Interviews for international students

A supervision at Christ's College, Cambridge
  Explaining ideas in a supervision - interviews are similar to
  what you do every week as a Cambridge student

Many (but not all) of our applicants will be invited for interview, and this includes our international applicants. There are lots of useful tips on how to prepare for interview on the University of Cambridge website (the two films called 'Preparing for interview' and 'the interview' are particularly helpful).

It is worth bearing in mind that a Cambridge interview is not a straightforward academic “examination” of what you know: it is a way of finding out how you handle and apply new information, and whether you would thrive within the supervision (tutorial) system. Since the vast majority of those applying to Christ’s have achieved (or are predicted to achieve) top academic grades, the interviews are a useful part of the selection process as they allow us to see how you think and work directly, which helps us to see whether you will thrive on your chosen course at Cambridge.

The most important thing is to ensure that you are comfortable discussing academic matters, spontaneously, in English. Sometimes a practice will help - try explaining some ideas in your subject to an adult that you don't know too well.

Written assessments at interview

Depending on your subject, you may also be set a short assessment in addition to your interview(s). Examples of these assessments can be found by following the links from the admissions assessments page.

If you are applying for an essay-based subject, it is worth researching and considering how you might structure an essay answer under timed conditions (see this information, for example). Many assessments involve writing by hand for at least an hour – so practise before you come.

For further information, see the admissions assessments page.

News - Important information about interviews for students applying this year

Please read the appropriate statement about this year's interviews:

Overseas interviews:

In order to minimise COVID-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are not planning to conduct any overseas interviews in person this year in the countries in which we usually interview (Singapore, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), PR China (Shanghai), Hong Kong, India (Mumbai) and Canada (Toronto)).  We plan to conduct these interviews remotely and we will release further details about these arrangements in due course.  We recommend that you check this page regularly for updates.

Interviews in Cambridge, UK:

In order to minimise COVID-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can.


Where do interviews for international students take place?

Cambridge interviews normally take place in Cambridge UK, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. If you are applying from outside the EU, you will be asked on the COPA form where you would like to be interviewed. 

  • If you are based in a location where there is an overseas interview team, we would ordinarily expect you to apply for an interview in that location, as long as you are eligible. If you request an interview in Cambridge UK (instead of an interview in your country), you should explain your reasons for this in section A3.1 of the COPA form.
  • If you are planning to apply for an interview in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, or India, please ensure that you read the page about overseas interviews carefully - there are some restrictions so you will need to check your eligibility for the location you are interested in.
  • It is important to check the visa requirements for the country where you are seeking an interview, and take this into account when choosing your preferred location.
  • You should also check the application deadline as Malaysia and Singapore have an early application deadline of 20 September. 
  • The page for overseas interviews is normally updated in July each year with details for the next set of applications.

Students who live closer to the UK would normally come to Cambridge for interview in the same way that UK students do. In a small number of cases, overseas students also come for interview in Cambridge, UK if they are applying for a subject such as Music (see the overseas interviews page for details of which subjects carry advice to apply for interview in Cambridge, UK). Please keep the interview period for interviews in Cambridge free (it is advertised on the how to apply page and in October we give provisional dates for individual subjects where possible as part of the current applicants section). Please be aware that you will not be able to choose your interview date.

Visa requirements

If you are planning to apply for an interview outside your own country, you are reminded to check the visa requirements. 

For international students applying for an interview in Cambridge, UK, please see the visa information for interview candidates.

Interview advice from previous international applicants

With thanks to our previous international applicants who shared their advice for future international applicants:

  • "The questions are designed to be out-of-the-box and may be unfamiliar to you in terms of how the concepts are presented, but do not panic, the interviewer can assist you in understanding them should you require assistance."
    Overseas interview in Malaysia
  • "Be comfortable about talking, do not worry about accent or vocabulary too much to even start talking."
    Overseas interview in China
  • "I would advise them to prepare well for the interview and tests! And enjoy the process!"
    Overseas interview in Singapore
  • "Believe it or not, the interviewers want to bring the best out of you! Instead of fixating on what your application lacks, focus on how you can best present an authentic version of yourself at interview. Treat your interview as an incredible opportunity to learn new things in an unfamiliar academic context, and no matter which way it ends up, you will always remember your interview as a learning experience. Don't feel dismayed if your interview wasn't up to par - most candidates who ultimately receive an offer feel this way. Finally, have some faith! If you ARE good enough to study at Christ's, you WILL get an offer." 
    Overseas interview in India
  • "The interviewers were nice. I enjoyed the interview very much."
    Overseas interview in Hong Kong
  • "Where I live it takes approximately 3 weeks to get the tourist visa, which would not have been enough. I got my visa in time as I used the fast-track process, which took a week but is also more costly. Those who had never previously visited the UK might not be aware of this."
    Interview in Cambridge, UK
  • 'The porters were very helpful and informative, and so I felt assured in where I needed to be and how to get around.'
    Interview in Cambridge, UK