History @ St Edmund Hall, Oxford in 2020

Interview format

History Aptitude Test (HAT); 1x interview

Interview content

Interview 1: discussion of written work

Best preparation

Prepared to talk about submitted work

Test preparation

Past HAT papers

Final thoughts

Practice forming arguments on the spot when confronted with unfamiliar questions

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: History Aptitude Test (HAT)
Number of interviews: 1
Length of interviews: 1 hour
Online interview: Yes

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

Almost my entire interview, aside from introductions, was spent discussing the History essay that I had submitted. I was told that we would discuss my personal statement as well afterwards, but we spent so long on the essay that we didn’t have time for it. I was asked many different questions about the essay, and I was challenged on some of my arguments. I felt pretty comfortable, but I had never been in an interview solely focused on discussion/argumentation, so it took me some time to settle into it.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I knew my History essay that I submitted would be discussed during the interview, so I reread it a couple of times, and then reread my textbook and notes for the time period that I had used during school when the essay was written. I tried to accrue as much knowledge as I could on the essay’s topic.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

I used past HAT papers to practice.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

For History applicants, I would suggest submitting an essay on a topic you are familiar and comfortable with, and if possible, to practice discussing the essay beforehand. Knowledge is important, but the ability to think on your feet, respond to arguments, and form arguments of your own is much more so.