Classics (3 Years) @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2022

Interview format

2x 25 minute interviews

Interview content

Pre-interview assessment: open book translation Interview 1: discussion of personal statement, EPQ, and an essay for an essay competition Interview 2: discussion of sources

Best preparation

Essay competition, listening to podcasts and reading about areas of interest

Final thoughts

Immerse yourself in your subject, and show your passion

Remember this advice isn't official. There is no guarantee it will reflect your experience because university applications can change between years. Check the official Cambridge and Oxford websites for more accurate information on this year's application format and the required tests.

Also, someone else's experience may not reflect your own. Most interviews are more like conversations than tests and like, any conversation, they are quite interactive.

Interview Format

Test taken: None
Number of interviews: 2
Time between interviews: About 40 minutes
Length of interviews: 25 minutes
Online interview: Yes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my first interview, we discussed my personal statement and they asked about my EPQ and essay for the essay competition; we just discussed things about my essay and EPQ topics and the conversation flowed on from there.

In my second interview, they gave me a couple of sources to look at and gave me as much time as I needed to look at them and then we discussed my initial thoughts surrounding them and the conversation flowed from there.

I also had a pre-interview assessment; it was a translation which was open book and I had an hour to complete. Since it was open book, it was a text they had written themselves so it was quite random and not clearly in the style of one author; I found this somewhat challenging but they told me that it was meant to be difficult (especially as it was only December of Y13 and my language skills weren’t super developed).

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I worked alongside my Classics teachers and they gave me recommendations for what to read. I entered the Mary Renault essay competition which really helped as I came 2nd and also forced me to do loads of research which meant I had done lots of research on one topic so I could discuss it in my interviews.

The best thing I did was to listen to podcasts nonstop after I got my offer to interview, 'Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics' was playing non-stop and in all my other free time I was reading non-fiction books. I found the series of books published by Bristol Classical Press super useful and there are lots of lists online for good classical books. I also picked certain topics and read a lot about them; for example, Homer and Classical Art as those were the things I was super interested in, instead of studying Philosophy.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Looking back I think that I would prepare in a similar way, by immersing myself completely and constantly surrounding myself with information be it through documentaries, podcasts or books. They want to see that you are interested in your subject and are open to learning more about it. My interviewers didn’t want to trip me up, they were really nice and helped guide me through in places where I was slightly confused. If you have a passion for your subject, it will come through and they will be able to spot that. Best of luck!!!