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Cambridge Interviews

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi. I've got a Cambridge interview on Wednesday to read History and I was wondering if anybody had any expericnes of it.

What questions were you asked etc. If you were applying to do another subject, I'd love to hear from you.

Cheers

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not been there meself, but word on the grapevine (Cambridge was only about 20 miles away from my home town) is that they can ask you some really weird questions. I know the interview will deffinatly focus on all parts of you, and they will reject you even if you got nice grades.
    A kid from my 6th form had an interview and i know they asked him questions about what motivates him and things like that.

    On a more weird note: I have heard (not sure if its true) that they will suddenly sling in a question "Why do you believe that the moon isn't made of cheese?" lol he strangeness of it all!

    Bopz
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Been there, done that, failed miserably.

    You need to be prepared. If you haven't already, would highly recommend reading some Carr, Evans, Elton, Jenkins, to get a good idea of historiography. If you announced a specialist subject, know it inside out - if you say you like Revolutionary Russia, like I did, they're not just going to ask you about what happened. I got talked to about the culture of the time - something I'd been completely not expected. If you say you've read a book, boy, had you better know that book inside out too. Don't make anything up, they can smell bullshit from a mile away. If you don't know something, say you don't know it, but have a stab at the question anyway, they like initiative, using your noggin and all that.

    And that was just the first interview.

    Second interview was weird. The guy - aside from being your stereotypical camp/gay Cambridge professor - was very quiet. I think he asked me three questions in a 20 minute interview, and even when I'd distinctly finished answering, he didn't seem at all interested that I was there. I'm not sure what they were expecting from that interview, despite having played it over in my mind a million times.

    What I learned: I wasn't anywhere near prepared enough. I wasn't expecting it to be a breeze, but it was tougher than I could have imagined, but I only realised that after the interview. The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly, but you knew that everything you do was being analysed. Or at least, you think you know that.

    That was my experience at Corpus Christi. It'll most likely be different at each of the colleges, but the lesson still stands. Hope you've been doing your reading.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My experience wasn't too bad... but then I didn't get in. Whereas my friends who said they had shitty interviews all seemed to get in. You should expect to be stretched - it's meant to be hard to see how well you can adapt to the questions. I don't think they'll try to trick you with weird questions about the moon and cheese unless perhaps you're going for something like philosophy. But they could do, in theory.

    Best advice I can give, as far as I remember although I've sort of put it out of my mind now and decided that Edinburgh is far better ;) (no offence perfect***day) is that you should be prepared to be picked up on anything and everything you say. For example, (my subject is Classics) I was asked about the classical sites I'd visited, so I told him Italy, Sicily and Greece. So he said 'ok, tell me about Sicily' which unfortunately was the least memorable of the three and I couldn't actually remember anything about it. So I said a few place names I remembered, and rambled a bit. And then he said 'oh right so tell me about Segesta then - what did you see there?'. And I actually had NO idea what I'd seen there. So I made it all up. I made up a few temples I thought I vaguely remembered seeing, and then trailed off a bit. What I should have done, of course, was say 'sorry, I can't remember much about that one but I CAN tell you that I saw the most amazing sites in Greece...'

    Basically be aware that you can sort of manipulate the interview in the direction you want to, if you're on the ball. Bullshitting is acceptable but don't bullshit about things which you're really not sure about because the chances are they'll push you to elaborate further, and then you'll get stuck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Turtle
    Second interview was weird. The guy - aside from being your stereotypical camp/gay Cambridge professor - was very quiet. I think he asked me three questions in a 20 minute interview, and even when I'd distinctly finished answering, he didn't seem at all interested that I was there. I'm not sure what they were expecting from that interview, despite having played it over in my mind a million times.

    Oh I had an experience like this too. Interviewer just seemed fairly bored and was lounging on a sofa, not really looking me in the eye, talking fairly lazily and quietly, and not sounding very interested in anything. I don't know WHAT you're supposed to do in that situation. A friend of mine who's in the college I applied to has since told me that they didn't admit any Classicists that year, which makes me feel only marginally better.

    I did a lot of background reading for my interview but it wasn't really necessary. I should really have concentrated on reading a few texts in detail rather than just reading everything I could get my hands on, because I didn't really get to show any of it off. Although chances are, if I hadn't read something, they would have asked me about it at length. Life's a bitch innit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    wear a suit and tie....

    hats the only advice i have :P
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