Computer Science And Philosophy @ St Anne's, Oxford in 2019

Interview format

MAT; 6x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: logic questions, personal statement; Interview 2: personal statement, mathematical problem sheets; Interview 3 and 4: pre-reading, extending a question that was asked.

Best preparation

Looking over schoolwork, Algorithmic Puzzles

Test preparation

Practice questions for MAT and STEP, Mr Barton Maths

Final thoughts

Relax and 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.

Interview Format

Test taken: Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT)
Number of interviews: 6
Time between interviews: From 30 minutes to 12 hours.
Length of interviews: 20 minutes
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

My first philosophy interview started with some logic questions that I was given previously, as well as some general discussion about why I wanted to study Philosophy alongside some unpacking of philosophical ideas that I had included in my personal statement. The atmosphere was really comforting, there were two interviewers and they would ask me various different questions. My next two computer science interviews followed very similar structures. We started with a general discussion about my personal statement, and then worked through some very mathematical problem sheets, a lot of which included ideas about mathematical induction. My next two interviews were slightly different. I sat a test, or more like pre-reading in exam conditions, earlier that day - so my interviews (both philosophy and computer science) were essentially based on me going over some of my ideas and thoughts when taking the test, sometimes extending a question that was asked. The computer science assessment was very much algorithmic and mathematical, while the philosophy assessment had a varied range of question - some ethical, some logical and some concerning things like free will.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I mainly focused on covering information from school, surprisingly I found doing homework/mock preparations really useful as I was waiting. For maths/computer science students I really recommend a book called Algorithmic Puzzles.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

Practice papers from that test, as well as STEP questions. Mr Barton Maths was good as well.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Relax! And be yourself. I was quite intimidated walking in - especially as I feel that I stood out in comparison to the other applicants. Also never be worried to say what you think, even if it is wrong, the tutors really enjoy looking at your thought process and like seeing you answer questions.