To be offered an interview for Dental School is a great achievement in itself – so, if you’re reading this having received one (or several), then congratulations! However, this is where the hard work now starts; you have a limited period of time in your interview to impress the examiners, and you must stand out. This may seem daunting, but thankfully there are plenty of things that can do before and during the interview to make it a success. Here are our top tips:
Preparation is key
Although you can never entirely predict the exact questions that will be asked in your interview, applicants to dentistry frequently find themselves being asked variations of the same questions – for example, one of the most popular questions is “why do you want to study dentistry?…Why not medicine?…What’s the difference between the two?”. Give thought to these common questions in advance, and structure a rough answer before the interview. We strongly recommend that you do not memorise a word-for-word answer, because it sounds fake and robotic – interviewers hate this! Instead, you should consult our comprehensive library of over 150 past and present questions, each with detailed model answers and explanations. These can all be found in our Full Comprehensive Package.
Make a good first impression
Ensure that when you first meet your interviewer(s), you greet them with a smile and introduce yourself in a friendly, confident way. Give a firm handshake, make eye contact and do try to pay attention to your body language – check out our blog post “The Interview Handshake”. If you set the tone in this way, you feel more confident before the interview has even begun. More importantly, the interviewer will naturally be more receptive to you as a candidate. Your first impression at an interview for Dental School is much more than just how you present yourself. You need to be well-spoken, confident and clever in your answers, too. Read on to find out more.
Think logically and calmly
Despite all your preparation, there will always be one or two questions that you do not know the answer to. This is perfectly normal. The way to make yourself stand out is how you deal with these questions. Many candidates will try to “bluff” their way through an answer, giving a wishy-washy and generally rubbish answer; examiners can see through this instantly.
To make yourself stand out, the first thing you should do is be open and honest with the examiner. You might choose to say something like “that’s a really tough question, and in all honesty, I don’t know the exact answer”. This is a good start, but you must continue that with “But, I would use some logical deduction to have an educated guess at the answer…” and then attempt at an answer. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, as long as you can justify your thought process and show the examiners how you reached such a conclusion. This is the crucial step to success at your interview.
Research your university
A common interview question is “why do you want to study specifically at this dental school”. Each dental school is different. They have different styles of teaching, different exposure to clinical settings, different societies and extra-curricular activities. There is always something to say about why any given university particularly appeals to you. Thankfully, Become A Dentist has summarised everything unique about each Dental School in the “What makes this University unique?” section in the Schools & Universities Package.
Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Interviews are extremely nerve-wracking and it is easy to get caught up in the process. Before you know it, you’ve finished the interview and you’re heading home. On the way home, you think of 10 different or better answers you could have, and you’re kicking yourself. Firstly, you always do better than you think you did – so don’t panic!
The main way to stop yourself from feeling this regret or worry about your interview is to prepare one or two Unique Selling Points (USPs) about yourself that truly make you memorable or stand out.
For example, you might be an excellent athlete, or a fast learner or an excellent social butterfly. You need to go into the interview with the mindset of telling the interview panel your chosen fact(s). Practice weaving your chosen fact into your sentences at home. For example, if you are asked “Why do you want to come to this Dental School in particular?”, you may give the following answer:
“One of the main reasons why I want to come to your Dental School is the massive emphasis you put on sporting events. I know that your Dental School has been the champion of the intramural Sports Day against the other Dental Schools for the last 4 years running. This is something that really excites me because I’m such a keen sportsman and competitor, too. Last year, I was juggling my A-levels alongside competing in a national under-21 Taekwondo competition. I finished runner-up and it taught me so much. It really taught me the art of balancing education and sport, and I think I succeeded because of my time-management skills and work ethic. I would continue to bring to your Dental School, too.”
This example answer succeeds in three ways: first, it clearly explains why they want to go to that Dental School. Secondly, they introduce their unique point (the Taekwondo). Finally, they link it back to their own qualities and attributes, showing why they would be a good candidate at Dental School as they are able to balance work and extra-curricular life very well.
Your success at gaining a place at Dental School starts here, with these first 5 keys. Look out for more blogs coming your way soon, and check out our free content posted under each section of the Dental School Application: www.becomeadentist.co.uk