Most applicants for a place at Trinity are invited to have an interview. Our applicants are usually very able students with excellent academic records, high exam predictions and strong support from their schools. To choose between them we need more information than the application form usually provides. An interview gives us the opportunity to see candidates individually and talk to them about the subject they want to study.
The format of an interview varies from subject to subject. If you are applying for an Arts subject, you should be prepared to talk about your reading outside the school syllabus and to put forward your own views and be able to defend them. If you are a scientist, engineer or mathematician, you will be asked to work through a number of problems which are not entirely standard in type. We are less interested in your conclusions than the methods you use to reach them. The interviews are academically focused, and we don’t set traps or ask trick questions to catch you out.
Further details about the format of interviews in particular disciplines are available on our subject notes pages:
To give you a sense of what interviews are like, we have filmed three mock examples. The first example is specifically for those who applied in 2020, as these interviews are being held remotely. In the video, the student is showing how the process will work: clicking on the email link, going through a waiting room, and then into the interview. In the interview, there are clips showing the use of a whiteboard and the screen share facility. The student is using a Wacom One drawing pad. The second and third interviews are in full, one in the sciences and one in an arts subject.
The questions asked here by our interviewers are similar to those they have asked previously in interviews. The interviewees in all three videos are current Trinity students, who – to make the interview more realistic – are studying different subjects to those for which they were interviewed here. They had not previously met their interviewers or been informed about the questions they would be asked. We’ve kept the setting as close as possible to how interviews actually take place.
Interview 1: Natural Sciences (Biological)
Interviewer: Dr Milka Sarris (Biological Sciences) and Dr John Rudge (Geophysics)
Interview 2: Engineering
Interviewer: Professor Matthew Juniper (Engineering)
Interview 3: Law
Interviewers: Dr Louise Merrett and Dr Ben Spagnolo (both in Law).
Financial support for interview costs
To enable applicants to have their interview, we are pleased to provide support for costs to students who are in local authority care and/or are currently eligible for Free School Meals and who attend a UK maintained sector school/college. Mature applicants in receipt of certain benefits may also be eligible. In 2020, we are happy to help with the costs of purchasing a drawing tablet, if you need one for your interview. We will contact eligible applicants directly with further information when they are invited for interview.