Schools Interview Exchange

24 November 2023

This week, we welcomed five state schools to join our Upper Sixth (Year 13) pupils at Downe House for our annual Interview Exchange event. This year was our biggest Exchange yet – five partner schools and 106 pupils!

The aim of the event is to allow all students to be interviewed by someone that is both a subject specialist, but also someone unknown to them, making it as close to a real interview as we can get.

Thank you to Camilla from the Upper Sixth for sharing her experience of the event.

The Schools Interview Exchange event culminated preparations for those of us in Upper Sixth applying to Oxford, Cambridge and medical school, including myself, applying for English. We were privileged to meet local students from five other schools – St Barts, Trinity, Kennet, The Downs and Park House – who much like us, were all in the midst of the application process.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the event was the mock interview arranged for each student, with a specialist distinctly chosen for our subject, a teacher from a different school, who could mimic the Oxbridge interview style and had no pre-existing information on us, except our personal statements.

It was an evening full of challenging conversations, which helped us to acclimatise to the inherent pressure that comes with interviewing. It was also very enjoyable being able to converse with other students and teachers who are as equally passionate about our subjects!

Thank you to Dr Atherton (Director of Learning and Research, Teacher of English) and the Futures team for arranging such a worthwhile event, it was not only useful for those of us going into forthcoming Oxbridge interviews but challenged all of us to think about our subjects on a more complex, profound level which will be demanded of us at university.

Thank you to our neighbouring schools for joining us for this event and well done to all the pupils who participated. We wish all the pupils the best of luck with their Higher Education applications and interviews.

To find out more about how we support our students’ higher education applications at Downe, click here.

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