Chemical Engineering @ Selwyn, Cambridge in 2014

Interview format

Thinking Skills Assessment, 3x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: subject questions; Interview 2: subject questions; Interview 3: personal statement

Best preparation

Looking over practice tests

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Try to talk through your thought process

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: 3

Skype interview: no

Time between interviews: 30 minutes then 6 hours

Length of each interview: about 30 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the interviews I had basic engineering and maths problem solving questions to complete in front of and with the help of interviewers - e.g. differential equations, graph sketching, explaining physics/tech questions, solving circuit problems etc. And then one interview involving technical questions based on my personal statement - explaining aspects of pipe flow, chemical reactions etc.

I didn’t do any preparation so was nervous to begin with. I came out of the interviews thinking I’d definitely not get an offer - as most people do - and nearly left before finishing all the interviews as I thought I didn’t have a chance. But I got an offer for my chosen subject and college and survived a degree so don’t give up!

How did you prepare?

To prepare for the test I read a couple of questions on the supplied practice test. I didn’t prepare for the interview but would recommend doing a little so you are less caught unawares.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I would try not to take it too seriously - Cambridge isn’t the be all and end all and you’ll be more relaxed if you aren’t pinning all hopes and dreams on it. It's a good idea to talk all the time during the interview - I literally talked through everything I was thinking - even the stupid stuff and I think that really helped me as they knew how to help me if needed and how to credit the stuff I was doing well - at the end of the day they don’t care about your end answer - just about how you think and if you can be taught by the Cambridge way of teaching.