In the build-up to Oxbridge interviews, rumours and advice will be flying around… ‘don’t do this…’, ‘make sure to do that…’, ‘watch out for this…’.
Although most of the advice for your Oxbridge interviews will be genuine advice with a solid grounding in reality, some of it is just not true. In an era of ‘fake news’, sifting through these untruths can be difficult. Here are a few of the biggest untrue rumours you’ll hear and the reality behind them.
Myth 1 – Student Helpers at Interview Days Give Covert Feedback on Candidates
This is one of the best lies I’ve heard. The idea that the friendly smiley students at the help-desks running tours and helping you find your way are actually University plants tasked with finding the dirt on you is laughable. Having volunteered as one of these individuals I can tell you that this is not the case, and we really are there just to help everything run smoothly (well, that and for the free lunch!). You will gain nothing trying to butter these people up and you do not need to have your interview ‘game face’ on.
If you want to ask them questions about University life or the course you’re applying for, great. If you’d rather just chill and do your own thing, also great. Don’t stress about how you interact with them, it doesn’t matter.
Of course, in 2020 this won’t be a factor due to COVID-19.
Myth 2 – Oxbridge Interview Questions Will Make You Cry from Obscurity
I can see the basis of this one. I imagine it began like most rumours – as game of Chinese whispers, slowly changing over time. Someone was probably asked something obscure as they had it on their personal statement and it escalated to questions like “tell me about a banana” (something I was told had ‘definitely’ come up in a Cambridge interview before). It’s just not true though. Oxbridge interviews (like all medical school interviews) will focus on medicine, things on your personal statement and things you have studied at school. The only real difference is there is slightly greater focus on the ‘pure’ science, maths, and your thinking processes than other Universities.
Myth 3 – Universities Communicate Your Performance in Interview With Each Other
This is one I hear thrown around during my time in Sixth Form and I think is due to the fact you can’t apply to both Oxford and Cambridge (which is a true – it’s to do with the number of applicants), so people assume each University can see where you’ve applied. In fact, this isn’t true at all. Universities are blind to which other Universities you have applied to, so even if they did want to share interview performances, they wouldn’t know who to share it with.
This one was always a worry for some people who thought ‘What if my interview goes terribly? Will I ruin my chances at all Universities?’. No, it won’t. Don’t stress, if one goes badly, it won’t influence your chances at another institute.
So, there we have it, three of the biggest interview lies that spread like wildfire around Sixth Forms each year.
This doesn’t mean all other rumours will be true though – don’t believe everything you hear. Think about the possible source of this rumour and whether it seems plausible or not. Just do your best, be yourself and don’t stress. Best of luck everyone!