2 x interviews; written assessment
French; read and analysed French texts, answered comprehension questions, discussed grammar points. Education; discussed own education and the current education system.
Education; introductory texts, news articles. French; L’Étranger by Albert Camus.
Outreach sections on college websites; UCAS website; don't use private companies.
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.
I had two interviews in mid-December. A student greeted me at the
I was then taken by a student to my
In the French test, I had to read a text in French and answer some comprehension questions on it in English. I definitely didn't understand all the details of the text, but got the overall gist of it and felt that I was able to answer the questions relatively well. It helped that I had to write in English and not in French!
For my French interview, I read a passage from literature before I went in and made some notes on anything interesting I noticed in it.
Throughout the interview my interviewer always made an effort to make me feel at ease, and prompted me when I got stuck with an answer, for example when I forgot all the forms of negation. When discussing the passage he seemed genuinely interested in my opinions and this gave me a great insight into what supervisions at Cambridge are like.
My Education interview was fairly informal. There was no text or anything to prepare, I simply met the interviewer in a room in college and he started out by asking me about my own Education and to critically reflect on it. This was a nice way to start the conversation as I was talking about my own experiences. He also asked me about why I was interested in the course, as it is fairly unusual. I think the most difficult question I was asked was about my opinions of the current education system, which threw me a bit. I don't think I gave a particularly insightful answer, but the rest of the interview felt like a positive experience. As it was not based on prior knowledge, this interview really just aimed to see how I think and why I was interested in the course, which you can't really get wrong.
For Education, I read Oxford University Press' Education: A Very Short Introduction, which gave me a good insight into a topic I knew nothing about. I also read the Education section on news websites such as BBC News and The Guardian, so I knew a little bit about current trends. Although these things didn't come up directly in my interview, it helped to familiarise me with the themes and language used in Education.
For French I read L'Etranger by Camus, and discussed the book with my French teacher at school. This was very helpful as I was then able to talk about existentialism and the philosophical background in my interview, which luckily related to the passage I was given to read.
If you feel you need more preparation for your interview and your
Use the UCAS guide and the University website for more information on interviews. Don't use private companies claiming to tutor for interviews - none of them are endorsed by the University, and you are better off contacting a college and hearing from people with genuine experience of the interview process.