Ever heard of CBT? You may not have done, but it’s a technique used by experts from all sorts of fields to help people prepare for stressful or demanding situations. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used by gymnasts, pianists and everyone in between. Practitioners try to visualise and imagine every step and stage of a demanding situation, such as performing in a competition or playing a concert, in order to psychologically prepare themselves and enable them to perform at their best.  

This article gives a really excellent summary of the key points of CBT and its use when preparing for an interview, and how you can apply it to suit you. You may be a pianist or a gymnast as well, but we’re guessing that if you’re reading this article in November, you’re probably thinking about interview preparation. To prepare for an interview, Steve Sheward, a cognitive behavioural therapist, recommends practising the ABC model. This model is Adversity, Beliefs, and Consequences.

Adversity is the challenge between you and your goal – for an Oxford or Cambridge interview, this is understanding what aspects of the interview are causing you the most concern and how you can tackle these concerns. Beliefs involves assessing your feelings about the situation and getting rid of unhelpful thinking styles. Is it the night before your interview and you’ve yet to read the entirety of the Iliad? Then it’s probably not worth worrying about trying to read it, but instead focusing on helpful thoughts like reviewing the materials you have read and relaxing. Consequences is how you feel and act, and recognising ensuring that your feelings do not interfere with your preparation or focus.

Interviews can be a tough, stressful environment, and its far better to go in there having done some focused preparation, rather than improvising on the day. We wish you the best in your interviews! 

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