Earth Sciences (Geology) @ University, Oxford in 2019

Interview format

2x 1/2 hr interviews, 1 day apart

Interview content

Interview 1: rock types; Interview 2: graphs, applied rock questions

Best preparation


Final thoughts

Go over personal statement; try to get mock interviews; don't doubt 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

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 both interviews the first thing they asked about was my EPQ subject. There were two people interviewing both times, and they took turns in asking questions - in the first interview these were both based off a rock sample (I knew about one but doubted myself so didn’t say so - :/ learning point is that if you think you know something say it!) There were some chemical equations and graphs to draw related to the rocks.

In the second interview I was given a map about rainwater and asked to draw some graphs based off the same topic, and then there was something about rocks - although these sound all scary things, especially as my brain was befuddled with nervous brain fog (there was a couple of times where I had to say that I just couldn’t think of an answer) if you can take a deep breath and stammer your way through whatever you’re thinking (whether right or wrong) it’s okay. I honestly got back to my room and burst out crying because I thought I messed it up so badly, but still got offered a place, so even if your nerves get the better of you, it’s not the end! I think the atmosphere depends on the person - I was really anxious so it was really stressful for me before and during the interviews. Also talking to others in the JCR and during meals helped relieve some of the tension, so don’t just stay in your room all the time!

How did you prepare?


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

I went over my personal statement and read through anything that I’d mentioned (some essays and chapters of specific books) and then had a mock interview with a teacher, which helped because answering someone out loud is definitely different to answering a question in your head. I think the biggest help was that I had some experience in an interview-style setting at a summer school at Pembroke College, which gave some idea of what it may be like.

My biggest regret was holding back on some thoughts - one of the rocks I was shown I recognised, but doubted myself, so didn’t say what I thought it was. In hindsight I would have just gone for it, because even though I could be wrong, it shows that you do have some knowledge there, which reflects what you’ve read about, and that you’ve got a genuine interest!