2x interviews (20-30 mins)
1st: A level basis, extended; 2nd: more abstract
Revising A Level; mock interviews; magazines
Don't worry about mistakes/things you found tricky 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.
2 interviews, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each with 2 interviewers.
I didn't particularly want to talk to anyone that day as I was nervous so I avoided the Library Common Room where all the student helpers were and instead spent the day with my mum and sister (we kind of made it a fun day trip as well). The only bit of communication I had was in the morning with one other person who was waiting for her history interview which was going to happen in the room next door to my interview.
In the first interview there was a broad range of questions covering various topics we learnt at the time during A-level but in more complicated contexts. 1 question was strictly mathematical, one on electricity and one tricky mechanics question about a bicycle. This interview felt like my weakest as I asked a lot of follow up questions and even made mistakes (some very silly ones) in pretty much every question. The questions could be answered but I did feel very
The second interview felt much better as the concepts were very much more abstract and there was more discussion that could be had which meant that taking my time didn't feel as much of an issue. One of the questions I had to use relevant equations and mathematics to get an expression for overall work done (I also forgot a reasonably simple equation which made me feel a little silly but they didn't seem to mind). Another was a question that required me to talk k about different properties that would need to be considered in order to calculate the answer. The questioner was the PhD student so I felt like he was a bit more sympathetic towards me and interested in knowing what I knew which definitely helped reassure me. There were also a few more mathematical based questions including another electricity one, but as maths is definitely one of my strengths it didn't matter so much that I absolutely hate electricity. I also managed to slide in at one point a reference to one of the books I read about quantum mechanics and general relativity.
Generally, revising A-Level topics for mock exams and practicing over and over again hard questions from physics and maths was the best preparation I had. In terms of other subject specific things I did skim read 2 books from the reading list when I had time and also read some other books that I was just interested in reading - mainly about quantum theory because we hadn't really covered anything like that at A-Level (apart from photoelectric effect).
Could probably find some good books for free as PDFs online or in a library too. Would highly recommend QED by Feynman for a really good bridge into university level quantum physics (it didn't come up in interview but it did spark my interest in the slightly more abstract concepts of physics). I also
I had one
In summary (sorry this is long!) - most helpful preparation for interview content was A-Level revision from Physics, Maths (and Further Maths). Get physics teachers to carry out a mock interview with perhaps some example past interview questions - answering a question in person with only a pencil and paper is, needless to say, very different to an A-Level exam.
Good preparation but not necessarily essential is further reading from book list and/or magazines - good to pad out personal statements and to further your interest, as enthusiasm for your subject certainly helps. Any other interview practice that you can get or tips (even from students not studying your subject) are helpful extra things that can get you into a positive mindset.
Utilising people you know or getting in contact with