Interviewing in: Natural Sciences

Background on subject

Natural Sciences (NST) offers a wide range of physical and biological science subjects from 16 departments in a unique and demanding course. A broad first year is combined with increasing specialisation in the second year and the possibility of total specialisation in the third year.

The breadth of the course reflects the blurring of boundaries between the different sciences and before committing yourself to one department you study a variety of subjects, some of which may be new to you. This means you can change your mind about which subject to specialise in.

The Natural Sciences course is only offered at Cambridge University. Students have to sit the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment.

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Can I interview in this subject?

You do not have to have studied Natural Sciences 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 Natural Sciences interviews:


Interview types

There are two different types of practice interviews in Natural Sciences, 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 Natural Sciences 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.”