As you may be aware, IT’S CLINICAL DOCTORATE APPLICATION SEASON! Which probably means that you’re stressing about getting your application in, whilst silently hoping that this is your year to get onto the course? Nevertheless, have you ever asked yourself, “What actually happens at a Clinical Doctorate Interview?” This is something may of Psychology Graduates ask; however there is hardly any information out there on this topic. Within this post we will discuss the 3 main elements of ANY Clinical Doctorate Interview.
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This is a HUGE part of any Clinical Doctorate Interview. Now before you start to freak out and think “I CANT DO THIS!” It isn’t as scary as you may think. The panel of both clinicians and academics are trying to see if you have the basic knowledge needed to complete the course; as you have to remember that the course is still at doctoral level and therefore requires a certain level of knowledge. Don’t worry, many of the questions asked in this section of the interview revolve around your experience in research (which does include your undergraduate dissertation) and any academic accolades you may hold (like article/poster publications or conference presentations). The panel may also ask you to read a research article and critique it, which means to give strengths and limitations.
PsychAssist Tip: Now before you start to regurgitate all the facts and figures you learnt the night before; remember THIS IS NOT WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR!! All the panel want to see is how well you can analyse and evaluate the paper whilst also projecting how you could make the study better in any way. This could be as simple as increasing the sample size or changing the analysis method.
This is, in many opinions, the most IMPORTANT part of the Clinical Doctorate Interview but not for the reasons you may think. A lot of Psychology Graduates think that this is the opportunity to tell the panel WHAT they have done and HOW many different services they have worked for. THIS IS AGAIN WRONG!! The panel want to see WHAT you’ve learnt from your journey and also HOW that has made you a better clinician. It’s that ability to reflect that will get you through the door. I have known some amazing Psychology Graduates who have gotten onto the course by purely talking about how much of a crap time they’ve had in different services. The only difference between them and everyone else (who just moan about work) is they can acknowledge that they wouldn’t be the clinician they are today without those experiences. This is absolutely key, if you want to make it as a psychologist.
PsychAssist Tip: Try not to OVER-PREPARE for this section as realistically there aren’t any wrong answers. The panel just want to know about your story so they can get a feel for you as a clinician. Again many Psychology Graduates have gotten onto the course by just being themselves in this interview which gives off a warm and natural vibe (THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT!!)
Now this is a section of the Clinical Doctorate Interview process that is becoming increasingly popular. This section is simply assessing your suitability to being a Clinical Psychologist. Again there isn’t anything you can do to prepare for this side of the interview as they are in essence just having a chat with you to get a flavour of YOU AS A PERSON! Many Psychology Graduates think they have to be a certain way to become a Clinical Psychologist when this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you try to be someone you’re not in the interview, I GURANTEE, YOU WONT MAKE IT ONTO THE COURSE!
PsychAssist Tip: RELAX!! There is actually nothing you can do to prepare for this section, so don’t stress yourself out. This also doesn’t mean that the panel are looking for a specific personality type or trait as no two Clinical Psychologists are the same. Remember to just be yourself and have faith that your natural clinical skills will come through during the interview.
It must also be noted that there could be other types of elements within your Clinical Doctorate Interview such as a group task or to watch a video and then discuss this. Again try your best to prepare for these using the guidelines given by the University and don’t forget to relax. Remember, what is meant for you will never pass you by so if this isn’t your year then there’s always next year.
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