Oxford Interview questions: What might they ask and how to answer them

Most students find the Oxford interview questions the most daunting part of applying to Oxbridge. Given the notoriety of the interviews and the level of attention they receive from the mainstream media, it is unsurprising that potential applicants are most uncertain about this part of the process.

Why interview?

Because of the sheer number of applications they receive, Oxford needs to use interviews to differentiate between candidates. For this reason, they form a very important part of the admissions process.

The interview also closely resembles the kind of teaching an undergraduate would receive at the university – through tutorials. Therefore, the interview gives admissions tutors an insight into the way an applicant thinks and whether they are suited to the style of teaching given at Oxford.

Oxford interview questions are often similar to the sorts of questions an undergraduate in their first year might be asked.

The two Oxford interviews

It is typical for applicants to face two different interviews in their chosen field of study.

The first is a ‘general’ interview. The interview questions for this part tend to be correspondingly general. Interviews may be based on your personal statement, for instance, taking some of the issues raised in the statement as the initiation for further questions. A strong understanding and grasp of the concepts and books you mention in your personal statement are advisable.

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The second interview tends to be more specific. Here, Oxford interview questions tend to be specific. In a subject such as Economics, this could mean applying mathematical concepts such as differentiation to an Economic problem or situation. Or for humanities, such as History, this may mean delving into the specific historical issues raised in an essay the applicant provided or mentioned in the personal statement.

How to Prepare for the Oxford interview questions

Preparation should be thorough when thinking about how to answer any of the Oxford interview questions. At one level, this means ensuring you are completely familiar with the contents of your personal statement and those texts and writers/books you have mentioned in it.

At another level, it means pushing yourself by taking advantage of practice interviews. UniAdmissions offer a comprehensive package to support students applying to Oxford with the interview preparation.

The Comprehensive Oxbridge Course

Uniadmissions offer a comprehensive Oxbridge interview package, which covers all the possible Oxford interview questions that may be asked.

The course is specifically designed for students preparing for interviews at either Oxford or Cambridge University and offers guidance on what to do on the day of the interview.

Take a look at what support we can provide or feel free to get in touch with any further questions.

The interview itself is designed to examine the way you think and the reasoning you make to reach a solution to a problem. Oxford interview questions are probing in this sense. Admissions tutors will want to push you out of your comfort zone. Don’t expect them to rigidly adhere to any A-Level syllabus or the confines of your personal statement. You should be flexible and versatile, using the information they give you to reach a solution based on your knowledge and understanding.

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The Oxford interview questions themselves are not about catching anyone out. You will be able to answer all of the hardest interview questions by just giving it a little thought about what you know. Tutors do not ask applicants unanswerable questions or unknowable questions based on information you don’t have. They could be interpreting data in front of you or exploring further a concept in your personal statement or ask questions based around a project you worked on at A-Level.

See where the Oxford interviews sit within the admissions timeline.

Oxbridge Interview Success: Buy the Book

Prepare for your interview by reading the ultimate guide to a successful Oxbridge interview.

Written by the top tutors at Oxbridge universities, you can read the common questions, useful interview tips and first-hand Oxford interview experiences written and collated by the people who have been through it all.

It covers a number of Oxford subjects so whatever course you’re looking to apply for, this is the number one guide to help you succeed in your application.

Further reading

Read the real experiences of someone who has done an Oxbridge interview.

Further reading

Read the real experiences of someone who has done an Oxbridge interview.

Further reading

MUST READ: Oxford application tips for parents.

Further reading

MUST READ: Oxford application tips for parents.