Modern And Medieval Languages @ St Catharine's, Cambridge in 2018

Interview format

At interview tests; 2x interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: general; concept-based; Interview 2: language skills; personal statement

Best preparation

Past papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Practice speaking, reading and critical thinking, and know your personal statement well.

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: Linguistic ability and literature-based test (at interview)

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between interviews: Around 1 hour

Length of first interview: around 30 minutes; Length of second interview: around 30 minutes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

Interview 1: The first interview was based more on language, linguistics, its performance, philosophy, etc. The interviewers specialised in languages different from those I had applied for, so the interview was more general and concept-based. I was given a prompt around halfway through about the role of language and learning languages. Apart from this, it seemed quite relaxed and mainly seemed to flow in whichever direction the main discussion was going, which put me at ease.

Interview 2: The second interview was with an interviewer who specialised in both of my chosen languages. We discussed a text which I had been given before the interview, did a translation and spoke in the languages. I was also asked about books I had mentioned on my personal statement. In both I had time to ask my own questions at the end

How did you prepare? I prepared using past papers, and by speaking to people through ‘Access Oxbridge’ on Cambridge essay techniques.
What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I practiced articulating ideas by speaking aloud to myself; analysed random texts to get used to critical thinking; tried to know my personal statement books well and form ideas based on them; used tools such as ‘Access Oxbridge’ to meet people doing my course and receive advice; and my school teamed up with other schools across the city to pool people so that we could practice interviewing each other.