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

Interview format

Arts-Humanities Admissions Assessment (AHAA); 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: analysing graphs, interests within HSPS; Interview 2: discussing an article, personal statement

Best preparation

Listened to podcasts relating to interests

Test preparation

Kept up with current affairs

Final thoughts

Try to develop your analytical skills in preparation

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: 30-60 minutes
Length of interviews: 25 minutes
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my first interview, I was given some data to analyse like graphs and tables and I had to point out some trends and propose why they were happening. I was also asked questions about my interest in HSPS and in what other ways do I involve myself with the subject.

Then in the second interview, I was given a long article to read that I would discuss with the next interviewers. It was lengthy and complex but the important thing is giving it ago and thinking out loud. Annotate on the paper if you are allowed and then go through your thought processes, try to form an opinion, do you agree? Disagree? Neither? Or both? Finally I was asked about my personal statement, so as always try to be well versed in the things that you wrote about.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I prefer to watch videos and documentaries on YouTube about random topics that are relevant to my subject (HSPS) and I am really interested in. Then I would maybe read up a bit about them and write down some opinions in a notebook. I also broke down my personal statements into ideas they might ask me about and did some more googling on those topics.

The important thing is to look at things you genuinely enjoy because then the interview process will be about things you like talking about rather than trying to sound clever with stuff you don’t actually have an interest in. Lots of people listen to the 'Talking Politics' podcast for HSPS so maybe listen to a couple that spark your interest, just so you don’t feel completely left behind. Also I liked podcasts by Mehdi Hasan, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Jordan Peterson- it’s important to vary what you are listening to in my opinion. Even if you hate what someone is saying, it’s a good idea to listen and think about the validity of their argument and your argument against them.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

Used the practice questions online, read current affairs topics/ kept up with the news and tried to work out a pattern with some multiple choice questions.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Enjoy the process. Hopefully you should enjoy writing about your academic passions in your statement, you should enjoy speaking to academics on topics related to your subject. Don’t feel too pressured to do tonnes of work, go at your own pace but try to expand your analytical skills whilst expanding your knowledge - particularly by forming opinions on things, even if your opinion is neutral. The academics who interviewed me were all lovely and they want you to do well so try not to psyche yourself out too much with the whole nerves and pressure involved with the process.