Human, Social And Political Science @ Homerton, Cambridge in 2019

Interview format

Arts-Humanities Admissions Assessment; 2x interviews.

Interview content

Interview 1: discussion of sources; Interview 2: questions about the interviewee's submitted essays and previously-read books.

Best preparation

School-organised discussions, reading subject-relevant books.

Final thoughts

Get comfortable with writing/verbalising your ideas; mentally prepare for weird questions; feel free to ask for clarification.

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: Arts-Humanities Admissions Assessment (AHAA)
Number of interviews: 2
Time between interviews: Around an hour
Length of interviews: 15-25 minutes
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

For one interview, the discussion was based on a set of sources they provided about social mobility. The interview was really about how much I had understood the sources, if I'd come across the ideas they dealt with before, and follow up questions challenging me to think about the sources in other ways.

The other interview used mainly the example essays I had provided and books I said I had read recently, with my interviewers asking me questions about specific points I had made or ideas from books I was relatively confident talking about. Honestly, my interview was very well conducted and they didn't ask me random questions out of the blue to catch me out!

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I was given help by my school - which was very lucky - which was mainly discussing ideas and working out how to structure a line of reasoning with a couple of teachers and fellow students. You could do this with just one teacher you find interesting or friends you discuss your subject with if your school doesn't organise anything formally.

I also made sure I had read some subject-relevant books recently, in preparation for the "what have you read recently" question!

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

I looked through past papers and found common ground between questions they asked and essays I was writing in politics - my most relevant A level subject for the test. I worked out how the exam would be structured and then did as much as I could with my A level content and some wider reading to be ready for a wide range of possible essays.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Get as comfortable as possible with both writing and talking through ideas. It sounds really simple but interviews aren't looking for right answers like exams are. They want to see how you think and if you can take an idea and run with it. Planned lines or reasoning or full essay plans might come in handy depending on how you think and process information, but they wouldn't have helped me.

Also, don't take anything for granted or expect that interviewers will definitely do/not do something. Get yourself into the best mental space that you can, so that whatever weirdness they throw at you isn't going to make you panic.

Always feel able to ask if a concept can be explained again, and if interviewers ask you "did anything in the passage raise any questions for you", find something to talk about - they don't expect you to understand everything.