Received an unexpected email from Cambridge University today. I’ve passed the first phase of selection and being called in for an Interview! Here is part of the message they have in their reply.

Dear Shaun,

I write in connection with your application to Wolfson College, Cambridge to read for a degree in Engineering starting in October 2009.

A programme of interviews has been arranged in Singapore on certain dates within the period from 20th October to 5th November and I can invite you to attend as follows for interview and to take a written test. Special preparation is not expected though you should be reasonably familiar with schoolwork in relevant areas:

1. INTERVIEW
At Raffles Institution and Junior College, 10 Bishan Street 21, Singapore. We expect that you will be interviewed by [Interviewer name here]. Please note that a proportion of interviews this year will be recorded as an experiment; these will be treated as confidential and no permanent record will be kept.

2. WRITTEN TESTS
For most Singapore-based and some other applicants at Hwa Chong Junior College, 661 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore. Your Written Test would be a multi-choice Thinking Skills Assessment Test of 90 minutes duration and and you will also be required to answer ONE question as specified in a supplementary 30 minute Essay Section. Those taking the TSA will require a soft pencil and an eraser. You may NOT use a calculator but you MAY USE a dictionary (book or electronic). Although some of the questions may be based on an A-level examination syllabus, allowance will be made for the different background of candidates taking other examinations such as the International Baccalaureate.

Based on the details, there will indeed be 2 sessions held on 2 separate days, one being strictly a test day (TSA), where candidates will face a 90+30 min test with 50 MCQs and an essay. The second session will largely be a face to face interview with their college representative. So I guess it will be a casual face to face interview without any tests.

This is however, contrary to what I learnt previously about the interviews all held in a single taxing session- with an interview being held immediately after the test. Given that, that is where candidates have to explain the questions in the interview itself (only where the interviewer can grade your thinking skills and assessment).

I’ve read up quite abit on the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) on Cambridge website and from what I know it’s more of a test focusing much on testing your “unlearnt knowledge” but I am still skeptical on simply going for the test “as it is” and maybe not doing any justice to myself by not preparing extensively for it. Moreover, was told too my by lecturers that going through my curriculum and prepare beforehand will help a considerable bit, not to mention confidence as well.

I guess it’s time to hit the books for some revision every night, otherwise I think I will be putting myself at a disadvantage to eh mainstream ‘A’ Level students. I guess I will temporaily put all my full-time freelance jobs on hold from this weekend onwards so I can concentrate more on preparing myself for this big day.

If you have anything to share with regards to what I can expect in the test and interviews, feel free to share your tips. You need not have to been through it yourself!

2 COMMENTS

    • hey mice. Thanks! Me getting all jittery from the idea of the interview less than 2 weeks ago. Maybe I should read a Physics textbook chapter every night before I sleep from today on!

      Wait there is math too.

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