Classics (3 Years) @ Emmanuel, Cambridge in 2017

Interview format

2x interviews (2x interviewers in each); 1x test (1 hour)

Interview content

Test: translation of Latin passage; Interview 1: analysis of source, personal statement; Interview 2: general motivations, personal statement, A-Level courses

Best preparation

Know your personal statement; mock interview; videos of past interviews; talking to older students who had interviews in previous years

Final thoughts

Don't overthink the interview afterwards

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

My interviews were over two days. On the first day I had an hour-long aptitude test around lunchtime, and then an interview at my college (Emmanuel) in the late afternoon. There were two interviewers (the DoS and another fellow).

On the second day I had another interview at a different college (Kings) with a fellow and a PhD student.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The aptitude test was a translation of a Latin passage into English.

My first interview was initially based on a document (critical essay) that we'd been sent three weeks before to prepare, but we discussed my personal statement and other topics as well - it was rigorous and in-depth, and I was challenged on a lot of what I said and made to explain myself.

The second one (at King's) was more general (and less intense), and we discussed similar topics to the first (areas of interest in Classics, links between topics, my PS and A-Levels etc).

How did you prepare?

Probably the best preparation I did was reading all the things on my personal statement (and the general topic areas) so that I could speak confidently and in-depth about them. My submitted essay also helped in this regard. My school also organised a mock interview with a former teacher which was helpful.

Watching videos of past interviews and talking to current students who had applied the year before also helped.

Looking back, what advice would you give to your past self?

Try not to overthink things afterwards (I'm guilty of this) - my interview wasn't terrible but I certainly didn't come out of it thinking I had done well/was likely to get an offer. They like to push you as much as they can to see how your mind works.