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5 Tips on Passing your Clinical Psychology Interview in Malaysia

passing your clinical psychology interview malaysia

When was it again?

Well, the Masters of Clinical Psychology interviews are over for the current 2020/2021 academic year. Most clinical psychology programs have their interviews between June to early August each year, with this year happening slightly later because of the…well you know, COVID-19. One or two programs from private universities have their interview twice a year and are kind enough to hold places for selected promising candidates. So, if you’re reading this article and have not heard back from places you’ve applied, next year is the key *wink. In the meantime, read on to find 5 practical tips to pass that clinical psychology interview. 

I present to you…the Infinity Gauntlet to passing your clinical psychology interviews!

More articles on being a clinical psychology trainee:


Resources For Masters In Clinical Psychology Students:

Normal vs Abnormal Symptoms

Sweaty armpits, wobbly legs, heartbeats as loud as waterfalls, sudden attacks of incoherent words, plummeting self-esteem, pessimism, short tempers with loved ones unfortunate enough to be hanging around…as dreadful as they sound, it is normal (repeat after me, N-O-R-M-A-L) to feel or behave in this manner. If you’re wondering if it is decent to act as such, no it’s not. But who cares about decency when your entire future hangs on the passing or failure of this interview…shush, that’s the pessimism talking.

Now if you’re finding yourself losing track of time, harboring thoughts about being better off dead, and/or having uncontrollable bouts of crying, do us all a favor and seek professional help from one of those that you hope to become one day. It’s not gonna work if you force yourself through the interview in such a state. The world is sadly, heartless and demanding at the same time.

Without further ado, let’s look at the six Infinity stones.

5 tips passing clinical psychology interview malaysia

#1 Quantity over quality (the Reality Stone)

Attend as many interviews as you possibly can to prepare yourself for the Masters in clinical psychology interview that you care about. Isn’t this a brilliant suggestion? Yala yala yala, I hear that you prefer UKM over UCSI, or HELP over USM. Whichever order of preference you have, the rule of “practice till it’s perfect” applies. If you desensitize yourself to the mind-blowing stress and mind-numbing questions asked by the interview panels, it’s a for-sure strategy to say that you’ll be collected and cool when the time comes for that interview that matters.

Interviewers look intimidating? No more than that last interview when one suddenly snapped at you to keep to time. Interviewers call you out for some flaw they perceive from your degree? Oh well, better than the last session when they insinuated that you were a liar. We’ve got our armor on, baby! (I mean, respectfully, sir didn’t mean to call you baby)

#2 Belts buckled, shoes shined (the Space and Time Stones)

This year things got a little tricky. Some clinical psychology programs opted for video conferencing to abide to the SOPs for the RMCO* period. So luckily for all interviewees, you get to hide from the privacy of your home! But unfortunately, it also means that you need to have your preparations for the clinical psychology interview up a few notches.

Ensure that you have a quiet and uninterrupted space for the allotted session. Tell all your kepoh* family members that you need absolute privacy for the scheduled timing and keep your pet somewhere they won’t meow or bark their way into the interview. Have your notes nearby that you can refer to without it being too conspicuous (we know when you’re reading lah please). Keep tissues around so that you can cry after the session (AFTER! Not during) if it doesn’t go well.

All technical aspects as equally important. No panel enjoys waiting while the interviewee stumbles over a poor internet connection or audio problems. Have a dry run through all systems before the session with a group of unfortunate friends. Keep a spare set of headphones if the one you have doesn’t work. Above all, always have a Plan B (spare laptop/desktop, thumb drive, speaker, etc.).

Super-secret tip: Prepare a creative self-introductory slide that you can present to the panel (if you have the opportunity to do so, some interviews can be rather focused on your skillset) and stand out. To the extra high achievers: keep it to one. More than one is time-consuming and a waste of everybody’s time.

#3 Go major Einstein (the Mind Stone)

CBT. LGBT. Carl Rogers. Informed consent. Qualitative research. Conversations in BM. These are just some of the topics asked during that mind-boggling clinical psychology interview session. 

If you weren’t sure about any of the above, you need to be better-informed. I switched my Netflix preferences to Malay dramas for three months during the year I planned to apply to clinical psychology programs (I know right?! The dedication involved!). It’s a good idea to revisit your psychology textbooks to have your major psychology theories or research knowledge down pat. But you can draw the line at memorizing all symptoms for mental health illnesses because that’s just too unrealistic.

I always advise that having a couple years’ worth of working experience in the field as it does wonders for any psychology interviews lined up. You relate better to the questions asked during the interviews and respond with actual knowledge from questions about hypothetical scenarios. And this happens before your program and actual training starts. Get your edge prior to any interviews!

#4 Plain Jane is fine (the Soul Stone)

I’m trying to avoid clichés, but truly, just be yourself. Even if you identify with being a Plain Jane, or the Mad Hatter, or a Silent Sally, there is no typical profile that clinical psychology programs have locked down. Yes they may look at certain characteristics over others, but generally you want a clinical psychologist that you can relate to.

Have fun and laugh during interviews. Let your inner light shine through. Be spontaneous and walk around the room, if need to. Look at the panel in the eye and don’t flinch when they stare. Talk about actual weaknesses you have (instead of the usual I-find-myself-too-organized script). Share experiences that moved you, and you may find yourself winning the hearts of the panel.

Major tip: They may look like robots during clinical psychology interviews, but they are just softies-at-heart.

#5 Fire in the Hole (the Power Stone)

Get ready to be thrown off your game. Every clinical psychology interview has the same goal: to observe how you react in situations of stress and the unexpected. Whether it is keeping you unsettled, or startling you through your lack of knowledge, how you behave and what you say matter more than your ability to give the correct answer (repeat the last line until you remember it by heart).

Have useful lines on hand:
“What do you mean by…?”
“Based on my limited understanding, …”
“I have never thought about it that way, thanks for enlightening me.”

I stared at the panel for a full 20 seconds while I was formulating an answer. A friend was told by the panel to “relax, let me know your opinion when you’re ready”. Another was interrupted halfway through her session as time was up. At the end of the day, we all passed the interview.

Attending a Masters in Clinical Psychology interview soon? Click here to purchase a list of sample questions asked! If you’d like to read juicy details about becoming a clinical psychologist in Malaysia, click here instead.

Last words

You learn to rely on yourself before, during, and after the clinical psychology program. It’s a passage of growth guaranteed to see you maximize your potential in your role within the helping professions. These tips above don’t make you succeed inasmuch as your own efforts. I hope to see you as equal colleagues in this worthy journey to being a clinical psychologist.

Stones in? Gauntlet on?
Then, SNAP.

RMCO: Recovery Movement Control Order; a restriction on movement and space by the Malaysian government to contain the spread of COVID-19. One that’s working well so far! *Pat on the back for Malaysia

*kepoh: slang for busy bodies who stick their noses where they’re not wanted