The application process can be a little daunting, so knowing what to expect before, during, and after interviews is important. Below you can find information about what to expect. Please note that the information below is subject to change and is provided as a guide only. We'll keep this page as up-to-date as we can, but please note that we cannot guarantee that your assessment/interviews will be exactly as described.
Note for candidates interviewing overseas: Most of the below applies to interviews in Cambridge only. If you are being interviewed overseas you should contact the relevant administrator for more information. Please note that candidates attending overseas interview are still required to submit written work and complete paperwork (data protection declaration, fee status questionnaire etc.) and will still need to sit the admissions assessments.
Interviews may be held in-person in Cambridge or online, depending on circumstances. The information below applies to both situations.
Types of interview
All interviews will be academic in nature. In some cases, you will be given some interview preparation immediately prior to your interview. This means that you will be given a passage to read or problem sheet to look at, which you will probably then discuss for part of the interview. The contents of the interview prep is deliberately supposed to be something you have not come across before so no preparation is necessary. It often helps to guide the interview such that it is more like an actual Cambridge supervision.
Interviewers may not bring up anything from your personal statement. Many candidates have answered questions like 'why do you want to study Law?' quite comprehensively in the personal statement and the interview is a chance to find out new information about you and your potential rather than re-tread the ground from your application. Also remember that there's no need to go overboard on revision - your current schoolwork is very important and we're anxious not to distract you from it. Interviews are designed to be something that you can't prepare for too much (aside from a wider and general interest in the subject) to allow all candidates from all backgrounds an equal chance.
There will always be two other people in your interview. In most cases, this will be two interviewers who will be playing an active role in your interview. However, in some cases, there will be a single interviewer and an observer from the Admissions Office. In such cases, we will explain who the additional person in the interview is and how the interview will work.
If you apply for a subject for which written work is requested in advance, this may be used as the starting point for discussion during the interview.
In some subjects, you will be asked to sit a written assessment or test (more details on this on the subject pages below). You can find much more information, including videos of mock interviews, specifications and sample papers for the written assessments on the University website. You can find more detail on what to expect in interviews for your subject at Peterhouse, on the drop-down pages below.
Please note that interview/test/interview prep times will already be adjusted as appropriate for those who have submitted an Adjustment for Disability/Learning Difficulty form.
The drop-down menu below provides a rough outline of what you can expect as an applicant for your subject.
Important note: details like the number of interviews you will receive, running times of tests etc may change (you will receive full and final information in your 'invitation to interview' email) but the below is intended to give you an idea of how we typically assess candidates in each subject.
Before the interview: n/a
At your interview: it depends on which language(s) you are applying for, but you can usually expect one or two 30 minute interviews (which may have pre-interview reading beforehand). If you are applying for AMES with a modern language, you will have additional interview(s), and may have to sit the 60 minute MML at-interview assessment.
Before the interview: submit two (3 year course) or 3 (4 year course) pieces of written work in early November
At your interview: you can expect two subject interviews of 25 to 30 minutes (plus 30 minutes interview prep studying a Latin text for those applying for the 3-year course). Candidates for the 3-year course will sit the 60 minute at-interview assessment in Classics. Applicants to the 4-year course will instead sit a 20 minute Language Assessment session at the faculty.
Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work - two in English (relevant to History) and one in post-A level language (not required if applying for an ab initio language), in early November
At your interview: you can expect one 30 minute History interview and one 30 minute language interview. Candidates for post-A level languages (i.e. not ab initio) will also sit the 60 minute MML at-interiew assessment. You will also be required to sit the at-interview assessment for History.
Before the interview: submit one piece of written work in each post-A level language (i.e. only one essay if applying for an ab initio language), in early November
At your interview: it depends on which languages you are applying for, and whether you have already studied them to A level (or equivalent), but you can expect at least two interviews, at least one of which will be preceded by 15-20 minutes of interview prep; candidates will also sit the 60 minute MML at-interview assessment.
Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, remembering to include a copy of each essay as well as the original, in early November along with a composition or harmony exercise. You may also submit a musical exercise/piece if you wish.
At your interview: you can expect one 30 minute and one 45 minute subject interview (with 20 minutes interview prep); a 60 minute College-set test.
Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work in early November
At your interview: you can expect one 40 minute subject interview (with 20 minutes interview prep) and one 30 minutes subject interview at another College; candidates will also sit the 60 minute at-interview assessment in Theology.