History @ Emmanuel, Cambridge in 2016

Interview format

2x interviews

Interview content

1st interview: reading given in advance; 2nd interview: personal statement

Best preparation

Mock interviews; revise things on personal statement

Final thoughts

Be yourself, try your best & don't be scared to ask questions

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

Two interviews on one day about 3 hours apart. Both were with two supervisors. Students took me from the waiting room to the interviews. They were super lovely and calmed me down! There were lots of other potential undergrads.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

First was 30 minutes long, it was on reading that we’d been given a couple of weeks earlier. They probed me mainly on the understanding of it and asked me to think about its context. The article was so complicated - I think it was to really test you.

The second interview was questions based on my personal stataement reading.

How did you prepare?

School did mock interviews which to be honest weren’t anything like the real thing! But to be honest they probably calmed my nerves slightly.

Having fully read and understood everything on my personal statement was probably the best preparation I did. I knew and loved the books so it meant that even though they weren’t the most academic I could talk passionately about them and then defend them when I was prompted to.

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

Don’t over think it. If you’re going for interview you’re clever enough to get in. They want to know who you are, not some odd front. They try to keep it informal and relaxed. Obviously think hard but say what you think! Especially with humanities there isn’t a wrong answer. Also ask questions if you don’t know something. It’s so much better than making it up.