Computer Science @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

Computer Sciences Admissions Test (CSAT); 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: logic-based maths problems; Interview 2: further maths questions

Best preparation

Practice admissions test papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Revise A Level content

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: Computer Sciences Admission Test (CSAT)

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: no

Time between interviews: 5 minutes

Length of first interviews: 25 minutes; Length of second interview: 25 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my first interview, we jumped straight into logic-based maths questions. There was no questions about my personal statement at all, it was pure maths. Whenever I got stuck, the interviewers would try to push me in the right direction. I was pretty nervous but as soon as I started thinking about the problems, I was fine.

My second interview seemed much more intense. It was all pure maths questions, asking mostly about A-Level Maths and Further Maths content but expanding on the syllabus. Once again, there was no personal statement discussion. These interviewers provided a lot more pressure and I was nervous throughout the whole interview, but the one thing I learned is that it's impossible to judge how well your interview is going.

How did you prepare?

I did all of the Computer Science Admissions Test (CSAT) papers, as well as relevant questions from the MAT. Remember not to use all of the CSAT papers at once! There's not many, and you'll be glad you've got some left to do under timed conditions just before your actual test. To prepare for my interview, I just read through my personal statement a few times.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

Looking back, I would revise my Computer Science, Maths and Further Maths A Level content, so that I would be more familiar with the subject matter I was being questioned on. I also didn't attempt to look up sample interview questions, which in some ways I think helped me go into the interview with an open mindset that let me tackle the problems as best I could.