Interviews

Admissions Assessments

As a mature student applying to a mature College for interview in Cambridge you are not required to take any pre-interview assessments, except the Biomedical Admission Test (BMAT) when applying for A100 Medicine and the Natural Science Admissions Assessment when applying for Veterinary Medicine (D100). For all other courses with a pre-interview assessment, you will take a common format written assessment at interview at Wolfson (if interviewed) instead.

If you are a mature student applying to a mature College and wishing to be considered for interview overseas, or if you are a mature student applying to a standard age College, you must take any required pre-interview assessment (please note that applicants must be registered in advance for pre-interview assessments).

Written Work

Applicants invited for interview in the following subjects will be asked to submit two pieces of written work. We will request this when we invite you for interview.

  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic
  • Archaeology
  • Classics
  • Education
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • History & Modern Languages
  • History & Politics
  • History of Art
  • Human, Social & Political Scienes
  • Land Economy
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • MML
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion

Usually you should send two pieces of written work that you have produced as part of your current, or most recent, school/college courses. Ideally these will be marked by a teacher, tutor or lecturer, however this is not a requirement. If your course does not include any essay work, or you are not currently taking a relevant course, we would recommend that you complete sample essays between 1000-2000 words in your own time. Choose your own questions, or talk to a teacher. Please indicate clearly when and under what circumstances the work was done.

If requested, copies of marked essays should be send to the Undergraduate Administrator either as scanned copies via e-mail or per mail. If sending hard copies please note that copies should be sent, as the originals will not be returned to you.

Preparing for interview

  • Inform yourself widely about your chosen subject. You should do this by reading beyond the immediate remit of your curriculum i.e. journal articles and engaging in extracurricular activities where appropriate.
  • Have a practice interview with someone you do not know well. This could be a senior teacher or lecturer in your current school, college or workplace.
  • Practice discussion and analysis – talk informally to your teachers/ lecturers, your family or your friends about questions that interest you. Try to explain to them clearly what you think about particular issues, and why. This can be useful because most questions in Cambridge interviews are what one might term ‘what/why’ questions. In other words we might ask you what you make of a problem and then ask you to explain or justify your position.
  • Keep a copy of your application and any other material you have submitted, and read it in advance. Keep in mind that we will be discussing your application material with you during interview.

The Interviewers

You will be interviewed by two, sometimes three people for a subject interview and a College interview.

In the subject interview you will be interviewed by an Admissions Tutor and the Director of Studies in your chosen subject. These officers are listed on the relevant subjects page. They are responsible for organizing your study programme and monitoring your progress should you be offered a place. Sometimes there will be more than one Director of Studies present (e.g. for Chemical Engineering). There may sometimes also be an additional member of the relevant Faculty present. Some subjects will be looking for evidence that you have grasped enough of the mathematical or scientific concepts necessary to thrive on our degree course. Others will be testing your analytical skills and ability to develop, illustrate and sustain an argument.

In the college interview you will be interviewed by the Senior Tutor Dr Jane McLarty and a second College Tutor.

For some subjects, you will be interviewed by more than one College or in the Faculty. You will be notified of this in your interview letter.

Conduct of your interview

Each interview will last no longer than 30 minutes. In the subject interview the Director of Studies will ask you about the subject area you wish to study and your academic interests. In the college interview there will be a general discussion of your academic background and academic history, accommodation requirements and ability to finance your studies. You will also be given the opportunity to ask us anything you wish us to know and to discuss the course, College or Cambridge University. Please see the University of Cambridge website for further information on interviews and preparation.