1) Reading about interviews isn't a substitute for subject preperation. Read them for guidance but remember to do the work and know your subject materials.

2) Someone else's experience will not necessarily reflect your own. Most interviews are more like conversations than tests and, like any conversation, they can be highly personal.

Human, Social and Political Science | Emmanuel College | 2015

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Interview details

Application outcome: Succesful - Pool offer
Interview type: Pre-Christmas Interview

Interview format

2 x 20 minute interviews. 2 interviewers and 10 minutes pre-reading.

Interview content

Part of interview about pre-reading text and was open-ended discussion. Explained themes in personal statement.

Advice in hindsight

Chewing gum helped as a distraction between interviews.

Best preparation

Reading news articles. Writing bullet points on additional experiences that did not fit on personal statement.

Final thoughts

Dont downplay your strengths. It's difficult to judge how you did.

Something missing?

1) Reading about interviews isn't a substitute for knowledge. Read them for guidance but remember to do the work and know your subject materials.

2) Someone else's experience will not necessarily reflect your own. Most interviews are more like conversations than tests and like, any conversation, they can be highly personal.

The Cambridge application has changed in recent years to reflect the new A-Level system. Check the official Cambridge website for more accurate information on this year's application format and the required tests. Remember this advice isn't official and there is no guarantee it will reflect your experience.

Read our subject resource guide for Human, Social and Political Science. Keep an eye out for new interviews, we are adding them daily.

Interview Format​

My interview was in early December. I requested an early interview because didn't want them to clash with my upcoming school exams. There was a common room with other interviewees and a few undergraduate students for us to wait in for interviews.

I had two 20 minute interviews. Each one had 2 interviewers (3 faculty and 1 Master of college). Before each interview, I had 10 minutes to read a given text.

Interview content

In the interviews, part of it focused on the text I was given. They were very general and the focus was on what I found interesting about the article. The conversation flowed from there on the ideas I brought up. They also asked me questions relevant to my personal statement, asking me to elaborate on particular experiences, such as a book I mentioned I had read, and also more personal aspects that I had mentioned in my statement.

Advice in hindsight

Bringing some gum or anything you usually use to calm down is quite a good idea. Another interviewee offered some to me and it was quite a good way to get yourself to calm down and not over-think between interviews.

Best preparation

Reading news articles really helped for this particular subject. I made some bullet points on experiences that I could not put into my personal statement, or further things I wanted to say about the things I did mention.

Final thoughts

It is quite difficult to know if you did well or not in the interview, particularly as there is no right/wrong answer for the question they asked. Your experiences are your strengths, don't downplay them, they're what make you unique.

Image Credits

By Diliff [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

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