Monday, 16 March 2015

Interviews exams and exciting times ahead!

This is not my usual type of post; but I felt like adding a little update as to what I've been up to lately.

At the moment, I am doing an Access course at college, designed to prepare mature students who have been out of education for some time for higher education and allow them to gain the grades required for university. I am doing this because I am making the move from working with pre-schoolers (which I have done and loved for so long... but feel it's time to take on a new challenge) into training to become a primary teacher.

As part of the application process to university, as well as submitting my personal statement and predicted subject grades to UCAS; primary Ed applicants are also required to attend interviews. These usually take the form of group interviews, sometimes involving a group task and a short presentation/ talk, followed by discussion. 
I think that these group interviews are a great idea as they quickly identify the individuals who have confidence, are able to take on the views of others, are able to make their thoughts and opinions clear and can work in a team. This being said: group interviews are stressful and intimidating!

I was lucky enough to be invited to 2 interviews (and also offered one place with no interview!). My first interview had set a task of listening to a BBC4 interview with Professor John Hattie about the benefits of homework within primary education (which can be found here), and then to present a short, 2 minute response. This is such a massive topic with so many different opinions and arguments to consider - 2 minutes was never going to be enough to discuss everything that I wanted to discuss, however I approached this task using research and feedback that I had gathered from other professionals hoping to give an informed and well thought out answer.

Read my talk re: homework in primary schools in the following post

I came away from this interview (which had been with 9 other applicants and 2 interviewers) feeling positive and enthusiastic. I had given it my all and felt that I had done everything within my power to secure a place. As optimistic as I felt, I didn't dare get my hopes up too high as the course has an extremely high number of applicants and a very small number of people accepted. This was also my top choice of university as the course is extremely good and the university is based in my home town so would require no commute or upheaval of moving!

My second interview had a totally different feel as it began with a presentation designed to sell the university to us, rather than being all about selling ourselves to the university. This time, the interview itself took place in a much smaller group of only 3 others. Within this interview we had been asked to prepare a short, 2 minute talk on any relevant topic of our choice. As I am very passionate about taking learning outdoors, this is what I chose. I was last to give my talk, and very disappointed to find that the girl before me had also chosen outdoor learning as a topic. But as it happened, my talk complimented hers and I had expanded on different points to those that she had discussed - disaster averted! 

Read my talk re: outdoor learning in the following post

I came away from this interview feeling positive, yet less inspired. I didn't have the same buzz as when I had finished the first. Despite this, I was pleased with my own performance and hoped to be offered a place on the course.


The wait for a response felt like an eternity! Though I have not been sat twiddling my thumbs as last week it was time for Pre-Lims. Psychology, maths, sociology and enlgish exams all within one week! It wasn't easy but I survived (...just!)

Now for the good news! I have been offered a place at each of the universities that I applied to! Most importantly - my top choice university
Now all I need  to do is buckle down and get a good grade in my final Maths exam (not an easy task - I've never been much of a numbers person) and I'll be on my way! 

Wish me luck!

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