Classics (4 Years) @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2014

Interview format

2x interviews (c. 20 mins each); 1x test

Interview content

First interview: favourite Classics topics, English texts; Second interview: discussed submitted essay and personal statement; Test: English grammar

Best preparation

Reading; rereading personal statement and submitted essays

Final thoughts

Stay calm and give clear and structured answers

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

I had two interviews in college - each around 20 minutes then later I had a test in faculty.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The first interview was informal with my future personal tutor - we talked about my favourite things about classics and some of the English texts I had studied (as they were an English tutor).

The second interview was with my future Director of Studiesand a PhD student. It was challenging and they asked me questions about my submitted essays and personal statement, some of which were quite confrontational questions. I got the vibe they were trying to prod me to see how I would cope!

The test was a language test in the faculty asking questions about English grammar (because I hadn't studied Latin or Greek at school). For me it went badly because I was nervous but the supervisor was understanding and nice to me!

How did you prepare?

Reading things I was interested in and rereading my personal statement and submitted essays before I went in so I had an idea of things they would ask me.

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

The most important thing I think is to stay calm and really structure your answers clearly. I think they want to see how you can cope with being academically challenged, so it's not gonna be an easy interview.

I also didn't know the answers to every question they asked, but I gave them a go and sometimes had to just tell them I hadn't read anything about that topic - they know you won't know everything at this stage, and that's okay!