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

Interview format

HSPS Test: 2 x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: poetry and research methods ; Interview 2: personal statement and current politics

Best preparation

Practise papers and knowledge of current affairs

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Go back over your personal statement, don't stress!

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: HSPS Test

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between interviews: can't remember!

Length of interviews: 20-30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

I felt like my first interview went very badly and was also very irrelevant to my subject. I was asked some specific questions based on grammar from a poem I was given and then asked to discuss some research methods. I felt like I needed many prompts as I didn't really know what the interviewer wanted from me. The second interview was much better as they asked me questions on my personal statement, so I was familiar with the subjects they were asking about and could dictate the direction of the conversation. I actually really enjoyed this as we just had a discussion about things I was interested in.

How did you prepare?

I did all the past papers on the Cambridge website and looked at my notes for A-level Politics, as well as keeping up with current affairs to use as examples in the essay.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

It's a good idea to go back over your personal statement and have a think about vague statements or areas where it doesn't go into much depth, and consider some ways to clarify this as well as interesting ideas you could add. I did some of this and, although they didn't ask what I expected, it was a format I had anticipated so wasn't thrown too much. Also, I know it's easier said than done, but try not to stress too much because the interviewers are usually really lovely and want to encourage you to give the best answers you can.