Interviewing in: Biology

Background on subject

The Biology course encompasses a variety of areas- topics such as cell biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology and ecology. 

At Oxford the course structure encourages a cross-disciplinary approach.

At Cambridge, Biology is not offered as a separate discipline but is incorporated into the Natural Sciences course. The course offers the chance for students to study a wide range of scientific disciplines before specialising.

For Oxford the subject requirements for students are A-level Biology and an A-level in either Chemistry, Physics or Maths.

For Cambridge, the subject requirements are two science or maths A-levels.

For Oxford, you do not need to take a written test when you apply for this course.

For Cambridge, students have to sit the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment.


Can I interview in this subject?

You do not have to have studied Biology at university to give a robust and rigorous practice interview in this subject.

Volunteers from the following subjects, or similar, will also be able to deliver Biology interviews:


Interview types

There are two different types of practice interviews in Biology, which you may be asked to deliver. 

  1. Interview on 'application material' - asking the students' questions about their personal statement, or an essay they will submit as part of their application

  2. Interview on 'unseen material' - asking the students' questions on an article, study, or research paper they have not seen before, testing how they handle new material

SAMPLE Resources

Below you can access a folder of resources for conducting Biology interviews:

  1. Interview on application material - you can see a sample personal statement, highlighted with examples of questions which could be asked

  2. Interview on unseen material - you can see examples of articles which have previously been given to students, along with questions

These resources are intended for inspiration - to give you an idea of the level, length and themes of the material we use in our practice interviews. However, should you wish to use this material in the practice interviews you deliver, just let us know so we can make sure returning students haven't seen it before!


Isabel graduated with a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and went on to do a PHD in Plant Microbiology at the University of Oxford.

She currently works at the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs, as a Policy Advisor in the Forestry Team. Previously she worked at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, specialising in Brexit policy.

Isabel’s advice to students on their interviews is: “Know what drives you to study the subject, and what makes you most passionate within that.”