Dear St John’s College, Cambridge,

Could you please provide me with a selection of questions used for computer science interviews preferably from recent admissions cycles as well as a copy of the CSAT paper used by colleges in the 2015-16 cycle.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Cooper

Freedom of Information Officer, St John’s College, Cambridge

Dear Mr Cooper,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information application regarding Computer
Science admissions. I am sorry, but the College is not able to provide you
with the information requested on the following grounds:
Interview questions: The purpose of any interview process is to provide
the candidates with a level playing-field. General advice is given for
anyone coming to interview in order to give a reasonable idea of what to
expect. That advice can be found here
[1] but
beyond that the College engages exemption 36(2)(c) 'information the
disclosure of which under the Act, would prejudice (or be likely to
prejudice) the effective conduct of public affairs'. Disclosure of the
withheld information would be likely to prejudice the fairness of the
selection process because it could lead to the selection of candidates who
might recite flawless answers to interview questions that had been
plagiarised or prepared by a third party.  The ability of the College to
objectively assess the merit of individual candidate’s applications would
be likely to be compromised as a result.  Any act that might prejudice the
fairness of the selection process – such as the disclosure of the withheld
information– would be likely to prejudice the College’s, and more broadly
the University’s conduct of their mission and therefore the effective
conduct of public affairs because the interview process would cease to
test a candidate’s ability to express their unrehearsed and unscripted
understanding of, and suitability for, a given subject.
CSAT paper: The College is not in possession of a copy of the 2015/16 CSAT
paper, and therefore has no information to disclose.
If you are dissatisfied with my response you may seek an internal review
in writing setting out the grounds for review. It will be dealt with by a
College Officer. Should you not be satisfied with the outcome of the
review, you will have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner by
writing to him at Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Yours sincerely
Samantha Lewsey
St John's College
Registered Charity No:  1137428

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