The aim of the university is to find out whether you are suited to the course, and have the academic ability to do well in it.
You should expect questions that test your knowledge, reasoning and critical thinking, although the exact questions will vary depending on the subject you are applying for.
Don't worry if you don't understand the question - ask them to repeat it or rephrase the question, make an educated guess or try to relate it to something you know better.
The interviewers might surprise you with some of their questions, but they are asked to see how you react under pressure. Don't feel intimated or panic - just answer the best you can.
You should also try to prepare a few questions for the tutors too - this shows them your enthusiasm for the subject, and is a chance to find out more about topics you enjoy.
Why do universities hold interviews?
Universities hold interviews to try and gauge your interest in the course and to convince you to choose their university.
They might also lower your offer conditions based on interview performance. Some universities might also conduct Skype interviews to make sure that overseas students are able to speak fluent English.
How long does a university interview last?
University interviews can last anywhere from 10 or 15 minutes to around an hour.
Sometimes there is only one interviewer, but in other interviews there might be two or three depending on the subject you are applying for.
You can normally expect at least two tutors interviewing you if you are applying to Oxbridge.
How do I pass a university admissions interview?
To have the best chance of being successful in your university interview, we recommend you:
Prepare answers for common questions. Most universities will want know your answers to, "Why do you want to study the subject?" and, "Why do you want to go to this university?". Have your responses to these questions ready off the bat.
Go through your personal statement. You might be asked about some of the things you've written here so make sure you know what you wrote.
Make sure you can go on the given date. You won't be given a place if you don't show up, so if you can't make it, contact the university to rearrange to a date you can make.
Remember to bring any additional documents. You might be asked to bring a portfolio of your work if you are applying for a creative arts course. Make sure you remember to bring it as much of your interview will be focused on this work.
Arrive on time. This will avoid adding any unnecessary stress.
Dress smartly and comfortably. An interview is not the time to make a fashion statement.
Do some of your own interviewing. If appropriate, use the interview as a chance to ask your own questions so prepare some in advance. It will show that you're engaged in the course and interested in the university.
Try to relax and enjoy it! You've earned this interview based on merit and with proper preparation and honest answers there is nothing to worry about.
What do I wear to a university interview?
You should always make the effort and dress smartly for your interview, although this doesn't mean you have to wear a suit (especially since these can be expensive!).
If you already own a suit, then by all means, feel free to wear it. However, if you're not comfortable with formal attire, we recommend opting for an office-casual outfit, which might include smart trousers and jacket for men, and trousers, skirts and dresses for women.
Whatever you do, DON'T wear jeans - this is not the occasion for something so informal. You should also keep any jewellery and piercings to a minimum, and dress modestly (so no low-cut tops or shorts, etc.).
Pick a comfy pair of shoes for your interview day. Remember, there may be some walking around involved, so high heels might not be practical.
If you're still unsure, just stick to clothes that are smart, neat and tidy, especially if you are applying for something fairly academic such as medicine or dentistry.
However, don't feel you have to splurge and spend loads of money on an outfit! You can find reasonably priced smart-casual clothes in many high street shops or online.