11 April 2016
Following on from my previous blog post ‘Applying to University and the Paramedic Science Degree’, this blog will continue down the route of applying to university, and specifically the Paramedic Science course.
The interview started early on a Monday morning in Chelmsford, so I decided to stay overnight in a local hotel the night before so I could arrive nice and on time (any excuse to have a night away!).
Dressed in a full suit, carrying my suitcase and paperwork, I walked into the interview room, where a few other candidates were sitting and a few lecturers were standing at the front. To help pass the time waiting for everyone to arrive, one of the lectures played ‘An Hour To Save Your Life’ on the screen – a TV series about London’s Air Ambulance, so that got me a little more excited and nervous.
The day kicked off with the Course Leader giving a talk on the modules and aspects of learning we were going to do over the three years. This was swiftly followed by the literacy and maths test, both lasting 20 minutes. The literacy test was simply to write a short essay on a question or statement, and the maths test was at GCSE level asking 20 questions including a range of problem solving and calculations. I found these tests not as hard as I thought, however, I do recommend you read back through your GCSE Maths revision notes!
The next stages involved a group interview and an individual interview. I have never been in a group interview before, so I found the experience quite different and out of my comfort zone. Nobody knew when or what to say in case you interrupted somebody else; this happened more times than you would think! A lecturer led our discussion and he started off by mentioning a very recent article in the newspapers about whether paramedics should be able to prescribe drugs at the home of the patient. I am so glad I kept up to date on the news as I was able to contribute to the discussion with confidence and I highly recommend you do the same. Look up the Health section on BBC News, check ambulance service trusts’ websites and know what campaigns are going on… The group interview seemed to last forever, but in fact it was just 30 minutes.
My individual interview was placed last, as other candidates had travelled further than me. My interview was conducted by two lecturers in a classroom, so it didn’t feel confined, and I managed to get comfortable and confident quickly. One of their opening questions was, 'So, Alex, do you have any hobbies or sports clubs you attend?' This really threw me off-balance as I was expecting the big question, ‘Why do you want to be a paramedic?’ first. I answered the question in good time, didn’t stutter or mumble on, and the rest of the interview went really well!
The final stage of the interview day wasn’t as academically focused as it had been so far, thankfully. However, that meant it was time for the dreaded fitness test. If you’re ‘unlucky’ enough to apply to a university that requires you to pass a fitness test as part of routine selection, make sure you put in the effort beforehand to boost your chances of passing. I only had three days to get my fitness up, so by the Monday morning I was physically shattered from running and lifting weights all weekend! For those that are curious, the fitness test involved:
This all seems like a lot and it is on paper. It flew by however – 30 minutes of exercise can pass quicker than you think if you have the energy and determination! Later that evening I made the long three-hour journey back home to find an email sitting in my spam folder telling me that I would be going to ARU in September to study Paramedic Science.