Updated: Mar 18
If you have been invited for the Chevening interview, well done! All the hours of hard work you put into preparing your essays and required documents finally paid off. At this stage, it is important to remain focused in order to ace the interview and land your spot in one of the world's most prestigious scholarships. If you are worried about the interview or looking for the best strategies to wow the selection committee, then keep reading.
Preparing for the Chevening interview can be daunting. There’s a lot of pressure to gather as much information as you can, practice your speaking points, compellingly tell your story and wow the panellists, all at the same time. At this point, only credible and practical knowledge can be of any good.
So, we got 3 Chevening scholars to share their preparation strategies for the interview and some useful tips that helped them stand out, amongst hundreds of candidates.
Akeem, 2019 Chevening Scholar
To me, the interview is all about communicating what you wrote in your essay. From the start, I decided that I wasn’t going to rush to pick an interview date. I chose a date that I knew would give me enough time to be fully prepared for the interview. On the day of the interview, I was nervous. I got even more nervous when I discovered that I was going to have my interview alongside another applicant. So, it was either they chose me or the other person.
My strategy was the only thing that helped me stay calm. I had already taken the time to familiarise myself with all my essays. You want to read your essays over and over so that what you say during the interview tallies with what is in your essays. Also, go straight to the point and focus on who you are. Be on your best behaviour. Then, conclude with how the Chevening scholarship can help you make a significant impact in your country. Be enthusiastic all through your interview. Feel free to take a bottle of water along with you to ease the tension.
Gideon, 2019 Chevening Scholar
The Chevening interviews are usually held at the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos or the British High Commission in Abuja. I had to travel down to Lagos for the interview. I already knew that Chevening was looking for candidates who were investment-worthy and my strategy was to position myself as that ideal candidate. You need to show Chevening that you are everything that they are looking for in a candidate. Everything you do, from your confidence to how you relate with all three panellists, will determine if you are the worthy candidate. It’s really a game of who can present themselves as the ideal Chevening scholar.
You need to practice your introductory monologue because you will be asked to introduce yourself. This is your opportunity to state what you do and what you stand for. Get your facts straight and be physically alert. Ensure that you demonstrate your passion and vision to the panellists and don’t forget to take your passport along.
Oyinye, 2019 Chevening Scholar
Before my interview started, I discovered that the other candidate was going to study the same course as I applied for. And I was like “Why? Why did you have to come at this time?” But what helped me was adding originality to my responses and how I related with the panellists. You don’t want to sound like a robot pouring out everything that you have memorised. You need to connect with your panellists. I even had conversations outside the interview with the panellists and still moved back to the interview.
So, you need that flexibility. Not everyone can do but it would really help in making you memorable. I knew the strategy for answering questions and everything but I also wanted them to see that this is a person who has what it takes and can actually do the job.
All the strategies the Chevening scholars are only a handful of tips that can help you prepare for the interview. To make your preparation robust and well-grounded, you can also:
● Practice using sample Chevening interviews
There are lots of videos and resources about the Chevening interview that simulate the real interview. Practising the interview ahead of the scheduled date could help you build more confidence and better responses. You could also work with Chevening alumni to get familiar with the interview.
● Prepare for unexpected questions
As you prepare to be drilled on your essays, prepare for questions that are totally unrelated to the articles. The panellists could ask “Have you ever made an unpopular decision?” or “If you are not accepted for the Chevening scholarship, what do you think the reason would be?” These are real questions that a Chevening scholar was asked during the interview. You can prepare for this by reaching out to former Chevening scholars and asking for the questions that caught them by surprise.
● Ask the panellists to clarify questions you don't uderstand
It is important that you understand what the panellist asks you to speak on. If you don't, you can always ask the panellist for further explanation of the questions.
Keep in mind that for you to have been selected for the interview stage, the committee believes that you deserve a spot. You just need to communicate your value and show them that they are correct.
We hope that these strategies and tips help in your preparation for the interview. We are rooting for your success and we hope you land the Chevening scholarship!