Top login menu

Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Selection assessments

Main page content

This page summarises the most common selection assessment processes used and gives a provisional indication of the subjects to which they apply. Definitive arrangements for each subject are provided when candidates are invited for interview.


Interviews are used in all subjects.  They give you the opportunity to talk about your interests and to respond to problems and new ideas just as you might if studying at Cambridge. You will usually have at least two interviews, with two interviewers in each interview discussion. Students selected for interview are usually invited to Cambridge in December but some may be eligible to  attend an overseas interview.

We do not offer Skype, online or telephone interviews because we prefer to offer students directly comparable interview assessments either here in Cambridge or in designated overseas interview centres.

Pre-interview assessments

These are written assessments, usually two hours in length, usually held in schools in early November. Pre-interview written assessments will take place in the following subjects:

Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Chemical Engineering (via Engineering and via Natural Sciences), Economics, Engineering, English, Geography, History, History & Modern Languages, History & Politics, Human, Social & Political Sciences, Land Economy, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Psychological & Behavioural Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine.

At-interview written assessments

These are written assessments, usually one hour in length, held at a similar time and at a similar location to the interviews. At-interview written assessments will take place in the following subjects: Archaeology, Architecture, Classics, Computer Science, History & Modern Languages, History of Art, Law, Linguistics, Modern & Medieval Languages and Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion.

In Maths students sit a college test before interview. These questions are deliberately quite challenging and students discuss how to solve these problems during the interview using the work they did in the test as a starting point.

School written work

Some subjects ask to see examples of marked written work from your school studies. Where these are requested they may form the basis of some of the interview discussion. Where such written work is not available (perhaps because you have studied in a different language or different qualification system) we will make an alternative arrangement (on a case by case basis).  School written work may still be required in some subjects, usually: ASNC (Anglo Saxon, Norse & Celtic), AMES (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies), Classics, English, History of Art, History, Hisotry & Politics, History & Modern Languages, Land Economy, Linguistics, Music, Psychological & Behavioural Sciences, and Theology, Religion and Philosophy and Religion.


Pre-reading at interview

Some subjects ask you to read a passage during a short period of time set aside before your interview.  During the interview you will be asked questions about this passage to assess what you understood from it. Pre-reading is quite common for several subjects including: History, Human, Social & Political Sciences, Modern Languages, Psychological & Behavioural Sciences, Theology.