Natural Sciences (Physical) @ Jesus, Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment; 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: physics problems, personal statement; Interview 2: maths and geometry problems

Best preparation

Mock interview with a Physics teacher

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Stay as calm as possible

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: Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA)

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: no

Time between interviews: less than two hours

Length of first interview: 20-30 minutes; Length of second interview: 20-30 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The first interview focused mainly on a few physics problems that I was asked to work through. From there, additional questions were asked about the problems and a bit of a discussion built up. I was then asked about an essay I had written and mentioned in my personal statement. Finally I was asked questions about some of the option modules I said I was interested in taking during the course.

My second interview was more maths based and I was asked to sketch various functions I had not seen before. Then I was given some harder geometry problems to try.

How did you prepare?

I used past papers and questions on Isaac Physics. The most useful preparation was a mock interview with my physics teacher as it meant I had at least some experience in an interview situation. I also worked through harder problems whilst explaining my reasoning aloud, and made sure I was fully able to discuss everything I mentioned on my personal statement.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

The best advice I can give is to try to be as calm as possible in the interview and don't work yourself up before hand. I found myself panicking in my first interview and struggling with basic arithmetic but once I calmed down it seemed much less stressful. Remember that the interviewers are really trying to see how you approach a problem, so make sure you make all of your thoughts known.