Attending an interview

Primary page content

Why am I being asked to attend an interview?

Some universities will ask you to attend an interview. This helps them to work out if you're a good fit for their course and identify whether you have the appropriate level of knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm for the subject. It may also be an opportunity for the institution to test your skills with an audition or short test.

Before you attend

  • Check your interview invite so you know exactly what you'll be doing on the day, and what you're expected to bring with you
  • Read as much about the course and your subject area as you can. This includes programme pages, the research interests of the academics who will be interviewing you, and current news coverage around your subject. Be prepared to discuss your findings
  • You'll probably be asked about what attracts you to the course you've applied for – so prepare a good answer, focusing on the features of the course that interest you
  • Think about some questions you want to ask. For example, you might want to find out about placement opportunities, facilities or library resources
  • Plan your journey
  • Make sure you have some smart clothing. You don't have to wear a suit, but you should look like you've made an effort to look professional

On the day

Relax and remember that the interviewers are on your side. They've invited you for an interview because they’re interested in you and would like to offer you a place if possible, so they want you to feel at ease and be yourself.

They're not expecting you to have the answers to all the questions they ask, but they'll want to see evidence that you're able to apply the skills and knowledge you already have and think on your feet.  If you don't know an answer, be honest but turn the conversation round to something related that you do feel confident discussing.

Sometimes you may be asked to do group work as part of the interview. This is your chance to show strong teamwork skills: organisation, participation, delegation, collaboration and negotiation. Make sure you have your say but don't dominate.

International interviews

If you’re an international student then you will probably be interviewed via Skype.

Before your real interview, you may want to practise by Skyping a friend. Ask for their feedback to see if there's anything you need to improve on.

Remember your interviewer will be able to see your Skype username and profile picture – so make sure they are appropriate and give the right impression. Also, try and have the interview in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed.

If there are technical issues or if your connection is lost during the call, don't panic – just wait for your interviewer to call you back, and explain what happened.