Classics @ Christ Church, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

4x 30 min interviews, over 5 days

Interview content

Discussion of philosophy concept from prompt; Latin texts with English translations; translation aloud; personal statement, recent reading

Best preparation

Did A-level translations; revised vocab and grammar

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Read up about small topics; reviewed rough chronology of ancient world. At interview, they don't expect you to know a lot, but worth showing you've done extra reading that excites you.

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: CAT

Number of interviews: 4

Skype interview: No

Interviews spread across 5 days

Length of interviews: about 30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

I had one philosophy interview- I was given a prompt about a concept, which we discussed.

I had three interviews in which I was given a text (in Latin with English translation) to discuss- in one, historical and, in two, poetic excerpts.

In the last interview, I was tested on translating a passage out loud.

In one I was also asked about my personal statement and what texts I had read recently.

How did you prepare?

I just did A level translations and prepared as I would for my A level Latin (vocabulary, grammar)

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I picked four or five small topics to read up about (e.g. short texts or historical figures). I didn’t have a lot of resources available, so most of my research was done on the internet. I also made sure I had a (vague!) idea of the chronology of the ancient world, and the dates of things I had read up upon. I also spoke to my teachers (this did not help me!).

In the interview process I realised that the interviewers fully understand that you may not have very much knowledge about the subject yet. But it is important to show what you are interested in and that you have done a bit of reading external from your studies which excites you. And don’t be afraid to let them know this- if the interview is getting onto ground which you haven’t covered or you feel won’t fully reflect the preparation you have done, don’t be afraid to suggest that you don’t know much about this and would rather discuss something else.