(Original post by IDGE)
I'm not sure how great my advice will be seeing as I'm not sure what I did to warrant an offer, but here are a few general tips that I think might help:
- Wear whatever you're comfortable in! (I wore jeans and a jumper). I think that as long as it's not distracting for both yourself and your interviewers, it'll be fine.
- Take some time to think over your answers. I said "Hm, I've never really thought of that before. Could I have a second to think it over?" a few times during my interviews and it was totally fine. They want you to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible so that you can show them all of your potential - if you're silent for a few seconds in order to achieve that, they'll end up appreciating it.
- Eat whatever you normally would do at breakfast, providing that it's enough to keep you going (both mentally + physically) through your interviews. You don't want to try anything too different on the day of your interview (e.g. having a full english when you normally just have porridge) bc you'll probably (subconsciously?) feel uncomfortable for breaking your routine and that may throw you off. (I jnow that that isn't a scientific answer at all, but it's advice i've been given and heeded for exams that's seemed to work!).
I would, however, suggest that you look at the timings of you interviews and plan your breakfast/lunch/snack breaks accordingly. My interviews were pretty spaced apart (1 and a half hours) but because I was given an hour to read an extract before my second interview, I had to rush to get lunch in 30 mins).
I'd also bring a bottle of water along - before my second interview I was feeling pretty drained and queasy and I would have really enjoyed a sip of water to calm me down!
-My sister was 10 minutes late to one of her interviews as she thought she had lost her phone or something like that. Apparently the first thing her interviewer said to her was "You're late" in a very menacing voice. I think as long as you don't worry about how you appear too much and focus on showing them what you can do intellectually, they're fine with it (she ended up getting an offer). In my experience, interviews tend to overrun quite a bit anyway (although I don't know how many of those are caused by applicants simply turning up late) but I don't think it's as catastrophic as many make it out to be. Rather an inevitability when trying to interview so many people in such a short period of time, I feel.
Basically, the most important thing if you are late is not to freak out.
- Nothing really caught me off-guard as the interviews were very much based around my PS and what I was studying at school. They will try and stretch you to think beyond what you've been taught, but it will be done bit by bit as opposed to just plunging you into the deep end straight away. I think people often come out of interviews freaking out about them saying they asked me "[seemingly obscure question"]when actually the question would have followed the conversation they had just been having. Be sure to know your stuff (I'd say go through your PS/any submitted documents line by line and almost try and guess what kind of questions they'd ask you about it. Chances are, they'll ask you nothing from what you 'predicted' but you'll at least be trying to think outside the box about your subject, which certainly won't hurt you in the real interview.
- Try and relax about your interviews - view it as a shot to just have a discussion with someone equally (if not more) passionate about your subject as you. A friend of mine told her interviewers a joke at the start (and got an offer) and I swore during mine (I was talking about the importance of stressing certain syllables/sentences fyi) and it turned out to be okay. I think some interviewers have really great poker faces so whilst you're talking, they're not showing signs that what you're saying is right/wrong and then you panic and either blabber on/"show weakness" and change your answer because you think it'll please your interviewer. I think that if you've thought your answer through (something which taking a few seconds before talking will help you with) then you should be fine, and don't be put off by interviewers who can't be read. They're like that for a reason.
- Remember that the interview is supposed to show the interviewers how you think (your logical thought processes), so talk aloud! that way if you get something 'wrong' along the way, the interviewers will know if it was merely a silly mistake (say forgetting a formula or st for the sciences?) and how far you were able to get with the question (it's very different to be wrong and nowhere near the right answer and only stumbling at the last hurdle).
- Don't be surprised if an interviewer's sitting in the corner taking notes. You probably already know that, but I feel as though it's a point that's often taken for granted. My friend didn't realise and felt very uncomfortable during his interview because it was so unexpected and strange to him.
- (Probably another more trivial point that may not even be applicable to you) but try and visit lots and lots of pretty buildings so that the college doesn't feel as daunting to you when you're sat waiting for your interview. (I go to a comprehensive in East London and some of my friends had never seen anything as grand as their colleges before so they felt super out of place, which perhaps couldve flustered them during their interviews). Either way, take it as an excuse to go to any cool museums, galleries, exhibitions etc :P
I think that's all I can think of for now, hope that's proven to be somewhat helpful. Good luck with your application, I hope it all works out for the best