What are interviews for?
Interviews play an important part in admissions to Cambridge, but it is important to stress that they are not the only method by which colleges decide who will be offered places. Interviews give us insights into your ability to discuss topics, to listen, to bring concepts together, and to evaluate arguments, qualities that we cannot directly assess in other parts of your application.
What are interviews like?
At Homerton, it is our usual practice to offer two interviews, both academic. There are usually two interviewers in each interview, and each interview usually lasts between 25 and 30 minutes.
Potential students will be interviewed by academics knowledgeable in the applicant's chosen field and they often include the College Director of Studies. In some cases, you may also be interviewed by academic staff in a closely related subject area, or by a Tutor. You may be asked about a pre-prepared piece of work, or be asked to consider problems relevant to your subject. The nature of interviews varies from subject to subject, and we have different expectations of those applying to read subjects they have studied at school and those applying to read subjects they have not.
What are we looking for?
We do not expect you to know all there is to know about your subject. The answer 'I don't know' is not a wrong answer. Nor do we expect you to have an answer to our questions immediately. You are allowed to think about your response.
We do, however, expect that you will have thought seriously and carefully about your application; that you are genuinely interested in your subject(s) and that you can think things through with clarity. The best interviews are more like discussions, and can even be fun; they are certainly not something to be feared. Our principal aim is to ensure candidates will be at their best and so we try to put you at ease, allowing you to show your true potential. We are certainly not trying to catch you out, nor will you be asked any trick questions. you may even get questions wrong or change your mind; your interviewers can help you through the most difficult parts of the questions.
What if it goes wrong?
Anyone can have an interview that does not go to plan. That is one of the reasons we give you two opportunities and two interviewers in each interview. If you feel that the interview did not go well, please remember that we are aware of how stressful they can be and that this part of the admissions process is not more important than any other. A 'bad' interview is not the end of your application.
You can find further information about the interview process at Cambridge, by visiting the interviews page, as well as watching our interview video to get an idea of what happens in them. For more information on how our online interviews will work, please visit the online interviews page.
These two short films that may help you with your interview preparation. You can also see samples of specific subject interview questions in our resources section (to be added) or if you join us on our subject open days or access course.