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What to expect at interview

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 from the 2021-22 Admissions Round. Please note that the information below is provisional and provided as a guide. 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.In the 2021-22 application cycle, all interviews will be held virtually, including those conducted by the Overseas Interview Scheme. For more information, please see the university website

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). As interviews are virtual this year, Admissions Assessments which would normally take place at interview will be scheduled for slightly before the  You can find much more information, including videos of mock interviews, on the University website. Specifications and sample papers for the written assessments can also be found on the University website. You can find likely interview dates, 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.

Subject Information

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.

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic (ASNC)

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect one 20 minute general interview and one 30 minute subject interview.

    Likely interview date: Thursday 10th or Friday 11th December 2020

  • Archaeology

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews and the 60 minute at-interview assessment in Archaeology.

    Likely interview date: Tuesday 8th December 2020

  • Architecture

    At your interview: you can expect one 30 minute subject interview, which will include discussion of your portfolio (see Architecture page for details on what this should include); you will also sit the Admissions Assessment for Architecture.

    Likely interview date: 

  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (AMES)

    Before the interview: s submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    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 interview prep 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-interiew assessment.

    Likely interview date: TBC

  • Chemical Engineering

    via Natural Sciences:

    Before the interview: sit the pre-interview assessment for Natural Sciences on 5th November.

    At your interview: As for Natural Sciences.

    Likely interview date: One day in the week commencing 14th December 2020

    via Engineering

    Before the interview: sit the pre-interview assessment for Engineering on 5th November.

    At your interview: As for Engineering plus a 30 minute Chemistry interview.

    Likely interview date: One day in the week commencing 7th December 2020

  • Classics

    Before the interview: submit two (3 year course) or 3 (4 year course) pieces of written work , by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect one 30 minute subject interview (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.

    Likely interview dates: Three Year Course - Monday 7th December 2020, Four Year Course - Wednesday 9th December 2020

  • Computer Science

    Before the interview: sit the pre-interview assessment for Computer Science on 5th November.

    At your interview: you all can expect one 30 minute Computer Science interview and the 120 minute CSAT test (calculators not permitted, more details can be found on the CSAT website).

    Likely interview date: Friday 18th December 2020

  • Economics

    Before the interview: sit the pre-interview assessment in Economics on 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect one 30 minute subject interview.

    Likely interview dates: Either Monday 7th or Tuesday 8th December 2020

  • Engineering

    Before the interview: sit the pre-interview assessment for Engineering on 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect one nterview of up to an hour.

    Likely interview dates: Between Monday 7th and Friday 11th December 2020

  • English

    Before the interview: sit the ELAT on 4th November, submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews 

    Likely interview dates: Tuesday 8th or Wednesday 9th December 2020

  • History

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews.You will also be required to sit the at-interview assessment for History.

    Likely interview dates: Either Tuesday 15th or Wednesday 16th December 2020

  • History and Modern Languages

    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), by 5th 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.

    Likely interview date: Wednesday 16th December 2020

  • History and Politics

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews. You will also be required to sit the at-interview assessment for History.

    Likely interview date: Wednesday 16th December 2020

  • History of Art

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect a 30 minute subject interview and the 60 minute History of Art at-interview assessment.

    Likely interview dates: Thursday 10th December 2020

  • Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS)

    Before the interview:submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November..

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews, one with 10 minutes interview prep.

    Likely interview date: Either Thursday 17th or Friday 18th December 2020

  • Law

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews. Candidates will also sit the 60 minute Cambridge Law Test.

    Likely interview dates:  Wednesday 9th to Monday 14th December 2020

  • Linguistics

    Before the interview:  submit two pieces of written work, by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect a 30 minute subject interview.

    Likely interview date:  Monday 7th December 2020

  • Mathematics

    At your interview: you can expect a single interview of up to an hour.

    Maths with Physics candidates can expect an additional 30 minute Physics interview.

    Likely interview date: Monday 14th to Thursday 17th December 2020

  • Medicine

    Before the interview: register and take the November sitting of the BMAT

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews.

    Likely interview dates: Wednesday 9th to Friday 11th December 2020 - remember that interview invitations for Medicine will not be sent until after the BMAT results have been released at the end of November.

  • Modern & Medieval Languages (MML)

    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), by 5th 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-interiew assessment.

    Likely interview date: Thursday 3rd December 2020

  • Music

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work, remembering to include a copy of each essay as well as the original, by 5th 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.

    Likely interview date: TBC

  • Natural Sciences
    Before the interview: sit the pre-interview assessment for Natural Sciences on 30th October.

    At your interview: Physical: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews. Biological: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews.

    Likely interview dates: Between Monday 14th and Friday 18th December 2020

  • Philosophy

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect two 30 minute subject interviews; candidates will also sit the 60 minute at-interview assessment in Philosophy.

    Likely interview date: Tuesday 8th December 2020

  • Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion (TRPR)

    Before the interview: submit two pieces of written work by 5th November.

    At your interview: you can expect one 2 one 30 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.

    Likely interview date: Thursday 10th December