04MR17
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I've noticed that while TSR has a teacher training forum, and lots of advice about job interviews etc., there's no advice for Teacher Training interviews specifically.

So, although there's still obviously ongoing TT applications at the moment, a good chunk of this year's applicants will have experienced an interview or two by now, I thought now would be a good opportunity to share the best advice you had, on reflection from your TT interviews.

Since making this thread I've taken (far too much) time to write a little article summarising the advice in this thread.
You can read the article here.


What kind of course were you applying for?

What was the interview like?

Did it match your expectations?

What sorts of things were asked?
(Please don't divulge specific questions verbatim, but a flavour of the kinds of things discussed.)

What's your best advice to future applicants?


Apologies for mass-quoting the posters from the applicants thread in, but I can't think of a better way to make this seen.
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Last edited by 04MR17; 10 months ago
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airfixfighter
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I wish this has existed a week ago. Super good idea!

What kind of course were you applying for?
I applied for PGCE Physics with Science at UWTSD (Swansea Met) and Cardiff Met.
I got offers for both and now have the "fun" task of trying to make a decision.

What was the interview like?
In Wales, we don't have to sit the skills tests because a B is required in Maths and English GCSE, but we do sit little tests at interview.

Cardiff Met: Really informal. There was 4 of us (all Science) and it started with an overview of the course and timetable and then we sat tests in Maths, English and a Comprehension test (to check our writing skills to Masters level). Whilst doing the tests, we were pulled out for individual interview where we had to give a 5 minute presentation and answer questions - it was informal and more like a chat! I arrived at 9am and left about midday.

UWTSD: A lot more structured! I arrived to a room of about 25 other applicants for all different subjects. We were given a quick overview of the university and then had to sit Maths and English tests. After the tests, we had a half hour break and then a subject knowledge test (in my case, this was a GCSE paper) and a group interview with everyone. There was then a half hour lunch and we were called for individual subject interviews. I arrived for 9am and left about 2:30pm.

Did it match your expectations?
I'm not sure what my expectations were! I was surprised by both. I felt Cardiff was so informal it threw me off and then, in comparison, UWTSD's day seemed pretty intense - we were actually given a timetable!

What sorts of things were asked?
(Please don't divulge specific questions verbatim, but a flavour of the kinds of things discussed.)
Cardiff Met: Was asked mainly about why I wanted to teach and about issues in schools, such as diversity. I was also asked about my Welsh proficiency and science skills. The interview only took about half hour.

UWTSD: The group interview was around general education, such as diversity, issues, homework etc. My individual interview was really informal and nice where, again, I was asked why I wanted to teach, how I might deal with certain students and was asked about how I might teach a certain topic in Physics. I ended up just having a chat with the interviewer about the course and Swansea etc. This interview was about 45 mins because of this, but my actual questioning was maybe 25 mins.

What's your best advice to future applicants?
Relax! I'd built them both up to be far worse in my head. I'm only really used to job interviews which are quite formal and sometimes you feel like they're trying to catch you out, but I didn't feel like that with this. Both interviewers clearly wanted me to do well and were really encouraging.
Also, enjoy the day and spend time talking to the other applicants. It's been really nice to chat to others about why they want to teach and what subjects they wanted to do - they might be your classmates after all!

I'm happy to answer any other questions if anyone has any!
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Petulia
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What kind of course were you applying for?
PGCE Secondary Science (Biology) at Roehampton, UCL and a local SCITT.

What was the interview like?
Roehampton: very informal, less than 5 other people, involved a 5 minute presentation on a given topic, an individual interview where we went through a list to check my subject knowledge, a group interview where we had to talk about our school experiences and a written task at the end. It was actually quite long!

UCL: much more formal, found it quite tense and everyone came wearing suits and ties etc even the girls. Presentation, written task, tour of the building and a group interview, again discussing classroom experiences.

Local SCITT: very laid back, took a full day as some teachers had lessons so there was a lot of sitting around. Group task, written task, individual interview where they had a fixed list of questions (sounded like job interview questions). Also had 15 minutes to present a lesson to a Year 11 class.

Did it match your expectations?
UCL was more tense than I had expected, and the SCITT were a lot nicer than I had expected and made a tempting offer (with talks about career progression at their school etc) and I wasn't even going to attend the interview initially.

What sorts of things were asked?
Roehampton: asked about my subject knowledge in other areas of science and recommended me for an SKE right there. Questions about school experience, specific classes I had observed etc.

UCL: questions about issues surrounding the teaching field, asked for examples of x behaviour or y technique we had observed being used in a lesson. Then they asked a subject knowledge question in Biology and another in Physics or Chemistry.

Local SCITT: only ones who read my personal statement in front of me like it was a cv, asked about some of the computer skills I had put on there and how they're relevant to teaching. Also asked standard job interview type questions like what book would you recommend to a kid?

What's your best advice to future applicants?
- Learn about one or two current events/news or changes affecting teachers (good one to go with is the change in the grading system to 9-1 which makes it unclear for some students where they need a 4 or 5 for a C, also the introduction of degree apprenticeships).

- Remember a learning technique used in a lesson that you observed, or something a teacher did that you really liked. Almost every interview asks for a classroom example. It's good if you can remember the topic of the lesson too to give some background. My example was a memory game that a teacher used to summarise key words at the end of a Year 8 class.
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KirstBarlow
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What kind of course were you applying for?
I applied for PGCE Primary Education at Brighton University & PGCE Primary Education at Sussex University.
What was the interview like?
Both interviews were good.
Sussex- This interview took place at a school. I had to present a 5 minute presentation on 'What would I bring to Primary School children?' (or something like that). I also had to read the children a book and played a maths game with them. I also did a group activity where we were asked to write down what we thought were important in education (e.g, confidence, understanding, ect) (You're taught this maths game and it is super easy - I was really worried I would not get it, but it was good). I had my interview just in front of the headteacher at the school and a representative from Sussex.
Brighton - This was at one of the uni campuses. We sat in a room and had an hour talk about the course (this was super helpful!) and then we presented topic (you had 5 options, I chose SEND) to a Brighton representative and the fellow applicants (there were only 4 of us - very small number compared to what they normally had). Then had a 1-1 interview with the Brighton representative.
Did it match your expectations?
Sussex- I'm not sure. Sussex was nice, but I felt I was not told too much about the course, and when I had my interview the guy gave me bad vibes. He started talking about what I should do (look at another course as I currently work with older students - this was like a nice comment, as there is apparently funding for that course, but I'm one of these people that know what I want and spend ages making these decisions so it kinda fell flat with me) and then when he phoned me to say I had gotten a place he was very pressuring with accepting them straight away especially as the Headteacher asked for me to do a placement there, (exact words were 'the school was really nice in letting us be there yesterday so it will be great to give them a decision as quick as possible). Again, just fell flat with me. I don't like pressure like this, it is a big decisions to go back to uni so personally made me turn off Sussex.

Brighton - I got such good vibes. The guy was the opposite, he spent ages talking to us about what to expect and what it will be like. He was also saying for us to take our time and only accept an offer if you are certain it is the right choice. This to me felt that Brighton cared about having the right people, where as Sussex cared about numbers. Everyone was really nice at Brighton and I am now friends with one of the girls I met at the interview so it was a great day overall. Brighton definitely met expectations for me, I just got a really good vibe.
What sorts of things were asked?
(Please don't divulge specific questions verbatim, but a flavour of the kinds of things discussed.)
-Problems in primary education
-how I would deal with bad behaviour
-how would I deal with bad behaviour
-why I should be chosen over someone else
-my experience in helping students in education
-my experience in special educational needs (this is my current job so it was relevant to my answers I gave and it is what I did my presentations on)
What's your best advice to future applicants?
I would say be confident but respectful. So if they ask a question to you as a group, don't try to be the loudest person in the room, they're looking for you to show your listening skills, as well as your ability to talk to everyone.When you do talk, be assertive and believe in yourself! Show your personality, the interviews aren't always as strict as you assume. They have to sit there all day, if you can make them laugh, or have a conversation to them about something else, then do.
Relax, enjoy it and dress smart! They want you to be successful and Brighton even said they had an idea about us already so sometimes your application will take you further than expected!
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aoibhinn_don
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Great idea!

What kind of course were you applying for?
I applied for PGCE primary education at Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria. I was offered all three interviews but only attended Northumbria as it was my first and the one I really wanted and I’m happy to say I’ll be starting this September!

What was the interview like?
The interview was great, everyone was so friendly. It was quite informal which I really liked and I feel as though they focused more so on personality and how naturally good you would be at teaching. They told us that they aren’t looking for ready made teachers and want people who are willing to learn. The atmosphere was very relaxing, it helped put my nerves at ease.

Did it match your expectations?
I had read a few posts on here saying that Northumbria was great and very welcoming but even so I was still very nervous. However, I had no need to be as it was above and beyond my expectations!

What sort of things were asked?
There was a big focus on group work and working as part of a team. My individual interview was also heavily focused on leadership and time management skills. Also, a knowledge of the curriculum and different ways you could teach reading/maths lessons would be very beneficial to know about prior to interview.

What’s your best advice to future applicants?
Don’t stress! I know it’s easier said than done but trust me, you’ll only regret it if you do. I was a nervous wreck before mine and looking back it was so unnecessary. Teaching is all about passion and you as a person so if you’re too busy worrying then your real self won’t shine through- just relax, be yourself and show them how much you want to be there.

Best of luck to you all and feel free to message me if you have any questions at all! X
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anisa-101
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Hi Everyone,

Has anyone had an interview for PGCE English at Reading or Middlesex?
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UniofReading
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(Original post by anisa-101)
Hi Everyone,

Has anyone had an interview for PGCE English at Reading or Middlesex?
Hi!

I am currently studying Primary education at University of Reading, so have gone through the interview process at Reading myself. Whilst the interview is slightly different for PGCE courses than for the BA Ed courses, I am able to reassure you that the interviews at Reading aren't daunting at all and the staff are very welcoming.
Studying the course at Reading is especially good due to the well equipped resource centre for Education students on the campus and the amazing support services which are available to us.

If you have anymore questions about studying Education at UoR, please don't hesitate to ask me!

Abbie
Primary Education Student and Student Ambassador
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by 04MR17)
I've noticed that while TSR has a teacher training forum, and lots of advice about job interviews etc., there's no advice for Teacher Training interviews specifically.

So, although there's still obviously ongoing TT applications at the moment, a good chunk of this year's applicants will have experienced an interview or two by now, I thought now would be a good opportunity to share the best advice you had, on reflection from your TT interviews.

I'll probably make all the replies into an article at some point once the thread has settled down again.


What kind of course were you applying for? Biology Secondary PGCE (applied to and got offers from Bristol, Warwick and Exeter)

What was the interview like?
All three interviews were broken in to sections with a written task, group task and short presentation as well as the one on one interview. In all three the written task was relatively formalized. Everyone was friendly and supportive during the presentations. Sometimes they were to mixed subject groups, so bear this in mind when pitching your interview.

The one on one interviews were all relatively formalized, with set questions to be asked and answered, but everyone who interviewed me was friendly and supportive.


Did it match your expectations?

Yes, I guess? The email invites to interview were fairly clear/specific on what we needed to prepare and what would happen. In some cases the group discussions were quite guided, but in others they were more freeform, and in some cases we were asked questions about our presentations whereas in others we weren't. I would say Bristol was the one where I most felt like the interviewers were trying to put us under a little more pressure and maybe throw us a little bit (but I chose to go there so it can't have been that bad).

What sorts of things were asked?
(Please don't divulge specific questions verbatim, but a flavour of the kinds of things discussed.)

A few subject specific questions including about the other sciences. Why I specifically wanted to teach my subject and stage. The skills and experiences I would bring to the role- at various interviews I was specifically asked about resilience, time management and conflict resolution. I was asked about the teacher's standards.

I'm pretty sure every interview asked me about my opinion of the biology/science curriculum, so make sure you're familiar with it! I was also asked about my school experience and my work history (as I have experience working with teenagers) at every interview.

What's your best advice to future applicants?

Make sure you read the email and all attachments properly! A few people came without presentations prepared to one interview because they had missed that part of the email!

Definitely make sure you're familiar with the curriculum for your subject and stage as this was something I was asked about a lot.

Be friendly with the other applicants- it helps when you're presenting!

Remember they aren't looking for perfect teachers yet, but people with potential to be an outstanding teacher.

Apologies for mass-quoting the posters from the applicants thread in, but I can't think of a better way to make this seen.
Spoiler:
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Great idea for a thread, wish it had been around 6 months ago!



What kind of course were you applying for? Biology Secondary PGCE (applied to and got offers from Bristol, Warwick and Exeter)

What was the interview like?
All three interviews were broken in to sections with a written task, group task and short presentation as well as the one on one interview. In all three the written task was relatively formalized. Everyone was friendly and supportive during the presentations. Sometimes they were to mixed subject groups, so bear this in mind when pitching your interview.

The one on one interviews were all relatively formalized, with set questions to be asked and answered, but everyone who interviewed me was friendly and supportive.


Did it match your expectations?

Yes, I guess? The email invites to interview were fairly clear/specific on what we needed to prepare and what would happen. In some cases the group discussions were quite guided, but in others they were more freeform, and in some cases we were asked questions about our presentations whereas in others we weren't. I would say Bristol was the one where I most felt like the interviewers were trying to put us under a little more pressure and maybe throw us a little bit (but I chose to go there so it can't have been that bad).

What sorts of things were asked?
(Please don't divulge specific questions verbatim, but a flavour of the kinds of things discussed.)

A few subject specific questions including about the other sciences. Why I specifically wanted to teach my subject and stage. The skills and experiences I would bring to the role- at various interviews I was specifically asked about resilience, time management and conflict resolution. I was asked about the teacher's standards.

I'm pretty sure every interview asked me about my opinion of the biology/science curriculum, so make sure you're familiar with it! I was also asked about my school experience and my work history (as I have experience working with teenagers) at every interview.

What's your best advice to future applicants?

Make sure you read the email and all attachments properly! A few people came without presentations prepared to one interview because they had missed that part of the email!

Definitely make sure you're familiar with the curriculum for your subject and stage as this was something I was asked about a lot.

Be friendly with the other applicants- it helps when you're presenting!

Remember they aren't looking for perfect teachers yet, but people with potential to be an outstanding teacher.
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Middlesex University
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(Original post by anisa-101)
Hi Everyone,

Has anyone had an interview for PGCE English at Reading or Middlesex?
Hi Anisa,

I am currently studying at Middlesex, it is an amazing university with loads to get involved in and a very welcoming atmosphere.
Do you have any question about the course?

Have a great day
Ludovica
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Firefly13
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What kind of course were you applying for?
Biology (Secondary) PGCE at Brighton University (interviewed and accepted) and Sussex University (offered interview, but withdrew application because I got into Brighton, which I preferred).

What was the interview like?
My interview began with getting very lost on the Falmer campus at Brighton, but I found the room eventually . The interview started with a 30 minute writing exercise while they checked our documents. I can't remember the details now, but I think we just had to read an article and summarise what we had read. It was really simple and nothing to worry about - we were told afterwards it was just to check we could write in coherent sentences, rather than how interesting we made it.

After that we had to give a five minute presentation (from a choice of five options) to the course leader and the other interviewees (there were two others on the day with me). I was a bit (okay, maybe very) nervous about it, but as long as you've practiced it really isn't an issue. They aren't after perfect, they just want to see you can talk in front of people!

Then finally we had our individual interviews. I went second and it lasted about 30 minutes. I enjoyed it actually because it was quite relaxed and it gave me chance to ask more about the course (location of placement school was really important to me because I don't like anywhere near Brighton, but it was the closest provider to me).

Did it match your expectations?
It was about what I expected. They were very clear about what would happen in the interview email so nothing was unexpected.

What sorts of things were asked?
These aren't the exact questions because I can't remember them, but these are along the lines of what I was asked:
Why do you want to do teaching?
How do you deal with stress/time management?
Experience of working with teenagers (I hadn't had any school experience by this point).
Do I want to do an SKE?
Talk about a current issue in education (I went for social media and examiners being too scared to ask hard questions, which went down really well!)

I do remember though I wasn't asked any questions about my subject knowledge because they trusted I could learn anything I had to teach after completing a Biology degree so they didn't think it was worth it. That was quite unusual from what I've heard from other providers interviews!

What's your best advice to future applicants?
Don't worry!! It's honestly not that bad. They aren't expecting you to be perfect, but they want to see that you have the potential to be a great teacher. Try to show some of your personality so they can get an idea what you're like - I'm naturally quiet so I didn't go trying to be really loud and outgoing. Loads of different people make great teachers so if they only think loud and outgoing people make great teachers then they wouldn't like me, but likewise I wouldn't like them!

Like people above have said, dress smart and be polite. The other two interviewees got accepted as well and now we're studying together, which would have awful if I was rude to them at the interview!

I've only got six weeks left of teaching before I qualify and I've loved it. Brighton has been really good and they've really taken into account my circumstances. They even managed to rearrange my second placement in a few days because the school I got a job at offered to take me to help me settle in before I start properly in September. So my final piece of advice is to chose a provider you like - you will be spending most of the time in schools, but it's comforting to know that there are people there if things go wrong.
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anisa-101
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(Original post by Middlesex University)
Hi Anisa,

I am currently studying at Middlesex, it is an amazing university with loads to get involved in and a very welcoming atmosphere.
Do you have any question about the course?

Have a great day
Ludovica
Hi Ludovica,

What is the PGCE Course like at Middlesex?
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Middlesex University
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(Original post by anisa-101)
Hi Ludovica,

What is the PGCE Course like at Middlesex?
Hi Anisa,

Nice to hear from you
The course is run in 36 weeks and you will have 120 days in schools.
Often the schools employ the students that they had in placements.
When you will be in class, you will have both seminars and lectures, and you will be assessed with presentations and essays.

The tutors are really supportive and always open to give feedback. They also really value critical thinking and want to get the best out of you

Do you have any other question?
Why don't you come and have a look at the campus?
We do some drop in campus tours every Wednesday. You can have a look here:
https://www.mdx.ac.uk/get-in-touch/meet-us/campus-tours

Have a lovely weekend
Ludovica
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Eleni Stam
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Hi everyone! I have an interview next week for PGCE Geography in Roehampton!Excited but also stressed!Any advice on the presentations, written tasks and interview??Thank you for your help!
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04MR17
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Since we're getting into the season for interviews beginning for the current application cycle I thought I'd give this thread a bump.
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thenextchemist
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What kind of course were you applying for?
PGCE Secondary Chemistry
- UCL Uni-led
- UCL School direct with an alliance

What was the interview like?
UCL Uni-led
- 5 minute presentation on anything A-level Chemistry based, my target audience was 16-17 year olds.
- 10 minute knowledge writing task - an A-level chemistry exam question is given to you and you have to answer it within 10 minutes.
- 30 minute writing task - about the role of a teacher
- 40 to 1 hour group interview - asked the general questions about teaching, nothing out of the blue
- Tour of the facilities

School direct
- Given 20 minutes to teach a year 10 class about calculating relative formula mass (topic given 5 days prior to the interview)
- 30 minute writing task about literacy skills in science education
- 30 minute 1 to 1 with deputy head and alliance director

Did it match your expectations?
For school direct, I wasn't expecting to teach 33 students but rather a group of 6 or 7, so that was quite nerve racking but at the same time, I was prepared for either outcome. At the uni-led interview, you are with around 10 candidates who are all doing differen science PGCEs, so it's not just chemistry.

What sorts of things were asked?
(Please don't divulge specific questions verbatim, but a flavour of the kinds of things discussed.)
All the questions I was asked at both interviews was nothing out of the blue.
Why teaching, is science hard, what makes a good lesson, why should kids study science, skills that a teacher should have, what went well in your teaching sequence and how could you have improved, tell me about your experience and what you learnt, etc.

What's your best advice to future applicants?

Don't memorise answers to questions but have an idea of what you are going to say.
Make sure you get some experience, it's quite hard to form an answer when you have no experience, hence you will hardly have anything to talk about.
Be confident if you are going to be doing a presentation, speak loud and clear, don't be shy, this is your moment to shine and show the alliance or university what your made of and why you think you will be a good teacher.
Most of the candidates I was with at UCL were stuck up middle class snobs who were extremely competitive, didn't smile at anyone, were quite rude overall. Don't be that person...
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04MR17
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#16
s890I took an interview for the Maths Secondary PGCE at Kings last week and thought I would post some information on this thread in case someone out there would find it useful. The process began with the course tutor speaking about the course for about half an hour, giving a good idea of how they teach the course at Kings.

All the candidates were taken into a room where we were given the written test, together with the maths questions and the unseen maths problem which was to be presented to the rest of the group at the end. We were given an hour to complete the paper - which didn't include the time taken for the one-to-one interview which was conducted individually as a break from the test. During the interview there were only two main questions and a scenario based question - 1. Why do you want to teach maths? 2. Give an example of good maths teaching you've observed in school? 3. (Scenario - which was by far the most intense part) How would you explain adding fractions to a student? The interviewer gave some paper and pen to act as the board, and asked questions that had no real answers - such as 'why is like that', 'what is a fraction' 'why does it have to be split into even spaces' ? etc The point of the questions wasn't the actual answer but a way to get the us to really think about what we are trying to teach - fractions can be quite an abstract concept to adults let alone students. I was quite thrown by this part of the interview (hence why I decided to post this, in an effort to help the next person!).

The written test was quite straightforward and gave you a choice of questions to choose from (e.g. describe a positive classroom experience, write about a current educational topic). The maths questions were fun (again there was a choice of 2 out of three; simultaneous equation with no answer, finding square root of 0.4, and y=e^x problem). The unseen problem was very interesting - we all had different topics (usually involving geometric shapes and isometric paper). Whilst presenting the problem and your solution to the group the tutors asked thought provoking questions again. These questions definitely added an edge to the whole process, and I expect the course at Kings will be extremely fascinating.
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04MR17
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#17
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#17
Finally got round to writing this article.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/job...terview-advice

Let me know what you think, or if you'd like me to change anything.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Finally got round to writing this article.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/job...terview-advice

Let me know what you think, or if you'd like me to change anything.
Relax! If you're only really used to job interviews which are quite formal and sometimes you feel like they're trying to catch you out, teacher training interviews aren't like this. Teaching is all about passion and you as a person so if you’re too busy worrying then your real self won’t shine through- just relax, be yourself and show them how much you want to be there.

Hey, just on the above point, Bristol absolutely asked some questions intended to catch people out at various stages during the day. I agree with the general sentiment of relaxing but equally PGCE interviews and certainly school direct interviews can be quite formal and very similar to job interviews- so maybe needs a bit of a rephrase?
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04MR17
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#19
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Relax! If you're only really used to job interviews which are quite formal and sometimes you feel like they're trying to catch you out, teacher training interviews aren't like this. Teaching is all about passion and you as a person so if you’re too busy worrying then your real self won’t shine through- just relax, be yourself and show them how much you want to be there.

Hey, just on the above point, Bristol absolutely asked some questions intended to catch people out at various stages during the day. I agree with the general sentiment of relaxing but equally PGCE interviews and certainly school direct interviews can be quite formal and very similar to job interviews- so maybe needs a bit of a rephrase?
Thank you so much. Changed that bit now. :yy:
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Thank you so much. Changed that bit now. :yy:
No worries.

I think it's really important to emphasise that all interviews are really different, so what happens in one may not happen in another. It's best to be prepared and ready for the unexpected
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