Human, Social And Political Science @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2017

Interview format

2x interviews (30mins-ish)

Interview content

Got progressively more tricky but I engaged in the discussion & enjoyed it

Best preparation

Mock interviews & keeping up to date with current affairs and talking things through

Final thoughts

Research on interviewers to make it a more familiar setting

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 arrived in Cambridge the day before my interview and stayed at a B&B (as my dad was also with me). On the day of the interview, I got up a bit earlier than otherwise, to re-read my personal statement, and the essays that I had sent in. I arrived at the porter's lodge and was taken to the JCRto wait for my first interview, which was late morning.

It was just under half an hour, and I was interviewed by two fellows. The interview was more like a discussion.

The second interview was a couple of hours later, so after the first interview I headed back to the JCR to chat with current students of Trinity Hall and other interviewees. The second interview was set up exactly like the first, but covered different topics

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The first couple of questions asked were fairly easy - they were based on my personal statement, and so they were asking questions that I had already thought about the answers to. However, as it progressed, the discussion became more challenging as I encountered new ideas. Some topics were fairly generic, such as a discussion of history's relevance today to the current political systems. For the trickier questions later on in the discussion I had to change my line of argument a couple of times, as the logic of what I was saying wasn't always on point! I can remember feeling a bit nervous in the first few minutes of the interview, but I was soon so engaged in the discussion and thinking so much that my nerves were (thankfully) put on the backburner.

How did you prepare?

I asked one of my teachers if I could do a 20 minute mock interviewwith her in a breaktime. She was happy to and based the questions off my personal statement. Whilst it wasn't really a true representation of the Cambridge interview it helped me a lot to practise talking through relevant ideas.

I also watched some of the YouTube videos of Cambridge interviews beforehand, not for content of the interview, but just to make me feel more familiar with the setting. Talking about politics and social problems and keeping up to date with current affairs definitely helped.

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

I was given the names of the interviewers a few days before. I looked them up, found out what they had recently been working on etc. Whilst I never brought this up, and neither did they, I found that having some background and knowing what they looked like beforehand helped to settle my nerves.