What experience did you have when you got on training?

Discuss applications to the clearing house (and to courses that are not in the clearing house system), screening assessments, interviews, reserve lists, places, etc. here
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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by hanb3 » Wed May 25, 2016 12:37 pm

I''ll be 30 when I start training. It was my 2nd time of applying... no interviews last year, 1 interview this year.

A Level Biology, Psychology, Music. All grade C.
BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science. First.
MSc Developmental Psychology. Merit - 69%

I am living proof that your A Levels are not always an accurate prediction of your future ability. I had a shocking time at school and thrived at university. Also, for those who might be worried about university league tables, both my UG and PG qualifications were from post-92 unis in the bottom quarter of any UK league table.

- 3x teaching placements in secondary schools teaching PE full time as part of a teacher training course.
- 1.5 years working part time as an outdoor instructor
- Assisting various bits of outdoor education research over the course of 4 years. Some of it paid, some voluntary. This eventually led to a conference poster and publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
- 4 years as a university student administrator. Worked full time to pay for my part-time MSc. No social life for a while...
- 3 years volunteering in a crisis support service
- 1 year paid work supervising volunteers in crisis support service
- 2 years support worker in a unit for people with dual diagnosis (paid a ridiculously small wage for someone that needed to house/feed/clothe themself without family support)
- 4 months AP on an in-patient unit for complex trauma (non NHS and wages far lower than band 4 agenda for change so had no money left and had to find a new job fast)
- 1 year as a research assistant working with LD client group

I'm not sure how much notice any of the selectors took to my 4 month non-NHS AP post!

Best wishes to all.

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Carrot » Wed May 25, 2016 5:21 pm

I have previously scoured this list in despair, trying to find someone with similar experience to me, and looking out for those that mentioned their own service use as I had big doubts about whether someone with a mental health history such as my own would ever make it in such a competitive field. I'm pleased to say it has happened so I thought I would post in case it helps anyone else:

I wasn't able to complete my first degree due to mental health problems and then spent a few years trying to get on my feet; I learnt a lot about services from the inside. I then went back to uni as a mature student.

I did various bits of voluntary work, most of which I did not include in my application, but which helped me to secure jobs.

Whilst doing my degree I worked 3.5 days a week in a variety of roles that made use of my personal experience and involved working with others with mental health and substance use problems, as well as people with learning disabilities. I moved on to setting up and running projects and developing and delivering training. By the time I graduated I had been doing this for 4 years.

BSc Psychology (1st including BPS prize)

After graduation:
6 months associate practitioner in adult MH
9 months research assistant adult MH
6 months running a peer support project whilst doing 1 day a week honorary AP doing neuropsych assessments
18 months (at time of interview) AP in forensics (not NHS)

I made use of my own experience of mental health difficulties and service use in the application and interview for all but my AP post.

1 lead author article submitted but not yet accepted
Author on 1 peer reviewed paper and 1 book chapter
3 conference presentations
Several service evaluations disseminated within trusts

1st time applying: 1 interview
2nd time: 3 interviews, offers from the first 2, withdrew from 3rd.

I think this year I had interviews at places that fitted with my experience and ethos, and I was more confident as I had more AP experience under my belt, which helped me to be myself in the interviews. In the first year I tried to second guess the kind of person I thought they would want me to be and felt totally inauthentic and out of place, which I think came across.

I was also lucky to have a couple of supervisors who really believed in me, including in the value that my lived experience brings, and who endeavoured to give me as many opportunities as possible.

I will be 32 when I start training.

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by NatJ » Thu May 26, 2016 1:45 pm

Hopefully this will be encouraging to 1) those that don't have a masters or a Phd. 2) to anyone who has taken a career break for a significant amount of time 3) Those that have never had a Dclin interview before
Bsc Psychology (1st Class from non-red brick uni)

-From 1st-3rd year volunteered in a stroke ward, on a Domestic violence helpline etc
-Presented dissertation at undergrad conference- BPS prize

6 months part time Research AP with LD settings, Data collection, lit review- never got to write up report or publish.
6 months HCA in Secure services/forensic mental health
10 months Band 5 AP- Memory Clinic
(Continued to volunteer in support / befriender roles/ on helplines post uni)
Got married- 2 years abroad (Nothing psychology related in first 2 years)- Definitely didn’t think I would ever be able to get back on the psychology band waggon…
1 year abroad volunteered ad hoc in support roles within forensic services. Participated in a research project affecting public policy (3 months).
-Returned to UK-
10 months Band 5 AP post in LD services (So shocked they took me after a 3 year break. I applied for training when working there only 2 months)
Kept in contact with all my supervisors throughout each job. I decided to enjoy the journey to qualification, love each job I do, and to not stress about time scales. I half heartedly applied in 2013 when abroad with no job, but more to keep references current, didn’t hear anything. Waited until I was ready and applied properly this year, got 1 interview and offered a place. Lots of people said how unlikely it would be to get your 1st interview, but you only need 1! I committed to being really myself and to admit when I didn't know something or wasn't 100% confident. They seemed to like that. I’ll be 28 when I start training.

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Bd17 » Sat May 28, 2016 8:56 pm

This was my first year applying for the course and I am so happy to say that I have been offered a place :) . I will be 25 when I start training. I am one of those applicants who waited until I felt ready to apply rather than having practice runs.

I graduated in 2012 with a 1st Class BSc (Hons) Psychology.
2012- 2013: I worked part time as a support worker in disability services, whilst volunteering as a mentor with ex offenders and on an acute mental health inpatient ward.
May 2013- May 2014: I worked for 12 months 2.5 days a week as an honorary assistant psychologist in CAMHS, whilst continuing to work as a support worker.
May 2014-Jan 2015: I secured my first paid assistant psychologist post in a CAMHS service, working specifically in the neuro developmental service. This was a fixed term contract.
Jan 2015-present: I currently work as an assistant psychologist in a neuropsychology service, specifically working into the neurology and neurosurgery department. This is a permanent contract.

I have publications from work within my roles, I don't have a masters.

Good luck to all those still waiting for reserve lists this year :D

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by purpledot » Sun May 29, 2016 6:14 pm

I'm really excited to be able to post on this thread, and I hope that it will be encouraging for those who also don't have a 'traditional' application - I don't have an MSc, I've never worked in the NHS or as an Assistant Psychologist and my 2:1 is low. There were times when applying that these things seemed like insurmountable barriers, and I remember looking through this thread in great detail to see if there were successful applicants who had similar experience to me, so I hope this post will be helpful.


2005 - 2008 BSc Psychology (low 2:1, 62%)
2014 - 2015 Post-grad Certificate Clinical Applications of Psychology (Merit, 68%)
- I gained high marks in my third year of undergrad, including firsts in both my research project and my dissertation, but I had low marks in my second year which pulled my overall grade down. I also didn't form strong links with any of my tutors/supervisors (I wasn't intending on applying for clinical at this time as I believed it was too competitive!), which could have potentially led to a weak academic reference, and this was one of the reasons why I applied for a place on the distance-learning MSc in Clinical Applications of Psychology at Newman University. I completed the post-grad certificate in 2015, but unfortunately a change in my personal situation meant that it wasn't financially possible to complete the MSc.


- 2 years working in customer service following graduation. Although this wasn't directly relevant, I learned a lot about conflict resolution and de-escalation, working with targets, building relationships with clients and supervising a team. I was also volunteering with a youth work project alongside this.
- 3 years as a project worker working for a children's charity in a number of short-term contracts with different services, including a service working with young people leaving the care system, a service working with young people at risk of sexual exploitation, an emotional support service based in secondary schools and a service working with young people with learning disabilities.
- 3 years full-time as a senior project worker working for a children's charity on a family bereavement service, which was led by a Clinical Psychologist. Within this role, I had opportunities to carry out a wide range of clinical work in 1:1, family and group interventions, and with both children and adults. I was also lucky to receive both individual and group clinical supervision from a CP, which was invaluable experience. In addition, I was the lead author on a peer-reviewed article being published this summer, I wrote a number of psycho-educational handouts which were disseminated locally, I helped with writing reports from our outcome measures and I was able to secure a couple of one-day opportunities to shadow CPs in an NHS setting which had close links with the service I worked in.
- During this time I also set up and continue to chair a local psychology pre-training group.

I was offered one interview in my first year of applying, and two in my second year (one unsuccessful and one place offered), and I will be 29 when I start training. For me personally, I didn't find the lack of NHS or AP experience too much of a barrier (though I have worked under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist for 3+ years, just with a different title), but the low 2:1 was certainly a barrier, and I did find it disheartening when seeing more courses beginning to specify a mid-high 2:1 (though I completely understand the reasons why courses do this). I felt that my undergrad performance of 8 years ago wasn't a direct representation of what I could achieve now, but unfortunately as I don't have an MSc, it was the only academic performance which selectors could consider on my application.

My advice to anyone with a low 2:1 (and without an MSc) is that it definitely is possible to get a place on the course, but you may have to think strategically about where to apply and look carefully at both criteria/selection process (and the interview tasks) and choose courses whose application process play to your strengths. For me, I mainly focused on courses which used selection tests as part of their procedure and I also looked at the type of tests as well, along with considering the ethos, teaching and location of the course.

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by r00bic0n » Sun May 29, 2016 7:55 pm

Very happy to be posting here!

This is my fourth time applying (having applied for the first time just after graduating from my conversion course - not necessarily advisable!). First two years - no interviews. One interview last year - rejection. This year - two reserves for interviews which didn't materialise and two interviews - one rejection, one straight out offer.

I'll be 29 when I start training. Eeeeeep! :cyclops:


2006-2009 BA (Hons) English Literature, 2:1 (69%)
2011-2012 MSc Psychology (Conversion course), Distinction (75%)

Experience (over the course of just over 3 years)

7 months 1.0 FTE Band 3 Nursing Assistant
6 months 1.0 FTE Band 4 Nursing Assistant
6 months 0.2 FTE Honorary Assistant Psychologist (group work and service evaluation)
12 months 0.1 FTE Samaritans Listener/Volunteer
18 months 1.0 FTE Band 4 Assistant Psychologist, Specialist Therapies Service
8 months 1.0 FTE Band 5 Assistant Psychologist, Specialist Therapies Service

There was a space of about 6 months where I was working 3 long days per week as a nursing assistant (13.5 hour shifts) AND doing honorary work on one of my days off AND doing Samaritans. That was intense and at the time I had the energy for it...shortly afterwards I got my first AP job and a few months in I was exhausted!! All great experience I'm glad I got but it has made me reflect on how important it is to look after yourself and not take on too much.

I'm very lucky to have had incredible support from my colleagues and supervisors, especially in my AP positions. I know having an AP, RA or IAPT position is not essential to get on the course, but for me, being supervised by psychologists made a massive difference in terms of my development of knowledge, reflective capacity and understanding what a psychologist actually does. Although getting AP positions actually felt just as hard as getting on the course, if not harder!! I applied to what must have been over 80 positions, got 10 interviews and only three offers. So odds were worse than getting on the course!!

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by lozb » Mon May 30, 2016 2:59 pm

So happy I get to post here! This is my first time applying, and I will be 25 when I begin training.

2008-2012 Bachelor of Psychology (Hons): First class

-12 months (very part time) Applied Behaviour Analaysis therapist working with a young boy with autism
-5 months (part time) research assistant working on a cognitive bias modification intervention for OCD. This project started as my undergraduate thesis and I was then paid to stay on to add to the project. Led to one peer-reviewed publication (second author).
-3 months (part time) research assistant screening participants for an RCT for depression.
-18 months (full time) therapeutic care worker in an eating disorders service. This was an amazing role in a fantastic service that combined inpatient treatment, outpatient work and community outreach. A lot of 1:1 work with patients, and although I wasn't supervised by a CP, I worked closely with a few.
-14 months (full time) research assistant working on NHS service evaluations, systematic reviews for NICE guidelines and contributing to commissioning guidance for the new access and waiting times standards projects. This role gave me a really good understanding of the less 'clinical' aspects of the role of CPs- working with commissioners to design and evaluate services, working with experts and service users to develop guidance, etc.- and great experience dealing with the challenges of applied research in the NHS.

I am Australian (with Italian citizenship) and came to the UK in 2013, so I had to wait until I had been living and working in the UK for 3 years before I could apply. After applying for the first time this year I had 4 interviews (which was amazing but incredibly stressful!). My advice to anyone else wanting to make the move to the UK from Australia (or similar) is to get your qualifications assessed by the BPS and get GBC as soon as possible- I was very slow with this, and although I didn't actually apply for many AP posts (and hopefully this is some proof you don't necessarily need one!) this is essential to even be considered.

My other advice would be to try and gain experience in other less 'clinical' areas of psychology and try to get a good idea of the varied role of CPs in the NHS. Coming from another country, with very little knowledge about how the NHS actually works, there is a big learning curve in understanding the way services are designed, commissioned, implemented and evaluated, and all the various groups (and mind-boggling number of acronyms) involved. I certainly don't have the most well-rounded clinical experience, so I think these aspects of my experience really gave me a little bit of an edge.

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by persephone56 » Mon May 30, 2016 9:50 pm

It feels very surreal to post here!

My experience is very unusual compared to most, so I thought it might be handy for those who can't/aren't taking a typical path.

2005-2009: BSc Neuroscience (2:1)
2009-2011 Applied Psychology Conversion Course (1:1)

During my psych degree, I worked occasionally as a voluntary AP, doing parenting capacity assessments. I applied for jobs as an AP and RA, but got nowhere. The last straw at that point for me was when I didn't even get interviewed for an RA job that was right in line with my experience, and the feedback was "Everyone else had a Masters".

At that point, I applied for a Masters in Foundations of Clinical Psychology, and spent the rest of the year working in a shop and enjoying life.

2012-2013: MSc (Distinction). I hated it, and it actually put me off clinical psychology for quite a while (I can give more info via PM if anyone is thinking of doing a similar Masters, but suffice to say, the course description and reality were not aligned IMO).

Next, I got a part-time RA position at a forensic research company (through directly contacting places to see if they were looking for staff - I highly recommend that approach!). It wasn't very clinically relevant, but the distressing material taught me a lot about my levels of professional resilience.

Towards the end of my Masters, my boyfriend and I started thinking about travelling and working in a different country for a while. In mid-2015, we moved to Vancouver, Canada.

There, through intense networking, I got a job as an RA in an acute CAMHS unit. Most of the work was dull, but every day I got to spend an hour discussing the patients on the unit and that was amazing!

Next, I moved on to a position as a psychometrist (doing psychometric assessments) with children with complex developmental and behavioural issues. It was a baptism by fire, and a huge learning curve, but I went from being terrified of kids to being comfortable with even the most dysregulated of kids.

I have two papers that are nearly ready to be submitted for publication, but are being held up by co-authors. I have a bunch of low-level presentations (uni and student things, etc) and 1 commendation. I also have one poster presentation at an international conference.

So there it is! No paid AP work, no support worker roles, I have never even worked in the NHS! And if I made it on, then it's a sign that anyone can :)

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by morni » Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:02 pm

Hi all!!

I don't know how helpful my contribution to this thread will be but I just thought I would share the things I thought were quite important to me as well as what I have learnt along the way.

BSc (Hons) Psychology with two 6 month placements (also known as a thin sandwich) - First

-I was initially hesitant about changing my three year to the four year with my adolescent concerns of 'all my friends will move on while I'm still here for another year'. But honestly one of the best decisions of my academic life and I gained so much experience and learnt alot about myself. It came in very handy for AP job interviews and I secured a post 2 months after graduating. So I thoroughly recommend a degree with placement(s).

-No masters or any post-grad stuff

-I have had two paid AP posts and have been in each post about 2 years each. I felt the longer I was there the more I got the the ins and outs of the trust, service and team as well as establish myself as a strong part of it. So if you're worried about not having a 'variety' its not always necessary.
- Placements included 6 months as a research assistant at the university and 6 months as an assistant psychologist/placement student (again gold dust!)

This was my fourth year applying and I will be 26 when I start training. It has been a strange four years and disheartening at times, I found it hard to deal with the 'backward years'. One year I got a reserve place at a course and the following three years I got either got no interview or no place/reserve offer there. But I guess thinking about how much I have grown in between then and now makes me think I am better off starting now. I have clearer view of what I want to do with the CP title and believe the course will support me in achieving it. Obviously not how I was feeling then, existential crisis anyone?

Anyway... hope someone found this helpful. God speed x
"Don't kill my vibe"

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Alexander » Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:33 pm

Mine has felt at times like a torturous journey. I'm not sure what anyone can learn from my experience, but if I was advising my seven-years-younger self, I would say the following:

<> Don't rush. Practise applications are pointless. Wait until you feel ready. Doing so will help you to appreciate your journey, the lessons it offers and make you more reflective about your strengths and weaknesses.
<> Be yourself. Trying to replicate others' successes probably won't help you. Your personal statement has to reflect you and your journey. Don't try to tick the boxes.
<> Always remember why you started down this path. At times the failures will distract you from the goal of helping people.
<> Intelligence is not always a gift. Learn what you can from people that are really good at empathising with people.

At the age of 31 and having been offered a place, my experience looks something like the below. It looks and feels like a lot, but I think my struggles show you don't need lots of experience. What matters more is what you do with your experiences, what you learn about yourself along the way and how well you can communicate those insights at interview.

2008 BSc Psychology (high 2:1), but dreadful 52% dissertation
2015 MSc Research Methods in Psychology (Distinction - 75%, Research Prize and Public Engagement Prize)

October 2010 – September 2015
Research Ethics Committee Member, 0.1 WTE

December 2011 – October 2013
Assistant Psychologist, FT

August 2010 – December 2011
Assistant Psychologist, FT

September 2009 – August 2010
Part-time Honorary Assistant Psychologist, 0.2 WTE

September 2009 – May 2010
Casual Research Assistant, 0.2 WTE

November 2009 – May 2010
Part-time Honorary Assistant Psychologist, 0.2 WTE

September 2009 – October 2009
Part-time Research Assistant, 0.2 WTE

June 2009 – August 2010
Bank Nursing Support Worker, ~1.0 WTE

April 2009 – Sept 2009
Support Worker, FT

One peer-reviewed paper
One poster presentation
Two non-peer reviewed pieces for Aspire
One book review for Clinical Psychology Forum

STEM Ambassador – STEMNet (Science outreach in primary schools), 1 year
Editor – Student Journal of Psychology, 1 year
Editor – Psyche (University psychology magazine), 1 year
Ordinary Member – Pre-Qualification Group, Division of Clinical Psychology, British Psychological Society, 1 year

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by BrokenWings » Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:36 pm

So happy I get to post here! :D

I was 29 when I found out I had got a place, I will be 30 when I start (I had my birthday 5 days after I got the letter. Best birthday present ever!! :lol:)

It took me 9 years from graduating my undergrad to being offered a place, but I took 'the scenic route' and did many other things along the way (I bought my first property at 23, had my first dog from age 18 etc). I am also quite risk averse so was reluctant to take short term jobs. Owning my own property limited me somewhat with regards to moving for a job, and wanting the security of knowing I could pay the mortgage. I only applied to the course 3 times.

A-Levels: Biology (A), Mathematics (B), Psychology (A) (actually a very good combination, even though I was the only one in my school who did that combination.)
As-Level Physics (B)
Undergrad: BSc (Hons) Psychology -2:1 (scraped a 'high' 2:1 - I think I got about 66%)
Postgrad: MSc Health Psychology - Merit

(Relevant) Experience
Peer Supporter (while at uni) Helped provide an email based peer support service for students. Gained counselling skills. Very part time (maybe 2 hours per week), for 2 academic years.
Volunteer, Mind After graduating, I volunteered with Mind in their drop-in service and then later with their groups for young people (2 groups, one for young people aged 11-15, the other for young people aged 16-25 if memory serves). This was for about 3 hours per week for about a year (then the services were reduced due to funding cuts)
Honorary Research Assistant looking at health professionals attitudes towards people with obesity. About 3 hours per week, for about 6 months.
Behavioural Health Care Assistant Neuro Department (regional centre for neurological services). This role was providing enhanced care (1:1) to patients displaying challenging behaviour as a result of neurological problems - often acquired brain injury, sometimes with pre-exisiting conditions (e.g. dementia). Full time (or nearly - 34.5 hours for the last 6 months or so). 2 years.
Facilitator - Peer support Mental Health Groups Facilitated peer support groups with a local charity. I love(d) this and feel I got a huge amount of experience from it and learnt a lot about myself along the way. Approx. 3 hours per week. For 18 months.
Honorary Assistant Psychologist Pain Management service. A lot of this role was admin and audit, but I did get the opportunity to help facilitate Self Management Programmes. Approx. 7 hours per week, for about 18 months.
Research Assistant/Senior Research Assistant Dementias and Neurodegeneration. Started as a band 4 RA, got promoted to a band 5 Senior RA after about 9 months (added responsibility for running studies). I got lots of experience in collecting data from participants using psychometrics. I also gained experience of conducting research within the NHS. Full time, I was there for about 18 months in total.
Clinical Studies Officer Community/mental health Trust. Similar to my RA role. Full time, at the time of interview I had been working there 1.5 weeks.

(Irrelevant?) Experience
Retail Shop Work part time, for about 3 years. This was the job I had while at Uni, I continued it after graduating so I had money to pay the bills
Retail Bank Work working as a cashier. Full time for 1 year 3 months, then part time (21hrs/week) while I was doing my MSc (and afterwards as they wouldn't give me full time hours). Total time with them about 4 years.

I seriously did not expect to get on without having had a paid AP job or at the very least supervision from a CP (I've only ever really been supervised by nurses).
It does look like a fair amount of experience, but most of the relevant experience was after I had my masters. A lot of that was done concurrently - I was working (nearly) full time as a Behavioural HCA, while doing a day per week (just about) as an Honorary AP and 3 hours per week as a facilitator. It was exhausting! It definitely taught me a lot about the need to look after myself. I am now very protective of my free time and holidays.
While I was working as an RA, I was living away from home in the week and coming back at the weekends. I didn't want to sell my property for an 18 month position. We had 2 dogs and 2 cats at the time I got it, so we couldn't really rent. It was definitely challenging - financially (I was renting a room, but also paying the mortgage), but also emotionally (being away from home and friends). The biggest thing for me was feeling that I didn't know where to call home (very unexpected). I spent most of my time in city A, but my home and all my friends were in city B. I also didn't really get to experience much of city A, as I was working all the time I was there. I was never able to go out and get to know the city. I think I did get to know myself a lot better while I was away though, and embrace my inner geek!

It took me a very long time to get that RA job. (I phoned my mum to tell her I'd got it and literally cried tears of relief at the railway station.) I had been applying for RA and AP jobs for about 18 months. After a few months of unsuccessful applications (no interviews) I decided I needed to do something to gain more/different skills, hence the voluntary work. I honestly can't remember how many interviews I went to before I got the RA job - it took me about a year of going to interviews on a fairly regular basis. I was very close to giving up. I had decided before that interview that this was the last interview I was going to and if I didn't get it I was going to go off and be a medical doctor (because that's easier! :roll:).
Similarly with the Doctorate interviews, I had decided a couple of weeks before what turned out to be my successful interview that I was going to pursue the Prof Doc in Health Psych (because I could, basically!). I also had the worst journey to the interview - everything that could go wrong did! So I think I went in with the attitude that 'at least I'm here, anything else is a bonus, and it doesn't matter if I don't get on because I'm going to do the Prof Doc anyway'. I was also completely knackered having not slept well the night before. I think the tiredness and the anxiety/adrenaline balanced each other out.
I do get incredibly anxious about interviews. I think if I don't want it too much, I relax and do better.

Sorry for the incredibly long post! I hope this has given other people hope. 2 years ago I was working as an HCA and about to quit psychology. Now I've got onto the doctorate. Don't give up! 8)

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Hellbop » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:55 pm

Extremely happy (and pleasantly surprised) to be able to post on here!
Living prove that perseverance and determination really do pay off! :D

My Qualifications are as follows:

- Didn't do great in my A Levels (didn't try too hard, was distracted and unsure on my path in life), however I was still lucky enough to be accepted onto an undergraduate degree course at MMU.
- 2.1 BA Joint Honours in Psychology and Philosophy.
- Diploma Conversion Course in Psychology with OU, which granted me BPS graduate membership and registration.
- MSc with Merit in Principles and Approaches in Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies at Chester University.


- First proper experience came through volunteer work on a mental health helpline called First Steps to Freedom, which helped people suffering with anxiety, depression, phobias, panic and OCD. Volunteered for 7 months.
- Worked as a Doctors receptionist from the age of 22 till I was 24 (whilst studying with OU) - good experience of people suffering with physical health complaints and impact on mental health. I also ran a patient led group, which was my first experiencing of organising and facilitating groups.
- From the age of 24 till I had just turned 33 (a long time I know, but vast amount of experience gained during this time) I worked for private forensic mental health and brain injury in-patient service. I initially worked as a Rehabilitation Co-Therapist(RCT)-(like a support worker) on brain injury and mental health wards (low and medium secure wards and open rehab service). Then I obtained a secondment for 1 year as an Assistant Psychologist (after the 1 year the psychology service got disbanded and due to this I was glad to be out of the role to be honest!). Following this I went back to being an RCT and eventually transferred to a newly open secure autistic spectrum conditions service. Following this I gained another Assistant Psychologist post within the company working across two different Hospitals. This gave me experience not only of those with brain injury, mental health conditions and ASC, but also chronic pain, CFS and physical disability. I worked for 3 and a 1/2 years in this post whilst completing my MSc part-time.
- 3 months as Trainee PWP.

So after 4 applications (1 practice run when I had no were near enough experience, and 3 proper applications) I finally got on the course aged 33 :D

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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Dilly » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:53 am

So I thought I might try and post something useful rather than always lurking :lol:

Here goes...

First time applicant but I did wait until I felt ready to apply. I toyed with the idea of a 'practice' run last year but decided against it as I knew I would still feel equally disheartened if nothing came of it. I'll be 25 when I start training.

- Joint BA hons Psychology and Criminology - 1st
- Grad Dip Psychology (to boost my undergrad credits to BPS accreditation) - Distinction

I was slow off the mark in gaining experience so a lot of the following overlap as I felt I had to play 'catch up'. They fall into a period of just under 3 years:
- Play Therapist with Austism at Home (6 months part-time, voluntary)
- Temp Research Assistant at Nottingham University (this was only for a few weeks as they advertised for short-term support for a project, paid)
- Honorary Assistant Psychologist at an NHS Eating Disorders Service (12 months part-time, voluntary but without a doubt my favourite experience)
- "As and When" Research Assistant at Coventry University (again only around a month for a particular project, paid)
- Research Assistant Psychologist for an NHS forensic project (6 months part-time which then increased to full-time, paid)
- Assistant Psychologist at NHS IAPT service (12 months full-time and then split post between IAPT and previous project, paid)

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:11 am

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by sks89 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:46 am

I was registered here under a different username which I've forgotten so re-registered!

This was my third consecutive year of applying. I had one interview and no offer the first year, nothing last year and one interview which led to an offer this year.

My experience is:

2011 BSc Psychology - 2:1 (I did spectacularly badly in my 2nd year so despite strong marks in final year I came out with a low 2:1 overall)
2012 PGDip Low Intensity CBT
2015/16 MSc Psychology - will submit my dissertation this summer

Volunteer work with ChildLine and other charities whilst in my 1st and 2nd year of my undergraduate
1 year Honorary Assistant Psychologist placement year (between my 2nd and final year) in an Early Intervention in Psychosis Service
11 months as Bank HCA on an adult acute psychiatric ward
3 months full-time HCA on a CAMHS inpatient ward
18 months PWP
9 months AP in a CAMHS specialist outpatient therapy service
18 months AP in a male low-secure unit
9 months part-time learning mentor in a secondary school

I tried to avoid doing a masters to boost my academic score when applying to courses but reluctantly accepted my low 2:1 was putting me at a disadvantage. In the end I don't think it helped in shortlisting as I sat a screening test but having been reminded of research methods etc. did help answer the screening test and with my interview. Also, now having almost completed my MSc I have really enjoyed it and it's increased my confidence for starting the course this September.

Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:14 am

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by rocky2015 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:42 pm

I wanted to post on here to show my experience, as it's all quite overwhelming to see how much everyone has!

I'm 27 years old. Third time applying. No interviews first year, 2 interviews second year (2 reserve places but didn't shift), 4 interviews (2 reserve places, 1 became an offer at last minute!). So I wouldn't say I'm an expert. I really felt my research experience was

Psychology degree, 2:1 (69%) (good uni) 2010
MSc in Mental Health (different uni) 2011

A couple of sessions with NAS support group in final year of university.
Student Support Assistant - LD College for 6 months.
Community Support Worker with Intensive Support LD Team 1y3 months - this was so useful in getting hands on 1-1 experience in the community in a therapeutic way - I would always recommend support work to anyone to develop case studies etc.
Assistant Practitioner IAPT - 1y3 months ish too - CBT based assessments, group work, a tiny bit of 1-1 LI CBT. Also did a service evaluation project/audit (not published, qualitative).
Assistant Psychologist in older adult community setting - 1y - Care Home Liaison 6 months, Memory Clinic 6 months. Work with carers and families, lots of neuropsych dementia diagnostic experience, and another audit (not published).
Assistant Psychologist in adult autism diagnostic team - 1y - clinical interview, psychometrics, lots of reports!

Looks a lot now, but for me I felt I needed it to get an good application and to feel confident for interview.

My top tips!...
Don't underestimate the importance of a good reference! Find a good supervisor and don't be afraid to move around. It's easy to settle into a job that's 'okay' but not really great... You should try to keep moving - I think - personally. My breadth of experience I hope made up for my lack of research. No publications here. That's my next goal on training I suppose!

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