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"We're not looking for perfection, we're just looking to see if you're right for the course"

Everyone with a realistic chance of being offered a place to study at Cambridge is invited to attend an interview – that's around 75 per cent of applicants each year. Both staff and students at the University have advice on how you can prepare for this part of the admissions process.


  1. Remind yourself of your motivation, why do you want to study HSPS, and why is the course right for you?
  2. Re-read your application and personal statement, and be ready to discuss the things you've said and studied.
  3. Get to the College in good time so you avoid any unnecessary stress.
  4. Watch these videos for more tips!

The Interview

In this video, you can see four example interviews so you can get a sense of the kind of questions you might be asked. There's even a specific example of an HSPS inverview question (01:50-03:50), as well as an example of the kind of "unseen" material that you might be asked to interpret and reflect on during the interview (08:47-10:51). Throughout the video there are pointers on what the interviewers are looking for.

Most importantly...

  • Listen carefully
  • If you don't understand something, ask for clarification
  • Don't be afraid to take a moment to gather your thoughts
  • Be yourself!

Remember that the interviewers are not trying to trick or scare you, they just want to know if you're right for the course. The interview is just one part of the admissions process, so don't think of it as make-or-break. In fact, many students even enjoy the experience! It's also normal to think the interview has gone badly, according to one of the InsideUni founders (below), the majority of contributors thought their interview had gone terribly, but they all ended up getting a place. So don't be disheartened if you think you give a poor answer to one question, try and let it go, turn over a new page, and approach the next question with a fresh head. GOOD LUCK!

Inside Uni

A new student advice website, InsideUni, compiles tips from over 700 successful applicants for your benefit. You can read their tips for HSPS interviews here. There is also general information available about the interview process on the Cambridge University website.

A World Leader

The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is a world-leading centre for teaching and research in Sociology, consistently ranked first in UK league tables by The Guardian, The Times, and the Independent.