Chemistry @ St Catherine's, Oxford in 2018

Interview format

2x 20 min interviews, 1 day apart

Interview content

Both interviews: scientific diagrams

Best preparation

Past papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Revised A-level course; speak your mind!

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: TSA

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: 20 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

There were no personal questions whatsoever; each interview consisted of 10 minutes with each of the two tutors there, where we talked through a scientific diagram.

Each time, they would talk to me about the diagram/graph and what it told you about something, and they would then ask a question applying what they had just said.

How did you prepare?

I just did a couple of past papers a few days before.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I prepared by just revising the A level course, although in hindsight this wasn't that important in terms of knowing information, more about keeping your subject intuition fresh.

My expectation was that there would be lots of classic questions about my personal statement and why I wanted to come here, but there were actually none. If I had known what the interview was like, I'd actually conclude that there's not much you can do to prepare!

It is clear that the interviewers are looking for insight into your internal thought process. You will definitely get stuck on whatever they ask you, but as long as you speak your mind (even saying why you know one approach must be wrong is productive, they will get what they're looking for).