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Oxbridge interviews- how to prepare:

The Oxbridge interviews are well underway. Many applicants will have received their interview date, and it will now be a tense time, as they prepare for the big day. What can they do to prepare? We asked our Oxbridge graduate tutors for their advice.

It’s all about the practice

Lydia, (Social Anthropology, Oxford) says, practice, practice, practice. The more mock interviews you can do the better as you will get used to thinking out loud, exploring different concepts, and getting more confident in your presentation skills. Be prepared Jordan (Biochemistry, Oxford) says it is vital to be really prepared, revisit your personal statement, refamiliarize yourself with the articles or books you have referenced, read widely around your subject to make sure you are up to date with what is going on in your field. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong

Hugo (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Oxford) says that often there are no right or wrong answers and the questions are designed to see how you think. He advises exploring a balanced answer, analysing both sides of an argument. Don’t worry if your thinking takes you down a dead end, acknowledge it and then keep going. The Professors are not expecting students to know it all at this stage – after all that is why you are applying to go to University to learn more! They are interested in seeing if you are teachable. Thinking out loud

Duc (Natural Sciences, Cambridge) remembers how nervous he felt but once he got into the interview he really enjoyed being asked to think differently. Although it was challenging to work through a problem out loud, he knew that the only way to impress was to draw on his existing knowledge and see how he could apply it in a new situation. He would advise just plunging into answering the questions and think out loud so the interviewers can see your thought processes. Final Advice

Lucy, Oxbridge Consultant at Carfax Education has helped prepare dozens of students for interview and she offers the following tips.

  • Be prepared

  • Be calm

  • Make sure you are up to speed

  • Ensure you are well rested ahead of the interview

  • Be confident in your opinions and be polite.

  • But most of all be yourself!

Some questions to practice!

  • Why are big, fierce animals so rare? (Natural Sciences)

  • When an ice cube melts in a glass of water, does the water level increase, decrease or stay the same? (Natural Sciences)

  • Differentiate between power and authority (PPE)

  • What makes a short story different to a novel? (Modern Languages)

  • Why haven’t there been many French Operas (Modern Languages)

  • Are there too many people in the world? (Economics and Management)

  • Why would playing sport make you a better economist (Economics)

  • Where does honesty fit into Law (Law)

  • How would you describe a human to a person from Mars (Medicine)

  • Should someone sell their kidney? (Medicine)


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