Some people enjoy them, others struggle with nerves… But the interviews are a crucial part of our admissions process, because they help us get to know you academically. The better you prepare, the more relaxed you’ll be, so read on to find out what to expect.
We interview anyone with a realistic chance of gaining a place and hold most interviews here in Cambridge in the first fortnight of December.
What happens during the interview?
When you are selected, we’ll send you detailed information about what to expect at interview. You’re likely to have at least two interviews:
- One might be a general academic interview with an Admissions Tutor or other non-specialist
- At least one interview will be with a specialist/s in your chosen subject
All candidates are interviewed on their own, by either one or two lecturers.
Our questions focus mainly on issues related to the subjects you’ve studied at school and want to study at Cambridge. Try not to be nervous! We appreciate that your level of confidence at interview may not be a true reflection of your aptitude for a course.
What factors do we consider?
We always do our best to assess not just your ability, but also your commitment and enthusiasm for your chosen subject.
We look at how hard you’ve worked for A-level (or equivalent) exams.
We want to hear if you’ve made the most of extra-curricular opportunities related to your subject. For example, if you’re a would-be medic, vet or architect, by doing relevant work experience – or in other cases, by doing more general reading or subject exploration. (We do appreciate that every applicant has access to different opportunities.)
We look for your ability to think through problems and issues without having a book to give you the ‘right’ answer.
Inter-Collegiate Pool interviews
If you apply to Pembroke and we can’t offer you a place after interview, we may pass your details to the Inter-Collegiate Pool. This allows other colleges seeking applicants in your subject to look at your file and, if you’re picked, invite you for interviews in January.
(There is also an Inter-Collegiate Pool in August. This is for candidates who have received an offer from a college, but don’t achieve the required grades to take the place. There are no interviews at this stage.)
If you're an overseas applicant, we may be able to conduct the interview in your country of origin. Read more about overseas interviews on the University website.
The University website provides lots of advice and videos full of handy tips to help you put your best self forward at interview.
- Find out how to prepare for interview.