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5 Tips for an Academic Foundation Programme Interview

Academic Foundation Programme Interview

Getting onto the Academic Foundation Programme can be tough, which means you’ll have to be at your very best when it comes to the Academic Foundation Programme interview.

It’s one of the most prestigious training programmes any doctor can undertake. Unsurprisingly, therefore, hundreds and thousands of people set out to take part in the Academic Foundation Programme, but only a select handful ever make it.

Each of them will have excellent academic backgrounds and they will all appear to tick the right boxes – so the difference will often come in the interview.

When applying for the AFP, you’ll go through a two-stage process. First, the written application through the Oriel website and second, a face to face Academic Foundation Programme interview. Here they are looking for something a little bit special to set you apart from the other countless other worthy applicants they’ll have coming through their doors.

Want more info on applying to Academic Foundation Programmes? Find out more on our guide!

Learn more about Academic Foundation Programmes

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

As with anything in life, it pays to be prepared. Make sure you’ve fully researched the programme before you start. You’ll need to understand it inside and out. The same goes for any pieces of research you’ve got.

Go back over it and refresh your memory about every single aspect. They will quiz you closely about this research, so you’ve got to be confident and fluent.

Read more about the Academic Foundation Programme>>

2. Show potential

Many people think that this is simply a numbers game. While it is true that they will be looking for a certain level of academic achievement, this is more than just scoring good grades, having a certain number of publications to your name, prizes or presentations. What they are looking for is an X-factor. They need people with enthusiasm and potential.

They are not looking for the finished product. By definition this is still a training programme and they want people who can grow and evolve as individuals.

For that you really need to be enthusiastic in your Academic Foundation Programme interview. There are those who apply to the AFP simply because they believe it will be good for their career, but if you’re not truly passionate about what you’re doing you won’t get the most out of it. The chances are the interviewers will pick up on this and will choose someone else instead.  

Read about the scope and aims of the AFP>>

3. Be thoughtful

Another key character trait they are looking for is introspection. This is, after all, a programme which will require you to delve deeply into certain topics. They want to see candidates who can reflect on the skills they have acquired and use that to grow as an individual.

A successful candidate will be someone who can harness all their previous experiences and direct them towards the future.

Key to this will be understanding not only your strengths but your weaknesses. Focusing on your weak points may seem counterintuitive, but it demonstrates an ability to look at yourself, to appraise how far you have come and demonstrate potential for future personal growth.  

See the professional outcomes of the AFP>>

4. What questions should you expect in the Academic Foundation Programme interview?

One question you’re probably itching to ask is: what questions should you expect in the Academic Foundation Programme interview? The short answer is that each interview will be different, but even so there are some topics which are highly likely to come up.

The interview will almost certainly focus on your research and analytical skills. They may ask you to appraise a piece of research they produce for you or one that you have recently read.

In either respect, they are looking for your ability to be critical and analyse research. When preparing, you could run an appraisal on a piece of research. This will help to train you in the critical analytical skills they want you to demonstrate.

Read how to choose deaneries>>

5. Be genuine

The last piece of advice is perhaps the most important. Be genuine. This is not just about knowing your stuff and being able to recite model answers. It’s about demonstrating the traits they are looking for.

It’s about showcasing your potential, your ability to learn and develop. They are looking for people who have the potential to grow and will truly deliver on their AFP experience. Your task in this interview is to prove that you are one of those people.  

Words: Tom Cropper

Want more information on applying to Foundation Programmes?


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