Techniques for the PGCE Interview

Written by david koenig
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Techniques for the PGCE Interview
Teamwork is an important skill in teaching. (executive_teamwork image by Andrey Kiselev from

A one-year PGCE course is the most common gateway to a career as a primary or secondary schoolteacher in the United Kingdom. As a prospective teacher, you will have to prove your mettle through written and practical assignments during your PGCE, including a regular school placement. Showing yourself ready for the task begins long before entering the classroom, however. You will need to convince a college or university to invest time and money in training you, and a few simple PGCE interview techniques can help you.

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Presenting a clean, formal appearance shows you have a professional attitude. In most U.K. schools, you will be expected to wear a shirt and tie in the classroom. Dress just as professionally for your PGCE interview.


Teachers live and die by the bell signalling the end of one lesson and the beginning of the next. Show you suit the job by arriving for your interview with time to spare.


Practice giving answers to typical PGCE interview questions. Typical questions include "Why do you want to be a teacher?", "How would you handle a disruptive student in a lesson?" and "Apart from your subject knowledge, what other qualities and skills would you bring to a school?" Answers should reflect your knowledge of what teaching requires, a professional attitude and a passion for the career.


Do research to find out about the teaching profession in the United Kingdom, the requirements for your subject and the college you are applying for. A periodical such as the Times Educational Supplement (TES) can help you find out about current issues in schools and teaching. Your interviewers will notice a lack of preparation.


Interviewers can spot bluffing. Even with lots of preparation, you can always be caught silent by a question. Do not be afraid to say you are unsure or need to think about an answer.


Be prepared to answer questions or perform tasks directly connected to your subject. A PGCE interview may require writing a short essay or suggesting a lesson plan for a topic. Regular reading on your subject should start before your interview and continue into your teaching career.

Stay Focused

Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer, asking yourself what it is they want to know about you. They want to know that you have the commitment to stick with teaching, the communication skills to make a point simple and clear to others, the discipline to organise yourself and your work, and a passion for helping young people learn and grow. Even when a question does not seem directly relevant to teaching, answer in a way that shows your suitability for the career.

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