Psychology (Experimental) @ Wadham, Oxford in 2020

Interview format

TSA; 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: maths, neuropsychology; Interview 2: personal statement, social psychology

Best preparation

Mock interview, went over personal statement

Test preparation

Practice papers

Final thoughts

Don’t try and guess what the interviewers want from you. Be yourself, act interested and you will be fine.

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: Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
Number of interviews: 2
Time between interviews: I had a day between my interviews.
Length of interviews: 30-45 mins
Online interview: Yes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

My first interview was much more ‘sciency’ than my second. It was split into two parts, there were two interviewers which each ran a half. I found the first half the most challenging as it was based around maths and was something I’d never done before and I couldn’t particularly use any knowledge I’d already learnt. However, the interviewer was very nice and made me feel calm and helped me out when I got stuck. The second half of my interview was my favourite bit out of all my interviews. It was based heavily on neuropsychology. For this part my knowledge of psychology was very useful and I felt like I really knew what I was talking about. My second interview was very different to my first. It started with the interviewers asking questions about things from my personal statement. We then moved on to discussing social psychology. I found this interview less challenging, but an important tip I would say is to try and challenge yourself during the interview so you’re not just doing the bare minimum and are showing an interest in what is being discussed. You can even ask questions to show that you want to explore this further. I think it is important to ask they both interviews were not at all what I was expecting. Surprisingly, the interviewers are actual people who are nice and understand that you are nervous. At the start of each interview I was made to feel as comfortable as possible.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

My first preparation was done at my college with my biology teacher, he would ask open-ended questions about different aspects of psychology and would encourage me to talk about it for as long as possible to stretch my brain. After a few weeks of this (and when I found out I had been offered an interview), I completed a mock interview with someone from my college. I also completed some interview practice with Oxford which I was offered due to taking part in Uniq (a summer school at Oxford). As well as practising interview technique, I also read through my personal statement to ensure that I could expand on and explain anything I’d written.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

I completed as many practice papers as I could, I started off not doing it in the time limit, and once is got the hang of it I introduced the time limit.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

My most important advice would be that it is not a scary experience and I came out of my interviews having actually enjoyed myself. It is important to remember that the interviews are very much like the tutorial system in Oxford; it is more of a discussion than an interview. My second bit of advice would be to try and not over prepare. Interview practice is important, and it would be good to just sit and talk about your subject as much as you can. But relentlessly reading textbooks to take in as much information as possible is likely to just make you stressed and won’t actually be that valuable. Finally, don’t try and guess what the interviewers want from you. Be yourself, act interested and you will be fine. After all, they are looking for people they know would thrive at Oxford