English @ Robinson, Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

2 interviews, between 20 and 25 minutes.

Interview content

Interview 1: given a poem to read and discuss. Interview 2: discussed poem given before the interview.

Best preparation

Read up on literary theory and ethics.

Final thoughts

Be honest, ask questions if you have any.

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

Two interviews lasting 20/25 minutes with two different interviewers (one on one) and a half hour interval to read in between.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the first interview I was given a poem to read and then asked about it. We also talked about some literary theory/ethics (e.g. canons)

Second interview I was questioned on a poem which I had been given half an hour to read and analyse, and then asked about a book which I had studied at school. I wasn’t asked very specific questions and was allowed to digress quite a lot so it felt more like an opportunity to demonstrate my interests.

How did you prepare?

Tom Paulin- ‘The Secret Life of Poems’ is definitely worth a read - try analysing a poem yourself and then compare.

Also worthwhile reading up on a bit of literary ethics- I found that the few T.S.Eliot essays I’d read were very useful.

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

Just be honest and listen to what they’re saying because they want people they can teach. If there’s something you’re curious about or can’t quite make sense of, don’t be embarrassed to ask!