A Cambridge Interview: Queens’ Computer Science


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A Cambridge Interview: Queens' Computer Science



#Cambridge #Interview #Queens #Computer #Science

Okay yes if you get invited for an interview at Cambridge then that is brilliant news but it’s also quite scary my name is Jake right I once had a Cambridge interview and I must have gone reasonably well because now I’m studying computer science at Queens College right

So I’m dr. rice and this is dr. orchard and we’re going to talk to you for about 30 minutes about why you want to be here and why you want to study computer science Cambridge invite those applicants who have according to the website a realistic chance of being

Offered a place so if you’ve been invited for an interview then be proud I hope you’ve learned by now that there are no trick questions in an interview and all of those myths you’ve heard about Oxbridge interviews are just myths the purpose of an interview is to find

Out how you think it’s not a test of how much you know it’s to see if you can apply existing knowledge to a new situation at Queen’s the interviewers will be trying to find out if you’re genuinely interested in the subject and have the ability to do well at Cambridge

Most applicants will get two interviews in December each interview will usually have two interviewers but there are many exceptions so don’t worry if yours don’t follow this pattern nobody can tell you exactly what you’re going to be asked in your interview but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it firstly what to

Wear wear whatever you feel comfortable in as long as you look presentable it doesn’t matter what you wear and you don’t have to wear a suit if you don’t want to you’re not being assessed on the way that you dress before the interview think about how you’d answer questions

Like why do you want to study computer science or why do you understood a computer science at Cambridge slash relevant subject and university combination okay so thanks for coming this is we’re gonna talk to you for about half an hour about why you want to study computer science and Dominique and

I are both sort of asking questions from time to time we will take notes because we’ve seen a lot of different people and so don’t get freaked out if we start writing or if you don’t write all of these things are not really an indication about how it’s going just

Relax and we’ll write things down what you’re watching is representative of a computer science interview at Queen’s this is the room I had one of my real interviews and today I’m being interviewed by dr. rice and dr. orchard dr. rice is the director of studies for computer science

At Queen’s and dr. altered is a teaching associate at the college they both gave real interviews at Queen’s for Kamsky dr. rice interviewed me three years ago the specific questions that I’m being asked here are not too important because you won’t be asked the same things many important points are raised in this

Interview though the first of which being that you shouldn’t worry about what the interviewers are writing down and you shouldn’t try to guess whether the interview is going well or not based on how the interviewers act also bear in mind that most interviewees think that their interview went badly I thought

Mine had been a disaster but apparently not also don’t worry about things like whether you should shake the interviewers hand or not there is no requirement to do this and whether you do or not will have no effect on the outcome of the interview so and I see

From your math modules that you’ve been doing trigonometry and so maybe you can start this off and draw me a sketch of sine X okay so sine X is the one that starts at zero so it’s like this okay good yeah you’ve got that right so um

Let’s say for example that you weren’t sure because there’s also cars right not sure which ones which so what could you did you’re trying to sort of increase your confidence that that’s actually sine X and not something it’s something else so trigonometry it works well with like

Triangles and you could maybe use those okay so we’re sketch sketch me a triangle and show me how it relates design the interview is a conversation between you and the interviewer about the subject you’ve applied for the many different formats that the interviewer could take you could be asked academic

Questions and work through a problem in the interview in this case the interviewers a lot like is supervision supervillains are one of the main learning methods at Cambridge so the interviewer might try to create that sort of environment to see how you cope alternatively you could have a more

General interview the interview might not even be directly related to your subject you might be asked about your personal statement or you could get some combination of this in one single interview you are likely to get a question that really makes you think and the interviewer will keep pushing you

Until you can’t do it anymore so if you get stuck don’t worry that is kind of the point why is that not good one to try it’s like halfway through the site norm is your triangle when features 180 wait oh okay an important thing to do is to stop and

Think about your answers to questions before you try to give them nobody expects you to already know the answer to everything in fact if you just recite the answer to every question that the interviewer has they can’t learn much about you so the questions might get harder during the interview to force you

To demonstrate your ability to work through a new problem not sure length I should use for the other side’s Suzanne what what triangle would you get if you set for example this length and this length would be the same did you sketch that I said they were

Just both one mm-hmm this is 45 degrees how do you packing maybe that’s 45 because it would be the same as this form and we get yeah well you could add another one of these triangles on the top right then you’ve got a square that’s 90 okay so that’s 45 what can you

Say about sine 45 so it’s gotta be like this side divided by the sine if they’re the same then it’s gonna be one so you say wait what is sine of 45 on this triangle thinking about your equation oh no it’s gonna be this side divided by the hypotenuse yeah okay so then

Hypotenuse is like one square root of one squared plus one squared which is 2 mmm so now we go okay one over root two okay good so does that reinforce our confidence in this graph or diminish it it might reinforce it and you one over root two yeah at least it’s positive

Right for those kind of Earth making mistakes is completely fine and you’re allowed to ask for help as you’re working through the problems think out loud let the interviewers know what’s going on in your head don’t just sit and struggle in silence okay why you sketch

For a sine x over X okay why don’t you why don’t you start with sketching for us 1 over X Y so when this is X this is going to be 1 over X when x is 0 we get 1 divided by 0 so we get the asymptotes

Here and then it does something like this about in for negative values of X so it does like the same thing on this side okay so what about for X equal to minus 2 what’s the value of y then maybe that’s about there so we’d get 1 over minus 2 like minus 1/2

Oh so minus 1/2 is it somewhere down here so is this curve on the right on the Left correct no try to take some time to go over the work you’ve covered at school so far you saw there that I was expected to know some trigonometry from

A level maths also know what in the course that you’re applying for it doesn’t look very good if you get to the interview and you don’t really know what the course is about and I don’t just mean the subject in general take a look at what the course covers and which

Modules you’d be studying you may want to discuss a particular part of the course that interests you with the interviewer right so yeah we don’t really have time to and finish this off you actually need to do a little bit more work as well about weapons at the asymptotes

Let’s be gone in there and talk a bit about your personal statement your personal statement it’s one of the things that got you the interview so you’ll probably be asked about it so it’s a good idea to reread it before the interview so you know what you wrote

For calm ski interview at Queen’s you’re not going to be quizzed on your personal statement but you will be expected to elaborate on some of the points that you made now this is not to catch you out but it’s to give you the chance to demonstrate that you’re really

Interested in the subject because if you’re not well you’re not going to enjoy three years of studying it at Cambridge so you you mentioned in that that you were interested in sort of videoing video blogging so tell me a bit about what you’ve been doing so I make a

Lot of computer science related videos for YouTube I’ve got quite a few programming tutorials on that menu like web related languages I’m quite interested in in the like the website of things because I think that’s quite important okay so you said you said these programming language tutorials

Would tell me about one that you did recently what was it about the last one I did was PHP and I’d lots of them they’re just like an introduction to the language to try to help other people and I plan to do some more advanced ones when I get a chance

So how do you decide when you want when you’re doing these videos what you’re going to put in how do you how do you decide how you’re going to explain PHP to somebody else what’s your thinking presence I watched a lot of the other ones that were already on the internet

And tried to figure out why there weren’t as good as they could have been practice talking about your subject and maybe try to arrange some practice interviews this will work better if you do it with people you don’t know very well and this can help you get used to

Talking about your subject and putting your thoughts into words as you work through problems let’s say I gave you the hotline into Google right and you’ve got it you’ve got the whole YouTube and engineering team here maybe on teleconference and you can sort of tell them you know what new features they

Should provide in YouTube to try and help you do kind of quality assurance what what what things you think you might ask them to build so people can already leave comments but if you could sort of have like a questionnaire style system where people are forced to answer specific

Questions maybe that could work it did useful to know like when people have stopped watching the video and that’s one of the statistics that they provide so you can you can figure out which bits people are interested in and and try to change that for the next one to keep

Them engaged for longer do you how do you think you could Google with build functionality like that how would it actually work in practice as you can see the topic of the interview is based on my personal statement and the questions are all relevant to the direction that

The conversation is taking when you hear ridiculous Oxbridge interview questions like would you rather be an apple or a banana they sound crazy and intimidating but that’s because they’re taken out of context I’m sure out of all of the crazy questions you’ve heard the ones that are

Actually real made a lot more sense at the time you’re just missing the 20 minutes of conversation that happened before the question was asked now you mentioned on your personal statement that you’re interested in programming languages and Java titli how do you compare Java and PHP what are the

Relative advantages and disadvantages of each language PHP is generally a lot easier just to quickly get something up and running Java it’s it’s like it has a bit more overhead eclipse for a big project I think Java is more manageable great to see that overhead talk coming

From up here PHP is it has object-oriented features but it doesn’t force you to to be as like object-oriented as Java does where you need to make classes and laughter even if you just want to write one line of code I’ve been asked some detailed questions about comparing PHP

And Java but that’s because I said I was interested in them in my personal statement if you want to apply for computer science do not worry if you haven’t done a lot of programming you’d just be asked two different questions read around your subject in your spare

Time though you should be able to demonstrate a genuine passion for your subject that extends further than an a-level course and you may be able to discuss particular parts of the subject that interest you in the interview if you show an interest in them so could

You describe for me the ways in which types are used in both Java and PHP Java is a lot stricter with types the PHP is that you don’t have to to tell it you don’t have to give it variables types it just seems to figure it out to itself

Java is it called statically typed you need to you need to define it for every variable these are not the questions I got asked in my real interview three years ago and they’re not the questions you’ll be asked either the interviews are there to get the best out of you so

Don’t panic when you hear about what other people have been asked okay great well thanks very much Jake we’ve just about run out of time so before we finish is there any questions you want to ask us the interview will end with a chance for you to ask any questions you

May have you don’t have to ask anything by this point the interview is over this bit is not a test and if you don’t have a real question you’re probably better off not asking anything instead of coming up with something stupid on the spot don’t ask anything that can easily

Be answered by looking in the prospectus or looking on the website and you probably don’t want to ask about the interviewers research because it’s not really relevant to your application and they don’t have time to tell you about years worth of research the next interviewee is probably sitting outside

By now great so I think you’ve got and one more interview today and then your thinking skills test this afternoon so best of luck and it’s very nice to meet you thanks very much remember that the interview adds to the rest of your application the interview alone is not

Going to make a break your chance of getting in so relax and be yourself good luck with any interviews that you have I hope this has helped give you a better idea about at least what a calm Sookie interview is like if you have more questions about admissions and

Interviews at Queens then you can email the admissions office they’ll be happy to help same goes for other colleges and I’m sure the universities have something very similar to learn more about life at Cambridge from my point of view then please subscribe thanks for watching


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