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. We have collected the best tips from Cambridge’s Student union, and Dr. Sam Lucy from the University of Cambridge.
The university have invited you to an interview because they want to get to know you, your personality, and how you think. There is no ‘Cambridge type’ that you should try to portray during your interview. The university is made up of a huge mix of people, there are no two people who are the same, and the admissions tutors want to meet you.
Don’t try to sound academic or feign an interest in an area because you believe it will make you sound smarter. It will shine through that you’re not genuinely interested and you will, and probably feel pretentious.
During the interview, try not to think of what the interviewer wants you to be, and just be yourself because that’s who they want you to be too.
The media, internet, friends, teachers and parents probably have been telling you what to expect from your interview, however, don’t believe everything they say. However, they can provide you with good advice to use on the day, but don’t take everything to heart or too seriously.
The university will give you information regarding your interview when they invite you to attend.
If a candidate is applying for a subject which they have already studied, then reading further or exploring other perspectives to the subject will help. Researching typical university interviewing questions will help as you will be able to plan your answers for the questions they are likely to ask. Tutors are usually interested to know what areas you have studied whether it was in a personal or academic setting. For example, if you like a particular text or poem in English, you can try to read other poems that are similar, or written by the same author. The information you gain from this extra reading will look impressive when you draw upon them during the interview.
Another important tip to complete before arriving is to read through any submitted work before you attend. Tutors may refer to your personal statement or the written work you have submitted, and it is a good idea to keep it fresh in your head to draw points from.
A great tip from Cambridge Student’s Union, is to talk out loud about your subject, to prepare yourself for talking to someone in an academic context. Explain to your family, friends and teachers, different topics of study you have found interested, or what areas that you find interesting or confusing.
Volunteer to read in class, and try to answer questions too, talking out loud academically is harder than you think. Some students suffer anxiety with this, or lack confidence, but the more that you do, the better you will feel about it, and this will show in the interview.
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