Modern Languages @ The Queen's, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

4x 30 min interviews, over 2 days

Interview content

Poem given beforehand, personal statement / general discussion, conversation in target language

Best preparation

Practice papers, grammar tests / sections from different A-level exam boards

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

If you're not sure of something, you can say so.

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: MLAT

Number of interviews: 4

Skype interview: No

Interview spread: 3 one day, 1 the following day

Length of interviews: about 30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

Each of my interviews (four in total - one for each language at two different colleges) followed a similar structure. I had a poem to read before the interview (30 minutes before), which was then discussed during the first part of the interview. For the second part we usually discussed my personal statement, but often this was just a springboard for the discussion (ie it went beyond what I’d written). The final part of each interview was conducted in the target language (not as stressful as it sounds I promise!)

How did you prepare?

To prepare for the test, I used practice papers, as well as grammar tests/sections from my own A level exam board and other exam boards.

I spoke to teachers for advice and was able to get in contact with former students for my subjects, who gave me advice. I also looked at the University website for what to expect in an interview. At school we had the opportunity to do practice interviews with teachers.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

The real interviews were not as “scary” as I imagined - the tutors genuinely want you to do well and want to see the best of you. They aren’t trying to catch you out.

Don’t be afraid of pausing when asked a question - it’s OK to have a think about it rather than rush in. They are not expecting you to know all the answers but they are looking for you to think - someone they can teach. If you aren’t sure about something you can say so.