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How to Prepare For an International School Interview

Applying for an International school is a little different to applying for general primary or secondary schools. There will be a few extra details to address, and parents are likely to be asked to come in and discuss some of the administrative formalities as well. To prepare for a international school interview you need to remember a few important details.

Students can prepare for an international school interview by going over sample interview questions, having mock interviews, planning what you will wear, getting a good night’s sleep before, learning about the school and making lists of their achievements so they can mention them in the interview.

I have been preparing students for these interviews for over 15 years and even the most confident of pupils can freeze under the pressure that a international school interview can bring. This can be due to stress and pressure and not having the skills to handle it yet.

How to Prepare For an International School Interview

How to Prepare For an International School Interview?

There is a saying is English called the the ”5 p’s” It stands for prior planning prevents poor performance. and this is doubly true with international school interviews ( and any other interviews for that matter) It is your chance to impress the school and secure an offer! below we have tips for you to do just that.

Prior planning prevents poor performance.


International school interviews are designed to get as much information as they can from a prospective student. To do well make sure you practice short informative answers that highlight your achievements and skills. These will allow you to stand out from the crowd and to impress the school interviewers .

Below we have a few ideas for how to prepare for your international school interview. Remember that preparation starts way before you even sit down at the interview!

  1. Practice your introduction. Nearly every international school interview you will go to will start the interview by asking you to introduce yourself. You need to be confident from the start and discuss how you will be a good fit in the school. it is so important that we have a HUGE article in How to introduce yourself in English here and on the link at the bottom of this list. THis will help you write and plan your own perfect introduction. This article covers all educational interviews you will attend.
  2. Look at sample international school interview questions in our download. They cover most interviews. In international schools they often come with a history they are proud of, so make sure to research. Write down some notes for these questions so you are not taken by surprise at the interview.
  3. Get your clothes ready before: This advice is for every interview you will go to! Smart casual is the minimum so a shirt and trousers, or a dress/skirt for girls. If the school is very formal then a suit never looks out of place at interview.
  4. Ask parents and teachers to mock interview you if you have downloaded the interview questions you can give a copy to your parents and ask them to hold a mock interview so you can practice you answers. You don’t have to remember your answers word for word, but having an idea of what you are going to say will help you so much!
  5. Be well rested: All interviews are nerve wracking, and international school interviews can come with added pressure. Make sure to go to bed early so you are 100% ready for the next day.
  6. Find out information about the school: I have done so many of these interviews and one question that always causes a problem is can you tell me why you want to come to this school. So find out some facts and use these when they ask this question. yo can look on the internet and find out about subjects, sports or facilities that are good and use those. In international schools find out about their history or famous students.
  7. Make a list of your achievements and qualities. Being positive about themselves with adults is so hard for students to do. you are all incredible so let your interviewer know. If you can run, swim, play, spell, build robots, help in community all are great things to tell your interviewer. they show your skills and achievements and help you stand out from other students.
  8. Think about how to answer the ”tough” questions. This advice is for all interviews, sometimes you are asked hard to answer questions. These questions might cover your problems, or ask you to think about how to solve a school problem. We have some advice n these in the table below.

Although it seems like a lot to think about you can do it and with a little preparation you will do well. We have broken down some of the international school interview topics below to help you .

How to Introduce Yourself in a International School Interview?

We have a much larger article on this that we have linked to above, but the key points we have listed for you below. this is your chance to impress them so try to put the following topics in your introduction.

In International school interviews they will be looking for some confidence, knowledge of the school and achievements. So if you have ever helped teachers, been on school teams, entered competitions, helped other students or the community or similar. When you prepare for your international school interview you can use the list below to format your introduction.

  • Information about you like your name and age
  • What school you go to
  • What your favorite subjects are
  • What you like to do after school
  • Information about your family.
  • What your hobbies are
  • Any achievements you have

As it is the first thing you are are likely to talk about we recommend practicing your introduction, not too much so you sound like a robot, but enough so you are confidence and natural sounding.

How to Prepare For an International School Interview

What Questions Do they Ask in a International School Interview?

International School Interviews aim to test students’ ability to introduce themselves and to discover any achievements and qualities not on the application.  International school interviews are likely to include topical, reasoning and critical thinking questions to assess students development in these areas.

This is a huge question and we will be writing a separate article on this as well. For now we will offer some of the more common questions they ask in international school and other school interviews below and link to a file ( you can download and print) so you can practice them and prepare for an international school interview.

Under these top ten questions in International school Interviews you can find the download and printable version with loads more questions. When you prepare for a international school interview looking at common questions is going to make you much more confident when the actual interview time comes.

These questions are also incredibly common in all school interviews and you can find them on our sister articles.

Top Ten Questions in International School Interviews and Example Answers.

Interview QuestionExample Answer Ideas
Can you Introduce yourselfKeep This short and sweet. A little about you and your life. What you enjoy doing and some outside of school activities.
You can also mention why you like the school you are applying for as well.
What are your strengths?This is what i call buzzword bingo! You can tell them how great a communicator you are, how you tackle problems head on and in with a creative approach, how you are helpful in school with classmates and teacher. However, these may be buzzwords but have examples to talk about as well. Anyone can say they are amazing, but they may ask you to prove it as well!!
What are your weaknesses?I really dislike this question, its outdated and in my opinion a waste of time. However it is still asked. Whatever element you chose to highlight as a potential weakness the aim is to turn it round into something you are working on and getting better at. For example: “I have in the past found that I sometimes am not 100% participating in class, however i recognise this and have set myself some tasks to build my confidence and interact more. “
What do you like to do when you are not in school?Don’t blurt out that you love playing PUBG or whatever. With this question choose something that has elements of community, creativity or physicality. If you help out or are a scout or guide etc, or if you play a sport or instrument here is the time to mention it.
What is your favourite subject?Easiest question you will get in a international school Interview. Whatever your subject is fine, unless you are on for a maths scholarship or something! Just, very important, make sure you have 2 or three reasons on why that subject is your favourite.
What subject do you not enjoy.Another question i dislike and will almost certainly be asked. Answer it the same way as your weakness one, make sure you say you are working to improve and find new ways to motivate you as the subject is important etc.
What is your favourite thing about your school.You can highlight something about your current school and explain how it helped you. Could be a room, resource or teacher. However make sure to mention something good about the school you are interviewing at as well, and that you can have similar here in your new school.
What are you looking forward to if you come to our school?your interviewers want to know how much you have researched their school. So make sure you have done so. ( see our notes above!) Have one or two things you like about the new school and mentioned them here.
What will you bring to our school?THis may be worded a few ways but they all are asking the same thing. What kind of student are you how will you help the school, and what can you tell us to prove that. If you have been a prefect, a reading buddy, a Sport team member or anything similar mention it here!
Why did you choose our school.THis is your chance to show why this school is a good fit for you. So if they have a robots program and you like that , say it, if they have a school band say it, if you play basketball and they have a team say it!
You get the idea 

100 Questions for International School Interview.

Here you can download our PDF Questions and Tips and Advice for International school interviews.

There are hundreds of possible questions that can help you prepare for a international school interview . The download above has about 80 of them and these have been directly collected from interview questions from real schools all over the world.

How to Stand Out In a International School Interview?

One things students and parents don’t often think about is just how many students the teacher doing the international school interviews will actually see in the course of one day of interviews! It can be over 50 students depending how long the interviews last.

This is a huge number, especially as there will be fairly generic and similar question to ask each student. So finding a way to stand out from the crowd is not only helpful it can be vital!

We have a few ideas below to help you stand out in your international school interview.

  • Have confidence: The biggest memory jogger for me are confident students who walks in shakes out hands and sits making eye contact and smiling. It sounds simple but nerves get the better of so many students and they withdraw into their shell.
  • Have a cool hobby or pastime. Now you can’t make your hobby up, but whatever you like to do you can think of a story that is memorable and tell them that. Or have a story about how an achievement you have.
  • Teachers remember good students (and the joke continues that we remember the bad ones as well!) Although not entirely true, it it easier to remember students who are helpful. So if you have helped in your current school make sure to highlight it in your interview.
  • If you volunteer or help out it helps. If you help out in your community or have taken part in charity work or anything similar then bring this up. It is something we will remember.
  • Have a question to ask the interviewers. This is so rare it will surprise them! However it shows you have an interest in the school, and as i always say an interview is not one way. In my interviews i am checking it is a place i want to work as well!!
  • Thank them for their time at the end of the interview. Often students are so relieved that the interview is over that they forget to do this and just run for the door! If you remember it shows calmness and politeness.
  • If you have won any awards or competitions then you can mention them, maybe in your introduction, or if they ask about your hobbies or likes.

How to Make a Good Impression In a International School Interview?

Although you might think this is the same as standing out in a international school interview there are some difference. Making a good impression is those first few moments, and your on going behaviour during the interview. You can do the following to help you prepare for a international school interview and make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Dress Formally or at least smart casual but look how formal the international school is.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed
  • Don’t over do it with the body sprays or perfumes. You will be in a small room
  • Shake hands when you walk in.
  • Wait to be asked to sit down
  • When you do sit down do sit upright with your legs close together (it’s not the couch)
  • Take a few seconds to answer the questions, it shows thought and you can replay the question in your head.
  • Don’t use slang, this is a formal situation.
  • Thank them for their time at the end.
  • Know information about the school!!!
prepare for an international school interview.

8 Things to Not to Do in a International School Interview?

We will try to stay away from the obvious of feet on the table and high fiving the teachers but will explain a few things that can be avoided.

  1. Be late: Its the first time you meet you and you walk in late. Its the worst impression you can give, don’t do it!
  2. Don’t give one word answers to questions: Important in every interview but make sure you give a few sentences in your answers, not just a one word yes, or no!
  3. Don’t forget your manners: If they offer you a seat say thank you, thank them for their time, wait for your turn to speak. Nerves can make you forget to do these things!
  4. Speak Negatively about your current school or teachers: No one likes to listening to people moan. So even if you really dislike your primary school, they don’t need to know that. Find one or two positives and use those instead.
  5. Move around and look nervous: Try to sit still. ( not statue still, this is not Squid game) but don’t be moving or wriggling in your seat, and try not to play with pens or paper as it shows nerves or boredom.
  6. Have poor body language: Sit up, sit straight. Try not to learn back to far and look to relaxed. It is good to look confident, it is not good to look disinterested or bored.
  7. Use slang or bad language: Its a international school interview, not a chat with your friends. use appropriate language for the situation.
  8. Not Do research on the school: as we mentioned in the stand out in an interview section above teachers will see a lot of students on interview days, a great way to stand out is to know a little about the school AND why you are applying there!
  9. Tell them you if your first choice is another school!

What Questions Can You Ask in a International School Interview.

The interview is nearly over, one more question is coming. It sounds so simple, but so many students just say no as the answer ( as they want to get out of there!)

The question is ”do you have any questions for us”

We understand why the answer is no so often! To say yes makes the interview longer. However it also shows you have enthusiasm and interest in join the school. So we suggest asking at least one question. We have a few ideas you can use below.

  1. What extracurricular activities do you have at school?
  2. Do you have field trips in your subjects?
  3. I am quite good at __________ how do i try out for the team?
  4. I like to volunteer are there any opportunities at your school?
  5. if i am successful is there anything i can do to prepare before i come to your school?
  6. When will you let me know the result of the interview
  7. Do you need anymore information from me?
  8. Do you have any final questions?
  9. How will you let me know the results of the interview?
  10. Do you have any advice for new students coming to your school?
  11. Can you tell me more about (something you have researched about the school)
  12. What qualities do you like to see in your students.

If you really REALLY, can’t think of a question then you can use this example ( i have done on occasions in interviews and if it’s good enough for a teacher it should be good enough for a student)

I cant think of anything at the moment, but if something comes to me later is it ok to email a question to you?


Final Thoughts

Interviews are stressful by nature. They can feel like a 30 minute long one on one test. International school Interviews are no different, in fact they can be more stressful because students at this age don’t have the experience of the processes involved.

To properly prepare for a international school interview a few steps are needed before the date rolls around. If you can practice some common questions, take time to think of your achievements and qualities, try out some mock interviews with your teachers or parents then you will already be way ahead of most of the other students who have international school interviews.

Remember to answer the questions in full sentences, be polite, and to let them know how good a student you can be(with examples) and you will do just fine.

It’s always scary the first time, after that they get easier and easier. Even if you don’t think this, you just have to get through these interviews and your next ones won’t be for another 6 years, when you start planning for college and university!

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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