Interview madness

Before my interview, I called anyone I knew who had anything to do with Imperial and read every student blog that even mentioned the word. If that’s why you’re here, hey. Hopefully an extra insight will prove useful.

Outline of the day

This can obviously change between subjects and years, but the general outline is likely to stay the same.

The general idea is that you get a tour of the university from a student, along with a lunch, before meeting the human that decides your fate interviewer. This is the opportunity to ask questions about student life, stresses, work load and living in London, which may be more helpful answered by someone freshly going though it all. Also, I’ve done some of these tours since I came here and they are really fun, interesting and rewarding, but frankly awkward if no one asks anything.

After that you meet the interviewer and get a tour of the department, which is there to show you what the university can offer you. You get a brief look at the facilities and an idea of where and what you learn.

The actual interview is then there for you to show what you can offer the uni. Achtung: no, the interviewer does not directly decide anything! They make a comment/recommendation and it is one of the things considered when taking you into account. Basically, the interviewer could hate you, but you still get in, and vise versa.

How to prepare

– Bring the correct documents. You’ll be told what they are before the day. Don’t be the one that forgets them.
– Make sure that if anything in your personal statement isn’t true, it becomes true damn golly fast!
– Even if it is true, go over books you’ve read and projects you’ve participated in, to ensure you can talk about them comfortably.
– Be fairly up to date on what you’re learning, as problems to solve may involve such knowledge.

What you’ll be asked

WHO KNOWS? It’s just a massive mystery. Some people on my course only got asked about their personal statement and what they’d done before. I was only asked to integrate for 25 minutes and explain some assumptions I had made.

– Be prepared to answer questions like “Why physics?”, “Why Imperial?” and any about your personal statement in case it goes like not mine.
– Be prepared to use your prior knowledge in case it goes like mine.

What to wear

This is pretty much the least important aspect that has the least effect on anything, but people seem to care. Feeling comfortable on the day is naturally important and feeling like you’re dressed out of place may of course ruin that entirely.

Something comfortable, professional and simple is the best. I wore a black and white skirt with a navy blouse. Partially because it’s the only smart-ish clothing I own, but also because it sort of fulfills the criteria.

After the interview

Just don’t stress. Whether Imperial is your first choice or not, just concentrate on the other bits of life. Good grades always come in handy, so working on those may be best anyway.

I was stupid enough to stress out about the interview for ages, so when I got the offer, I had to suddenly start preparing for exams again.

General tips

– Sometimes the correct answer is “I don’t know”. I was asked for examples of an event that doesn’t exist.
– Don’t panic and make sure you know where your towel is. (If you don’t get the reference, then you’re silly, but please don’t actually bring a towel to your interview.)
– Try to talk any thoughts out loud, as it shows that you can think through a problem, which is important.
– You’ll be fine.

 

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