Modern And Medieval Languages @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

MML Admissions Assessment; 2x interviews.

Interview content

Interview 1: translation of unseen passage; EPQ; Interview 2: discussion of unseen passage; personal statement.

Best preparation

Made notes on wider reading

Test preparation

Used practice papers.

Final thoughts

Be confident in yourself!

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: MML at-interview admissions assessment
Number of interviews: 2
Time between interviews: 4 hours
Length of interviews: 25 minutes
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

For my first interview (Latin) I was asked to translate an unseen passage into English and explain why I had chosen my specific language combination. I was also asked to explain what I had specifically explored in my EPQ, and we then discussed it in greater detail.

For my second interview (German), I was given a passage of literature 15 mins before the interview to read which we started to discuss in the interview in German (I had to read a few lines aloud, summarise the passage and translate a few tricky phrases which prompted a discussion on whether there could ever be a 'perfect' translation. I was also asked what I thought certain parts of the passage symbolised and when I thought it had been written). We then switched to English to discuss a couple of the books on my personal statement. Both interviews went very quickly and felt much more like relaxed discussions than interrogations! It was not as daunting as I thought and the interviewers were all so friendly and aimed to make me feel as relaxed as possible.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I went through my personal statement/SAQ and annotated it with everything that I thought they could possibly ask about what I had written. The most useful preparation I did was collating all of my wider reading into one document with a plot summary and my own interpretations of each text, which meant that I didn't have to reread whole books in the days before my interviews. I also tried to keep up to date with news in Europe, so that I felt more confident talking about current affairs (and reading the news in foreign languages helps develop skills through cultural immersion too!).

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

I used the practice papers, guidance and marking criteria on the MML website to familiarise myself with the format and what they were looking for. I also revised grammar and started trying to think critically about everything I read!

What advice would you give to future applicants?

My advice would be to have more faith in yourself and practice thinking out loud- they want to see how your brain works which they cannot do if you give short yet fully formed answers. Try to use what you know to answer what you don't, and don't be afraid to correct yourself or change your mind as you discuss the topic more.