English Language And Literature @ St Peter's, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

2x 20 min interviews, over 1 day

Interview content

Unseen poems, written work, personal statement, reading for fun

Best preparation

Timed past papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Read and thought about personal statement and essays; tried to stay calm.

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: ELAT

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Both interviews on same day

Length of interviews: 20 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

For both interviews I was asked to arrive 20 minutes early to analyse an unseen poem. Each interviewer spent about half of the interview discussing the poem with me. The other half was spent talking about the work I sent in - one discussed an essay I submitted, and in the other we talked about my personal statement. One interviewer asked me the last thing I read for fun, and how I'd teach it to a year 9 class, which was interesting! Before we started discussing my analysis of the poems, they both asked if there was any language/vocab I didn't understand, or any questions i had about the texts. I was made to feel really comfortable and had an opportunity to ask questions in both.

How did you prepare?

I took past papers, practised under timed conditions.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I read through my personal statement and essays, and made sure I'd read the things I'd discussed in my personal statement; I thought about the arguments I wanted to make about all the claims I'd stated in my personal statement.

Mostly though I just tried to stay pretty calm, thought about what I was wearing, and made sure I knew where I was going and had a pencil case!