Interviews are important in how we select our students – but they are only one component in the selection process. We review the gathered field and consider each applicant’s individual circumstances; if you have a good exam record and a strong reference, you are likely to be invited for interview.

Nuts and Bolts

If you are invited for interview, you’ll receive a letter by early November. Interviews are in early to mid-December. You will also be written to in early November if your application has been unsuccessful. Except in exceptional circumstances, no offer of a place will be made without interview. The number and scope of your interviews depend on the subject you have chosen. Some subjects require applicants to take a test when they come for interview. These are designed to test your aptitude for your subject. Sometimes they form the basis of the interview later the same day. Further details can be found on the appropriate subject page.

A Discussion, Not an Exam

The interview is your chance to show the interviewers that you are more than just information on an application form. It is also your opportunity to ask questions and discover if the course and style of learning at Cambridge is really right for you.

There are no trick questions. Our interviewers want to help you to show your full potential, and are aware that you may be nervous. However, they are going to challenge you to think. They are not necessarily looking for a vast body of knowledge on a particular topic, but are interested to know how you apply the skills and techniques you have learnt to interpret new material and form a logical argument.

The interviewers will want you to be honest and genuine, and are able to spot rehearsed answers easily. Try to keep calm and listen to what you are being asked. They are not looking for a polished performance so give yourself time to think before answering and if you don’t understand the question then ask for clarification.

Preparing for interview

  • Familiarise yourself with the course you have applied for and be ready to discuss why you have chosen it.
  • Practising speaking about your subject will be useful, as this does not always come naturally; talk to a parent, friend or teacher or even just in front of your mirror!
  • Think about what you have written in your personal statement and in any work that you have been asked to submit in advance.
  • Explore and read around your subject; be ready to talk about how you came to be interested in it and how you are sure it will interest you for three or more years.
  • Arrive in plenty of time and wear comfortable clothes.

Interviews overseas

If you are an international student and wish to be considered for an interview overseas then there is an earlier deadline for you to submit your UCAS application to us. Please see the University of Cambridge website for more details.


Tutorial and Admissions Office
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