This is Anxin’s experience of a Balliol College Oxford Law Interview – if you’re applying for Law at Oxford, then this will be a great indicator to what you need to think about when it comes to your Law interview.
My Balliol College Oxford Law Interview consisted of two interviews, and both times were with two different interviewers. The first one took place in one of a tutor’s office and the second was in the library (there was no one else in the library but us). Neither were very formal, and the tutors were very friendly and welcoming.
It felt more like an academic debate and discussion rather than a formal interview. They were both one hour long, and I was not given anything to prepare beforehand.
There were no pre-interview assessments for my subject as had already done the LNAT beforehand.
Both interviews consisted mainly of on-site analysis. In the first interview, I was given a piece of statute, one sentence long, which I was asked to explain. The tutors then picked apart my explanation and asked me to elaborate further, as well as giving me situations in which I was asked how to apply the statute. They also asked me about some of my legal experience, which I had put in my personal statement, but this was only for the last 5 minutes of the interview.
In the second interview, I was given various scenarios involving murder and manslaughter, and asked to give my opinion on the possible legal outcomes in those scenarios. The tutors would slightly change the facts every time, and then asked me if I would change my answer. Both interviews were very friendly.
I wasn’t very surprised by the content of the interviews, as they were what I expected based on what I had researched and what people who had interviewed before told me.
They were very subject specific and encouraged me to think on my feet. I was surprised at just how friendly the tutors were, they tried hard to make me feel comfortable and it in no way felt like an interrogation.
I did not actually do a lot of preparation for my interview, as I knew that I would not be asked a lot of questions that required any specific legal knowledge. Instead, the questions were more aimed at seeing how I approach problems and think things through.
I think if I were to do it again I would recommend general legal reading, just to get a feel of how to approach statute and answer problem questions, but no specific legal knowledge is required.
I thought the overall experience was completely fine and in fact quite interesting. It was fun to have an academic debate with the tutors, and they were very good at guiding me towards the right answer if they thought I wasn’t quite on the right track.
Be calm and confident! The tutors are not there to trick you out, but to see how you would thrive in an academic environment, and whether you genuinely want to learn. They are ultimately looking for students that they are happy to teach.