2x 30 min interviews, 1 day apart
Interview 1 (German): extract given beforehand (with dictionary), short translation, personal statement, German conversation; Interview 2 (French): English book extract given beforehand, general discussion of literature, French conversation
Prepare hard for MLAT, using Pre U grammar papers
You're (probably) not going to be asked questions about bananas!
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
Time between each interview: 1 day
Length of interviews: 30 minutes each
I had a separate French interview and a German interview.
For German I was brought into a preparation room with a book extract on the table in German, and a dictionary to look up any words I didn’t know. I had about 15 minutes to prepare, so I made sure I had something to say about structure, language and content. I was then taken into the interview room, where there were 2 interviewers sat in arm chairs by a coffee table, and I sat on a sofa opposite them (it was a very relaxed atmosphere!). We started by talking about the extract, they asked me to translate a couple of lines and explain my thinking behind the translations, asked me to talk about a line I found particularly interesting, and then asked a couple more questions about the characterisation. I then got asked about my personal statement, specifically the German literature I’d read. They wanted to know what I thought the message of one of the books was, why I’d chosen to read it and what I thought of some of criticisms that had been made against it. Then to finish off it was a couple of minutes of chatting in German about my experiences in German speaking countries - nothing too analytical, just conversational and testing fluency.
For my French interview I was given an English book extract and only had about 5 minutes to read through it and prepare some ideas before being brought into the room. The set up there was a little more intimidating with the
Overall the interviews were definitely academically rigorous and every answer I gave was challenged until I could improve my justifications, but none of the questions were unpredictable or super out there and the tutors were for the most part encouraging and interested in what I had to say.
I prepared very rigorously for the
In terms of preparation for interview the best thing to do is just to talk to anyone and everyone about the books you're reading, the documentaries you’ve watched, or the foreign films you’ve enjoyed, as you just need to be able to talk confidently and passionately about your subject and show that you really do have an interest in exploring your subject in depth at this university.
I wish I’d known that the interviewers are not setting out to trick you and that they’re not going to ask absurd questions about bananas! Just knowing your stuff on the things you’ve mentioned in your personal statement and being confident in your ability to analyse literary texts is enough.