Cambridge Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Interview Questions

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Interview Essentials

There isn’t a huge amount of information available through the Cambridge site about the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology interview process. As such, we’ve largely turned to students to understand what the interviews are like. However, core information that you must be aware of is that the typical offer is A*A*A, and that students must sit the NSAA, or Natural Sciences Admission Assessment entrance exam.

Admissions Statistics for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge

For the most recent set of admissions, there were around 320 applicants. There were 42 accepted onto the course, and the ratio of applications to places was 8:1. This makes Chemical Engineering one of the more competitive courses at Cambridge.

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Interview Key Dates

All Cambridge courses share the same key dates for interview – that means that the majority of interviews are scheduled during the first three weeks of December, and some are at the end of November. Some applicants will be asked to take an additional interview in January after the Winter Pools process.

Interview Format and Purpose for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge

Here, let’s consider feedback from two two Cambridge students. The first explains that they had one interview only. They were provided with some questions to look at before the interview, which mainly focused on maths. They feel that the interview was designed to mirror a supervision very closely. During the interview, they went through each question, and discussed those that they struggled with with the tutor. They felt that asking for help was crucial during the interview – it was a back and forth rather than just them providing the answers to questions. They felt that it was crucial to show the interviewer a willingness to discuss and to show that you’re the right kind of student for a Cambridge course and their method of teaching.

A second student explains that they had two interviews, both of which were 30 minutes long. In the first interview, they were interviewed by two chemical engineers, both of whom focused on conceptual questions related to chemical engineering. Discussion included specific parts of the candidate’s personal statement. One question that required the student to write down some working on paper was also asked. Overall, the interview was relaxed. The second interview was run by a chemist and a materials scientist, and here the content included A Level Chemistry questions, as well as more difficult questions focused on mathematical concepts that the candidate was unfamiliar with.

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Additional Assessments

All applicants for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology are required to sit the NSAA, or Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment. The test is formatted as follows:

  • Section 1: Multiple choice questions in mathematics plus one science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) (60 minutes)
  • Section 2: Extended multiple choice questions in Biology, Chemistry or Physics (60 minutes

In Section 1, you must answer the mathematics questions, but then you can choose between Biology, Chemistry, and Physics – and as such answer a total of two subjects’ worth of questions. You are not allowed to use a calculator in Section 1.

In Section 2, there are three parts – but you need only answer one. Each part has 20 multiple choice questions. Again, this means that you choose between Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and pick your strongest subject. As in part 1, there are no calculators allowed.

You do not have to submit any written work for this course.

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