Mock interviews for internships: Improving pharmacy student preparedness using formative assessment


  • Mary-Jessimine Bushell Charles Darwin University
  • Judith Austin Charles Darwin University
  • Leigh Moore Society of Australia
  • Elizabeth Hendry Charles Darwin University
  • Angela Adams Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Pharmacy Department


Formative Assessment, Simulated Mock Interview, Pharmacy Education


Introduction/context: Formative assessment, also referred to as assessment for learning, has been used in higher education to provide individually tailored feedback to students with the goal of improving current performance.

Aim: To determine whether formative assessment is an effective method for increasing students’ odds of obtaining an intern pharmacist position.

Description of assessment method: Student participants were involved in a formative assessment task which involved two simulated mock interviews, one specific for community and one specific for hospital pharmacy. In preparation for the mock pharmacy interviews students received training and support from the university Careers and Employment Service. Training included how to develop their curriculum vitae, write a cover letter and respond appropriately to selection criteria and how to prepare for and interview well. After completion of interviews students received individual formative feedback.

Evaluation: Students were asked to complete two questionnaires to help identify the value of the assessment task. One questionnaire was completed directly after receiving formative feedback, the second after students had applied for actual intern positions approximately eight months after completing the formative assessment task. Most students (8/9) reported the formative assessment task helped them identify their areas of weakness, and allowed them to prepare in such areas prior to their actual interviews. Most students (8/9) indicated that the feedback helped them perform in their actual interviews.

Future implementation: Students valued the formative assessment task. There is scope to embed this assessment task into the undergraduate pharmacy curricula. Collaboration with the university Careers and Employment Service helped enhance student preparedness. 

Author Biographies

Mary-Jessimine Bushell, Charles Darwin University

Pharmacy Discipline, School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Health, Science and Environment

Judith Austin, Charles Darwin University

Coordinator Equity Services at Charles Darwin University, Office of Student Administration & Equity Services

Leigh Moore, Society of Australia

Northern Territory Representative P

Elizabeth Hendry, Charles Darwin University

Office of Student Administration & Equity Services

Angela Adams, Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Pharmacy Department

Senior Clinical Pharmacist


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How to Cite

Bushell, M.-J., Austin, J., Moore, L., Hendry, E., & Adams, A. (2015). Mock interviews for internships: Improving pharmacy student preparedness using formative assessment. Pharmacy Education, 15. Retrieved from



Research Article