Psychology, Philosophy And Linguistics @ St Hugh's, Oxford in 2018

Interview format

3x 30 min interviews, over 2 days

Interview content

Interview 1: question on hypothetical language, personal drive and interests, experience of being bilingual; Interview 2: philosophy discussion; Interview 3: linguistics worksheet, general discussion

Best preparation

Repeated practice papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

If you're interested in your subject, don't worry about doing lots of interview-specific prep.

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

Tests taken: MLAT, TSA

Number of interviews: 3

Skype interview: No

Interview spread: 2 in one day, 1 the last day

Length of interviews: 30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

All three of my interviews were very different. During my first interview for linguistics, I was tested on my intuition when it came to the topic, as most people don't have much practical knowledge when starting the subject, by being shown examples from a hypothetical language. They also asked a bit about my personal drive and interest in the subject. I'm bilingual, so they asked if I had any critial observations from my own life. This one was a lot of fun. The tutors were very professional of course, but they weren't there to sabotage me. I just behaved as my normal self, and we fell into natural conversation.

The second interview, for Philosophy, started as a discussion of my background in the subject, but in giving personal examples, I happened upon a very contentious question in modern philosophy, and the rest of the interview turned into a thought experiment testing my theories. I was quite stressed all throughout this interview because the tutors were more reserved than I was expecting, and I wasn't too confident in the answers I was giving. I kept contradicting myself, which the tutors of course pointed out. They were nice, but I left this one shaken.

For my third and final interview, I was given a worksheet for linguistics to examine and then present my answers, as well as what information I thought was missing that would help me refine my answers. After that, it turned into a general discussion about the subjects and my history.

How did you prepare?

I did the practice papers, just over and over and over again.

For the interviews, I did do quite a bit of preparation, reading academic articles for my subjects, listening to podcasts, analyzing my personal statement and anticipating questions. I only was called for interviews a week in advance, so I wasn't able to prepare too much.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I think that if you're interested in your subject, your day to day activities indulging in these subjects should be enough preparation.