Computer Science @ Queens', Cambridge in 2014

Interview format

2x interviews; 1x test (TSA)

Interview content

First interview: maths-based; Second interview: personal statement, EPQ, coding activity

Best preparation

Read books you say you've read

Final thoughts

You don't need coaching to get in; don't stress about specific topics you might be asked

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

There was a test (the TSA) followed by 2 interviews. One interview was Computer Science based and the other was for Maths (as I initially selected that over Physics as my option). The TSA didn't seem to matter much at all, as lots of the computers were malfunctioning/freezing up at the time! Other people had to leave early to as their interviews were earlier, so they got less time than everyone else, too.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The Maths interview was literally only answering maths questions in front of 2 interviewers, and they didn't interact with me much other than asking me questions & occasionally prompting to say some more stuff about my answers. Questions were all quite nice, nothing overly complicated but if panicked could be tricky, but if you got stuck they'd help nudge you in the right direction.

Computer Science interview again had 2 interviewers. Asked a bit about some stuff on my personal statement about a taster course I'd been on etc. and also about my extended project. The rest of the interview was an extended coding task - you didn't need to have coded much before, since they let me write it in pseudocode since I didn't have much experience.

How did you prepare?

Nothing specific, but making sure I'd read any books I said I'd read! My school didn't organise anything to help, so I was going in pretty much blind.

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

You can get in fine without being specifically coached for it! Plus don't focus too much on what specific topics people were asked about previously since as I said my DoS makes sure to change the questions completely.