English Language And Literature @ Exeter, Oxford in 2020

Interview format

3 x 30-40 min interviews, 1 week apart

Interview content

Interview 1: discussed an unseen contemporary poem together with coursework texts and texts mentioned in the sample essay; Interview 2: discussed the books mentioned in personal statement; Interview 3: discussed a medieval poem and the texts referred to in personal statement

Best preparation

Reread books; read articles about the books mentioned in my personal statement that I hadn't studied at A level; reread my sample essay

Test preparation

Practice papers

Final thoughts

Revise coursework texts; try to relax as much as possible in the interviews

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: English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)
Number of interviews: 3
Time between interviews: A week or so
Length of interviews: 30 - 40 minutes
Online interview: Yes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

I had a contemporary poem to blindly analyse, and then discussed my coursework texts and the texts I wrote my sample essay on. In following interviews, I just discussed the books I wrote about in my personal statement. Then, for my interview at the college I was pooled to, I had to analyse a medieval poem and then discussed the texts I wrote about in my personal statement in a more casual way than in the first interview.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I just reread my books prior to the interviews. I also read some JSTOR essays on the off spec books I spoke about in my personal statement that I hadn't studied for A level. I also reread and considered the sample essay I sent in.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

I just did practice papers - lots. Warning, it's difficult because of copyright issues with the online copies of former ELAT papers but I managed doing the extracts that were provided.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Don't worry - the interviewers can be dismissive, and even, to me, they felt a bit mean. Other interviewers were lovely! It's nothing personal and says nothing about how your interview is going/your intellect. Some tutors are a bit bristly. I would say I wish I had gone over my coursework texts more in hindsight, but then 'revise more' is very vague and an easy thing to wish you had done. Do not kill yourself over the interview: the more stressed you are the more difficult it will be.