Interviewing at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta

I was successful in gaining admission to both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.  In my opinion, the key to being the most successful interviewee is to ensure that you are both mentally and physically prepared. You must be mentally prepared to sit through over an hour of interviewing, to anticipate the unexpected, and to talk non stop for 8 minutes at a time while answering a question! You may have come across many different strategies and techniques on the internet on how to succeed on the day of your MMI, so I’ve prepared a few tips that aren’t as widely available as they are from my personal experience:

1. Mentally prepare to be an interviewee for over an hour.

What does that mean you may ask? Well, first thing is to know how the interview process will work at your school - how many stations will there be, how much thinking time you will have, how much time to answer, etc. This may seem obvious to many, but ensuring you fully understand the interview process will prevent surprises that may add unneeded stress and anxiety. Second, practice answering 8-10 MMI type questions in a row multiple times and try to make it as similar to the actual MMI process as possible. You can do that with a family member or friend where you think about a question while standing for 2 minutes then enter a room and answer for 5-8 minutes, then repeat. I would recommend leaving some time to hear the follow up questions too as they can guide you if you are completely off track.

2. Prepare for the unexpected:

Things may not go as smoothly as you imagined and the majority of us will come across some hiccups during our interview. For instance, a friend of mine said her shoe fell off while entering a room to speak to an interviewer, which caused her to lose her focus and become overwhelmingly embarrassed. For myself, I forgot my water bottle in one of the rooms and wasted a couple of minutes throughout the remaining interview sessions wondering if I should go back to get my water bottle as I was very thirsty. I’ve also heard of others leaving at the one minute bell.

Take home message: prepare to embrace any mistakes that occur and move on with grace. Everyone around you is also nervous and everyone is bound to do something silly. Being able to pick yourself up, put on a big smile, and continue on with the interview will minimize any chance of the previous blunder bringing your spirit down.

3. On the day of the MMI, you need to come forth with the best version of yourself.

Being in a positive state of mind will help you relax, and will make you come off as a calm and confident individual. This begins the day prior to the interview. Ensure you spend this evening doing something you truly enjoy. Spend time with your family, partner, or best friends or just partake in something you enjoy. You need to do something that will make you have such a good time the you have no time to worry bout the next day. Ensure you get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and eat a good breakfast the next morning. Finally, your body language has a big influence on your mentality. Stand up straight, puff your chest out a little, put on a big smile, and walk in there ready to charm the shoes off your interviewers!

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