2x 30 min interviews, 3-4 hrs apart
Both interviews: poems given before, personal statement
All practice papers, sessions with school teacher
Speak to someone already there, if possible; read widely around texts; going through personal statement was useful; adopt a positive mindset.
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.
Number of interviews: 2
Skype interview: No
Time between each interview: a few hours
Length of interviews: about 30 minutes each
In both interviews I had to speak about a text I'd been given 20 minutes before. Both texts were poems: one was Shakespeare and one was Hardy. I didn't find them that difficult to read / think about, so it was more a question of finding something interesting to say that no one else would say. After we spoke about the poem, I was asked questions about my personal statement, where I had to carry on from what I'd written. This was hard, and it felt quite waffley at times, but the interviewers were all nice and friendly. In one of my interviews, we ended up talking about Lily Allen, randomly. The atmosphere in the room was relaxed, and I felt like I was having a nice chat most of the time. I came out of both feeling OK - not too bad, not too good. I think that is more a reflection of me than my interviews, however.
I did the practice papers (all of them) and went to
I also went through my entire personal statement and turned every sentence I'd written into a question. Then, I went through and answered each question, talking to myself out loud. That way, I was fairly prepared for most questions they had for me about my personal statement.
I think the interviewers just want to see how you think, and how you engage with literature. They're not trying to catch you out, or test you. The best thing I did, I think, was to treat each interview like a chat with very very clever people about the thing I was most interested in. That way, I was relaxed, and so I did better.