History @ Emmanuel, Cambridge in 2017

Interview format

HAA; 2 x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: source based; Interview 2: personal statement

Best preparation

Mock interview.

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Read beyond the curriculum

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: History Admissions Assessment (HAA)

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: no

Time between interviews: within 2 hours of each other

Length of interview 1: 30 minutes roughly; Length of interview 2: 30 minutes roughly

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The first interview was source based. The source had been sent to us in advance and I had prepared some thoughts about the text and jotted them down. They asked me to evaluate the historian’s position and anything I thought was unconvincing. I had the opportunity to ask my own question at the end.

The second interview was on my personal statement. I was very nervous and did not ease into it until 3/4 of the way through. It felt much more like a test because the other interview had been a more even playing field - I wasn’t expected to use anything but intuition.

How did you prepare?

We had informal examination preparation in a group. I was very lucky because my sixth form gave me a mock interview and personal statement reviews, as well as advice for the exam.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I would recommend doing your own reading, because this really helped me find my own passion within history. But you could just work off a subject you’re learning about in history class anyway, and just read a bit more widely, or find a niche within the period to focus on.