History @ Balliol, Oxford in 2016

Interview format

2x 30 min interviews, 2 days apart

Interview content

Interview 1: analysis of source given beforehand; Interview 2: written work and personal statement

Best preparation

Familiarised myself with layout of paper; practised unseen source analysis

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Know everything you've submitted well; discuss subject with anyone!

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: HAT

Number of interviews: 2

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 2 days

Length of interviews: 30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

I had one interview on source analysis and another on my written work and personal statement.

The source analysis was not too scary as you get given the source to prepare beforehand and it was nice to discuss the bits I found interesting.

I made sure my written work was something I knew really well and had read widely around. Mine was about the rise to power of Hitler so I read lots of German history from all eras to examine its wider themes.

My interviewers asked me about my personal statement - specifically how a personal interest I had would help a historian. So expect them to ask about anything on your personal statement!

How did you prepare?

I just familiarised myself with the layout of the paper, and practised lots of unseen source analysis. Just go on primary source websites and find anything that jumps out!

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

The single best thing to do is to know everything you submit in your application well, and make sure you discuss your subject with anyone! This doesn’t have to be a teacher, it can even be your friends or family!