2x interviews (2 interviewers in each)
Interview 1: general motivations, personal statement, Extended Essay, source-based discussion; Interview 2: work experience, personal statement, Extended Essay, unseen reading
Mock interview; practise speaking aloud; wider reading
Think about the question for a few seconds before responding; it's ok to change your opinion
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.
I got to the college a day before my interview and they gave me free accommodation. I had two interviews. No tests but had to send in two essays before the interview. I had two interviewers for both interviews, all from the college. One was supposedly called a personal statement interview and the other a general one, but
Interview 1 (General):
They first described the format of the interview we discussed my motivations for studying HSPS. I mentioned Enlightenment thinkers in my personal statement and we discussed their influences and applicability more broadly. We also talked about human rights and gender inequality, which I had written about in my Personal Statement as well my IB Extended Essay.
There was a discussion on the imposition of cultural values and cultural imperialism. They then showed me a bird's-eye view map of an ancient civilisation, and asked questions relating to methodology and what ideas the picture might give us about the society that lived there. I changed my mind and answers at this point; they guided me and prompted me as to what could help me explain it.
Then a picture of a statue and questions exploring the possible motivations of the people who had created it. I had no previous knowledge of Archaeology but I think it's fine as long as you try to be perceptive.
I had to read an article which I was asked to summarise, comment on the validity of the arguments and comment on what surprised/interested me.
Interview 2 (Personal Statement):
There was a reading on a subject about which I didn't have much knowledge, and I didn't fully understand the text so I tried to divert the focus of this to something I knew. Again I was asked to summarise the article then comment on what surprised me, which I was challenged on too.
I had a
Interviewers are there to guide you and help you, so engage with them. Think about why they are asking the particular questions they are asking. It's completely fine to take a few seconds to think before you rush into answering a question - that helped a lot! It's also okay to change your opinion in the middle of a discussion as long as you can explain why. In some cases, they might prefer that as it shows that you respect other peoples' views and take their explanations seriously.