Dec 28, 2022

Written By Lauren Ainscough

How do I prepare for a Cambridge law interview?

Dec 28, 2022

Written By Lauren Ainscough

Let’s set the scene: you’ve been nervously awaiting a response from the Cambridge college you applied to when you finally get invited to interview! Amidst all the excitement, panic begins to set in- how on earth do I prepare? In this article we hope to alleviate feelings of panic by breaking down how to prepare for your Cambridge Law interview and what you can expect from it.

Read read read!

Conducting further reading on a particular topic that interests you and that you think you might want to talk about in your interview can be very useful. You can, to a degree, shape the interview by displaying an interest in particular topics you’re asked about, and reading widely allows you to gain a variety of perspectives and opinions on specific areas of law that are of interest to you.

When reading, it is important to keep in mind that your interviewers do not expect you to have any prior knowledge of law but are instead focussing on your thought processes and ability to defend a logical argument. Therefore, the purpose of wider reading is not to understand every part of a legal book or article you come across. Instead, it allows you to discover some areas of interest and gain a variety of perspectives that can help you more confidently form arguments and opinions in your interview.

There is a vast amount of reading you could do to prepare which can come from a variety of sources. The best thing to do is to find information that is clear and appealing to you, but usually a good way to feel prepared is by reading about one article a day.

Keep up to date

On a similar note, it is important that you stay up to date with current events and major issues in the world that may have an impact on the legal sphere, such as Brexit and climate change. Make sure you form your own opinions on these current events and issues, as well as acknowledging and working through any potential counterarguments you can think of.

Newspapers, articles, blog posts and podcasts can be great ways for you to keep up with current, law-related affairs. It can also be useful to follow legal commentators on Twitter (such as The Secret Barrister and Joshua Rozenberg) as they often share useful, topical articles and provide interesting, bitesize perspectives on current issues impacting the law.

Know your personal statement inside out

Some interviewers may ask you about something on your personal statement, while others may not mention it at all. So, it is vital that you are very familiar with your personal statement, especially with those books that you may or may not have name dropped! When re-reading your personal statement, think about why you have mentioned certain things (such as books or extra-curricular activities) and how you might elaborate on these if asked.

Knowing your personal statement inside and out can therefore be a great way of feeling prepared for your interview, reassuring you that you could talk ample amounts about it in the event that you are quizzed on it.

Think about possible questions

Although you can never know for sure what will come up during your interview, you should bear in mind that you’ll be asked questions related to the course you’ve applied for and (likely) the information provided in your personal statement.

Most interviewers are likely to ask some quite standard questions, such as why you want to study law as an academic subject and why you want to study it at Cambridge in particular. Anticipating such questions and having a brief idea of how you would answer them is a very useful way to prepare for an interview, reassuring you that you won’t be thrown off if they do come up.


Practice makes perfect

An invaluable way to prepare for your interview is to practise explaining your opinions and thought processes out loud in response to unknown questions. It is a myth that you need an ‘expert’ to help with this or that you need to pay for support- all you need is a friend, family member or teacher to help you.

A mock interview should help you to practise responding to questions on the spot about your subject and wider interests in a pressurised environment (so that you can hopefully feel calmer in the real thing).

You should be careful not to over rehearse your answers or use mock interviews as a chance to produce pre-prepared responses for your actual interview, as interviewers are more interested in your line of reasoning when reaching a conclusion rather than necessarily giving a ‘right’ answer. Practice focusing on the journey, rather than the destination.


University Interviews