An Interview With...
Amelia Yule, a current Year 13 student, patiently awaiting her results who has applied to study History at Cambridge University starting in October.
Why did you decide on Cambridge rather than Oxford?I liked the city better.
How did you find the application process? What were the easier or harder parts?I enjoyed the entrance exam as I quite liked both the reading comprehension questions (which are still part of the HAA) and the analysis of historical sources. I enjoyed one of my interviews but I really hated the second one (I'll elaborate more on that later). I had to send in an essay. I sent in an essay I wrote on the Acts of Union (part of the Tudor period, studied in Year 12) and they asked me about it in the second interview as well as asking more theoretical questions.
How did you choose your college and for Cambridge what are the colleges like and how important are colleges in your academic and social life- in Oxford the college is very central for both especially on the first year.I chose Christ's College because it was pretty, in the centre of town, and has houses you can live in in 2nd year. I thought the houses might be nice as I wouldn't miss out on the student house experience. The college is also central to academic and social.
Did you feel well prepared before you went for your interview and did any mock interviews replicate the real thing?I felt pretty prepared for the interviews as I had had 2 mock interviews and had found a list of sample theoretical questions I went through with one of the history teachers. I also re-read and re-watched things that I mentioned in my personal statement and that really interested me so I could talk about them in depth. However, being a Cambridge interview it was absolutely impossible to predict.
Did you at any time feel disadvantaged for not coming from a private school?I didn't really think I was less privileged not coming from a private school as I think I got as much support as would have been sensible.
What was your interview like? My interview consisted of talking about my own essay through a given theme, then the second was discussing a very long source. I had 15-20 mins to prepare for both beforehand. I thought the first went well but the second was a travesty!In the first interview we were discussing a source that I read earlier for the first 10 mins, and the next 20 mins was looking at pictures of different objects and trying to work out their origin/who would have made/used/worn them. That interview felt like it went very well. My second interview was asking about my essay and personal statement as well as asking more theoretical questions about history. I'm pretty sure mine were "do you think historians should be completely unbiased?" and "do you think we only write about the 'how' of history?". That second one was quite confusing as I ended up saying "we write about the why, who, how of history" a lot. I felt that interview went badly and I kept getting my words mixed up, but it can't have been too bad.
How do you feel about going to Cambridge in October?I'm telling myself that I'm not going to Cambridge in October and am instead going to my second choice (University of Kent) as it'll put too much pressure on me and I'll just be disappointed as my offer is rather high (A*A*A). It would be nice, but I'm not planning my life around it.
It seems our interviews were relatively similar which is nice to know. That's a very high offer-mine was only AAA but I’m sure you'll do it.
A big "Thank you" To Amelia for taking the time to talk to me, especially during her exams. Best of luck for results day and beyond!
Disclaimer: All words except questions posed (green) are Amelia Yule's and I take no credit for her responses. All opinions expressed are Amelia's own and do not represent the opinions of I or any third parties either socially or commercially. If you would like to discuss Amelia's opinions feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org