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    hi everyone,

    In a year or two i will be faced with University interviews for physics (my chosen degree), does anyone with previous experiences, related or the same, have any advice on how to prep and what they look for in candidates applying for physics courses?

    It's going to vary depending on the University. If you're taking about the most competitive places then they are trying to distinguish between candidates who have all performed very well at A level. They will want to see if you are (a) generally interested in physics (i.e. have you read beyond the syllabus), (b) are you able to cope with more open ended questions - can you really think though problems as opposed to memorizing things, and (c) whether you would you make a positive contribution to your class and the university in general.

    For example, in an interview, long ago, we discussed how gravity might be if there were only two spatial dimensions, rather than three. Definitely not on the A level syllabus, and in some ways not even a very sensible question to ask, but fun to think through.

    It's not necessarily about getting the right answer, more showing that you are not totally thrown by difficult questions, that you can start to work things out, and that you are someone who would benefit from their teaching. Essentially you're trying to convince them that you'd be a great person to have in their classes.

    Some of the best ways to prepare are to read about physics (ideally things you are interested in) and to practice talking things through with other people, explaining your thought processes as you go. Try not to think about it as a test, but as a chance to talk about physics with the experts and get 10 minutes of free tutoring, and you'll be going in with the right attitude!

    If you're invited to an interview at a less competitive university, when you've clearly got the grades they normally ask for, than the interview might well be as much about them trying to persuade you to come to them as to assess whether they want you. They are less likely to throw very difficult physics questions at you, and you might get more questions along the lines of 'why do you want to come here?' 'why do you want to study physics?', 'which part of A Level did you like/dislike?', 'what will you offer the university beyond your studies?' etc. You can easily bullet point out answers to these kind of questions in advance to make sure you don't go blank on the day.
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