Ed Sheeran, porn and David Beckham’s autobiography: 10 of the weirdest and wackiest questions in Cambridge admission interviews

Oh, and what did France SMELL like 200 years ago?

beckham Cambridge ed sheeran interview

It’s that time of year again.

Some 16,500 have come – but only 3,500 shall conquer.

Over the past three weeks, thousands of fresh-faced teens have been agonising over their futures, desperately craving that Postman Pat pops by to confirm their place in the hallowed halls of Cambridge.

For many, the dreaded interviews may well have sealed their fate. As their hands clammed up and the sweat slid across their brow, they hoped to be dealt a generous hand and escape with their dreams intact.

Unfortunately, certain interviewers have other plans in mind. So, here at The Tab, we put our heads together and took a trip down memory lane, returning to the scenes of our fateful interviews and reliving the ‘What The F***?’ moments that sent our heads spinning.

So sit back, put your thinking caps on and come up with your answers to 10 of the weirdest and wackiest questions that we (or our friends) were asked at interview.


 

1. “As we consider this Guy de Maupassant short story, how do you compare the differences between absorbing pornography and literature?” (Modern and Medieval Languages, Jesus College)

2. “Compare the historical impact of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich and modern day pop icon Ed Sheeran” (History, Magdalene College)

3. “If you had a time machine and could go back to any historical moment, where would you go – and why?” (History, Pembroke College)

4. “If you were shrunk down to the size of a penny and put in a blender, and told you had 60 seconds to get out, what would you do?” (Medicine, Peterhouse)

5. “What does David Beckham’s autobiography share in common with the protagonist of 16th-century Spanish work Lazarillo de Tormes?” (Modern and Medieval Languages, Jesus College)

6. “What did France smell like 200 years ago?” (History, St. John’s College)

7. “Do you think Mao was friendly. Was he a nice person?” (AMES [Chinese], Queens College)

A top bloke, by all accounts

A top bloke, by all accounts

8. “If you were a Martian and had gone planet-hopping, which three things would you bring back home to represent Earth?”  (HSPS, Magdalene College)

Surely a Tab mug

Surely a Tab mug

9. “Analyse this Persian vase from the 4th century BC” (HSPS, Trinity College)

Student’s response: “If you have it in your room, you clearly have very disappointing taste.”

10. And finally, one from The Other Place: “Here is a piece of paper with a stick man drawn on it – is this you?” (PPE, Oxford)