What are the Strange Oxbridge Interview Questions and How Do I Answer Them?

What are the strange Oxbridge interview questions? Sometimes, interviewers ask the most strangest questions. It’s a tactic used in many university interviews to purposefully put candidates on the spot and test their reactions. It’s, therefore, worthwhile to know what these questions are and how to answer them.


Why are Oxbridge interview questions “strange”?

To begin with, the  interview already seems very bizarre, terrifying and uncomfortable. However, it quickly becomes evident that the sometimes weird Oxbridge interview questions are generally just to get you to stop and think. They allow yourself time to gather your thoughts and attack the question with clarity, originality, and proof.

Myths about Oxbridge interview questions

There are hundreds of stories about applicants being asked ridiculous Oxbridge interview questions. However, generally, these are exaggerated rare occurrences. The tutors are trying to test you, but they are not trying to bully you. You have to keep this in mind no matter how they appear to be acting towards you. Sometimes they put on a hard act as a guise. A fairly common tactic is to also have two tutors interviewing and for them to play good cop bad cop.

What to do if they ask you a “strange” question:

The myths about Oxbridge interview questions are vast and shouldn’t be taken too much note of. Although, at times, the tutors will ask questions that seem slightly absurd or overly-demanding. The best thing to do at this point is to take a moment to think about the question and find the link it has to your subject. Then decide on a line of thought you are going to develop and back your answer up with lots of examples and references to your subject. This is only possible if you do not panic. How to answer the hardest interview question can be achieved as long as you simply take a minute to think.

You can find more examples of the strange Oxbridge questions asked at an interview by reading our collection of past interview experiences. We’ve put together a selection of experiences written by expert Oxbridge tutors from a range of subjects who succeeded in getting on their dream course.  Read their full experiences here >>>


What constitutes a “strange question” and why do they ask them?

The unusual things that people occasionally get asked as Oxbridge interview questions can span from being seemingly unrelated, oddly worded, very abstract, unnervingly simple, and/or deeply philosophical.

These questions are perfectly crafted to challenge the candidate in all of their capacities. It is a test firstly of thinking on the spot (something that they haven’t tested you on yet). They sometimes use “strange” Oxbridge interview questions that are very stripped back to see whether you can demonstrate originality of thought. They are also seeing if you will argue your point with concrete evidence. The tutors at times present “strange” questions to see how well you manage under pressure in a vulnerable position, as this can sometimes be the format for Oxbridge tutorials.

What to take away from the “strange” question:

However odd the question may seem there is usually a fairly straightforward answer. However, despite this, it is very important to remember that these “strange” Oxbridge interview questions are fairly rare. If you are asked one it is usually just out of curiosity on the tutor’s part, rather than the linchpin of the interview!

We’ve also put together tips on preparing a recommended reading list before the interview which is worth a read. Putting togethering a recommended reading list will help you to answer some of the random questions that crop up.

Be Ready to Answer those Strange Interview Questions

Tackle the strangest interview questions by taking on an Oxbridge interview course at UniAdmissions. Our courses are designed to help you understand the various interview scenarios and get to grips with some likely questions that will come up on the day.

Each course is taught by a tutor specialised in the subject you are wishing to apply for. You will have full access to a range of resource materials which will guide you on how best to answer the tricky questions. You’ll even get practice with like-minded students on the course with you so that you can build up your interview confidence.

Further Recommended Reading


We’ve got all the tips and information you need to be successful in your Oxbridge interview on our blog. No matter what stage of the admissions process you are at, our blog will help you conquer any fear you have. We have tips on how to write the perfect personal statement, what type of questions come up in interviews, and how to choose the right college for your studies. Read more stories by following the link below: