Earth Science interviews

Interview information

This information is for students applying to start university in September 2021. (Information for students applying for 2022 entry will be available in autumn 2021.)

Assessment criteria

The purpose of the interview is to ascertain your academic interests and goals, and to establish whether we offer the type of course you are seeking.

We also hope you will want to ask us questions so you can determine whether our course caters for your intellectual needs and circumstances. We expect an interest in and curiosity about the Earth, rather than any specific knowledge.

Interview format

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year's interviews will be hosted remotely via the Zoom platform.

The formal interview will last approximately 30 minutes in a Structured Interview Format.

The panel will consist of two senior members of staff who will explore your interest in the subject, your grasp of general science and the way you think and link your knowledge together. You will also be given the opportunity to ask your own questions of the panel.

Responding to your interview invitation

You must respond to your interview invitation within two weeks of receiving your invitation by email. We will know you have responded if you:

  • register to attend an event;
  • add your details to the ‘I cannot attend’ option;
  • or contact our Events team to discuss options if neither of the above are appropriate.

If you have not responded to your invitation within two weeks, we will assume you no longer wish to pursue your application at Bristol, and your application will be made unsuccessful.

If you can't attend

If you can't attend an interview on any of the dates available, please select 'I cannot attend these dates' on the registration form so we can contact you. We only have certain dates available for interviews. We will do our best to offer you another slot, but cannot guarantee this. Please note that you must attend an interview as part of the selection process.

Short test before your interview

Before the interview you will be emailed a short test to complete. The test will cover fundamental mathematical areas to assess what level you have reached and there is no pass/fail mark. There is no need to revise or have specific knowledge of earth sciences. You will be given plenty of time to complete and return the test. Your answers will be discussed in the interview.

Preparing for your interview

Familiarise yourself with the Zoom platform

You will be able to join the session using your internet browser (we recommend Google Chrome). Alternatively, you may wish to download the software to your desktop and sign up for a free account in order to get to know the system before the interview. There are some helpful tutorials available here.

Check your internet speed in advance

Do an internet speed test to ensure yours will be at least 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down) for high quality video. If your internet speed in your preferred location is lower than advised, your interview may be at risk of disruption, so we would advise choosing a new location such as a quiet room at your school or college. 

We have prepared a template Interviewee support letter (PDF, 89kB) you might like to use to request interview space at your school or college. We suggest logging onto your Zoom invitation a few minutes prior to your interview start time so you can test your audio and video. 

Choose your location

You should choose a quiet, comfortable location for your interview where you will not be interrupted. If you are not using a desktop computer, make sure that you can comfortably hold or position your device securely to avoid it falling over during your interview. 

Please position yourself so you have a neutral background. Ensure you are well-lit – sitting with a window in front of you is ideal. Try to avoid sitting with a window directly behind you. 

You may find that using a set of headphones is useful to reduce the amount of background noise and improve your overall sound quality. 

What to wear

Wear something smart, but comfortable. Please avoid patterned clothes as these can make visibility difficult on screen. 

Bringing ID

You must present photo ID at the start of your interview. We will just need to see it when you join the interview to verify that you are the candidate we have invited. If you do not have photo ID, you will not be allowed to take part in the interview. 

Examples of suitable photo ID include (but are not limited to):

  • Passport
  • Driving licence or provisional driving licence
  • College photo card
  • NUS photo card.

On the day

Please set up your computer in plenty of time and join the Zoom link at least five minutes before your interview start time. One of your assessors will admit you when they are ready to begin. 

The interview will start with some internet connection and sound checks, followed by your ID check. 

Please make sure you have set up in a quiet room, and have informed anyone you live with not to disturb you during the interview. This includes anyone using streaming services or other activities that could impede your internet connection. 

Once the interview has finished, the assessors will let you know, and the call will be ended promptly. No feedback will be given at this stage. 

If there are any problems with the connection during the interview, you will not be penalised. We will make every effort to get back in contact with you to continue the interview. If we cannot overcome these problems at the time, the interview may need to be rescheduled to a later date. 

After the interview

We aim to contact you with the outcome of your interview within two weeks. In some cases, this decision may take a little longer. We will endeavour to update you as soon as we can via email. 

Please note that while you will likely hear from us within this time period, it is unlikely we will offer you a place on the course until after all of our interviews are completed, therefore you may be placed on hold for several months before you hear our final decision. Please be reassured that we will get in touch with you with a decision as soon as we can; this process simply makes sure all applicants are considered fairly. 

Extra time for interviews

Sufficient time is built into our interview design so that extra time is not required. 

Support for disability

The earth sciences course is academically and physically demanding. If you have a disability, we trust you have taken it into consideration before you apply and that you firmly believe you will be able to perform all of the tasks and responsibilities the course requires. 

To discuss your disability in advance, you can email

For advice on studying with a disability, contact our Disability Services team on +44 (0)117 331 0444 or

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