This page is part of the Christ's College, Cambridge current applicants section. It provides support for students invited for online interviews.
We aim to interview most but not all applicants. This page has some general information about the interviews. The more specific information will be available nearer the time in the subject information for your course and in the Stage 5 links.
- Why do we interview?
- What do the interviews involve?
- Other applicants and confidentiality
- Remote interview set-up
- Further information
Why do we interview?
The vast majority of those applying to Christ’s have achieved (or are predicted to achieve) top academic grades, and the interviews are therefore a helpful part of the process, along with all of the other elements that make up your application.
The interviews give us an opportunity to get to know you and to review and clarify your application. By talking to you about topics/questions relevant to your subject, the interviewers are able to see how you think and how you work, how you approach ideas and whether you can apply your knowledge to make relevant points, or solve problems. Interviews also give you the chance to raise any questions that you may have.
What do the remote interviews involve?
Any subject-specific information will be in the subject information as December approaches.
The interviews vary in content and length. Each candidate is normally seen for a total of between 35 and 50 minutes, though at Christ's we tend to split the time between two interviews. All interviews are academic in focus and subject-specific. We recommend that you watch the two films below:
The aim of all the remote interviews is to give you a chance to show yourself in the best possible light, so try not to be too nervous. The interviewers are not looking to trick you, and they will not expect you to know all the answers, but they will want to see real enthusiasm for your subject and an ability to handle complex new ideas in a variety of contexts. And remember, they are assessing you and your academic potential, not your fashion sense or room layout.
Some of the online interviews may include working through some problems or text and discussing the thought processes involved. Some interviewers require you to read a short passage just prior to the interview (your invitation email will make this clear if this is the case), and there will be a page about pre-interview study in the current applicants page interviews section that explains how it will work. Please ensure that you make good use of the time allocated to study the text, and be prepared to make notes as you read.
If a College assessment or other test in your particular subject is required for students selected for interview, this will be set out in the subject information, and further information about how you will sit the assessment online will be emailed to you nearer the time (after you have been notified that you have been selected for interview). No registration is needed for College assessments (you only need to register if your assessment is one of the ones on 18 October or Law). You will be able to take the assessment either at home or at school, depending on what works best for you.
Other applicants and confidentiality
You must be alone in the room where you have your interview(s), and please don't talk about your interviews online or with others at school or in your community.
While it’s natural to want to discuss interviews, please bear in mind that each interview is tailored to the individual, so don’t worry if you think other candidates have been asked different questions to you. On the other hand, if you give someone else information about your interview, you might be giving them an unfair advantage. So please don't talk about your interviews. This also applies to any pre-interview reading, exercises or other elements that may be relevant for your subject.
This and further details are set out officially in the confidentiality statement.
Remote interview set-up
There will be information in your invitation to interview email and Stage 5 about how to set-up for the interview, and you will also be invited to attend an interview set-up webinar where we will go through it with you. Exact details vary a little from subject to subject, but in all cases you will be able to make a free account in the relevant software in advance so that you can practice with a friend or parent. Please try not to worry about questions of software and set-up before you have received an invitation to interview (with the dates and times).
It is possible to have your interviews at home or at school. In the last few years, most candidates found it easier to have the interviews at home, though if you have concerns about technology you may like to consider having the interview at school. In general students who have their interviews at home tend to have fewer problems as long as the internet connection is OK. Students who have their interviews at school must check that the school firewall will not block the software - it's important to liaise with your school's computer department and do a test in advance on the computer you will be using. Please also make sure there are no fire alarm tests planned etc. - it will be important to liaise with your school to ensure that the right people are aware.
- For much more information about interviews at Cambridge, including a couple of useful films, see the interviews section on the University admissions website, which includes a page about preparing for interviews.
- InsideUni is a useful website with student-generated content and a section on interview insights. A word of warning. These can be useful to get a sense of the kinds of things that interviews involve but DO NOT ASSUME that everything will be exactly the same from year to year, even if you are applying to the same College for the same subject as the person in the account you are reading.