We ask our MML applicants to send us two representative examples of recent essays. Candidates intending to read two post-A level (i.e. not ab initio) languages at Cambridge should submit one essay in each target language. Candidates intending to read one post-A level language and one ab initio language should submit two essays in the A level language to be read at Cambridge. Where particular difficulties exist, we are always able to suggest other kinds of work which may help us in our assessment.
Whilst in Cambridge for your interviews, candidates will be asked to sit a written assessment. The same format of assessment will be used across all Colleges and more information can be found on the University website.
You can expect either two or three interviews, depending on your choice of language(s) (where there is a third interview, this will be a general one). Interviews for your post-A level language(s) will likely have a short reading and response exercise in the target language immediately beforehand. As we want everyone to be interviewed by a specialist in each of his/her chosen languages, you may find that one of your interviewers is from another Cambridge College.
You will be interviewed about your choice of languages, whether you intend to take these on from school or begin ab initio. The interview will take place in English for the most part, but you should expect some of the interview to be conducted in the foreign language(s) you are applying for if you have already studied them to GCSE level or beyond (the standard expected will, of course, be adjusted according to your level of study and the opportunities you have had to travel to countries where the language is spoken). If you are taking A level (or equivalent) in the two languages you want to read at Cambridge, two interviews will contain questions about a short piece of prose in each language, which will be given to you shortly before your interview - time is allowed to read over the piece privately before the interview. This exercise will be designed to reveal your ability to comprehend and think about a text. If you will be taking one of your languages at Cambridge ab initio, the other interview will be intended to judge your motivation and suitability to read this language. No preparation or prior knowledge will be necessary, but some prior investigation into the relevant culture(s) associated with the language and a very basic knowledge of some of the challenges of the language in question will go a long way towards showing your motivation and enthusiasm for the ab initio language.
Your interviewers will be looking to assess your potential as well as your achievements and they will be seeking to establish what you can do with what you have learnt. They will be looking for intelligence (an ability to think for yourself, to think analytically, critically and on the spot); linguistic knowledge and aptitude (a general interest in language issues, fluency and accuracy in your chosen languages); good powers of expression in both English and your chosen languages; motivation; and suitability for the course. It is usually expected that applicants will spend some time abroad using at least one of their chosen languages before beginning the course, but in assessing your linguistic skills at interview, the opportunities that you have had to travel abroad will of course be taken into account.