History @ Exeter, Oxford in 2015

Interview format

3x 30 min interviews, over 2 days

Interview content

Interview 1 (history): personal statement; Interview 2 (English): personal statement; Interview 3 (history): unseen source

Best preparation

Know your personal statement well

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Don't be surprised if a question seems strange; they're stretching you

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: 3

Skype interview: No

Interviews spread over 2 days

Length of interviews: about 30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

I applied for a joint degree, history and English. One interview was about my personal statement and history; one about my personal statement and english; and the third about some unseen historical source.

How did you prepare?

I did some practice exams and discussed my answer technique with history and English teachers at my sixth form.

I completed a few practice interviews with my teachers. I had my parents and friends read through my personal statement to highlight points of interest. It is crucial that you have a good understanding about each source / event you've put in your statement.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

Don't be surprised if the interviewer asks something quite strange or very specific - they're testing how you react and how you apply your knowledge.

I was challenged by how, in the English interview, they asked about the preface to a book I had in my statement. Unfortunately, I panicked and forgot the content of this, so stuttered my way through the interview. If this happens to anyone else, I would just say to feel free to ask for clarity to the question, and perhaps guide your answer towards a topic you know better.