Classics (3 Years) @ Jesus, Cambridge in 2016

Interview format

At-interview translation test; 3x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: Text-based discussion; Interview 2: Subject-related discussion; Interview 3: Subject-related discussion

Best preparation

Know your vocab, your grammar, and your personal statement!

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Try to stay relaxed

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: At-interview translation test

Number of interviews: 3

Skype interview: no

Time between interviews 1 and 2: unsure; Time between interviews 2 and 3: a few hours

Length of first interview: around 45 minutes; Length of second interview: around 45 minutes; Length of third interview: around 45 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my first interview, which was a language interview, I was given a passage of Latin text to look over and then discuss with the interviewer. This was a relaxed interview, staged very much like a class, where I learned as much as I showed about my knowledge.

The second interview was the main interview at Jesus College. This one was more intense as it was a longer discussion, very much like a supervision, and it took me a while to settle into it. Once I'd decided just to give it my all and stop overthinking about what the interviewers were doing, I found it much easier to relax.

Finally my third interview was a few hours later at Murray Edwards (it's standard for potential Classics students to be interviewed at two colleges) and this one was very relaxed as it was at the end of the day. The two interviewers were really friendly. We looked at some art on sarcophagi, which I didn't know anything about, so there was little pressure on me to do anything but show I could learn.

How did you prepare?

In order to prepare I made sure I could talk about everything on my personal statement - although I was never asked about any of it - and I revised grammar and language points for the exam and language interview. I revised vocabulary and grammar points the night before, and the morning of, the translation exam.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I think the most important thing I learned from my interviews is that they were easier than expected and I felt like I was better the more relaxed I was. Of course I was still incredibly nervous, but if I told myself I was going to be okay I felt much better.