5x 30-40 min (sometimes with 20 min prep time), over 2 days
All interviews: personal statement; Interview 1: passage in English; Interview 2: philosophy passage; Interview 3: image and two passages in English; Interview 4: poem in Latin; Interview 5: passage in English
Practice papers, translations, language revision
Read things you love; know your personal statement well; be yourself!
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.
Number of interviews: 5
Skype interview: No
Interview spread: 2 on first day, 3 hours apart; 3 next day, about half an hour apart
Length of interviews: 30-40 minutes each
My first interview (general):
Before the interview I was given a passage from the Odyssey in English and had half an hour to look through it. In the interview, we discussed the passage. They asked what I thought of it, then asked me a few questions about it and how it could be related to other things I had read. We then discussed my personal statement and I was asked for more detailed reasons as to why I liked the things I did, basically it was just a nice conversation about things I enjoyed in classics. It was very relaxed and informal and they made a few jokes and put me at ease.
My second interview (philosophy):
I was given a passage about morals. I had half an hour to look through it and try to understand it. In the interview, I was asked questions about it. I knew nothing about philosophy, but they just held my hand and walked me through every question until we eventually got to a conclusion. In the second half of the interview, the ancient history
My third interview (another college):
I was given pictures of some Roman coins, two passages (both in English) and time to prepare. The
My fourth interview (different college):
I was given a Latin poem in Latin (despite the fact I had never done Latin before). This was my hardest interview. I had told them I had never done Latin, but I was told to do what I could. We discussed this passage, then discussed something I had studied at school. I had also discussed this topic in my first interview. The
My fifth Interview (another college):
I was given a passage from the Iliad in English to discuss. Again this interview was fairly relaxed, they simply asked my opinion on the passage and then discussed my personal statement, with a stronger focus on ancient history than the earlier interviews. The
I used practice papers mostly, along with lots and lots of translations and just language revision.
The most important thing I did was just to read things I loved. The
I made sure I knew my personal statement back to front as I really was asked a lot of questions about it and you don’t want to be caught out not knowing something you’ve written about.
The interviews are really just a conversation. They work in a similar format to Oxford
I thought I would go in and be grilled on my skills or breadth of knowledge, but it was a nice experience, simply discussing what I had done.
I’m glad I read as much as I did prior to interview, but I would really emphasise that you should read things you love and are interested in, because the passion will show through.