History And Economics @ Balliol, Oxford in 2013

Interview format

2x 45 min interviews, 1 day apart; short economics test

Interview content

History: written work; Economics: problem-based

Best preparation

Recapped history and economics A-level knowledge

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts


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

Tests taken: HAT, short Economics 'aptitude test' while in Oxford

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: about 45 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my history interview, the discussion was centred on the essay I had sent in as an example of my written work. They had told me to expect this, and they also ended up asking me to link some of the themes we discussed to other periods of history I was studying/had studied.

For my economics interview it was problem-based, so I was not expected to have any prior knowledge, was presented with the beginnings of a problem, and was supported to reach some answers and talk about my thinking throughout. I felt like both interviews were fair.

How did you prepare?

I looked at past papers for the HAT. I followed some instructions I had been given about preparation, and I did some general Googling. I also recapped my history and economics A Level knowledge, just so that I would feel confident discussing everything I had studied recently, and I made notes on any books that I had mentioned in my personal statement in case they were brought up.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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