How To Answer The Hardest Oxbridge Interview Questions

Oxbridge Interview Questions are designed to be incredibly challenging. In this article, we help you answer one of the hardest Oxbridge Interview questions that will be asked: 'Why are you applying to Oxbridge?'

Last Updated: 18th October 2018

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Preparing for an Interview is tough enough, but preparing for some of the hardest Oxbridge Interview questions is even more daunting.

With such high demand from Oxbridge universities, it’s understandable the pressure you feel to get your answers right. Let us help, as we tackle some of the hardest and most asked questions in the Interview process…

What are the hardest Oxbridge interview questions?

The hardest Oxford and Cambridge Interview questions are often the most obvious. One question, in particular, stands out from the rest:

Why are you applying to Oxbridge?

Whilst this might seem like the most obvious Oxbridge Interview question, it does get asked, and it is one question you should really think about before going into the Interview!

It’s also completely understandable to find this the hardest Oxbridge Interview question to deal with. Personal and honest answers are best. Yes, unfortunately, that does mean we can’t prepare your answer for you, however, we can give you the following pointers to think about. Read on to find out what they are.

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1. Show your academic rigour

This point ties in very well with drawing in your own skills and strengths, giving you the chance to show your personality to the interviewer. Can you think of examples that show you are:

  • Hard-working?
  • Diligent?
  • Curious?
  • Are you keen to discuss intellectual topics with top academics?
  • Would you like the opportunity to be working with some of the best in the field?

This is not to say you should regurgitate all the buzzwords, but you should recognise that Oxford and Cambridge are universities that specialise in high-quality academic work. They will look for certain aspects from their applicants.

Most will look for people who are keen to learn, and who will commit very seriously to their studies. To make your answer to this Oxbridge Interview question more personal, try to think of examples that demonstrate your skills! Write these down, reduce them to bullet point form, and practise saying them to other people so that it sounds more natural when the actual Interview comes around.

2. Talk about the tutorial/supervision system

While the tutorial system can be very stressful for any Oxbridge student, there’s no doubt it can also be gratifying, and it is undoubtedly a unique feature of Oxbridge education.

If you’re not super-confident about this last point, don’t worry, we understand that it’s a terrifying concept (especially if you may think you’re not Oxbridge material)! As long as you understand the value of such an exercise and how will it improve your own development, you’re sure to fly through your Interview.

Tutorial at Oxford University

The whole point is to show that you are comfortable and willing to work in the Oxbridge environment. They want to find students that will fit in! Just being yourself and giving it your best shot will really help you to face the hardest Oxbridge Interview questions!

Don’t forget, after all, that the Interview itself is designed to test how you do in this setting. So try and relax into it. Show them that you have thought about it and that you’ll be excited to get your first taste of the tutorial system Oxbridge is famous for!

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3. Mention the collegiate system

The collegiate system is one of the main defining features of Oxford and Cambridge and a very big attraction for many people who want to study at either university. Again though, you should think about why the collegiate system suits you.

Final Words

Don’t forget, you don’t have to enthuse all-positive comments about the Oxbridge system in your Interview. Being thoughtful and realistic will reflect well on you too.

If you do have particular concerns about the collegiate system, or anything else about the Oxbridge set-up, show that you have considered how you might approach your issue and it will strengthen your application and show that you are being genuine.

Looking to improve your Interview performance in preparation for the Oxbridge Interviews?

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UniAdmissions students placed at Oxford And Cambridge

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at Oxford And Cambridge