How to prepare for your Teaching interview

It pays to do your homework!

If you're preparing for an interview for primary or secondary teacher training, here are some tips that will help.


Research the course and the University by looking at the website and, if possible, attend an Open Day

Get as much practical experience as you can. This is the best way to show your enthusiasm and commitment. Not only will it give you a true insight into the real world of teaching, it will also give you plenty of material to talk about in the interview.

Make sure your references are current and still happy to be contacted.

Re-read your application form and personal statement. We will ask you to elaborate on it and it’s vital to be aware of what you have said.

Be informed about educational news and current affairs. For example, read the TES and the Learning Wales website in order to prepare.

Think about how you can demonstrate a passion for teaching, a passion for learning and a passion for your subject.

Prepare for common questions such as:

  • Why do you want to be a teacher?
  • Why have you applied for this course?
  • Why you have chosen specifically to work with pupils of primary/secondary school age?
  • What experience do you have of working with young people?
  • What do you think are the qualities of a good teacher? Think about how your talents and skills match the qualities needed.
  • What do you know of the roles and responsibilities of a primary/secondary school teacher?
  • Which aspects of your subject are you most passionate about?
  • What current issues in education are of concern to you?

On the day

Dress in smart, comfortable clothes. Remember this is an interview for a professional course.

Be on time! Make sure you know where you need to go and arrive with plenty of time to spare.

Bring all documentation requested.

Take a pen and notepad.

If you are attending an interview for the PGCE Design and Technology you will also be asked to bring an indicative portfolio of work. It should not be too large but should exemplify your knowledge and skills in relevant subjects. Samples of work can be drawn from your degree course, occupational experience or personal projects. 

For Primary, be prepared to engage fully in the group discussion topic, and remember the importance of body language. Make yourself stand out but also show your skill at working in a team.

The interview panel will look for the following characteristics:

  • Communication: do you speak clearly, appropriately and expressively?
  • Motivation: how has your experience of life and work led to your decision to teach?
  • Commitment: are you fully aware of the demands of the teaching profession and the training process?
  • Awareness: do you demonstrate an awareness or knowledge of current educational issues? 
  • Subject knowledge for secondary teaching: do you have sufficient subject knowledge at an appropriate level to underpin successful completion of your chosen course of study?


For Primary and Secondary ITT courses, you will be given 30 minutes to take an online numeracy test and 30 minutes to take an online literacy test. The tests focus on the functional numeracy and literacy which teachers need in their professional role. Here are some sample tests. 

For the Certificate of Higher Education Introduction to Secondary Teaching Course you will be given 15 minutes to take an online numeracy test and 15 minutes to take an online literacy test.