All you need to prepare for the Oxford Maths Interview
What happens at an Oxford maths interview? How can I prepare? Can I answer the questions? Interviews are daunting, don’t get us wrong, but there are simple steps to take to ease your worries. Knowing the process and how best to prepare is a good starting point….
The Typical Process of an Oxford Maths Interview
At an Oxford maths interview, candidates will typically have at least two interviews in their first college. This is followed by at least one interview at another college. The precise number of interviews at any one college tends to vary slightly. A candidate may find they have slightly more or less than the average once they arrive in mid-December.
In any case, these interviews will take place over a three-day period. Candidates will not be asked back for a further interview beyond the dates given in their invitation to interview. Further practical details to the Oxford Maths interview can be found on the university’s mathematical institutes page.
What questions will I be asked?
A typical Oxford mathematics interview tends to last approximately 25 minutes. The focus of the interviews is almost entirely on mathematics and solving mathematical problems. Other parts of the interview may focus on the other things candidates included in their personal statement.
Beyond this, the kinds of topics candidates end up talking about can vary. You may, for example, be asked to talk about an area of mathematics you are studying about which you are particularly interested. This is a great way to show your enthusiasm and passion for the subject. It also demonstrates your commitment to a very intensive four-year study of the discipline.
For an Oxford mathematics interview, much more emphasis is placed on thinking through a problem and explaining your thought process. This can take the form of activities such as asking candidates to solve a particular problem. It can also involve being given a mathematical definition and being asked to ascertain some of the circumstances.
The important thing to note here is that Oxford mathematics interviews are not requiring you to know the correct answer right away. Tutors will tend to provide prompts to help you arrive at the right answer. Typical questions for Oxford mathematics interviews have been provided by the university.
Preparation is Key
The mathematics faculty stresses that for an Oxford Mathematics interview they do not expect candidates to have read widely around the subject. Although there is a wide range of interesting and complex books available for high-level mathematical subjects, they tend to be rather difficult. Tutors would prefer preparation time is spent trying to solve problems on or related to your syllabus at school.
What is important when preparing for the Oxford mathematics interview is practicing explaining your thought process, and talking through a mathematical problem. The Oxford mathematics faculty stresses this a lot and recommends arranging a practice interview with a teacher or someone else with a good understanding.
As an extra practice, you can also try explaining some of your A level maths to friends and family who are unfamiliar with it. This is a great way to get used to explaining the way in which you have solved a problem, and can help with trying to communicate that to someone else.
Get the official Oxbridge interview guide for further tips and practice written by experts who have studied at Oxbridge.
Boost your Chance of Success in your Maths Application
A great way of practicing for the interview (and for the complete maths admissions process) is with our Oxbridge Math Programme. The programmed is designed to tackle the most difficult parts of the admissions process, such as the interviews, and help you devise a way to successfully pass each stage of the tests.
The package allows you to practice and develop your writing, test, and interview skills with our expert math tutors.
Advice and Tips to your Unanswered Questions
Read more interview tips for Oxbridge universities on our blog page. Our posts are dedicated to answering those burning questions around your admissions process. Whether it’s tips on how to write a personal statement, what the most common interview questions are, or simply why you should study at Oxbridge, you’ll find it all here.