Human, Social And Political Science @ Downing, Cambridge in 2017

Interview format

2x interviews (around 25 mins each)

Interview content

Personal statement; topic discussions

Best preparation

Read the books on your personal statement! Watch Youtube videos on interviews.

Final thoughts

Relax, show enthusiasm and enjoy it.

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

I had two interviews (with 2 interviewers each) first thing in the morning on the 30th November, I spent the time between in a waiting room . Both interviews were academic and completely focused on the content of my personal statement, they lasted about 20-25 minutes each.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

We discussed literally everything I wrote in my personal statement and I was questioned on why I wrote things and to elaborate. The questions then broadened from these topics. It felt surprisingly fun as it was stuff I was actually passionate and knowledgable about so the questions I got were interesting and fun.

I got questions on populism, empire, BAME issues, US politics, the power of young people, feminism, links between politics and other areas, Hamilton the musical and general questions like the value of HSPS and what I'm currently reading.

How did you prepare?

To be honest when I wrote my personal statement I hadn’t actually read the books I mentioned as I wasn’t expecting an interview. So I was cramming all the books in the 2 weeks before which I don’t recommend.

My school doesn’t have many people go to Oxbridge so I got no help from them, I just watched some videos about interviews on YouTube and researched my interviewers and really got to know my personal statement.

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

Don’t be afraid to sit and think about your answer to a question. Show your enthusiasm for your subject. Relax- I really enjoyed my interview process and found it stimulating and an amazing opportunity to air and work through my thoughts with experts.