Keep calm and read about our interview process!

Guest posts

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
Category: Health

18 November 2015

My name is Morgan Brown the Marketing Officer for the Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education at Anglia Ruskin University. Today I want to give you an insight in our interview processes.

We are now at the stage of the year when interviews are looming. You should have started your personal statement and be ready to submit your UCAS application before the January deadline. Some of you may already have done all this and hopefully you will now be receiving your first interview invitations. In this blog, I want to clarify the interview process here at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education for our nursing, Midwifery and Social Work courses. We also have an area of our website dedicated to interviews which you may want to check!

Different courses, different processes

Social work interviews include a literacy test, a group interview and an individual interview.

Meanwhile, nursing and midwifery interviews include two phases. Phase 1 consists of a numeracy and literacy test and phase 2 takes the form of mini multiple interviews (MMIs).

For midwifery, phase 1 and phase 2 will take place on the same day and all applicants will go through both phases.

For nursing, the phases take place on different days. You would come in for phase 1 and take both the literacy and numeracy test, and then if successful, would be invited back on another day for phase 2 (the MMIs). We do have a few dates were phase 1 and 2 are held on the same day to accommodate you if you’re travelling from a long distance.

The literacy and numeracy tests

The literacy test will normally involve answering one or two essay-style questions in 20 minutes. It will be relevant to the course you want to study. Some examples could be: What is good communication? How is social work portrayed in society? What is adult nursing? What does compassion mean? This is equivalent to GSCE level and we simply want to check that you can complete a written task within a limited timeframe. You will need to produce clear sentences and paragraph as well as demonstrate correct grammar, punctuation, spelling and understanding of the subject.

The numeracy test (only for nursing and midwifery) is the part that applicants are often worried about. You get 30 minutes to answer 20 questions without a calculator and we are looking for a 50% pass rate. This is definitely achievable but remember that failing to prepare is preparing to fail! Again, the questions are GCSE level, so you can use the BBC bitesize pages to revise and train. We also have a sample test available on our interview guidance pages. The sample test will give you a good example of the type of questions we ask, and you can then use the BBC website to revise your weakest areas.

Individual and group interviews vs MMIs

For social work you will first be interviewed in a group of around 8 people (this can vary slightly) and will all discuss a subject relevant to social work for about 30 minutes. Just remember to contribute but not to talk over other people, we are also looking at the way you work as a team. You can disagree with opinions but do so in a polite and constructive way and make sure that your own opinions are backed up by the research you have done before the interview. The individual interview will last about 20 minutes. It is your chance to show how your experience and skills are relevant to the role of a social worker and why you would be successful on our course. In both personal and group interviews, you will be observed/interviewed by an academic and either a social work practitioner or a service user.

For nursing and midwifery, you will take part in MMIs. The best way to describe MMIs is to compare them to speed dating, I know it sounds strange but bear with me! You would come into a room with different stations and move in short succession between 3 different tables, to the sound of a buzzer. Of course you won’t be interviewed by a prospective soulmate, but instead you will interact with a variety of people including an academic, a service user and a practitioner. You will be presented with a realistic scenario and will be asked what you would do in this situation. You may also be asked a question, such as why you want to be a midwife or a nurse. We are looking at your understanding of the NHS constitution and of the 6Cs. Examples of scenarios could be:

  • You are the only midwife/nurse on the ward, 3 patients have requested to go to the toilet, how do you prioritise who goes first?
  • At the end of a shift on placement you are about to leave, when a service user says: “You are the best midwife/nurse here. Can I have your mobile number, so I can call you later?”

Thorough preparation makes its own luck

Hopefully by now I’ve given you a good insight into what will happen on your interview day. There is research you can do to prepare, and you should already have done most of this to prepare for your personal statement.

  • Reflect again on why you want to join those professions and how your skills and experience will make you a competent practitioner.
  • Make sure you understand what the role of a social worker/nurse/midwife is like. Not just the image that people have of those professions but the actual duties that are part of the role. You need to have a balanced outlook and be aware of both the advantages in those roles but also of the potential challenges that you may face.
  • Some of those challenges may be linked to the context rather than the roles themselves. And you need to be aware of this context, whether it be in the NHS or in social care. If you are applying for nursing and midwifery, make sure that you know about both hospital settings but also what happens in the community.
  • For nursing and midwifery you need to look into the NHS constitution and the 6Cs. Think about how nurses and midwives can demonstrate those values in their practice on a daily basis.
  • Also remember that you are about to start an academic course. Think of skills you have developed in your education and how they will help you on the course (writing essays, working in groups, giving presentations, respecting deadlines…)
  • Read. Whether it’s on websites, social media (you will need to be critical about what you read!), journals or books.
  • On the day: get there early, look smart but wear comfortable clothing and smile

I hope you find this helpful and that you enjoy your interview experience here at Anglia Ruskin University. Use this opportunity to look around the campus, talk to students and academics alike and make sure that you are comfortable here. I wish you all the best in your preparation and hope that you will be joining us soon!


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.