Pointers on admission interviews for Hong Kong Universities (Part 2)

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So last time we covered how to prepare for self-introduction, an essential part of any interview, what’s next?

Group discussion

From my experience, most of the Hong Kong universities’ admission interviews take the form of a group discussion given the limited time and resources. Here are some tips as to how you can make the best out of it.

#1 It’s a discussion, not a debate
You may be given a heated topic to discuss and someone in the group may have opposing views to yours. While you want to explain your view, keep in mind that showing you know how to communicate is more important than showing why you are right.

  Do it in the manner and attitude as if you are discussing the daily news with a friend.
‘Yes, I do see your point as to why […], but for me, I find […] to be a more important factor’.
  Utilise all your debating skills to attack your group mate.
‘Firstly, I do not agree with you that…; Secondly, your argument contains the logical flaw that…; Thirdly, it is not factually correct that…’

#2 Be a listener

Listen to what your group mates have to say.

More importantly, show that you have listened by referring to his/her points. It would be even better if you can remember his/her name and use it in the referral.

eg. ‘I think that…[…]…. In fact, this is similar to what [group mate’s name] pointed out just now.’

#3 If it is a topic you are not familiar with…

Don’t panic.

A lot of times the interviewers want to know what kind of person you are through observing the way you communicate and how you reason your points. The content may not be that important.

So, if it is a topic you are not important, the most important thing is not to lose confidence. Listen to what the others have to say, and link what you know to the discussion.

#4 If it is a topic you are very familiar with…
Think carefully what it is that you really want the interviewers to know about you. To put it more blatantly, what qualities of you will get you into that particular programme. Find it out and focus on it.

Show that you are good at it.
Say, the topic of discussion is air pollution. You definitely want to throw in terms like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides when explaining how they are bad for our health or how they are produced. This will differentiate you from the others who could only use general terms such as pollutants or gases.
Start spending too much time on the ‘technical issues’
Unless the given topic requires you to be that specific, there is no need to recite everything from your geography or chemistry lessons as to the exact process how those pollutants are formed, especially if you are actually doing an interview for an unrelated subject (eg. law/business) and the interviewer just wants you to discuss how air pollution affects our lives.

#5 Be eager
This is especially important if your group mates are rather shy and reserved. Be energetic and make it a happy discussion for everyone. The interviewer has probably listened to five similar discussions already that day and he/she would be thankful to you for making it a more lively one.

Remember to read part 3 where we would share with you some final general reminders and make sure you are all set for your admission interviews!

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