You will be interviewed by two or three people for a subject interview, as well as a College interview.
In the subject interview you will be interviewed by an Admissions Tutor and the Director of Studies (DoS) in your chosen subject. (DoSs are listed on the relevant subjects page and are responsible for organising your study programme and monitoring your progress should you be offered a place.) Sometimes there will be more than one DoS present, and there may also be an additional member of the relevant Faculty present.
Some subject interviewers 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.
Each interview will last no longer than 30 minutes. In the subject interview the DoS 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.
Preparing for an Interview
We provide meals free of charge while you are with us and also offer you a overnight accommodation if you have come from a distance. You will typically find current students who will welcome you when you arrive in College, guide you to the interview rooms and chat with you about the College and their experiences here. If you stay overnight, they usually invite you to dine together or to drop in and chat over drinks and biscuits during the evening.
You should dress comfortably for interview; there is no need to wear formal clothing.
Finally, bear in mind that we only interview those students who have a realistic chance of a place at Cambridge. So if we invite you it means we are seriously considering you for a place.
- Inform yourself widely about your chosen subject. You can do this by reading beyond the immediate remit of your curriculum, such as finding journal articles, and engaging in extracurricular activities.
- 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.
- 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. Practice discussion and analysis – talk informally to your teachers and 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.
- 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.