Earth Sciences (Geology) @ Exeter, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

2x 20-30 min interviews, a day apart

Interview content

Interview 1: Fermi type problem and described an object Interview 2: Smaller discussions, maths unit conversions, personal statement chat and described a rock.

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

UNIQ; local interviews from Welsh government programme; relaxed and walked around Oxford; socialising with other candidates during interview period.

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

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: 20-30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my first interview (at Exeter), I was interviewed by two tutors. We discussed a 'Fermi type problem' (estimating at order of magnitude level) which was broadly on the theme of mountain building. I also was asked to describe an object from first principles and a photograph.

I had a serious health problem which I disclosed to college before interview, so one of the tutors asked if I was OK, which was reassuring. It was fairly relaxed (I had arrived the previous day and had done some doddling round the town) and I really enjoyed it, especially when we were using numbers!

The second interview was in the department with tutors from two other colleges (University & St Peter's). This had a few smaller discussions, some maths unit conversions, a chat about my personal statement and I had to describe a rock.

Earth Sciences now does College blind admissions, but I'd imagine the interview structure will be similar.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I went on UNIQ, which was really helpful, but it isn't in any way neccessary!I was familiar with Oxford and because Earth Sciences is a small subject I had met one of the tutors then.

There was a lot of chatting about interviews and personal statements with the other candidates, which helped put me in a good state of mind. The Seren Project (Welsh Govt. project) also provided some practice interviews in my area.I chatted to students who were keeping an eye on us at UNIQ about this. I was fairly clear about what to expect because of UNIQ, but teachers definitely tried to provide unhelpful advice sometimes (My head of 6th form - less than 5'8" - tried to lend me his suit - I'm 6' odd change!)

I relaxed, using the facilities around me to do that. I looked around Oxford and hung out with other applicants in the JCR (Junior common room), and I definitely would have done more of this. I re-read a few bits of books to settle myself.