Physics @ Pembroke, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

3x 30-40 min interviews, 1 day apart

Interview content

Maths, physics

Best preparation

Understand why things happen in physics

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Try to demonstrate that you understand physics

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: PAT

Number of interviews: 3

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: 30-40 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

We had a maths and a physics interview at Pembroke (although both interviews contained elements of both) which were 1 student with 2 tutors. They asked some questions, starting off quite easy and getting more difficult as time went on. If I was struggling with anything, they would provide a hint or a nudge in the right direction, which it was good to be receptive to as they were helping in making the problems easier to solve. I also found it was good to attack the physics problems from a principle view instead of just diving into the equations.

How did you prepare?

Do the past papers and see if you can get your teachers to go over untaught topics after school.

Learn the reasons why things happen, as well as the formulae behind them! It's all well and good being able to apply every single formula given to you, but that's not how uni physics works, you need to be able to actually understand what's going on.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

If you can somehow demonstrate that you have an *understanding* of physics, the interviewers become a lot more accommodating.