You’ve done it, you’ve secured your interview for dental school.
You’re at the last hurdle. But what happens now? How do you prepare?
First things first, congratulations for securing the interview!
The road to get to this stage has been hugely competitive and the admissions tutor must have been impressed to invite you to interview. And that’s exactly it, they want to know who YOU are!
One of the first things to do is to check the format of your interview.
There are a range of formats from Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), panel interviews to group interviews. It’s worth checking what the format will be. The MMI interview is by far the most popular, with multiple stations having different standardised questions and candidates moving around in a circuit formation.
The next step is to have a prior think about what questions can be asked.
Do not fall into the trap of rehearsing any pre-made answers!
The interviewers have seen this many times before and are quick to pick this up. Some integral questions you might want to consider are: Why dentistry? Why this particular dental school? What qualities do you have that make you a good dental student?
It’s useful to think of short bullet point answers in your head to prepare. To answer “Why this particular dental school?”, think of a 3-point scheme.
- Tell the interviewer why you like the city
- What interests you about the university itself
- What drew you towards the particular course they offer
- Think about the style of teaching offered
You can go off and research a few things about the city, university and course and expand on these points whilst answering the question in the interview.
Whilst you can use the approach above for the commonly asked questions, what happens when you get thrown a curveball?
The first thing to do is not to panic, try to remain confident and take a deep breath.
You can take a pause to think about the question, don’t think that you need to answer right away! Consider the question given to you and try to answer to the best of your ability in a systematic and logical way. If you are really unsure of the answer, don’t be afraid to think out loud and walk the interviewer through the steps you are taking.
This approach will gain you far more favour than stuttering and trying to give a half-hearted answer.
Unique to dental school interviews are the ‘manual dexterity stations’ where you may be asked to complete a task to demonstrate your dexterity.
In short, there is no way to practice this. Tasks can range from packing a filling using given instructions, shaping wax to solving a puzzle. The only tip I can give here is to try to remain calm and complete the task to the best of your ability.
Dental schools are not looking for students with perfect skills, much of your manual dexterity will be built upon at dental school. Do not worry too much if you are not completely happy with your work – they aren’t expecting a masterpiece! Alternatively, do also check if your interview offers you the chance to bring in a model/artwork that allows you to demonstrate your manually dexterous skills.
Finally, remember to double check the venue and time of your interview and arrive with plenty of time to spare.
Dress smartly and feel free to bring some water with you. Most of all, smile and try to enjoy yourself as much as you can. You’re there to show them your passion for your chosen field, so give it all you’ve got!