Human, Social And Political Science @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2016

Interview format

3x interviews (15 mins each)

Interview content

Personal stament focus

Best preparation

Engage with your subject!

Final thoughts

Stay calm

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

Interview took place in early December. There were 3 interviews, 1 general and 2 subject specific. Each were 15 mins long, and there were 2 interviewers in each interview.

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The general interview discussed my personal statement and then digressed from there. It felt very chilled out, like a “getting to know you” chat.

The subject specific interviews were a bit more intense - they pressed me about the work I’d submitted and the reading I mentioned in my personal statement. We explored my specific interest in the course offered at Cambridge and why I prefered it to the same course at some other universities. They tried to get me to think from a sociological viewpoint.

How did you prepare?

For my specific subject, I’d say the best preparation was just chatting to friends/family/teachers about why I was interested in it. It’s really helpful to learn to talk about what you love about your subject. Aside from that, I read a few books from the suggested reading list and listened to podcasts on social/political issues I was interested in. I found listening to some really fascinating lectures online on the day of my interview got me really fired up and excited about my subject, so I went into my interview completely in the zone.

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

Don’t worry if they ask you a hard question you can’t answer - just talk through your thought process, even if it doesn’t lead to a direct answer. They want to know how you think.