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19 Aug

Cambridge Natural Sciences (Physical)
<p>In this section, you’ll hear from a Cambridge alumni who did Natural Sciences.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>How were your interviews like?</strong><br><br>Back in early December 2010, I was waiting for a physics interview outside the interviewer's room, feeling nervous and cold, especially since the corridor didnt really have heating. As I was trying to take a deep breath and calm down, I heard the door open. A tall woman came out, smiled and invited me in. My first interview began. There were two people in the room. I did some research beforehand and knew that the tall woman would be my director of studies if I got in and she was a lecturer in Physics whereas the other man was one of the supervisors in Materials. They both smiled warmly and that helped me to calm down.&nbsp;<br><br>They did not start with the "standard" questions like "why do you want to study this subject". Instead, they asked me about things which I wrote in my personal statement. I mentioned a project about superconductivity that I had done at school because I wanted them to ask me about some topics that I had prepared for and I was happy that they did.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I did not write about any books in the personal statement as I felt that if I mentioned them, I might be expected to have a thorough understanding of all the material in the book. I did not want to risk meeting an interviewer who would be more familiar with the book I read than I was. So "be specific but not too specific " was my strategy.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>My interviewer started with some basic concepts about superconductivity which I answered quite confidently and she did not really probe further. I think the reason for this was because the topic is usually a third or fourth year undergraduate topic and it would have been quite difficult to ask further questions without them being too difficult for an A-level student.&nbsp;<br><br>The next question was a maths question. I was asked to solve a recurring expression. It was something like an easy question in Maths Olympiad, not anything we would do at school but once you knew the trick, it was extremely simple. At first I had no idea how to answer the question, so I tried to see if the equation could form a series but I found that it did not. I asked for a hint and after that, I suddenly realised how to solve the problem and said "Oh, it is so easy now..." and the interviewers laughed. The interview finished with some other physics topics that I learned at school, they were more difficult than the related material I read in the textbooks but the interviewers would always guide me along.&nbsp;<br><br>The second interview was a chemistry based interview. Again, the interviewers went straight to the academic questions. This interview was a bit more scary than the first one since one interviewer was supporting her head with her palm, looking rather annoyed while the other kept quiet. They asked me questions about bonding in a dimer and some organic reactions. I had already expected they would ask some questions that I did not know the answer to, so I did not feel too nervous. Again, the interviewers guided me through the questions so I did not feel too devastated at not being able to give them an answer right away.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><figure class="image"><img src=""></figure><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Reflections on the interview and tips for prospective students</strong><br><br>To be honest, I felt I was quite lucky in both interviews because there were no questions that I had no idea of how to approach, even though sometimes I gave the wrong method. I found that they usually started with questions that I could answer since I learnt the concepts in school and I had revised them beforehand. I felt that I revised even harder for the interview than I did for my exams but it was worth it!&nbsp;</p><p><br>&nbsp;</p><p>If anyone was asking me for interview tips, I would say that even if you do not know the answer, try to say something, it might be wrong but at least make sure it’s sensible. If you’re tired and have no idea which direction to head in, ask for a hint. It’s perfectly okay!&nbsp;<br><br>Good luck and I hope that you enjoy the proces</p>