History And Modern Languages @ Christ's, Cambridge in 2019

Interview format

Arts-Humanities Admissions Assessment (AHAA); 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: conversation in French, discussing a source; Interview 2: discussion of given text

Best preparation

Reviewed personal statement

Test preparation

Practise papers

Final thoughts

Practice talking about your subject in general

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: Arts-Humanities Admissions Assessment (AHAA), History Admissions Assessment (HAA), Cambridge modern languages at-interview assessment
Number of interviews: 2
Time between interviews: 7 hours
Length of interviews: 20-30 mins
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my French interview, I was given a text to look at for 20 mins beforehand and the interviewers gave me open questions about it. I kind of translated every line into English orally and then added my own thoughts about certain parts - I basically just said whatever came into my head. Then we spoke in French for a few minutes - it was more like a general conversation about French and History, they didn't ask me anything specific from my personal statement or my essay. I remember clearly making a mistake in my French, but clearly that didn't make much of a difference!

My History interview was similar, I was given a slightly longer text and was just asked to give my general thoughts on it, then we had a general conversation about the uses of History. I was suprised that they didn't ask for any specific knowledge or anything on my personal statement or essays. They were both very enjoyable, and much easier than I expected; I thought I'd have to think really hard but I just said the first thing that came into my head. The interviewers were friendly, but it wasn't relaxing as such; sometimes I finished talking but the interviewers stayed silent so I kept on going.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I went through my personal statement, and for every single thing I mentioned, I wrote a page or two of notes about what I could say if those topics came up. This took a few weeks, and it involved rereading the books I'd mentioned, researching them online, rewatching the moocs I'd done, and basically noting down anything interesting I thought about them. I reread those notes a few times before the interview. I also spoke to my teachers about the essays I sent in - I prepared to talk about the topic of the essays generally and how I could have done them better. As well as this I just practiced speaking in French, about anything.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

I did as many practice papers as I could find for each paper (about 3/4). I began by taking my time and getting my head around the structure, and as the tests got closer I practiced them to time. The most important thing for the essays is to read the instructions/help sheet (came with the practice papers) very carefully, and basically do exactly what that says. For the multiple choice questions, I read a lot, anything academic, and found some free online American SAT tests (also multiple-choice reading comprehension). Sometimes the answer wasn't clear at all so I went for my best guess, or the one that seemed the least wrong. The best preparation I would recommend is practice papers, and reading the questions/texts very carefully.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

I would advise practising talking about your subject in general; don't worry too much about specific knowledge, but be enthusiastic about your subject and ready to discuss it/learn more. It was much less a test and much more a conversation than I expected, so don't worry about giving a 'wrong' answer and just say your thoughts out loud. Also don't be afraid to give your opinion, and be open, friendly and interested in whatever they give you or ask you.