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Courses

Interview questions

These can be found on the course questions page.

Interview impressions

Different courses have different ways of selecting their trainees. This section of the site aims to gather people's impressions of their interview(s), as well as some basic facts about interview sections, panels and style. Hopefully this will give others a basic idea of what to expect.

Trainees' impressions

Eventually, this page will include some notes from current trainees about their course. Unless you happen to know a trainee, it can be hard to get a feel for some aspects of clinical training. In time, I hope this section will address that problem. If you're a current trainee and you're willing to write a few words, please get in touch.

Pick a course...

I have listed the courses below in the order they appear in the handbook. If the course you are interested in does not have an active link, it means I have not yet received any information on it. If you can fill any gaps, please get in touch.

N.B. I will not list past interview questions for individual courses - here's why.

[ Birmingham ] [ Bristol ] [ Coventry ] [ East Anglia ] [ East London ]
[ Edinburgh ] [ Exeter ] [ Glasgow ] [ Institute of Psychiatry ] [ Lancaster ]
[ Leeds ] [ Leicester ][ Liverpool ] [ Manchester ] [ Newcastle ] [ North Thames ]
[ North Wales ] [ Oxford ] [ Plymouth ] [ Royal Holloway ] [ Salomons ]
[ Sheffield ] [ Southampton ] [ South Thames ] [ South Wales ] [ Teesside ]


Bristol

last edited 07-04-2003

Contributors

Kate Humphreys

Interview format

There were 3 people on each interview panel and one of the panel for the reflective section was a current trainee. There were three interviews, each lasting up to 20 minutes, covering academic, clinical and research issues.

Impressions

The day was very relaxed and there were plenty of friendly trainees around. They warned us that it was OK to mess up the academic interview, and even the clinical one, but NOT the reflective as this was really important (needless to say this is the one I messed up completely!). They also warned us beforehand that one of the academic interviewers might close his eyes or fall asleep in the interviews and not to take it personally!

The stance of the course appears to be very reflective and quite radical / critical, which might not be everyone's cup of tea, and the trainees were not your typical middle-class WASP young women (which is good). All of the current trainees I spoke to absolutely love the course, and say that the academic workload is only about two thirds that of other places.


University of East Anglia

last edited 07-04-2003

Contributors

Kate Humphreys and Kathrin Buhr

Interview format

There were two panels of 3 people, with one person common to both, who also took you to and from the interviews. Each interview took about 40 minutes.

Impressions

The morning was well organised with lots of trainees around, and tea / coffee / snacks available. The interviewers were mainly friendly and prompted you a lot to try to get the best out of you.


University of Leeds

last edited 12-05-2003

Contributors

Ben Pollinger

Interview format

Leeds have one interview, lasting about 40 minutes, with a panel of 3 staff (including core academic representatives and clinical tutors). There are no presentations to prepare.

The clinical director acted as maître d' throughout the day, showing interviewees from room to room, and sorting out administrative details. Alongside the academic director, he gave an introductory talk to small groups of interviewees, explaining the format of the day, and details of the course. This included placements, research strengths and academic assessment.

There was a chance to talk to numerous trainees throughout the day, as well as fellow interviewees, as there was a large 'waiting room' with drinks and nibbles to hand. In case anyone felt that they could not ask a question openly (or trainees could not answer openly), there were about 20 minutes allocated for groups of 4 interviewees to talk to 2 trainees in privacy.

Impressions

The Leeds course worked hard to put people at ease, emphasising that they hope everyone can give their best in the interview. Course staff and trainees were personable and friendly, giving the impression of a course which values its trainees and takes their 'frame of reference' seriously. This extends towards interviewees, so despite the hectic nature of the day, I didn't feel like I was being 'processed'.

Having one interview can create great pressure in those 40 minutes, but the panel was quite friendly and encouraging. Even when floundering on certain questions, they reflected some of my points and kept smiling(!) There were no hugely unexpected questions, and there was a clear emphasis on self-reflection and self-awareness.

In summary, Leeds have one interview so it's all or nothing in those 40-odd minutes. But they do their beat to put you at ease, whilst recognising that everyone will be nervous to some degree. Despite their hectic schedule, I did feel I was listened to, respected and given a 'fair crack of the whip'. The staff and trainees were friendly, with plentiful opportunities to ask questions, get a feel for the course, and generally evaluate it whilst they evaluated you. Leeds seems to values its trainees, encouraging them to reflect on themselves and what they do, as well as thinking critically about clinical psychology more broadly.


University of Sheffield

last edited 12-05-2003

Contributors

Ben Pollinger

Interview format

Sheffield interview 8-10 people each day, all of us meeting in a common room before 9 a.m. There was a chance to talk to a couple of trainees throughout the day, as well as fellow interviewees. There was a brief introductory talk from course staff, followed by a group task. In this, the whole group of interviewees was given a clinically-relevant topic to discuss for about 20 minutes, with 4 staff observing from outside the group. There followed a further 15 minute reflective discussion, looking at our functioning within the group, and how the group itself handled the task.

There followed an individual interview of about 20 minutes, either academic or clinical / personal. Those who had their academic interview in the morning had their clinical / personal interview in the afternoon, and vice versa. There were no presentations to prepare.

  1. Academic - panel of three, including the acting course director
  2. Clinical / personal - panel of four people

After lunch, there was a 20 minute written task, which everyone did at the same time (under 'exam' conditions). This was a critique of a mock research project, outlining a study including aims, design, method, results and conclusions.

Impressions

The Sheffield course clearly want to get 'a good look' at their interviewees, hence their assessment does not hang on one or two interviews. Their "clinical / personal" interview seemed much more personal than other courses, with follow up questions focussing on your thoughts and feelings related to clinical matters, rather than what you did.

As with most interviewees on my day, I found the academic interview trickier. This was perhaps due to some unforeseen questions (although in my case all the questions were unforeseen!), and the tendency of the panel to pin you down on your answers, to follow up responses to ensure you knew what you were talking about. All fair enough of course, but this can have a tendency to crank up the anxiety.

The group task was quite interesting and served to break the ice. There was some anxiety about what the observers were looking for, and about what was the right level of contribution. However, the ability to reflect on personal and group functioning and processes seemed more important, given feedback from staff and trainees. Interviewees generally saw this as a relevant task, if a little unnerving at first.

The written task was apparently straightforward, and again seemed designed to assess relevant abilities. There were plenty of holes to pick in the made-up study, and although we were only required to list them (rather than write in flowing prose), there was not much time to complete this.

In summary, Sheffield take their time in assessment, but this gives interviewees the chance to demonstrate their abilities in more ways than other courses allow. The staff were friendly and buffet food was good and plentiful. Sheffield seems like a course which values its trainees, encouraging self-reflection and critical thinking.


University of Teesside

last edited 07-04-2003

Contributors

Ben Pollinger

Interview format

There was a chance to talk to trainees from each year before and after the interview section. There were two interviews of about half an hour each, running with no break:

  1. Research / academic - panel of two core staff, included a 10 minute presentation on my undergraduate research project, as specified in the letter inviting me to interview.
  2. Clinical / personal / professional - panel of four people, mainly clinicians working in the area who had input into the course.

Impressions

Teesside seemed to have thought through the process from the interviewee's point of view, reducing stress where possible and providing information about the course beyond what is available in the handbook. The interview panels do well to put you at ease, and do not tend to grill you too severely.

It was very useful to talk to trainees, to gain a sense of what it might be like to be on the course. Having different trainees to talk to in different rooms before and after the interview was good - it avoids interviewees coming out and in a traumatic state (or super-calm and confident), which might unsettle those waiting for their interview. Water, biscuits and mints were provided in each room.