English @ Corpus Christi, Cambridge in 2017

Interview format

Consider coming the day before

Interview content

My interview was largely based on the authors I had mentioned in my personal statement

Best preparation

Independent websites and free Oxbridge help

Final thoughts

All interview experiences are different

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 arrived at the college the day before as I was staying overnight due to living far away. I got my key from the Porters' Lodge, got my timetable from college representatives and was directed to my room. I settled in, then headed down for dinner and met other applicants in the dining hall. I think there was a film put on in the evening in the JCR but I just wanted to prepare by myself in my room. The next day, I had breakfast and then headed off to do my pre reading. After about 10 minutes of pre reading I was shown to my first interview room. I had my first interview which was focused on the pre reading, and the second half (and my later second interview) centered around my general application.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the first interview I found some of the questions asked about the pre-reading a bit hard, sometimes I had no clue and just had to guess! However, they did help you along and weren't judgemental or condescending if you weren't sure.

The rest of the interview focused on my subject choices, as well as asking me to compare two authors I'd mentioned in my personal statement. The second interview was quite similar, except focused on submitted essays and the interviewers seemed a lot more enthusiastic and were happy to hear my thoughts. I enjoyed both interviews because I knew to expect the unexpected, and was aware they were not always looking for the 'right' answer.

How did you prepare?

Googled everything I could about interviews and what to expect. The Student Room and some articles by the Guardian in particular stood out, as well as some independent websites that offer free (!) Oxbridge help.

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

Everybody's interview experience is different, so just because someone you know got grilled on their personal statement doesn't mean you will! My personal statement was barely talked about however, one interview was focused entirely on essays I'd submitted, which I was very happy I'd re-read the night before! Any documents you sent in, be prepare to talk about