Education @ Homerton, Cambridge in 2014

Interview format

2x interviews (1 hour)

Interview content

Discussed submitted essay; discussion of extract provided; talked about current affairs in Education

Best preparation

Read online advice; use University resources; be aware of current affairs

Final thoughts

Listen carefully and build on the interviewer's help

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

I had two interviews. I was interviewing for Education with English, so the first focused on English and the second on Education. Each was with two interviewers.

Before each interview, I had to read an article/extract in the college library for half an hour. Rather than being quizzed on these, they were used as conversation aids. Each interview lasted about an hour as far as I can remember.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my English interview, we discussed a poetry essay (from school) that I had submitted beforehand. We also talked about the extract that they had provided. They asked what I thought and why, before challenging some points that I had made and asking me to explore them further. For example, when talking about poetry, I was asked why I thought it was important to know about the poet's life.

The education interview was more like a conversation. They asked about my experiences in school, which led to a discussion about the place of religion in schools. I also had to discuss an article to do with something that was topical in the education world at the time.

How did you prepare?

I didn't really know how to prepare, but found it really helpful to read advice from other students online and to explore the resources available from the university website. It was also helpful to be aware of relevant issues that were in the news at the time.

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

All of my interviewers were very fair and helpful. For example, when I forgot the term for a basic literary idea they helped me out without making me feel stupid.

Also, the interviews are meant to be challenging, so leaving and feeling like you had no idea what was happening might not mean that you did badly. I found that it was all about listening carefully to the information/help you were being given in the moment and using that to inform your answers.