The world-renowned University of Cambridge is a dream for some students, and when they receive the call, email or letter inviting them for an interview, the dream is within arms-reach. However, the panic then sinks in, and anxiety about the interview can affect how students prepare and conduct themselves during the process – be prepared for a university admissions interview. We have collected the best tips from Cambridge’s Student Union, and Dr. Sam Lucy from the University of Cambridge.
“The people who are best suited to our courses are the ones that have long-term academic engagement” Dr. Sam Lucy advised and expert on Oxbridge interviews.
Ahead of the interview, candidates should ensure that have read any written work they have previously sent in with their application, and their personal statement. These pieces of work may be reflected or used in within the interview.
The candidates who are best suited for the university are those who have had an academic engagement for a long time, and enjoy reading around the subject and exploring ideas. These traits will aid any student who then attends the university as their studies will reflect, and/or grow on these basic traits.
How you approach the subject is what counts according to Dr. Lucy, interviewers are looking at whether the candidate will make a good student on their desired course. “Everything is geared to trying to identify that” Lucy added.
Students should think about subjects regarding ideas, and explore all aspects of the topics involved, instead of being someone who is reliant on absorbing a large collection of facts without thinking about them in depth.
The interviews are purely academic assessments, and the interviewers are looking at whether the candidate will make a good student on the course.
If you are unsure of an answer, then candidates should attempt to answer the questions. If candidates think that there are two answers to the question then they should voice this, says Dr. Lucy. This will show the interviewer how you are approaching the question, and how you are thinking things through.
Interviewers are interested in understanding your thought processes and how you arrive at the end results.
“You are rarely asked questions where there is a right or wrong answer, ” Dr. Lucy said.
Feeling nervous or anxious before the interview is entirely normal, and most potential students applying to the University of Cambridge will feel the same as you do. Dr. Lucy offers valuable advice for nervous applicants: “Pretend you’re already a student at the university. You’ve done your preparation, so come in prepared to engage with the interviewers as people”.
“Be prepared to listen really carefully. What we find with really nervous candidates is that they sometimes don’t listen to what they are being asked and end up over thinking things”. Lucy added.
Furthermore, try not to discuss the interview with other people once it is over. Talking about it over and over can resurface those negative feelings and multiply them now that it is over, and you may have the feeling of not being able to change the outcome now that it is finished.
Also, don’t worry about a single answer to a question. The interviewers care about your entire approach to the questions and interview altogether, so don’t worry about an answer you gave at the beginning of the interview. Everything is taken in balance.
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