Oxford Interview Preparation for Parents

In this blog we set out our hints and tips for the best materials to use in preparing for an Oxford interview.

The Oxbridge interview is a notoriously mysterious process, and this can make Oxford interview preparation for parents very daunting. However we want to emphasise in this blog that there is plenty of material available to help your child, but this does not mean that they have to believe everything they read! Some sources are more trustworthy than others – but here we set out our recommendations for best practice.

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Books

Oxford is an academic university, and it’s not surprising that Oxford interview preparation will involve reading a book or two. You can have a look at some of our other blog posts for more ideas about how to pick out your reading material in advance of your Oxford interview. However our recommendations would be to try and think about the big topics which interest you most within your subject which you might be excited to talk about at your interview. Perhaps you could take those which you wrote about on your personal statement, and as part of your Oxford interview preparation, read books which offer a contrasting view.

We’d also suggest looking at the reading lists which are sorted on the Oxford University website by subject. You can then look at the bibliographies of these books or at the main topics they cover and follow the trail from there. Don’t forget that each of the Oxford colleges also has their own website and with a bit of help from a search engine, you can often find links to suggested reading material on there too. Building your own reading list and doing research is a great skill and way of demonstrating your suitability to an Oxford degree, so really the more your child is able to do this, the better their Oxford interview preparation will be!

In terms of books for you or your child about the actual application process itself, don’t worry we’ve got you covered! Uni Admissions has a great selection of books and bank of practice interview questions as well as a selection of past material from admissions tests. Have a browse to see what would suit you best here.

Your child’s personal statement and any other coursework they’ve submitted

In terms of material for Oxford interview preparation, we would always recommend having a handle on that which was produced by your child themselves! As this is an area which can be prepared and practised in advance, especially given that overall the context is very unpredictable and uncertain, it would almost be a missed opportunity for your child not to have run through their work and practised presenting it as part of their Oxford interview preparation.

We understand that your child might not want you to read their work and even less so for you to ask them questions about it. In this case, how about just talking about the general topics they have mentioned with them in a conversation every so often? This will help them to formulate their thoughts in advance of being questioned by an Oxford tutor, and they might feel more at ease when it comes to the real thing. You can ask them to tell you about the one idea they are most proud of, or most worried about, and just give them a chance to have a discussion. If you would like to arrange for a stranger to read the work over in advance, you can also always contact UniAdmissions.

Information materials and advice

As we suggested in the introduction, Oxford interview preparation can often get confused and made more stressful by press and an abundance of accounts (true and untrue) claiming to have heard about the weirdest and most wonderful Oxford interview experiences. This is a shame, because although it is true that all interview experiences are unique, and it is also perfectly possible that something unusual may get asked in an Oxford interview it is really easy to panic and the suggestion that your child is going to have to face a ridiculous set of questions. Our advice for filtering through this information is to try and identify which materials come from those who have faced an Oxford interview in the past. This is because, even though tutors and students change from year to year, at least those are real people who can testify for the whole context in which a question was asked and not a quote which might be implying something other than the original purpose of the question.

Oxford itself does also have plenty of genuine materials which can be helpful for Oxford interview preparation. In particular, how about watching these video diaries by Oxford admissions tutors? The reason we like these is that it can be really helpful both to think about the Oxford professors as people as much as possible, and then thinking about what they are looking for. We know that everyone is different but just remembering the purpose of the interview is for two people to meet and see whether they could conduct tutorials together might help!

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Must-Reads for Medical Applicants

We’ve listed our top reads for applicants who are looking to study medicine at University. Reading is an essential part of a medical application so why not make it enjoyable with some of these great reads. These authors will broaden your view of medicine and could make your application stand out from the crowd.

Take a look at the complete list and get your head stuck in a book!