My two informal UCAS interviews – OurWarwick
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My two informal UCAS interviews

In this blog, I thought I’ll discuss my experience doing UCAS interviews a few years back. I didn’t have an interview at Warwick but had a couple with other universities. I must add that I had very informal interviews so if you have been informed that you’ll be having a proper interview, you want to go very prepared!

They both told me that they’re keen to have a general conversation and I was going to fall into the trap and go there only knowing my name. Luckily, my head of sixth form decided to do a mock interview with me. I failed that interview ever so miserably and it scared me so much that I decided to prepare for the actual interview to be on the safe side and I am so glad that I did! I had mentioned my interest in analytical chemistry in my personal statement and one of the universities actually asked me how NMR works! Luckily, I had read up on resonance and all that so saved myself from the embarrassment of not knowing something I had written in my personal statement. So, .

At another university, the academic asked me about thermodynamics because she herself was a physical chemist. This might happen as well where academics ask you about something they like or that is their area of expertise. With these, you can’t really prepare other than to that you have covered. However, I remember the academic did ask me whether I was aware of the delta G equation before asking me questions.

They also asked me about my . So, I mentioned everything that I had said in my personal statement with a little more elaboration. This is a relatively simple question because you’re talking about something you’re interested in. But, maybe have to impress them. Even if it is one thing – just something different to chemistry. I do poetry and used to do photography back then. One of them even recommended me their photography society as a result. It guess it helps with showing that you’ll flourish in their university environment.

They also asked me why I had chosen to do . With one of the universities, I had applied for the BSc course but made clear during the interview that I was intending to transfer to the MChem course because I thought this would demonstrate greater commitment and passion for the course. I said that I applied for the BSc course instead to get a lower offer (I don’t even know if this is a good thing to have said – they did give me an offer though!).

I remember with one university, my conversation ended up about some extra reading I had done – this is another thing! It would be awkward to only be able to remember one term that you had put in the personal statement. So, I talked about soil bacteria and their use in dealing with antibiotics resistance. This was chemistry related because a change in a functional group led to different functionalities.

They didn’t ask me any job-style competency questions or indeed anything like ‘why chemistry?’. I’m glad partly because I had spent a lot of time writing my personal statement. It would have been annoying having to say it all again and partly because, let’s be honest, it is a hard question! I would, nevertheless, say to .

Finally, you’ll find that such days are a two-way process i.e. as much as I was trying to impress them, they were trying to come across as appealing too! I ended up quite liking the two universities I went to but you might walk out thinking – meh! this place ain’t for me! – and this is perfectly fine. I mean, I liked them but I didn’t go to any of them. This is because many other factors can play a role. I have blogged about choosing your five universities in the past so check it out if you’re struggling with that. Otherwise, good luck with UCAS, kids!

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