Imperial College London Interviews

Imperial College London is one of only a handful of UK universities that routinely interviews applicants at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. If you are invited for an interview with Imperial, it’s important that you know what to expect and how to prepare, as your performance will affect whether or not you are made an offer.

Imperial College London interviews can come in different formats depending on the course you are applying for. This guide explains what an interview will look like for undergraduate and postgraduate applicants, and how you can prepare to maximise your chances of receiving an offer.

Undergraduate interviews at Imperial

Due to the competitiveness of courses, many of Imperial’s departments interview undergraduate applicants as part of the admissions process.

Depending on your chosen course, you may be interviewed by either one person or two people. Your interview may also form part of a wider recruitment day, which could involve taking part in other activities such as group tasks, discussions, or written tests.

Typically, your interview will take place in person, although there is no formal dress code for Imperial interviews, so you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. If you are an international student and are unable to attend an in-person interview, you may be offered an online interview via Skype instead.

How to prepare for undergraduate Imperial interviews

You don’t need to wait to be invited for an interview with Imperial to start preparing. In fact, we find that students who start preparing from the time they submit their UCAS application feel more confident and often perform better in their interviews.
There are a number of things you can do to help prepare for an Imperial interview:

1. Consider if you will be able to attend in person and plan ahead

UK students will typically be invited to attend Imperial interviews in person at undergraduate level. This will involve travelling to the relevant university department in central London, so you will need to plan any necessary travel/accommodation arrangements to ensure you can attend.

If you are an international student and cannot attend in person, you may be able to arrange a virtual interview with Imperial instead. This will depend on the department you are applying for, so always check directly with them before making any arrangements.

2. Get to know your personal statement

Your interview will typically involve being asked questions relating to your personal statement as well as subject-related questions. Often, even the subject-specific questions you’ll be asked may be guided by the information included in your personal statement.

To prepare for these questions, make sure you re-read and familiarise yourself with your personal statement in advance of your interview to remind yourself of the examples and topics you discussed. You should also revise any theories, topics or readings you mentioned in your personal statement to ensure that you can talk about them in depth if you are asked about them (which is highly likely).

3. Prepare examples

In any university-level interview, it’s not enough to declare your strengths and interests – you need to demonstrate them. Preparing plenty of examples of times when you have demonstrated this will help you to support, not just state, your claims.

Ensure you have examples that prove your academic ability, such as course-related societies you’ve been a part of or extra learning you have completed, as well as examples that demonstrate your soft skills, such as managing your time well, taking on a leadership role, or solving a problem in an innovative way.

4. Become an expert in your subject

Imperial interviews typically consist of a mixture of questions relating to both your personal statement (interests, experience, and qualifications) and your subject knowledge. It is impossible to predict exactly what subject-specific questions you will be asked, so it’s important that you become as much of an expert in your subject as possible.

Make sure that you have revised everything you have covered in your A levels (or equivalent) so far and feel confident answering questions on these topics. If you’re applying for a heavily mathematical course, we also advise practising your mental maths skills, as this can help you solve on-the-spot questions and remain calm during your interview.

5. Practise using mock interviews

Mock interviews are one the best ways you can prepare for an interview. They allow you to put into practice the rest of your preparation – for example, you can practise answering questions on your personal statement, giving examples of where you have demonstrated certain skills, and working out subject-specific problems.

They also allow you to develop your interview skills and develop techniques that help you perform as well as possible. For example, you can practise maintaining calm and confident body language, making eye contact with your interviewer, and structuring your answers in a clear and concise way.

Some schools offer mock interviews to students applying for universities like Imperial. However, many do not have the resources to offer this kind of support or have relevant expertise on Imperial admissions specifically. That is where a professional admissions tutor can be invaluable to your preparation. The Profs’ tutors have in-depth knowledge of the admissions process for Imperial, including what they look for in candidates during interviews, and can provide mock interviews and other preparation strategies.

6. Prepare for other activities and tests

As mentioned above, undergraduate Imperial interviews can often form part of a wider recruitment day, which will consist of other activities such as group tasks and written tests. Make sure you find out if this will be the case for your particular course so that you can prepare for any potential subject-specific tests or activities involved in a recruitment day beforehand.

At The Profs, we have many Imperial graduates and ex-lecturers in our tutor network who can offer expert insights into what a range of Imperial departments will be looking for in their applicants and how to best prepare for interviews and admissions days. Reach out to our undergraduate admissions team to find out more.

If you’re thinking of applying to Imperial College London for your undergraduate degree, read our guide on how to get into Imperial for further tips and information on its admissions process and acceptance rates.

Imperial Medicine interviews

Medicine interviews follow a different format from other interviews at Imperial and other universities. There are two main types of Medicine interviews: MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews) and traditional panel interviews. Imperial uses MMIs, which are designed to assess a range of both academic abilities and practical skills required for Medicine via multiple interviewing ‘stations’.

Due to this unique format, MMIs require specific preparation. Find out more about how to prepare for an MMI in our helpful guide to preparing for Medicine interviews. For more university-specific guidance, read our guide on how to get into Imperial for Medicine.

Postgraduate interviews at Imperial

Imperial also conducts interviews for many of its postgraduate courses, including all postgraduate research programmes. Some applicants for postgraduate taught courses (Masters, Diplomas and Certificates) will also be asked to attend an interview, but this will depend on the specific course you are applying for, so always check on your chosen course page or with the university directly in advance.

In addition, some departments interview candidates in person while others interview candidates online. Imperial College Business School interviews many taught Masters applicants using the Kira Talent interview platform. This type of interview is unusual in that you are not going to meet anyone, as Kira Talent interview questions are pre-recorded online. Nevertheless, this type of interview still requires plenty of preparation.

Postgraduate research interviews at Imperial are typically conducted in person by 1-2 members of staff in addition to the Director of Postgraduate Studies or the Head of Department for your chosen course. If you cannot attend an in-person interview, you will need to communicate this to the relevant department and Imperial may conduct the interview as a video conference or teleconference instead.

How to prepare for postgraduate Imperial interviews

You don’t need to wait to be invited for an interview with Imperial to start preparing, especially if you’re applying for a course that you know interviews all shortlisted applicants (i.e. postgraduate research courses and some taught courses). From our experience, students who begin preparing for their interview in advance benefit from more confidence, better subject knowledge, and a clearer understanding of how they can best succeed when it comes to attending their interview.

There are a number of things you can do to help prepare for a postgraduate interview at Imperial:

1. Learn the most commonly asked questions

While it’s impossible to predict exactly what you will be asked in your postgraduate interview, learning the most commonly asked questions as part of your preparation can be of great help and give you an advantage over other applicants who do not know what to expect. Typically, if you are attending an interview with one or more interviewers in person or on a video conference, postgraduate interview questions can be categorised into seven types:

  • ‘Describe yourself’ questions – Interviewers often lead with questions which require you to ‘describe yourself’ in some way. These types of questions are a good indicator of your overall strengths and interests, but also of your self-awareness and ability to self-reflect and improve.
  • Academic experience questions – Some of the questions you might be asked in your interview could be based on the information you’ve provided in your personal statement and/or CV relating to your academic experience and achievements. Unsurprisingly, your interviewer will want to feel reassured that your academic ability is of a high enough standard to succeed at postgraduate level, so it’s important to answer these questions honestly and give examples where necessary.
  • University-specific questions – In your postgraduate interview, your university will want to find out more about why you chose them in particular – but it’s more than simply flattery they’re seeking. Your interviewer will want to see that you have done your research on your chosen university and course, and that you are motivated and driven to succeed.
  • Strengths, weaknesses and skills questions – When applying for a Master’s, interviewers will want to go beyond your academic achievements and look at what transferable (and, if relevant, technical) skills you have that would make you well-suited to your chosen course. These types of questions are commonly known as ‘core competency’ questions and will usually infer the need for an example to support them so as to evidence the development or application of these skills.
  • Subject or industry-specific questions – Unlike in an undergraduate interview – where prior knowledge is not typically the focus of their assessment of you – postgraduate applicants are assumed to have existing, in-depth knowledge and experience in their subject area. Therefore, you will likely be asked more challenging or thought-provoking questions on your chosen degree subject and may be expected to engage in a detailed discussion or informal chat on a particular topic or issue.
  • Goal-related questions – Universities are looking for postgraduate students who have clear goals or, ideally, a career plan they are working towards. The clearer your goals, the more ambitious, driven and committed you will seem to your chosen university.
  • Interests/personality questions – As part of your postgraduate interview might include being asked some questions that relate to your personality, hobbies and interests. The goal of the interviewer here may simply be to get to know you better as a person. However, it could also be an opportunity for them to assess whether your interest in the subject area extends beyond a purely academic or professional setting and is a genuine commitment of yours.

The questions you will be asked will depend on your chosen subject area and are typically very specific to your subject/research interests at postgraduate level. For example, common questions in Master’s in Finance interviews include: ‘Does innovation help average investors?’; ‘How have developments in technology shaped the finance industry in recent years?’; and ‘Explain the difference between retail and corporate banking’.

For more tips and examples of questions you are likely to encounter in a postgraduate interview, read our guide on some of the most common postgraduate interview questions.

2. Familiarise yourself with online interviews

Many of Imperial’s postgraduate interviews are also conducted online, and these online interviews will not always follow a typical interview structure. For example, Imperial Business School conducts interviews via the online interview platform Kira Talent, which has a structured format that involves recording answers to pre-set questions in video format.

Make sure you check what type of interview you will face in the admissions process for your specific course so that you can prepare appropriately. It may be the first time you have encountered an online interview and platforms like Kira Talent often don’t give you lots of time to prepare for each answer, so it’s important that you are familiar with the process.

3. Prepare examples

In any university-level interview, it’s not enough to declare your strengths and interests – you need to demonstrate them. Preparing plenty of examples of times when you have demonstrated this will help you to support, not just state, your claims.

Ensure you have examples that prove your academic ability, such as course-related societies you’ve been a part of or extra learning you have completed, as well as examples that demonstrate your soft skills, such as managing your time well, taking on a leadership role, or solving a problem in an innovative way.

4. Read extensively around your subject

If you’re applying to study at the postgraduate level, you probably already have a pretty good understanding of your subject area. However, the aim of a postgraduate interview is to explore the depth and nuance of this understanding, as well as where your passions lie. Having a solid understanding of the wider discipline, including any recent news, landmark research, and important academics will allow you to have these higher-level discussions with your interviewers.

5. Practise using mock interviews

Mock interviews are one the best ways you can prepare for an interview. They allow you to put into practice the rest of your preparation – for example, you can practise answering a range of questions (such as those above), giving examples of where you have demonstrated important skills, and showing that you are well-equipped for studying at postgraduate level, which is one of the most important traits interviewers will be looking for.

They also allow you to develop your interview skills and develop techniques that help you perform as well as possible. For example, you can practise maintaining calm and confident body language, making eye contact with your interviewer, and structuring your answers in a clear and concise way. Note that even if you are required to complete an interview via an online platform (like Kira Talent), it is still important that you practise recording your answers in similar ‘mock interview’ conditions to ensure that you are able to give well-structured answers under time pressure.

Mock interviews are an area of preparation where professional admissions tutors can prove invaluable. The Profs’ interview training tutors have in-depth knowledge of all interview types used for postgraduate interviews at Imperial and can provide mock interviews, simulating the conditions you will face in the real thing, to help you develop the necessary skills and strategies for success. Reach out to our postgraduate admissions team to find out more.

FAQs

Does Imperial interview everyone?

Imperial interviews most undergraduate and postgraduate applicants, however not all departments interview candidates. Always check whether you will be required to attend an interview as part of the admissions process – this information can usually be found on your chosen course page.

When are Imperial interviews?

Imperial holds interviews on a range of dates. These dates differ depending on the course you are applying for, the department that the course is part of, the application deadline, and other factors. The university will typically let you know what date your interview is due to take place by getting in touch with you. Always check with the relevant department if you are unsure when your interview will take place.

Do Imperial interview for Biochemistry?

Imperial does not typically hold interviews for applicants to its BSc Biochemistry course. An offer will instead be made solely on the basis of your UCAS application and any other relevant information, such as contextual data.

Do Imperial interview for Computing?

Imperial does interview candidates for its BEng Computing course. After you have submitted your application and taken the online admissions test, you may be shortlisted and invited to attend an interview day. This day will consist of a welcome presentation by the Admissions Tutor and Director of Studies, a tour of the college and department facilities, demonstrations of undergraduate projects, and a one-to-one interview with one Computing lecturer.

Do international students get interviews at Imperial?

Both UK and international students can be invited for interviews at Imperial as part of the admissions process. If you are applying to Imperial from outside the UK and will not be able to attend an in-person interview, communicate this with the relevant department and the university may arrange for your interview to take place online instead, either via video conference or teleconference.