Films offer students a rare insight into Cambridge interviews process


Oxbridge candidates often feel apprehensive at the prospect of being interviewed for a university place.

Oxbridge candidates often feel apprehensive at the prospect of being interviewed for a university place.

But in a bid to demystify the admission process, the University of Cambridge has produced a film to show applicants what interviews are really like.

Cameras are not allowed into Cambridge interviews as a rule but the university asked four successful applicants to put themselves through an additional interview to give an insight into what the process involves.

All four students had already taken their A levels and had been offered unconditional places at Cambridge. 

The volunteers were each interviewed by academics they had not met before – for places to study geography, human, social and political sciences, medicine and natural sciences.

“The stresses and academic demands of a real interview were definitely there,” said Oli Stubbs, who was filmed being interviewed to study medicine.

“To prospective applicants the interviews will be extremely helpful. The film will give an impression of the format, style and demands of a Cambridge interview and also show that interviewees get things wrong. I definitely did.”

Dr Mike Sewell, director of admissions for the Cambridge colleges, said the films aim to give “an insight and accessible guidance” into Cambridge interviews.

“I hope that these films make very clear that we are not looking for a perfect performance, but a thoughtful academic response to technical subject-related questions,” added Dr Sewell.

“The fact that stumbles occurred and that the discussion moves forward through the help given by interviewers reflects exactly what happens in interviews.

“This isn’t failure. It is an indication of a student who is willing and capable to learn and to persevere in discussion when it isn’t easy. 

“That, in turn, is a key quality in an undergraduate.”

The film of the four successful interviewees can be viewed on YouTube by going to



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