Oxford languages interview questions: What are they and how can I help my child prepare for them?
Oxford University is notorious for asking tricky questions in its interviews, and Oxford languages interview questions are no different. Here, we cover a few examples as well as some general tips and tricks to help you prepare your child for the big day.
WHAT IS THE FORMAT OF A LANGUAGE INTERVIEW?
Oxford language interview questions can actually be quite natural and informal. While you will inevitably get tricky questions (they want to see how far they can push because they want the best students!), a lot of the interview will turn out to be more like an academic conversation, which will be exactly how their tutorials will run if they earn a place.
You can roughly divide Oxford language interviews into three parts. The first is the part where applicants will be asked to talk about a text that they’ve had some time to read through before they go into their interview (the college will arrange this).
The Oxford languages interview questions in the second part of the interview will tend to be personal statement-based, which is why it’s important for your child not to have lied about what they’ve read! The final part will normally involve talking in the language with a native speaking, who will usually run the language class element of the course. These could be in any order, however.
PART 1: THE TEXT – OXFORD LANGUAGES INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Here are some examples of Oxford languages interview questions your child might be asked in their interview, and what you can also test your child on. You can do this with your child in English if you don’t speak any other languages, although it will be in the target language during the actual interview. The text referenced could be a poem or a short extract from a larger work.
- Tell me about the poem/text
This is a very broad question, but that’s to ensure that you can talk about anything you want to. None of the interview questions are there to catch your child out. Your child will have made notes in the time provided before the interview and can use these to help.
- When do you think it was written?
Don’t worry if your child gets it wrong – the tutors want to see how your child’s thought processes go. Help them get used to language that is old-fashioned, or events talked about in the text, to pin down a time period, and ask them to explain why they thought what they thought.
PART 2: THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
Oxford interview languages questions in this section very much depend on what was written in the personal statement. The interviewer will usually pick one or two works that your child has mentioned, and chat with them about these. For instance, if your child has written something about reading political works, the interviewer might ask:
- What makes a novel or play ‘political’?
Your child could discuss themes, content, author’s background and views… Whatever comes into their head. A conversation will then take place with follow up questions such as “how useful is ‘political’ as a label?”.
- Do you think metaphors and similes are necessary in poetry?
This is another example of a question that might pop up. Your child could talk about what poetry would be without metaphors and similes. Or, perhaps, if they’ve read any poetry that doesn’t contain them, what they think metaphors and similes add to the work, and so on.
PART 3: SPOKEN DISCUSSION
While this one can be tricky if you don’t know the language yourself, you can always ask questions similar to Oxford languages interview questions in English and get your child to reply in the language. You can ask simple questions such as:
- Have you been to the country before?
- Why did you decide to study x language?
This section might also focus on a short article, in which case you could ask simple questions like:
- Do you agree with the author’s view in this article? Why/why not?
We hope that this article has helped you start planning your child’s Oxford language interview and the questions that may crop up on the day. If you want further advice on the support you can provide your child during this stressful time, especially as the interviews are fast approaching, then why not talk to us- for free(!)- with our free consultation on university applications.
Bespoke Languages Tuition
During the course of one of our bespoke languages interview tuition, your child will be taught all the necessary skills and advice towards a successful interview. We fully customise each tutor session to meet the needs of the individual. Those who have taken our tuition before have been three times more likely to succeed in their applications.
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