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Undergraduate Study

 

Interviews at Cambridge can be online or in-person. They’re a conversation about the subject that you’re interested in studying.

We invite most applicants to attend an interview. Not everyone interviewed will be offered a place. But everyone who is made an offer will have been interviewed.

The number of interviews you have depends on how your college assesses in your subject. It is not connected to the strength of your application.

You’ll most likely have either 1 or 2 interviews with a total of around 35-50 minutes of interview time. Some candidates at some colleges may have 3 or 4 interviews.

Find out how to prepare for your interview.

When and where interviews take place

We send interview invitations out in November. If you’re invited to interview, you’ll usually have your interview in December. It is possible that you may also be invited to a second interview with a different Cambridge College in early January.

Your interview invitation will include details of when and where your interview is, what you’ll need on the day, and how to attend.

  • If you live in the UK your interview will be in person if you applied to Gonville & Caius, King's, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Selwyn, or Trinity College. If you applied to a different College your interview will be online.
  • If you live outside of the UK, your interview will usually be online. Check the website of the College you are applying to for details of the specific arrangements at that College.

Why we have interviews

Interviews give us the opportunity to get to know more about you, and for you to get to know more about us.

During the interview we’ll explore your understanding of your chosen subject area. We’ll want to see that you are:

  • ready to study at a very high level
  • comfortable with the learning environment at Cambridge
  • able to think in a critical and independent way
  • curious about the world and open to new ideas
  • passionate and enthusiastic about your chosen subject

What happens in the interview

Each interview is different, depending on the course and College you’ve applied to. Most people who apply will have a subject specific interview. Some people will also have a general interview.

Watch our video about what happens during the interview.

Subject-specific academic interview

During the interview you will:

  • have a discussion with two to three interviewers
  • talk about your chosen course, including topics you’ve recently covered at school and what you said in your personal statement
  • answer questions about why you want to study at Cambridge and how you chose your subject
  • apply your existing knowledge to new situations and discuss problems that you may not have previously thought about
  • explore important issues and developments to do with your chosen subject

You may be asked to share your workings if the interviewers ask you a problem-solving question. This usually happens if you’ve applied to a Science or Mathematics course. Ideally, you would share your workings using a tablet and stylus. But if this isn’t possible there are other equally good ways of sharing your workings. The College interviewing you will confirm arrangements in your invitation to interview.

If you are normally entitled to Free School Meals, you can speak to the College interviewing you about help getting an inexpensive tablet to use at your interview.

General academic interview

Sometimes we’ll invite you for another interview. We’ll ask questions about:

  • your personal statement, so it’s useful to keep a record of what you wrote in it
  • why you want to come to Cambridge, and why you're interested in your subject
  • your other academic work and interests
  • your future plans and what you’d like to do when you graduate – don’t worry if you don’t have any career plans just yet

What happens after the interview

In January you’ll hear from us and UCAS about the outcome of your application. Find out more about how we decide who gets a place.

Commercial services

We're aware of private companies who offer 'tutoring' on our interviews and admissions assessments for a fee. We do not support or encourage any of these enterprises. The advice they provide cannot be verified and they do not have access to any information that's not freely available from us via this website and other University sources.