Computer Science @ Queens', Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

CSAT test; 2x interviews

Interview content

First interview: personal statement in first half, new concept and logic in second half; Second interview: maths questions

Best preparation

CSAT past papers; maths preparation

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Relax!; socialise with other applicants

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:CSAT

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between interviews: 30 minutes

Length of first interview: 30 minutes; Length of second interview: 30 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the first half of my first interview (Computer Science) they asked me questions about my personal statement and the second half involved introducing me to a concept from Computer Science, followed up with a series of logic questions building on top of each other about it.

My second interview (Maths) just involved several maths questions I had to solve.

Before my interviews I felt incredibly anxious and stressed but as soon as they started I calmed down since they seemed to be going well and I had a lot of fun. The interviewers were really friendly and explained the questions well. Generally I had the feeling that they were easier than expected, even though I did make a couple of silly mistakes. But every time I didn't know how to continue I just explained my reasoning and usually knew what to do after a prompt, which I think is the important part, just keep going and explain your reasoning.

How did you prepare?

Past CSAT papers, some maths completion questions, STEP questions for general maths skills

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I didn't really have any help from my school or family as I was applying abroad from a school that doesn't really have people applying to the UK, so I found it very helpful to talk to other people online (for example, The Student Room). In terms of preparation, the hardest part was catching up to the UK maths curriculum and getting used to creative problem solving, so it's good to do as much as possible of that.

My advice for the interview would be to talk and relax with the other applicants while waiting for your interview. Last minute cramming will not help, and in my opinion it helped immensely with confidence in my interview that I felt like I really belonged at Cambridge because I had so much fun talking and walking around college with some other applicants.