Oxbridge interviews are hard to prepare for! Fortunately, sample Oxford interview questions can help you get started.
In this article, we hope to focus on this process and help to explain how potential students can use Oxford sample interview questions to best prepare and practice for the interview. Here’s how to approach the whole process with some useful techniques under their belt.
Breaking it down and focusing on the key points
One of the first things to do, which can make a big difference to an applicant’s overall mindset for their application, is to think about what main qualities in you want to show the interviewers or admissions tutors?
This is a different question to, “What do the interviewers want to see”.
No one should try to change themselves to please the tutors.
It is still good, however, to make as much impact as possible in a short space of time. It helps steady nerves and it helps to make the whole process more enjoyable overall.
Oxford sample interview questions can then be used to try and practice articulating key points that a student wants to get across.
For example, the key points to consider trying to articulate to the interviewers could include:
Applicants should then have a think about the sorts of interview questions which they have heard of before and how they might be able to highlight their main points above.
For example, in the very commonly-asked “Why do you want to apply to Oxford?”, students can answer with their excitement about the tutorial system.
Of course, applicants can’t always expect the question to be relevant to some of their points.
There are those which will just be an assessment of how they think. We will discuss those a little bit later on.
However, it can still be very useful to keep the key points in mind and be ready to draw on them when it is relevant.
Just because the interview goes by very quickly, no one will want to leave having not been able to mention the most important things that they wanted to.
Make it personal – using examples
The biggest piece of advice for Oxford interviews which I have given to my friends, family, mock interviewees and anyone who happens to seek my counsel is to always, always include references and examples.
This is the best way, in my own opinion, to make an answer personal, to be more memorable to the interviewer, and also to bring in the preparation work which the student in question has been doing to credit and show how well they would fit in at Oxford.
Using Oxford sample interview questions with that particular target in mind is, therefore, another useful exercise to do.
Take the list of questions for the subject you wish to study (Oxford itself gives a list on its own website, and there are also a few easily findable ones online or in books).
Go through them and ask the following:
UniAdmissions also have many good resources to help you find other Oxford sample interview questions including books and our best wealth of resources – our tutors who are available to answer your queries and questions.
Perhaps booking an Interview Programme would help work through the techniques discussed in this blog.
This is also a good way to build on our first point, which we covered in the section above. Once the main points have been identified, it’s easy for an applicant to think it’s all well and good saying they’re “academically motivated”.
But anyone can say that, how can someone stand out from the crowd?
An idea is to take each question one by one from a list of sample interview questions and think “can I bring this back to myself, and if so, can I use an example to make it even stronger”.
Again, this won’t apply for every single question, but it is a bit of a step-by-step process and this way answering questions will be smoother and quicker in the real interview.
The Oxford interview questions where you have to work through a problem
Many questions are simply designed to find out how you think.
This is especially true for hard science subjects or Maths, where you are given entire problems to work through, but the same idea is true for all other courses as well.
There is an important part of academia which is communicating your ideas to other people. This will be the beginning of that process at your interview and then in tutorials throughout your degree.
For these type of questions, students don’t have to worry about the ‘right’ answer.
Instead, applicants should try to focus on where to start answering the question.
Also, how to explain what they are doing to an interviewer observing them at the time, and how they might get inspiration if they find it a particularly hard question. Or, even how to admit they’ve done wrong.
These Oxford sample interview questions shouldn’t be looked as a prediction of what might come up. They also shouldn’t be used in order to draw conclusions of what is a “typical” Oxford question.
Really, it’s best to use these Oxford sample interview questions to make an unfamiliar process familiar.
Meaning, whatever the actual material, anyone will be able to give it their best shot and explain their thinking step by step as they work through it.
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