Secondary Geography PGCE Interview tips / experience (succesful) Watch

ohhmyyjoshh
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Hi everyone - after coming on here during the build up to my PGCE interview for tips and advice I thought I'd share my own experience in the hope I can help someone else out. I'll try and make it as detailed as possible because some other peoples posts on here really helped me - its very long so grab a beer.

I'll start with by saying I was succesful in getting my place, the PGCE I applied for was secondary geography at the Uni of Nottingham. I turned down my other interviews as I was told I was succesful on the day. In regards to your actual application, just make sure its as mistake free as you can get it and fill it out with relevant extra curricular stuff that show a passion for your subject.

Experience and Education
I think one of the reasons I got the interview was that I had 3 months teaching experience already, but there were people at my interview who had no experience (and still did great and sounded very confident!) so I think as long as you can genuinely sound passionate you're gonna be ok. My degree is in geology (2:1) and I have pretty standard GCSE and A-level results ranging from C-A, the important thing being they do show a focus around Geography/Histroy/Geology, this can help as evidence for your passion/knowledge for your given subject and helps as a few talking points. I reckon even with a degree in history or something you could get on a PGCE in geography and vice/versa just so long as you show you have the knowledge and the interest for your chosen subject. Additionally, I would strongly recommend having some sort of relevant work experience/school experience as it gives you so much to talk about and relate to. For me I had to demonstrate that I did still have a strong knowledge of human geography (obviously geology focusing largely on physical geography) and I did this through talking about my interests such as travelling, reading (about histroy and politics) and other little hobbies.

The Interview
Overall the interview was very relaxed and chilled out, totally not what I expected- it puts you at ease (most are like this apparently) and my interviewer was really nice which helped a lot. Remember, they want you on the course (hence the interview) so just be yourself.

I was there for about 4 hours in total so take stuff to eat/drink. A notepad and folders for keeping things in and writing stuff down is useful and looks organised- maybe get a nice office satchel or something, I took a backpack and wished I'd got a satchel to look more teacher-like...

Be 10-20 minutes or so early as you will have to hand over your documents and have them scanned/photocopied so you can get this out the way and relax.

Dress smart, but comfortable. I wore some smart dark blue chino/suit trousers and a shirt and tie, no need for a full suit. Everyone else dressed similarly in smart 'office wear'. As long as you look clean and tidy I don't think it matters too much, just make sure you can feel relaxed in your outfit (not jeans obviously), I felt like being so relaxed and confident was one of the most crucial things to my success.

As soon as you arrive be the teacher that you would be in a school, polite, talkative and happy - it will help to get into a good vibe for the day and give a good impression. Make sure you have everything you need, don't forget anything at all, you've probably had a few weeks to prepare (at least) so there isn't really a valid excuse for forgetting anything and it makes you look unprofessional. Someone in my group forgot one of their tasks and it doesn't look good when everyone else had brought theirs. In regards to our task, it was an essay on the significance of geography to a pupil's learning. I think mine was pretty good as I spent a long time on it but I think the key thing they look for is a strong spelling, grammar and clear structure as the essay itself didn't really give you chance to showcase your subject knowledge (as I said above, you will have had plenty of time to do this so make it perfect) I included a few sources in my essay as requested and went a little further by getting some students who I had taught to give their personal opinions to include.

For my interview there was one assessor and two other interviewees, we got a chance to chat a little before the interview began and we were all pretty excited and happy (its nice to know people are also in the same boat as you).

Our interview consisted of:
*5 minute individual presentation on a geographical object
*Geographical analysis of a photo looking at aspects of how we would teach the ideas and topics in the photo (explain ideas to the group)
*Being self critical of our own subject knowledge
*Opportunity for us to ask Questions about the course and education in general
*Individual interview

I will cover these aspects individually to make it easier to read.

5 min presentation
It seems these are pretty common - for mine I had to take in a geographical object and talk about its significance in geography and relevance to a lesson/learning. This was definitely the most important aspect of my interview as its essentially the barebones of teaching (getting up in front of people and explaining/discussing things). I did my talk on a volcanic bomb that my dad had brought back from a far flung remote island (geographical talking point too) and focused the subject around natural hazards/volcanoes. I started with a brief introduction on what my object was and why its interesting. I explained the mechanism of volcanic eruptions as pressure relase and used filling up a baloon as an example (I felt like this went down really well, using everyday things to explain complex things is a good quality and helps kids to understand stuff). I went on to talkabout how dangerous falling bits of magma are and talked about learning activities I'd use to teach the individual hazards. One of the points of my talk was that I felt natural hazards are not looked at enough, children often learn about them through videos and news and don't often look at the individual components so my point was that they should look at the finer details a little more. I feel like mine went really well but that was partly down to my indepth knowledge thanks to my geology background and experience in public speaking. Crucial advice I can give is: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. I did my talk in front of my family, my dog and my mates - make sure you nail it. Avoid saying things like 'errr', 'ya know'. 'like'. If you need a second to remember, just chill out, have a pause - it makes you look so much more confident. Also, make sure you know that topic inside and out and be sure to make it relevant to the subject (I could have easily gone too in depth). Our preentations had to be without notes or powerpoint so just get a few headings in your mind and go over them as you proceed. Speak clear and slowly, as I said, if you struggle here it might be evidence that you would struggle more in front of a class (I was nervous but feign utter confidence ) The other interviewees did really good presentations too, using pretty common objects that kids can relate to, for example someone brought in a pizza box and talked about the carbon emissions emitted for all the ingredients and packaging to come together just for a pizza. When finished make sure its on something strong - not something like 'erm that's it', end on a witty rhetoric that would have a real class asking questions.

Geographical analysis of a photoPretty self explanatory. I did a bit of geography revision in areas I was weak to prep for this, I literally knew nothing about the weather (v bad for a geologist) so I smashed out some bbc bite size for a few hours. Just make sure you know a little about all topics of your subjects and have a few good learning methods/lesson ideas in mind to explain how you might teach topics. As aforementioned, its useful to be able to reference back to a bit of extra curricular stuff here - I was lucky and able to relate to a couple of the pictures because I'd been to the places in the pics because I travel alot (travel->geog.. happy days)

Subject knowledge critique Again this was real chilled, it basically just required us to come clean about any areas we weren't strong on, I admitted I'm totally useless at naming clouds and teaching weather fronts. We then went on to talk about different ways that we could improve this knowledge so that we would be ready for the PGCE. It was pretty simple really and was quite reassuring to see when your interviewer smile at the fact you just admitted you weren't some sort of geography god.

Opportunity to ask Questions about the course and education in general
I would 100% do a bit of reading about your chosen unis and educational issues, maybe even ask a few teachers what issues they face and you can literally turn their answers into a very relevant question. I asked a few questions to clear up how the funding works and stuff but apart from that this bits pretty straight forward. This section also consisted of a lot of listening, which was nice. Its also a pretty standard PGCE interview thing, being that you need to be told the ins and outs of your course so just try and sit still and don't pick your nose I guess...

Individual interviewI was last to go (it helps to be last for the last for all the tasks because you can simply not do what others did wrong/not so well) so the other guys told me that it wasn't as intense as they'd expected. For me, like the other things, it really seemed to be more of a judge of character than anything. I was asked a few questions like 'how do I deal with misbehaving students', 'what is the most challenging thing I've ever done and how would I do it again' and 'what do you think makes a good teacher?'. All those seem to be pretty standard PGCE questions and I guess you can prep for them in your own ways but all my answers were linked to my own personal experiences and how I've learned from them. Surprisingly, I was actually offered my place during this interview, informally, and the offer came through a few days later.

Overall, I think the biggest three pieces of advice I can give (from my own experience) would have to be:
1. Make anything that can be perfect, perfect. (application, tasks set to hand in on the day, your appearance, your admin etc)
2. Be relaxed, talkative and happy. I honestly went away feeling this was the biggest thing they wanted, just someone that is comfortable in their skin when under the spotlight. My interview was surprisingly chilled so don't panic about yours.
3. Be a pro-active teacher. The PGCE places obviously have a lot of competition especially because of the bursaries so show how and why you are involved in your subject outside of education and that you genuinely have a passion for it that will rub off on your students.

If you have any questions I'll do my best to answer.

Good luck with your application, may your hard work pay off!

Josh
7
reply
Tima_Dz
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
Hi there I have an interview next week I am international student, I AM A BIT NERVOUS especially because English is not my first language andSo I want to ask you if you met any international students and how long the interview takes
0
reply
ohhmyyjoshh
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#3
Hey Tima,

Good to hear it Where is it you're appyling at and what course?

There weren't any international students at my interview but I'm sure you'll be fine! Just be sure to speak clearly and slowly if you're worried about that (you probably have a better standard of English than most English people anyway.. myself included). The whole thing took about 3 hours but that was because of other people doing their presentations and stuff too, individually I wouldn't say I was in the spotlight alone for any more than 10 minutes and even then it was a pretty relaxed affair.

Josh
0
reply
ByEeek
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by Tima_Dz)
Hi there I have an interview next week I am international student, I AM A BIT NERVOUS especially because English is not my first language andSo I want to ask you if you met any international students and how long the interview takes
Be aware that imparting high levels of literacy is one of the teacher standards. It is expected that all teachers will have a high level of speaking, reading and writing English including correct grammar and spelling. If this is you, you have nothing to worry about. In the three interviews I had, each made me do a writing task. I subsequently found out that this was used to make a judgement on the writing ability of candidates.

Good luck!
0
reply
Tima_Dz
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#5
Report 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by ByEeek)
Be aware that imparting high levels of literacy is one of the teacher standards. It is expected that all teachers will have a high level of speaking, reading and writing English including correct grammar and spelling. If this is you, you have nothing to worry about. In the three interviews I had, each made me do a writing task. I subsequently found out that this was used to make a judgement on the writing ability of candidates.

Good luck!
Thank You, I appreciate your answer
0
reply
keved
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 week ago
#6
Hi Josh,,,, interesting read regarding the interview. 👍How was your overall experience of the pgce course at Nottingham ?
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Where do you need more help?

Which Uni should I go to? (73)
15.77%
How successful will I become if I take my planned subjects? (47)
10.15%
How happy will I be if I take this career? (88)
19.01%
How do I achieve my dream Uni placement? (65)
14.04%
What should I study to achieve my dream career? (49)
10.58%
How can I be the best version of myself? (141)
30.45%

Watched Threads

View All