Five Common Mistakes In University Law Interviews

Making mistakes is typically how you would learn. Making mistakes in your Law Interview, however, is not the time to do so. When you need to impress the most, knowing what these common mistakes people make are will set you on course for a successful Interview.

Author: Chloe Hewitt

Table of Contents

Interviews are an important step in the Law application process, so nerves are to be anticipated.

With nerves though can come mistakes, which at such an important stage of the application process can prove costly.

That is why it is important to be aware of the common mistakes people make to ensure you do not repeat them in your Interview.

Key Points To Consider

You have been invited to the Interview as the Admissions Tutors feel you have the potential to succeed on the course, this is your opportunity to prove that to them and demonstrate you are worthy of being accepted onto the course.

The Interviews are a high-pressure situation, with many candidates crumbling at what is the most important stage and not doing themselves any justice.

With the aspirations of heading into the field of law and potentially ending up working as a lawyer, it is paramount you are able to show you can handle these high-pressure situations that you may face in a courtroom.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the Interview is designed to act as a mini tutorial/supervision – especially in the case of Oxbridge as it is important for the Admissions Tutors to see how you work in those conditions as that is their chosen teaching format.

Ultimately, chances are you will come out of your Interview feeling like you could have done more and that not everything went perfectly. Instead of trying to figure out how to have a perfect Interview, knowing what mistakes to avoid will go a long way in helping to feel more prepared.

Mistake 1: Messing Up The Ice-Breaker Questions

Seemingly the easiest questions of the Interview, although they likely will not make your Interview they can certainly break it.

These are the questions asked in the early portion of the Interview and are mostly personal questions. Do not go into the Interview thinking these are just questions you can wing your way through – they still require preparation.

Your Personal Statement will be an important factor in this so do take the time to re-read what you had written as the Admissions Tutors will have read it themselves and will use it as a springboard for the first few questions that they ask you.

Further to this, refresh your knowledge on any books or legal theory you have written about as the Admissions Tutor will certainly know what it entails. It may even be the case that the Admissions Tutors have written about these theories themselves and want to see your thoughts on them.

Other questions that may come up in this section will likely include your motivations for applying for Law, possibly the easiest question you will be asked in the Interview, so it is important to not overcomplicate your answer unnecessarily.

Mistake 2: Sticking To Your Guns

Admissions Tutors will often challenge the points and views that you present, as they want to see if you are receptive to alternate views and opinions.

You may be tempted to defend your ideas and refuse to back down, even relish the opportunity to do so. This is an unwise stance to take.

As previously mentioned, think of the Interview as a tutorial/supervision to get the most out of the discussion with the tutor. The Admissions Tutors want to see if they can teach you in those contexts.

You would not turn up to a tutorial and refuse to acknowledge any of the criticisms from your tutor, so you should not do the same at the Interview.

It is particularly tempting to do this when asked closed questions, such as “do you agree that judges should be elected?” this provokes a “yes” or “no” answer. By answering such a question with “yes” or “no” you are committing yourself to a position before really considering it fully.

Subsequently, you also compel the Admissions Tutor to take the opposite stance in order to unpack your ideas. Thus, you are no longer having a challenging discussion but rather an argument.

It is important to strike the balance between defending your ideas whilst also accepting the suggestions from the Admissions Tutor. However, do not end up just simply listing points instead of forming a constructed argument.

Mistake 3: Staying Silent

There is no need to rush through to the right answer. Take your time to figure out the approach that you want to take.

Often with the kinds of questions that the Admissions Tutors will ask throughout the Interview, there will be different ways of approaching the question.

The Admissions Tutor is much more interested in the method and reasoning that you use to reach your conclusion rather than the answer itself.

Talking through your answer you will likely have a much more defendable answer, and you will be able to pick up where you are going wrong and correct yourself along the way.

If you sit in silence, you are wasting time, the Admissions Tutor cannot give you credit for thinking in your head. Furthermore, they cannot interject and offer assistance if you start heading off-topic.

You think better when you are speaking, thinking happens not in your head but when you articulate those thoughts. Thus, when you speak you often have the clearest idea of what you are actually thinking and establish new ideas and make new connections.

Mistake 4: Relying On Your Achievements

Having an impressive list of achievements will likely be what has gotten you the Interview in the first place, and the Admissions Tutor will be fully aware of them.

Ultimately, they are not what the Interview is about, so do not think you can go into the Interview and boast about them.

The purpose of the Interview is so the Admissions Tutor can look beyond these achievements to find out more about who you are.

You need to be able to demonstrate your intelligence by engaging in academic discussion, it is not enough to say you have won an award in a related area.

Harris-Manchester-College-Oxford

Relating to this, it is important to not be arrogant. Do not assume that just because you have been invited for an Interview there is a place with your name on it due to your academic achievements.

If you come across as overly cocky, you may find that the Admissions Tutor does not warm to you. Remain professional and put your opinion across respectfully.

Try not to hijack the conversation so that you can boast about your achievements, you need to demonstrate this by engaging in academic discussion.

Mistake 5: Confusing The Course With Another One

Reading up on the course in detail is a basic expectation, so making any kind of mistake about what it involves can have serious consequences.

You will likely be interviewing for a number of different universities and reading up on their course content. Be mindful of talking about a subject that is not on the course because you have confused it with that of another university as it will not go down well with your Admissions Tutor.

All this would do is make it obvious you have not effectively prepared for your Interview. Although you cannot prepare for every question, what the contents of the course you are applying for is made up of is something you can prepare. 

It is also advisable to avoid asking questions about the course content, you may think it shows you are taking an interest when really it shows you have not read up on the course.

Before the Interview, it would be helpful to refresh your memory about the course content by going through the course details in the prospectus to avoid this happening.

Conclusion

These mistakes are all avoidable, they may be common but that is because candidates are lulled into the false sense they are actually bettering their Law Interview. 

Preparing effectively for the Interview will be the best way to avoid these happening. Preparation will always be key to doing well, and you will be less likely to make mistakes in general as you will not be as nervous. 

We can help ensure you avoid making mistakes in your Law Interview.

We have expert tutors on hand to help you in your preparation for your Law Interview. They will teach you how to Interview effectively and successfully. 

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