No Nonsense Guide To Sixth Form Interviews (& Applications) Watch

Mr Nonsense
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The No Nonsense Guide to Sixth Form Interviews (& Applications)

By Mr Nonsense


So, this is the time of year that many y11s consider changing school for the sixth form either because they want a change or because their current school doesn’t have a sixth form. And this can be something to worry about. But do not fret because help is at hand!

urgh this took a lot of time in the end, so rep would be appreciated



The Application Process

Most sixth forms assess applications by exams and/or interviews.

Can you prepare for the exams? Mot applications think they can, but in reality these exams are set to test your ability to think and your potential, not your existing knowledge. The best preparation is to make sure you are absolutely sure of the work you have done so far in your GCSE courses for the subjects in which you are being examined, and then attempt some practice GCSE questions and any extension material you can get your hands on.

So you’ve aced the exams with flying colours and secured yourself and interview. Congratulations! Can you prepare for the interviews? Conversely, most candidates think that you can do very little preparation for the interviews. HOWEVER, most interviewers will ask questions of which I would say 75 – 80% of the questions you could have predicted. So yes, for the interview, preparation is absolutely critical to do well in my opinion. Read down for my interview tips and questions to ask yourself!



How Should I Dress?

Many people are unsure of how they should present themselves for exams and more importantly interviews. You want to strike the balance between formality (yes, you are taking the application process seriously) and a relaxed style (you don’t have a rod stuck up your arse).

I would advise candidates to adopt a “smart casual” style. Do NOT wear jeans, a hoody and Uggs. Do NOT wear a t-shirt with the marijuana logo splashed across it. Do NOT wear your Arsenal shirt. Do NOT wear the shortest skirt you can find, and a cropped top. But equally, do NOT come in wearing a three piece suit with braces.

What I would suggest (or something similar) would be:
  • boys – wear a suit with a formal shirt (but no tie) or a fairly plain t-shirt, under your jacket. And a pair of fairly smart, casual shoes (e.g. leather loafers, or casual shoes; but not trainers).
  • girls – a skirt, tights, a blouse and a jacket perhaps? Or trousers if you are more comfortable with that.


It is often quite cold at the time of year when your interview will take place and you may well have to do a lot of waiting or walking around in between, so do bring a coat. You don’t want to go into your interview shivering, with chattering teeth, and to give the interviewer an icy handshake!



How Should I Behave?

Just act normally! Obvious advice really: do not do anything stupid, or be rude / disrespectful. Respect the school’s surroundings and property (e.g. do not litter). The way you behave really can only count against your application.

When I was helping with the interviews at my school this year, we were told to go around the applicants and if we saw anyone doing anything stupid, or behaving in a silly manner, or littering, etc. to take their name and they would probably be removed from consideration. Teachers at the school will also be performing this role (and it is especially easy to do if they make you wear name tags).

One example from this year at my school of a bad situation to be in – so try and avoid it: the applicants were spending the time between interviews in the common room and there were newspapers and magazines for them to read. A whole group of people were sitting at a table and there was a large quantity of the newspapers in a mess on the floor under the table. Fair enough, it might not have been them who made the mess. But then the headmaster came and spent 3-4 minutes bent over at their feet clearing up this mess, whilst the applicants did not even break their conversation, let alone help. That sort of thing definitely does not go down well! And I asked the headmaster later, and he said that that sort of behaviour would definitely be considered strongly in regards to their application.

I think it is a good idea, and a fun social time, to try and get to know a few of the other applicants in your time between interviews / exams....after all, they might well be your future peers!



So I’ve Made It to Interview, How Can I Prepare?

Preparation for the interviews is absolutely crucial for success. After all, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

How confident are you in an interview situation? Ask yourself this question, and based on your response you can do some things to build up this confidence. Ask a parent, a friend, a teacher at school or a sibling to give you a mock interview. You may find this sort of situation – doing it with someone you know very well – much more unnerving than a random stranger. So it is good preparation. Practice your fluency, saying a few lines, etc. in front of the mirror, or in the shower or something. It sounds stupid, but if you are not confident it has large rewards.

Do not be afraid to sing your own praises! In an interview you are trying to sell yourself and your potential. Do not be self-conscious about saying you are good at something, if you have achieved something special, etc. If you want the interviewers to know something, then tell them!

[a note on the last point though: there is a line between selling yourself and appearing excessively arrogant. Be confident, but avoid coming across as a know it all... yes it can be quite difficult to get right]



I’ve Got a General Interview, What Will They Ask?

This interview is normally conducted by a senior member of staff or a housemaster and is the most important interview you will have. If you mess up a subject interview, you can still get in fine. But screw this one up, and you are in more problems.

The main objective of this interview is to get to know you as a person. Who are you? What do you enjoy? It is much more about your character than academic rigour.

So what will they ask?

Why do you want to come to the school?
E.g. stimulation of a new environment
academic rigour
a new challenge
fit in with like minded people
benefits of the school
And IMPORTANTLY, say something specific to the school you are applying to – a particular society you want to go to, or a well-renowned teacher, or the house system, a wonderful library (say at Westminster).


What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
Why do you enjoy them?
What do you get out of them / what have you learnt?

e.g. mention any sports you play, emphasising the team aspects and how you are a team player
do you do any music? Again any groups, mention you enjoy playing with others
what books have you read recently (maybe one fiction, one non-fiction) and did you enjoy them, etc.
do you go to the theatre or anything like that?
have you been involved in any school theatrical productions?
are you involved in any clubs/societies at your current school?


Did you write a personal statement?
If so make sure you have read this several times before the day of your interview. If you mentioned any books on it, can you remember much about them? If not, go back and have a look and refresh your memory. Can you explain any terms on it? Can you talk about the things you said you are interested in? Can you justify anything you have said on the statement? I have found, that school interviewers often use your personal statement as the basis of the discussion for general interviews. So they will ask a question from it, and then the questions branch off.


Other questions might include:
What are you career plans at this stage?
How would your friends describe you?
Do you think of yourself as an introvert or extrovert person?
Where else are you applying?
What would be your first choice school?
What are the reasons for you wanting to change school?
How well do you think you would fit into the school?



Subject Interviews. What Will They Be Like?

You will be interviewed by a teacher from each of the subjects which you have applied to do (usually a senior member).

These interviews vary in style enormously from school to school and even department for department. You may be expected to work through some problems (especially likely if there have been no exams previously, or in subjects such as maths). In these cases, the interviewer is looking to see how you will respond in a classroom environment. Do not worry if the problem seems extraordinarily hard and like you will never get it. It is meant to be difficult and the interviewer is there to guide you. Keep calm; think through the next step before you vocalise your thoughts; and make sure you CLEARLY explain your way of thinking to the interviewer. If you have already taken exams, you may well go through the questions you got wrong and you have to correct your paper.

In other interviews, you will just have a chat about the subject. The interviewer may well ask you what topics you have studied and then proceed to ask you questions about those. They may want to know about your coursework. In some cases, they may present you with a graph and ask you to discuss what it shows. And they will almost ALWAYS want you to talk about why you like the subject. So think this through before, and be ready.

I think in the subject interviews, it is good to discuss how you have taken your interest in a subject further, showing your enthusiasm. Have you read any books around the topics you have done at school? Are you interested in subjects linking off the interview one? (e.g. physics --> astronomy; maths --> cryptography); have you entered any essay competitions or anything?



Generic Interview Tips

Ensure that you have an up to date understanding of current affairs. Read a newspaper every day at least the week before, or a magazine such as The Economist which gives a very thorough overview of current affairs. Watch the news / Newsnight the night before. SHOW AWARENESS!

Also make sure you have some questions to ask in each of your interviews. Because there will ALWAYS be an opportunity where the interviewer will ask “and do you have any questions?” Having an interesting thing to ask is much better than stammering “...er.... um.... no”.



The End....

And that is it! Read through this carefully. Prepare thoroughly. And you should do very well.

But remember! ALWAYS stay calm. ALWAYS think before you speak.

Good Luck

P.S. DO NOT LIE....
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Psyche05
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Thanks Mr. Nonsense, that will be extremely helpful.
I would give you rep... but I don't know how :confused:.
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LegendKiller377
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my brother LOL this is a great guide pos rep coming your way

it would be appreciated if u can return it :p:
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arson
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(Original post by Psyche05)
Thanks Mr. Nonsense, that will be extremely helpful.
I would give you rep... but I don't know how :confused:.
Ditto.

Inform us, oh wise one.
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laurenlodge
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Woah, some of these interviews must be really rigid compared to what it's like at my school (from what I've heard).

Just want to point out that not all schools will ask for all of this stuff.
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Freudian
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awwww this is so nice,listen to him guys awww

at my interview i didn't even wear my proper secondary school uniform(i had the old skool badge and skinny jeans on),i had so much eyeliner that you could see it from Aberdeen and i was my usual loud self...i got given a place at the spot..sort of like an unconditional offer lol it was fun......back in the dayyy
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Alsop
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(Original post by Mr Nonsense)
So you’ve aced the exams with flying colours and secured yourself and interview.
What exams are you talking about? Interviews for IX form are usually before GCSE examinations. Unless you're talking about the (extremely rare) entrance examinations?
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arson
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(Original post by Alsop)
What exams are you talking about? Interviews for IX form are usually before GCSE examinations. Unless you're talking about the (extremely rare) entrance examinations?
Entrance Examinations.
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purplefrog
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Very worthwhile. Thank you very much
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Andrii
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Thanks Mr Nonsense! extremely worthwhile and useful!!!
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Mr Nonsense
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no problem!
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Boo_2
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I had no idea that some sixth form centres set entrance tests!! Seems like quite a good idea to me when I think back to some of the retards that went to my sixth form - how are these people expected to complete A-levels?? We didn't have interviews either...
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jelly1000
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Its mainly independant schools & occasionally a few grammar schools which set entrance tests. And a lot of comprehensives don't even have formal interviews. But for those who have to go through the process of formal interviews & exams its very useful. One thing though: personally I would say school uniform is the best to wear to an interview. I, along with almost all of the other people I saw at the interviews I had were wearing school uniform.
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Titch89
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Brilliant, thanks!

Not sure about anyone else, but when I had my interviews, they were rather informal. It wasn't just the interviewer asking questions either - something had been put on my file from a previous interview and the interviewer talked to me about it.
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*Passion*Fruit*
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Fantastic! :love:
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Mex
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I've gotta say, this is brilliant - I'm hoping to get an interview at a rather prestigious sixth form and I hadn't a clue on what to wear and wasn't sure what they'd be talking about! I shall rep if I can find the button
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mcgoohan
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Thanks Mr N. brilliant. rep added.

(btw, to add rep, click on the thumb icon next to the post number.)
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Smiz
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(Original post by Mr Nonsense)
[
How Should I Dress?

Many people are unsure of how they should present themselves for exams and more importantly interviews. You want to strike the balance between formality (yes, you are taking the application process seriously) and a relaxed style (you don’t have a rod stuck up your arse).

I would advise candidates to adopt a “smart casual” style. Do NOT wear jeans, a hoody and Uggs. Do NOT wear a t-shirt with the marijuana logo splashed across it. Do NOT wear your Arsenal shirt. Do NOT wear the shortest skirt you can find, and a cropped top. But equally, do NOT come in wearing a three piece suit with braces.

What I would suggest (or something similar) would be:
  • boys – wear a suit with a formal shirt (but no tie) or a fairly plain t-shirt, under your jacket. And a pair of fairly smart, casual shoes (e.g. leather loafers, or casual shoes; but not trainers).
  • girls – a skirt, tights, a blouse and a jacket perhaps? Or trousers if you are more comfortable with that.


It is often quite cold at the time of year when your interview will take place and you may well have to do a lot of waiting or walking around in between, so do bring a coat. You don’t want to go into your interview shivering, with chattering teeth, and to give the interviewer an icy handshake!
Also, I'd add that in a worst case scenario you can't go wrong with a school uniform (esp. if your interview is near the end of your school day)
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dudeeee:)
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Thank you EVERRR so much for this info and advice.

It is so useful to me and i am extreamly greatful, as i have a super important interview tomorrow, and this has helped me prepare for it a little more.

Seriously, wow. I LOVE YOU! :yep:
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marianne123
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HELP!! Got a sixth form interview tomorrow and i just cant get my way around it cuz i dont know what to say on it and i had an interview before but i meserably failed it So can anyone help me and tell me what you say on it please
what do they mean by strengths and weaknesses????
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