Psychology (Experimental) @ Corpus Christi, Oxford in 2016

Interview format

2x 20 min interviews, 1 day apart

Interview content

Corpus: general discussion, statistics questions, bar chart; Catz: general discussion, question involving graph

Best preparation

Practice questions / papers, practice interviews

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Try not to get nervous; don't worry if interviewers don't seem encouraging.

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: TSA

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: about 20 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the first interview (at Corpus) there was a general question about what I enjoyed about psychology, then a lot of statistics / probability questions, and then a few questions about a bar chart. There were three interviewers, who were sat in a formal way around a table, and I felt incredibly nervous throughout. They didn't respond positively to anything I said and seemed very cold.

In the second interview (at Catz), there was a general question about my favourite experiment, and then a question about Alzheimer's that involved looking at a graph. The layout was a lot more casual: we sat in chairs around a coffee table, and the two interviewers were both very friendly and welcoming.

How did you prepare?

To prepare for the test, I read a book about technique, and filled out a book of practice questions and tests.

My school arranged a practice interview for me, which was really helpful- I would definitely recommend trying to find one. I also got my parents/friends to give me practice interviews. I read through recent science articles and looked at online courses in basic psychology, although this did not actually help much. I re-read and thought about all the books I mentioned on my personal statement, although this did not actually help very much either.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I would try and be less nervous (easier said than done) if I was re-doing the interviews. Perhaps try and understand that they are not trying to scare you, and want you to do well, and that what they are trying to ascertain is whether or not they'd enjoy teaching you- maybe think of it as a practice tutorial?

Appearing at ease, thoughtful and interested is more important than how many papers you have read, etc.

However, I would still recommend being prepared for being met with very cold faces that give nothing away, and not expecting any encouraging comments, etc.