Engineering Science @ Trinity, Oxford in 2012

Interview format

2x 30-40 min interviews, 1 hr apart

Interview content

Interview 1: personal statement; maths problems. Interview 2: discussion of principles; subject specific questions

Best preparation

Practice papers

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Speak to teachers; mock interviews; discussions with friends.

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: PAT

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 hour

Length of interviews: 30-40 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my first interview, we discussed my personal statement. Then I did some maths questions on the whiteboard in front of the tutors, talking them through as I was doing them.

In my second intervew, I had to describe the forces and physics principles surrounding an everyday object, which was more discussion based. Then I answered some physics-type questions. When I got stuck the tutors were keen for me to talk through my thought process out loud.

For my second interview I was sat at a desk with a pen and paper rather than working on a whiteboard in front of the tutors. I found the second one much harder and, after it had finished, I thought it had gone really badly, but having spoken to many of my friends since, most of their interviews felt tough as tutorswant to push you to see how far you can get with a problem.

How did you prepare?

I did some practice papers and found doing the A-Level Physics Olympiad helpful too.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I spoke to my maths and physics teacher at school and printed off a list of mock interview questions, which me and my friends practiced with each other.

I also had a mock interview with my maths teacher which I thought went quite badly, but I found it useful preparation as it made me practise not panicking in an interview and talking through my thought process out loud.