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It’s normal to feel nervous when you have an online or in-person interview coming up, especially if you haven't had to do one before.

Watch our video about how to prepare for you Cambridge interview.

How to prepare a few weeks or days before your interview

There are many things you can do in advance to help you feel prepared and confident about your online or in-person interview. It’s helpful to:

  • Read your personal statement again and any written work.
  • Explore your subject beyond what you’ve learnt at school. You can do this by reading books, watching videos and listening to podcasts.
  • Think about topics that are relevant to your subject, that interest you and that you might like to talk about.
  • Practise talking about your subject with your friends, family or teachers.
  • Have a practice interview. Ideally ask a teacher or someone who doesn't know you well so that you can practise expressing your ideas and opinions. Alternatively you could ask yourself questions for half an hour. This will help you to get used to talking about yourself, your work and thinking in a critical way.

You’ll need to be able to describe your ideas and thinking in English. Check our English language requirements for more information.

If you’ve applied for an arts, humanities or social sciences course it’s also useful to:

  • read more than the texts set by your school, sixth form or college
  • analyse what you’ve read and think critically about it

If you’ve applied for a maths or science course it’s useful to:

  • practise problem solving
  • think about how you might show or explain the way you worked out a problem
  • read more about your subject and focus on parts that particularly interest you

How to prepare on the day of the interview

To help you feel less nervous and more relaxed and confident it’s good to remember that:

  • you’ve worked hard and done really well to get to the interview stage
  • you can be yourself
  • you can wear whatever you’re comfortable in
  • the interview is a friendly conversation
  • the people interviewing you are interested in how you work out your answers and how you think
  • you can talk freely about your views and share new ideas
  • if you don't understand something you can ask your interviewers to explain it to you
  • you can answer the questions in your own way, you don't need to say what you think the interviewers want to hear

If your interview is online

It’s useful to:

  • pick a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed
  • get your device ready and make sure it has a full battery
  • test that your webcam, microphone and internet work
  • have a pen and paper in case you need to make notes or show how you’ve worked out a problem to the interviewers
  • have the Cambridge College phone number and email details in case you need to contact them

If your interview is in-person

It’s useful to:

  • check the location of your interview on a map
  • plan how you’ll get to the interview, especially if you’re using public transport
  • make sure you arrive on time
  • put your phone on silent before the interview starts