A question we get asked all the time is “Why should I start Cambridge interview preparation now if I haven’t even got an interview invitation yet?”
“Why should you start Cambridge interview preparation?” It’s a good question, and one with a good answer – especially if you are applying to Cambridge.
Cambridge, historically, have always interviewed a large proportion of candidates.
Oxford don’t interview as many candidates as Cambridge. However, if you are invited to interview at Oxford, you have a greater chance of gaining an offer. The statistic for getting an offer after interview roughly stands at 1 in 3 for Oxford, and 1 in 4 for Cambridge. Having good Cambridge interview preparation will increase your odds here.
Overall application numbers have risen annually.
The percentage of applicants to Oxbridge has risen annually to the tune of 15.8% (Oxford) and 6.2% (Cambridge) since 2013. This means that competition is fiercer than ever before. Part of this competition is combated by admissions tests. There are becoming increasingly popular for all courses and have been the standard process for courses like Medicine and Law for years.
Although applications numbers have increased…
Cambridge have continued to interview 90%+ of candidates.
Even if candidates have poor admissions test results or some dodgy grades, the majority are interviewed. Cambridge give every student who has a realistic chance of admission academically a chance at interview. This means that a little Cambridge interview preparation can go a long way.
We can see this evidenced through 2017 A100 Medicine admissions data from Selwyn college; out of 25 applicants to Selwnyn College, 23 applicants were given an interview invitation.
Sourced from Freedom of Information: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/medicine_a100_selwyn_college#incoming-1174090
Read some successful candidates interview stories – how they prepared, what the format was, the questions they were asked and more >>>
Cambridge interview invitations generally get more likely at higher UMS scores however this isn’t always true!
(UMS: Uniform Mark Scale, or UMS, is a way of standardising the marking of papers across different examination boards, allowing someone to compare two marks marked by two different examination boards)
Interviews for Maths at Trinity College, Cambridge, were offered to candidates with a UMS score as low as 73.2%. A UMS of 73.2% represents a student who is getting B’s on average through their A-levels (AS and A2).
In comparison with the information above, a Maths candidate in 2017 to Trinity College scored a 97.8% UMS score. They were not invited to interview. 97.8% represents a student who has received the very highest marks possible (A*s) throughout their AS and A2 exams. This goes to show that Cambridge look at more than just pure grades when it comes to choosing their future pupils.
Data available from Trinity College Cambridge shows that many candidates, although are fantastic academically on paper, just do not interview well.
A huge part of the interview process is so that admissions tutors can assess your propensity to learn. They also see whether you are a student that they would be happy to teach. If they don’t see that in you – then they will not offer you a place.
This, again, can be evidenced through Maths 2017 applicants to Trinity College, Cambridge. A student with an almost inhuman UMS score of 99.3% received interview scores (marked out of 10) of 3 for interview #1, and 3 for interview #2.
Cambridge will always look beyond how you fare on paper.
A huge proportion of applicants are interviewed. Do you have decent grades and think you have any shot of a realistic application? You should begin Cambridge interview preparation straight away! It’s very likely that you’ll be interviewed. With the correct preparation, there’s no reason to fail on the final step to gaining that dream place at Oxbridge!