History @ Wadham, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

2x 20-30 min interviews, over 1 day

Interview content

Interview 1: written work, related picture source; Interview 2: personal statement, general discussion

Best preparation

Take any opportunity to talk about your subject enthusiastically and accurately

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

Interview spread: either side of lunch; not long

Length of interviews: 20-30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

One interview was on the essay that I submitted as part of the process, and asking me to expand on arguments I used in that essay. This was used as a launch from which to delve into why I thought these arguments were more convincing than others. Finally there was a source related to the essay (in this case a picture), which they asked me to contextualize in relation to the discussion we had just had.

The other was related to my personal statement and the EPQ which I had flagged up in my statement. As far as I can remember this had more to do with what I thought history as a field of study was about, approaches that I thought worked, and why I enjoyed it: effectively elaborating on sentences in the personal statement in a way which showed they weren't just platitudes.

How did you prepare?

I did the practice papers on the uni website. I also asked my history tutors for a couple of practice interviews, having given them the info that Wadham had given me in advance (as in, one interview will be on the essay, one on personal statement). They were obviously not familiar with what an Oxford interview was like, so in many ways it wasn't that helpful as what might be called "technical" preparation.

It was, however, useful as an example of the best kind of preparation, which is anything that involves talking about your subject with enthusiasm, accuracy and insight. This could be anything from formal settings like 6th form clubs and societies to just talking about history to like minded people - anything that will make you more comfortable in expressing yourself verbally in an informed, if not quite wholly academic, way.