Human, Social And Political Science @ Jesus, Cambridge in 2012

Interview format

2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: discussion of submitted work; Interview 2: personal statement

Best preparation

Thought about some potential questions based on personal statement

Final thoughts

Enthusiasm and other qualities that are desirable in students are about as important as knowledge or intelligence

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: None
Number of interviews: 2
Time between interviews: 30 minutes
Length of interviews: 30 minutes
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

I had two interviews. The first asked me about an essay I'd been asked to submit beforehand. The essay was not marked or anything like that, it was just the basis for the conversation. It was an essay about US politics that I had written for the politics A Level I was taking at that time.

The second was a more wide-ranging discussion about points I had mentioned in my personal statement and broader questions of political philosophy. For example, I remember being asked to give examples of valid exceptions to the principle of freedom of speech.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I was given a mock interview by a teacher at school and someone who had previously been on the course I was applying for. I also made sure to read around the subjects I had written about in my personal statement to prepare for potential questions around those topics. It's particularly important to have examples in mind (that's true for every interview!) so that you can keep your answers concrete and make sure you don't go off on too much of a tangent.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

My advice would be to (1) Read particularly well around the points you mentioned in your personal statement (2) Try to come up with versatile examples you can use in response to different questions (3) Use examples when asked questions (4) Above all, remember that the interviewers are looking for people they would like to teach for three years, so enthusiasm and other qualities that are desirable in students are about as important as knowledge or intelligence