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How to Stand Out in an Entrance School Interview

Is your child preparing for an entrance interview or a big presentation? Help them to develop strong communication skills for interviews with our top 7 tips on entrance school interview skills.

In this blog, our English tutors will sum up the top tips to shake the presentation jitters so they can communicate their brilliance confidently.

If your child is preparing for an entrance exam, please check out our 11+ specific and GCSE exam resources.

Eloquence is key when it comes to presenting your ideas, especially when they need to make a lasting impression.

Here are our top tips to demonstrate strong interview skills for interviews:

  1. Confidence Before the Interview Starts
  2. Knowing the Tools of Persuasion
  3. Preparing for Potential Questions
  4. Avoiding fillers
  5. Body Language
  6. Speed of Delivery
  7. A Strong Close

Building Confidence Before the Interview Begins

It is important that prior to sitting across from your interviewer, you already know why you are the right person for this school or position. The best way to do this is to spend time on the institution’s website, looking at what they offer, the words they use and what they are proud of. By doing this, you can start to envision yourself integrated within this community and see how you being there is the right place.

  • Spend time discussing why you are awesome with your friends and family.
  • Write an achievements list
  • Discuss your goals

And if you’re not feeling all that confident just yet, that’s okay. Start with a simple mantra:

I am actively becoming the best person I can be and that is perfect for me.

confidence in interview
Learn how to present your best self during an interview

Know the Tools of Persuasion

Did you know that the tools of persuasion date back to the ancient Greeks when the best way to make change was through public oration?

These ‘tools’ have been fine tuned over the years and can be broken into three categories:

  • Ethos – Your credibility
  • Logos – Factual support
  • Pathos – Emotional connection

When combining elements from each of these categories, our audience (your interviewer) will feel more connected and intrigued.

Using this in your interview will not only demonstrate your strong communication skills in the interviews but also demonstrate your knowledge of persuasive techniques.

Therefore find ways to highlight why you are awesome (see the achievements list above), have specific examples that demonstrate key qualities and weave in your goals and emotional drive to be apart of the school.

Prepare for Potential Questions

Preparing for potential questions is one of the best ways that allow you to plan how to use the tools of persuasion and highlight your awesomeness.

If you are preparing for a school entrance interview then questions about your character, your passions and interests, your goals and your reason for attending this specific school are all likely to come up.

Spend some time writing out potential interview questions so you can frame your answers with the tools of persuasion.

Uhm…Avoid Fillers

Fillers are, uh, the small words that we, uhm, use to fill a gap when we can’t, like, seem to come up with the, uh, right words.

They can be really distracting for the interviewer and detract from your message. We really want to highlight your strong communication skills in the interviews.

Therefore the best thing to do is practise socially. If you use a filler have a friend or family member call you out on it. Then pause, take a deep breath, think about what you want to say then say it in full.

Another tip to avoid cluttering is to practise using connectives. If an interview asks “what are your strengths?” respond immediately with the filler “that’s a good question,” These connectives might feel unnatural at first, but with practise, you’ll begin to hear these connectives replace the uh, uhm, and likes.

This will not only make you more reflective before you speak, but it will also help you to communicate eloquently.

Body Language is Key

Body language is a form of nonverbal communication which includes posture, facial expression, eye contact and the use of space.

While non-verbal cues do not make up for 93% of communication as previously thought, it is still a big part of how we communicate. Forbes, 2012

Body language is not only important for your interactions but also for your subconscious mind.

According to Amy Cuddy, after 2 minutes of power posing we can feel more confident.

Power posing is more about expansion and taking up space.

Following her experiment, she noticed that if individuals were sitting for 2 minutes in an expansive and big manner, their body produced more testosterone.

Therefore, practise power posing before you enter into that interview to help your subconscious mind feel powerful.

In the interview of course, be aware of your body language. While expansion may not be the best position to adopt in the interview, openness definitely is.

Notice if you arms or legs cross. Are you slouching backwards or leaning forwards.

For more on Amy Cuddy:

Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk in 2 minutes

Speed of Delivery

While speaking in an interview, it is common to feel nervous. Sometimes we can experience nerves and it causes us to feel stuck with our words. This is often where the mumbling and the word fillers come into play. Other times, we feel flustered and tend to speed up our delivery.

The ideal rate of speaking is 130 – 150 words per minute.

The best way to check this is to write out a paragraph that is 150 words and then time yourself saying it.

This will help to provide you with a benchmark so you can either increase or decrease the speed of delivery.

Speed will definitely take practise, but if you have prepared well, then reminding yourself to listen to your speed and adjusting it as needed will be far easier than if you:

  • have not prepared and
  • also need to think about the answer,
  • come up with examples on the spot,
  • avoid using fillers,
  • be aware of your body language
  • and keep the speed in check.

A Strong Close

Our final tip for successful communication during interview skills is to leave a lasting impression before you leave.

A great way to do this is to make sure you have 1-2 thoughtful questions for the interviewer.

Follow this up with direct eye contact and (if possible) a firm handshake as you thank them graciously for their time and consideration.

There are times when we feel so nervous that we just want to leave the room so the interview will be over with. But don’t race out of there without taking a moment to thank your interviewer and make direct eye contact.

Conclusion of Our Top Tips for Strong Communication Skills for Interviews

Many schools around the UK require students to sit an interview prior to gaining acceptance.

Support your child in securing a spot at their top school with these strong communication skills for interviews.

Tutors in Ascot and Online support students preparing for 11+ and transfer exams.

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