2x 30 min interviews, over 1 day
Interview 1: unseen poem, personal statement and written work; Interview 2: unseen prose, general discussion of literature, motivation
Analysed unseen poems from The Guardian
Be familiar with texts mentioned in personal statement and written work, and try to draw connections between them; have an opinion on everything; keep notes on everything you've read for the last year.
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: 2
Skype interview: No
Interview spread: 1 in morning, 1 in afternoon
Length of interviews: 30 minutes each
In my first interview we discussed a 'modern' unseen passage (a poem) for about ten minutes - we talked about single words and more generally about the tone of the piece. They didn't expect me to know anything about it! Then, for the rest of the interview, we discussed texts I had mentioned in my personal statement and written work submission and how they related to each other thematically.
In my second interview we discussed an earlier unseen passage (I think it was 16th century, but I had no idea at the time) which was from a play. We talked about what I thought unfamiliar words might mean, and how I had made those decisions, and what I thought the piece as a whole was about. After this I was asked some general questions about literature - things like how important the canon was and if I had read any texts I really didn't like - and the course and what I liked about it.
Both interviews were very, very relaxed and the
I didn't prepare too much for my interview - I didn't know anyone who had done an Oxbridge interview so I couldn't ask any questions! I read a little online, but most articles are super overdramatised and inaccurate.
The most important thing is to be really familiar with anything you have mentioned in your personal statement or written work, and to think about the similarities and differences, the connections between the texts, even if they seem really different!
If I did this all over again, I would keep a notebook with notes on everything I was reading throughout the year before I applied, because it can be hard to remember things.