Chemical Engineering @ Jesus, Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA); 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: subject-related problems; Interview 2: personal statement, generic subject discussion

Best preparation

Used a range of practice papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Trust yourself!

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: Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA)

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: no

Time between interviews: 1 hour

Length of first interview: 25-35 minutes; Length of second interview: 25-35 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

First interview was all about working through the problems given and my thought process through them.

Second interview was loosely based on one line in my personal statement, that was then expanded on to become a 15-minute question-and-answer discussion, that in hindsight had little to no relevance to what I had written. There was some generic science knowledge afterwards.

How did you prepare?

I did practice papers, maths challenge questions and the Cambridge Lower Sixth Chemistry Challenge questions.

Choose one or two topics for further research, and focus most of your personal statement on certain things in those topics that you understand/enjoy the most and would want to discuss.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I had little to no help from school or people I knew and didn't really have any expectations for what would happen as a result, but I actually think that that was a benefitas I was able to chill out pre-interview whereas others were poring over folders of work and panicking.

Best advice is probably to trust yourself, as seeing everyone else working and being nervous made me feel like I was underprepared, however I can only assume that I wasn’t.