, but being part of a group took away some of the tension. In the end the tutors actually made the whole thing quite fun."

      If Marko had to give one piece of advice to someone before an interview with the School of Media at Middlesex, he would say: "Be prepared. Have your portfolio ready, bring everything they ask you to bring and more if you have it."

      Danielle Ferguson, Education Liaison and Outreach Officer at Middlesex, often gives advice to students and schools about the university application process: "The tutors want to know about you, so relax, don't be too formal. It's not a job interview, universities want an idea of your character."

      Danielle says the most important thing is to show your enthusiasm for the course: "Know your subject area, demonstrate your passion and show you're invested in the course."

    • Nursing and Midwifery

      These courses require skills tests in Literacy and Numeracy as well as an interview. Candidates will be required to write an essay and take a maths test.

      Caroline Sargisson, Head of Recruitment for Professional Programmes in our School of Health and Education, says: "Our essay questions are designed to encourage students to use their skills in analysis and discussion. It's also worth brushing up on exam techniques as many of them run out of time during the skills tests."

      A lot of candidates are very nervous about the interviews, worrying that they'll be subjected to all kinds of difficult questions. Caroline has some words of reassurance: "We look on interviews as a way of finding out about you and your journey so far. There are no trick questions, we believe you get the best results when candidates feel comfortable and at ease.

      "We might ask why you feel you'll be an effective nurse or midwife, or how you will cope with the rigours of the course. The best responses show that you've done your preparation and can offer real life examples to support your answers."

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