- 1. Are practice interviews actually helpful?
- 2. How do the practice interviews work?
- 3. What are your success rates – how many of your students get in?
- 4. Can you write my personal statement/submitted work?
- 5. Where do you hold your interviews?
- 6. When do the practice interviews happen?
- 7. Who delivers your interviews?
- 8. What experience do you have?
- 9. What is your refund policy?
- 10. Where can I leave feedback?
- 11. What is your complaints procedure?
- 12. When will I know if I am being called to a real interview?
- 13. Can I provisionally book practice interviews before being called to interview?
- 14. When will the real interviews happen?
- 15. Are you affiliated with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge?
- 16. Do I have to be interviewed in person?
- 17. Do I have to download special software for an online interview?
- 18. When can you interview me?
1. Are practice interviews actually helpful?
We like to think that our interviews serve the same role as a mock exam, or a practice driving test. Just as you wouldn’t sit your A-Levels without having completed a past paper, or take your driving test without having got behind the wheel before, so the same goes for interviews. For more applicants, this will be the first interview you’ve ever done, and it’s hard to get it right without some practice.
What we don’t believe in is coaching. There are no magic tricks or secret short-cuts to getting a place at Oxford or Cambridge – you can’t get someone to write you the perfect personal statement or rehearse lines to trot out in interviews.
What you can do is sit down with a recent, subject-specialist graduate – who will give you a realistic mock interview based on their experiences at the real thing, and offer feedback on your performance.
No two interviews are the same – and there is no formula for success. But having done this once or twice beforehand will leave you more prepared, more confident and better able to demonstrate your potential in the real thing.
2. How do the practice interviews work?
When you book your practice interviews and indicate your availability, we will match you with a subject specialist recent Oxbridge graduate.
We will ask you to fill in a form with details of your application, and share this with your interviewer.
You will come to one of our central London schools – or be connected safely and securely online – to meet your interviewer.
All interviews are one hour long – and are either based on your application form or on unseen materials.
For interviews based on your application form, the interviewer will ask you questions using your personal statement or submitted work as a starting point. This is to test your ability to evaluate and expand on topics you have already covered – for example in your school studies, in further reading or an extended project like an EPQ or coursework. Your interviewer will ask you questions for 30 minutes, then offer 30 minutes of feedback. They will discuss both technique – did you stop and think before answering? Did you structure your answers and evidence your points? They will also discuss the content of the interview as well as content – recommending further topics you could explore to extend your thinking. They will conclude the session by writing up their feedback.
For interviews based on unseen material, you will be given a text, source or problem to consider, and be given 10-15 minutes with this. Your interviewer will then ask you questions based on your response to the task. The task will be something you’ve never encountered before (deliberately!) and designed to stretch your subject knowledge and challenge your thinking. After 30 minutes of questions, your interviewer will offer feedback and write this up for you.
We recommend covering both types of practice interview, as these are the most common formats that Oxford and Cambridge admissions tutors use.
3. What are your success rates – how many of your students get in?
We do not collect our success rates for several reasons. Primarily this is because we believe that the interview is just one part of a successful application – along with the personal statement, any submitted work, admissions tests and exam results. There are no shortcuts to being offered a place at Oxford or Cambridge and practice interviews are helping you to demonstrate your potential, not “getting you in”. We believe that interview practice is necessary but not sufficient to your Oxbridge preparation, and that “success rates” would be misleading.
However we are proud of the quality of the services we deliver. 94% of our students would recommend us to a friend and 90% leave very confident that they know what their next steps are to prepare. As many as 50% said afterwards that their practice interview was harder than the real thing!
We believe the quality of our services is also evidenced through our partnerships with 35 of the country’s leading schools – all of whom invite us in to the school to support their students every year, including Sevenoaks, Godolphin and Latymer, Latymer Upper, Dulwich College and Wycombe Abbey. For more information on how we can work with your school, please see our schools’ page.
4. Can you write my personal statement/submitted work?
We do not offer any services that involve writing documents for a UCAS application. We exist to help you achieve your potential – and writing your personal statement won't help you do this! If you’re stuck with your personal statement, our advice is to book a practice interview with us on it.
Sending a draft to someone who has never met you before, and who questions you on it is the best way for you to see it through the eyes of an admissions tutor, and update your draft, whilst also developing interview skills.
For more information, please look at our subject-specific courses pages.
5. Where do you hold your interviews?
The majority of our interviews are held at the West London Free School in Hammersmith, London. We also run interview days at some of our partner schools. For students outside of London or the UK, we deliver online interviews – please see here for more information.
7. Who delivers your interviews?
Our interviewers are all Oxbridge graduates in a relevant subject area. There is a high degree of concordance with the admissions process between Oxford and Cambridge, so although the courses may be different, the interview process is effectively the same. We train all our interviewers, and offer them support with their questions and subject exercises. Unfortunately, we are not able to guarantee specific interviewers for specific dates.
8. What experience do you have?
We have over 10 years’ experience in providing practice interviews for sixth form students. Some of our interviewers have in excess of 200 hours of interviewing experience, meaning that they really know what makes for a great application! Combined with our partnerships with 35 of the UK’s leading schools, we believe we have honed our services to be the highest quality available.
9. What is your refund policy?
Sometimes, for reasons beyond our control, we are unable to deliver interviews on an agreed day. If we are unable to do so, then we will either offer to reschedule your interviews at a time convenient for you, or refund your interviews in full.
Interviews cancelled more than five working days in advance can be refunded in full, minus a £25 administrative charge per transaction. Regrettably, any interviews cancelled after this date cannot be refunded. For more information regarding refunds, please see our terms and conditions.
11. What is your complaints procedure?
If you have any complaints about the nature of our service, then please phone the office on +44(0)207 607 5370 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
12. When will I know if I am being called to a real interview?
You will know if you are going to be called for an interview around two weeks before the interview itself.
13. Can I provisionally book practice interviews before being called to interview?
Yes – we always recommend booking an interview slot before you hear from the University to avoid missing out. We can refund all interviews cancelled with 5 working days’ notice in full.
We also recommend that the earlier you book your interviews the better, even before you have heard for sure whether you will be having an interview. Completing a course of interviews in October/November will give you the chance to implement your action plan, take on some reading suggestions, and even edit your personal statement or submitted work.
14. When will the real interviews happen?
The date of your interview will vary depending on whether you have been called to interview at Oxford or Cambridge, and to which College you have applied. If you are called to interview, it will probably be in the first three weeks of December. You can check the dates that each faculty are interviewing on our course pages, or at the university website.
15. Are you affiliated with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge?
Oxbridge Interviews is not associated with the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge. We are a non-profit organisation that supports educational charities financially, and acts as a partner organisation for Villiers Park, The Access Project and other scholarship programmes to assist students from non-traditional university backgrounds.
16. Do I have to be interviewed in person?
No, we are able to match you with one of our Oxbridge Interviewers online! We use an online platform called appear.in, which is compatible with nearly all computers and web browsers. The interviewer will contact you with any materials you will need for the interview, and will send your feedback and action plan by email following the interview.
17. Do I have to download special software for an online interview?
You will not need to download any software for an online interview, as appear.in is an online platform. The only thing you will need to do is allow access to your webcam and microphone.
18. When can you interview me?
We can interview you at any time that suits you. Let us know your availability, and we will respond when we have an interviewer. For the best chance of being able to arrange an interview, please give us as wide a range of dates and times as possible.