Modern And Medieval Languages @ Sidney Sussex, Cambridge in 2016

Interview format

2x interviews; 1x test

Interview content

1st interview: unseen poem, focus on language; 2nd interview: personal statement, focus on literature

Best preparation

Practice interview, engaging with Spanish current affairs, practicing grammar

Final thoughts

Don't overanalyse after

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

When I arrived I was given an envelope which contained an unfamiliar Spanish poem, which I had approximately 20 minutes to look at before my interviews, to discuss in the second interview. I had two back-to-back half hour interviews, with just one interviewer in the first, and two in the second, one of whom I spoke with in Spanish for about 5-10 minutes of the interview. I completed a test

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

The focus in both seemed to be on my motivation for choosing the particular languages, and discussion of my personal statement. In the first I was shown a poem in an unfamiliar language, and asked to decipher what I could, asked questions about word class and types of languages.

In the second, after talking briefly about the Spanish poem I had been given beforehand (style/form etc, I was not studying English Literature A level so this was not my strength), we moved on to speak in Spanish about the film I was doing at A level (María llena eres de gracia). I was asked on my thoughts on the film, my attitude towards the protagonist etc.

As I applied for Portuguese ab initio I was asked what I had done to prepare for that side of things, which quite honestly was not a lot; I had researched the principal differences between Spanish and Portuguese.

How did you prepare?

I did a mock interview

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

There's absolutely no way of knowing how it's gone, you will always think 'Oh I should have said this or that' or whatever.