When you are invited to interview at a university for a place on a midwifery course you may also have to take part in a group task. It will be explained exactly what you need to do and you will participate in the exercise with other candidates who are attending for an interview, just like you.
The group exercise is designed to see how you interact with other people- an important part of the career you are applying for! So it makes sense for you tutors to want to get a sense of who you are, and how you behave in ‘action’ as well as just hearing what you have to say at interview.
How the group exercise will run is very dependent on the university; there is no set format which is always used. However, there are a lot of similarities between most exercises of this sort, so you shouldn’t be in for too many surprises.
Here are the main types:
This is where a group of candidates are given a topic which you need to discuss or debate together. This might be on a subject or extract of information you are given to read or perhaps a video clip to watch together. The discussion may last between 30 and 45 minutes and there may be as few as four or as many as ten of you in a group.
Assessors/ tutors will observe the way you all talk to and deal with each other. How you get involved in and handle the discussion will give them more insights into the sort of person you are. In this situation how you say things is as important as what you say. Don’t worry if you don’t know a lot about the topic, there are still ways you can contribute. You won’t be thrown in at the deep end, the discussion won’t be about anything highly technical or advanced, just something that you are likely to have an opinion on, or something which presents a problem which you need to work with the other group members to resolve. Its isn’t necessarily the solution which is important but how you interact with others, listening, sharing, encouraging, respecting etc. This is what will give the tutors an idea of what to expect from you as a person.
During the group discussion observers may sit quietly and watch the interaction or they may come round and listen to what you are saying, asking questions to different group participants as the opportunity arises. Most of these exercises seem quite informal and fun once you get going!
You and some other candidates attending the interview day will be given a task to work together to complete. It may be something quite relevant to a midwife career; for instance you may be given some paper and a midwifery relevant topic and asked to identify priorities and write down the main ones you agree on. Or your task may seem more like a game, puzzle or a problem to resolve. Some universities will ask you to prepare a short talk in advance to present to your group (usually just 5 minutes or less).
The sorts of games used might be discussion based e.g. ‘if it was the end of the world and you only have 12 places in a bunker, who would you choose’. You would have a list of characters and as a group you need to decide who you would select and why. It’s more important to work well with the rest of the group in achieving this task than worrying too much about ‘right or wrong’ answers, as that won’t be what the tutors are most interested in.
Another type of group exercise may be the more active variety e.g. you will be given a physical puzzle to solve out of blocks or other props, or tasked with building a ‘raft’ which you then need to use to transport people across a hall without touching the ground.
Group exercises can be quite creative so it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect. But irrespective of what you are asked to do, how you communicate with and respect others is critical.
Group Role-play Exercise
You may need to adopt a role in a scenario, and show how you would react in that situation. It will be something relevant to your university course, even if it’s not set specifically in a midwifery environment. For instance, you might need to take the role of a midwife and you need to deal with a number of people in a relevant care based scenario. Or the scenario might not be set in a midwife situation but you are asked to deal with vulnerable people, or individuals who have specific problems, which you need to deal with. The other people in this sort of situation are usually actors or staff, they won’t be other candidates.
Try not to be apprehensive, this type of exercise is actually a lot of fun! All you need to do is stay on your toes, listen to what the others are saying and respond as you think best. You’ll probably have an objective for the exercise e.g. to deal with a work-related problem or dilemma, so just keep your focus on making sure your input helps achieve a positive outcome.