As interview period comes closer, here a few of my tips for those aspiring law students out there on how best to tackle your Oxford Law interview.
Interviews, as daunting as they may seem, are once in a lifetime opportunities to discuss your chosen subject with one of the leading experts in that field. So remember to take as much from it as you can, because those 25-30 minutes will fly by.
But I know, as much as I tell you all that interviews are a great experience, you’ll never believe me until you’ve done them, so here are my top tips on on tackling law interviews at Oxford.
1. Make sure you know your material
The most daunting thing about oxbridge interviews is that you don’t know what they’ll throw at you. It could be anything: legislation, quotes, a book, your personal statement. And although you can’t prepare for the exact material they may give you, the best thing you can do is to know the material you have submitted inside out. That means if you mentioned an article in your personal statement make sure you read it and re-read it, research the author, make sure you know enough to be able to give an informed opinion the article and the authors point of view. The same goes for any other materials you may have mentioned e.g. books, quotes, lectures etc. And most importantly you must know your personal statement inside out too, and that sounds strange since you’ve probably spent ages writing it. But often we forget the little details we included. So if you mentioned that you did work experience think back to it and bring out the most interesting points of your experience, if your the head of a society then think about the skills you’ve gained from that position. Basically put yourself in the best position possible, so if the interviewers do bring something up that you’ve already mentioned you won’t be flailing around trying to remember things. And if they don’t ask you, you haven’t lost anything.
You can do this with anyone; a teacher, a friend etc. But my top tip would be to practice with someone you’re not that close with, or familiar with, it will give you a more realistic experience of the interview, since you won’t know your interviewers. When practicing make sure you vocalise your reasoning. By that, I mean think out aloud. This is what the interviewers want to hear, your reasoning process, how you get from the material or information they give you, to an informed and well reasoned answer. If you keep that reasoning locked away in your head then they’ll have nothing to assess you on. It does seem a bit odd when you first try it, but as you keep practicing it becomes more natural. And it good to get this practice because after all, this is what you’ll be doing in tutorials!
3. Stay relevant
Keep up to date with the news in your chosen subject. This doesn’t mean disregard everything else that isn’t directly linked to law. If there is an economic change, the law will be affected, if there is a political change the law will be affected, if there is a social change the law will be affected. So stay on top of the big headlines and see if you can analyse them and link them back to the legal world somehow. Don’t bring out tenuous links, if the links aren’t there, don’t stress yourself trying to find them. But if you can see from the face of the story it will have some sort of impact on the legal world try and find that impact. Similarly, if you mentioned a news story in your personal statement, make sure you keep following that story, so you know what the consequences of that story were. Interviewers will be impressed if you can contribute recent and relevant examples, so staying relevant is a MUST!
So those are my top three tips of tackling law interviews at Oxford. Yes interviews are scary and no one wants to do them, but if you go in with the right perspective you can have a lot of fun! Everyone gets nervous, and the interviewers will be expecting that and they should try and make you feel as relaxed as possible, but you also need to contribute to that. Make sure you eat properly, get enough sleep and try your best not to over worry because that will affect your performance. And most of all, enjoy the time you have in Oxford, because over the December period it really is a lovely place to be.