The first interview of my Keble College Oxford Archaeology & Anthropology interview was in college and conducted by a couple of different tutors from the college. It probably lasted half an hour. There was no pre-interview test, nor anything to write down during the interview, but there were clearly set questions the tutors had prepared, as well as some free flowing exploration of various topics.
The second interview was in the Archaeology department with a tutor from a different college and was altogether more conversational and generally more relaxed.
In the first interview we spent a fair amount of time discussing my background reading. We also went through ‘classic’ questions, such as why I wanted to study Archaeology & Anthropology and why it was an important part of the wider academic discourse.
In the second interview we discussed some of the artifacts on his desk, the psychology of the American populous and how it related to their history, and soil stratification and object dating methodologies.
The process wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be. The interviewers were pretty friendly on the whole and I wasn’t asked anything groundbreaking.
They aren’t looking for the finished product, they want someone with a passion for the subject and who they think they will be able to teach.
I did some background reading, work experience at the British Museum, did a series of mock interviews, and went to see a professional consultant, all of which meant I was relatively prepared on day although that didn’t exactly calm my nerves!
Were I to do a Keble College Oxford Archaeology & Anthropology Interview again I would have prepared even more comprehensively to be honest. More mocks, some tuition in the subject, and more background reading of books and relevant journals for sure. The process is far more professional now than when I did it too, and I know that the quantity and standard of preparation now compared to when I applied 15 years ago is in a different league.
I mostly enjoyed it, well once I was in there anyway. It’s was generally an enjoyable intellectual conversation and if that’s not something you enjoy, you probably shouldn’t be in the room anyway. What it’s fair to say I didn’t enjoy was the build up, the waiting to be interviewed, the sitting outside the room waiting to be called and the associated nerves!
Read deeply and prepare well before the interview. Take time to breathe and think before you answer the question. Explore the questions with the interviewer and always try and demonstrate a depth of though rather than superficial answers.
Cultivate in yourself a deep intellectual curiosity for the world in which we live and the people who inhabit it. Find ways to demonstrate that to the admissions process through your reading, interests, work experience, projects, and in how you come across in interviews when you get to that stage.