Oxbridge Admissions Interviews: A Complete Teacher’s Guide

The Oxbridge Interview is the final stage of most applicant's journey. After this the admissions teams will decide who receives and offer and who does not, so a lot of pressure will be put on your applicants to perform well. This guide will show you how the process works, what they should expect from their interviews and how you can support them in their preparation.

15th March 2024

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If you do not have much experience with Oxbridge or Medical School applicants, then university admissions interviews may be an area you haven’t explored very deeply. It can be very common for faculty members to not concern themselves with this fairly niche area of the application process, but the fact that you are on this page means that you need to be prepared to provide interview guidance to your students.

Many schools will offer job interview support, which is definitely a decent starting point for this topic. However, Oxbridge interviews take things to a whole other level. This guide is here to teach you about the whole process that your students will be undertaking and how you and your school can support them in their preparation. Let’s get started with the basics: 

What Are Oxbridge Interviews?

The simple answer to this is fairly obvious; Interviews for Oxbridge applicants. More specifically, they are admissions interviews used by the university to determine which applicants should be admitted to their courses. Unlike other universities in the UK, interviews are required for every subject at Oxbridge from the most popular subjects all the way to the niche ones. These interviews test applicants on a variety of skills, including comprehension, communication skills, critical thinking and subject understanding. 

In the UK, the only subject area that consistently requires interviews from students is medicine and medicine-adjacent courses, so you may have some experience with interview preparation. However, guiding Oxbridge students can be much more varied in a few ways, be it the subjects or the question types or the formats. We will look at medicine interviews briefly during this guide but our primary focus will be on interviews for Oxbridge applicants. Thankfully, much of our advice here will be relevant to helping medicine applicants anyway as both Oxbridge and medicine are highly competitive. 

Before going deeper into the topic, it is important to note that the full interview process at Oxbridge is run by the colleges rather than the university as a whole (with input from staff within the subject department). This includes the shortlisting process, conducting the interview and deciding on offers. Keep this in mind as we continue in this guide. 

Oxbridge Interview Key Dates

Here are the various dates that should be marked in both your’s and your students’ calendars when it comes to their Oxbridge Interviews (exact dates are not available for all steps of the process):

16th October – UCAS Application Deadline (Both)

18th October – Final Admissions Test Date (Cambridge)

20th October – Final Admissions Test Date (Oxford)

23rd OctoberMy Cambridge Application Deadline (Cambridge) 

11th November – Submit Written Work to College (Oxford)

Mid-November – Early December – Interview Invitations sent out (Both)

First 3 Weeks of December – Interviews (Both) 

9th January – Offers Released (Oxford)

TBC January – Offers Released and Winter Pool Opened (Cambridge)

TBC August – August Reconsideration Pool Opens (Cambridge)

Why does Oxbridge use Interviews?

If you have read any of our other Oxbridge Teacher’s Guides, then you should be aware that the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are two of the most competitive establishments in the world. They are extremely selective with their applicants but receive more applications than practically any other university in the UK, so their admissions processes are rigorous to ensure they find the best prospective students.

We have already seen how much more work needs to go into an applicant’s Personal Statement and we have discussed the various Admissions Tests that are put in place in order to filter through the massive applicant pool. However, this isn’t enough to make the decision-making process viable for the admissions tutors, so the Oxbridge Interviews are the final step between applicants and their offers. 

Interviews are the most robust way to get a sense of an applicant’s ability and demeanour, so it’s no wonder that Oxford and Cambridge are keen to meet their most promising applicants face to face. Seeing these applicants react under different circumstances, some of which will accurately reflect the Oxbridge learning style, allowing applicants to get the most authentic view of each person they speak with.

Personal Statements can be edited to perfection and admissions tests can be revised for over long periods of time, so interviews are the universities’ chance to see applicants through a much more accurate lens, which could be a benefit or a detriment to an applicant depending on if they really are suitable for Oxbridge. 

There are many more reasons why these interviews are used by Oxford and Cambridge, but the important thing is that they want to see applicants in a setting that the admissions team can fully control in order to gauge how well said the applicant would fit in at Oxbridge. 

How Important Are Interviews in an Oxbridge Application?

The interviews are the last thing an applicant will have to do before the admissions tutors make their decisions about who is given an offer, so you may think that they are the most important factor in the application. However, while they are incredibly important, this is not strictly true. 

When it comes to decision-making at Oxbridge, most colleges will base their decisions on everything that the applicant has submitted, including the Personal Statement, admissions test scores and academic performance. 

Roughly speaking, the vast majority of Oxbridge colleges will place a greater weight on an applicant’s interview performance, making up around 40% of their consideration. The Admissions Test Score is almost as important with roughly 30% consideration, while the GCSE Scores, Personal Statement and A-Level Predictions making up the other 30%.

However, it is vital that applicants place a suitable amount of focus on each of the three major aspects of their application (as well as their school work) in order to ensure each is of the highest possible quality. 

How Many Interviews Will an Applicant Attend?

At Oxbridge, the majority of applicants will sit a minimum of two interviews. These will be held by two of the different colleges that an applicant has selected to apply to. As colleges also play a big part in the decision-making process, this means applicants will have at least two chances to gain their offer. 

Each college at Oxford and Cambridge will have different processes, questions and standards, so students should be prepared for a wide variety of scenarios and, where possible, research their colleges in advance to get an idea of how the interview may go. These interviews will typically take place over two days, so accommodation and food will be provided to applicants that attend in-person interviews. 

Applicants at Cambridge may be required to attend additional interviews in January if they are selected to join the winter or summer pools (more on this later).

With the basics out of the way, let’s take a look at the key steps that applicants will need to go through during the Oxbridge Interview Process.

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Oxbridge Interview Invitations

Not every Oxbridge applicant is invited to attend interviews at the universities, so they must first wait to be shortlisted and receive their invitation. 

How Does Oxbridge Shortlist Applicants?

Oxford receives approximately 22,000 applications for 3,300 places, subsequently shortlisting about 10,000 candidates for Interviews, which typically constitutes 40-45% of the total applicants, while Cambridge interviews a higher percentage, around 70%. All of these applicants go through the same shortlisting process, headed by each applicant’s chosen colleges and admissions tutors from their subject department. 

Applicants are shortlisted based on all of the elements of their application that have been submitted so far:

Personal Statements: Admissions tutors will seek out the strongest Personal Statements from the applicant pool to consider for interviews. We have already discussed how you can help your students make their statements suitable for Oxbridge in our Oxbridge Personal Statements Teacher’s Guide, so be sure to have a read to learn what they need to do to make their writing compelling. 

Admissions Test Scores: Although Oxbridge will do not typically implement minimum scores on their admissions tests, they will still seek out those who have performed well in their test. A low score isn’t an immediate disqualification, but it is not ideal for an applicant. Find out more about these tests in our Oxbridge Admissions Tests Teacher’s Guide. (It is important to note that for some Cambridge subjects, they will be required to complete their admissions test straight before their interview, meaning they will have already been shortlisted). 

Grades and Predicted Grades: Applicants will need to meet the grade requirements for their chosen subject in order to be considered. Your students will need to ensure that they have the right grades in order to have a chance of attending interviews. 

Other Aspects: The rest of an applicant’s application will also be considered, including the UCAS Teacher’s Reference and any submitted work. 

Each applicant needs to ensure that all of these elements are as strong as possible before submitting them as the competitive nature of Oxbridge means that they will need to be exceptional in as many places as they can. 

Receiving an Oxbridge Interview Invitation

Applicants for Oxbridge and Cambridge are typically given two weeks’ notice for their interview date, meaning they will be contacted around late November. Confirmation of their interviews will be sent via e-mail or letter rather than on their UCAS Hub, as the process falls outside the boundaries of UCAS. Unsuccessful applicants should also receive rejection letters, although it should be assumed that an applicant has not been successful if they receive nothing. 

Interviews for a given subject and college are held on the same day for all relevant applicants, so their interview dates will not be random. Interview timetables are provided to shortlisted applicants, whose interview dates will also be highlighted for them. To get a better understanding of how Oxbridge interview timetables work, we recommend studying and showing your students this example Interview Timetable provided by Oxford.

In terms of responding to an interview invitation, there is nothing that an applicant needs to do other than turn up on the dates they have been given. 

Pre-Interview Assessments

As we mentioned before, some subjects at Cambridge will require applicants to complete an admissions test directly before attending their first interview. These subjects include: 

(V400) ArchaeologyK100) Architecture(KH11) Design
(Q800/Q801) Classics (3-Year and 4-Year Course)(Q300) English(V100) History
(VL12) History and Politics(V350) History of Art(Q100) Linguistics
(R800) Modern and Medieval Languages(V500) Philosophy(V600) Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion
(QQ59) Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic(TT46) Asian and Middle Eastern Studies(X300) Education
(X300) Education(L000) Human, Social, and Political Sciences(L700) Geography
(W300) Music(C800) Psychological and Behavioural Sciences

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Attending An Oxbridge Interview

Once the invitation has been received, it’s time for your successful students to begin making arrangements for their interviews. It has been confirmed by Oxford that their interviews for 2024 Entry will be held remotely, so applicants will not need to attend the campus in-person (Cambridge will most likely follow suit for their applicants, though it is still worth checking for updates just in case).

Therefore, applicants will need to ensure they have everything they need for their remote interviews: 

Timings

The timings for each interview are non-negotiable except for extreme circumstances, so applicants will need to ensure they are ready for their interview with plenty of time to spare. We would suggest leaving 10-15 free before the interview for applicants to compose themselves, ensure their technology is all working and be ready to start as soon as the interviewers are ready.

How Long Are Oxbridge Interviews?

The average Oxbridge interview can last from 30 minutes to an hour, so applicants should ensure they have at least 90 minutes available to them for preparations, the interview itself and shutting down afterwards.

Technology

For remote interviews, applicants will obviously need a computer, a decent-quality microphone and camera, internet access and the correct software to attend the interview. Oxford uses Microsoft Teams to conduct their interviews while Cambridge uses Zoom, so students must ensure that they can access their sessions via their invitation links beforehand. Applicants should also ensure they have a physical pen and paper with them to make any notes or complete any activities that may be required. 

Location

As this is an important interview, applicants will need to ensure that they are in a quiet, well-lit room with good internet access when attending their interview. They should be able to easily access any supporting materials they may need (including their Personal Statement), as well as water to stay hydrated throughout. It is vital that they will not be disrupted during the interview, so if they are attending at school you should provide a quiet, closed-off room for them for the duration of the session. 

Clothes

While it is good practice to dress smart for any interview, there are no specific dress code requirements for Oxbridge applicants during these interviews. There are outfits that should obviously be avoided by applicants shouldn’t stress about finding the perfect outfit as it will not play much of a factor in the decision-making process. 

Receiving Offers from Oxbridge

After all the interviews are completed in December, the final decision-making process will begin at each college. We’ve already seen what they base their decisions on, so let’s skip straight to the release of said decisions. 

Unlike the rest of the application process, this step is done through UCAS. Applicants will initially receive their offer via their UCAS Hub, just like any other university offer. Oxford and Cambridge release their results much earlier than others, typically coming out in the first half of January. Once offers have been released, applicants will be able to respond just as they would a normal offer via UCAS. 

It is worth noting that it is rare to receive an unconditional offer from Oxbridge, so applicants may wish to see if they receive offers from other universities before responding. Oxbridge offers can be responded to within the same timeframe as other universities, which will typically be by the 8th of June.

Oxford and Cambridge will also send a letter a few weeks later, where applicants will find additional details. However, one aspect of this that is unique to Oxbridge is that applicants will actually receive two offers. The offer they receive via UCAS will be their department offer, essentially confirming that they have got a place on their chosen course. 

However, applicants will also need to receive an offer from a college at the university. This will typically be one that they applied to and interviewed with, either through their original application or through the winter pool at Cambridge. These offers can take up to 10 weeks to arrive and will be received via email directly from the university. There are more details about how this works on Oxford’s website.

Cambridge Winter Pool and Summer Pool

Exclusive to Cambridge, the Winter and Summer Pools are a system run by Cambridge to allow applicants a second chance if the colleges they had applied for do not provide them with an offer. If an applicant is accepted into either pool, they will have another chance to be interviewed and potentially gain an offer. 

Applicants who are accepted into the Winter Pool are those who are considered viable and high-quality but just missed the mark to receive an offer initially. Applicants may not have to attend an additional interview, but if they are then it will take place in early January. 

In previous years, the outcome of the Winter Pool was announced on 25th January. Applicants in the pool aren’t guaranteed an offer, but it should be comforting to know that any applicants that were invited into the pool had impressed the admissions tutors to a good degree, regardless of the final outcome. 

In 2022, 1,108 pooled applicants out of 4,610 received an offer. 992 of these offers were made without the applicant attending an additional interview. 

Also known as the August Reconsideration Pool, the Summer Pool is smaller and needs to be registered for, providing you have achieved the required grades and your chosen course is accepting applicants at this stage. For 2023 Entry, applicants must register between 8:30 and 13:00 (UK time) on 17th August. The turnaround time for offers is very fast here as there are no additional interviews, with offers being released the following day and applicants being expected to reply within three days. 

Following the acceptance of the offer on UCAS, applicants will then be sent a college offer and the process of admission will continue as normal. Note that applicants do not have to accept this offer and those who have already accepted a different offer will not be able to take part.

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Medicine Interviews

While medicine applicants at Oxford and Cambridge will follow the processes described above, applicants from other medical schools will need to research how their chosen universities handle interviews. Each university will likely have a slightly different process, with some potentially holding In-person interviews and some interviewing in different months. 

If your student is struggling to find all of the details for the interviews they will be attending, be sure to help them research and organise your findings in an easy-to-understand document that can be used for further reference. You can begin your research on our UK University Interviews Guide. 

With all of the logistics of attending an Oxbridge Interview now out of the way, it is time to look at the actual content of said interviews.

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What Applicants Should Expect From An Oxbridge Interview

This is the part that your students are going to be most interested in learning about, so let’s discuss what the average applicant can expect from their Oxbridge Interview:

Oxbridge Interview Format

Oxford and Cambridge both operate traditional Panel-styled interviews, meaning applicants will be having discussions and answering a series of questions asked by staff members and admissions tutors from the university. This is the type of interview that most will imagine at first, so the basic format will not be complicated or unknown to your students. 

Who Interviews Oxbridge Applicants?

At each university, the interviews will be conducted by at least two academic experts who specialise in the subject you are applying for. These people are responsible for the admissions process and will be deciding who is admitted into the courses and colleges.

As we said, the basic format of the interview is simple. The challenge comes down to the questions that are asked and the types of answers they are expecting to see. Here are a few of the question types you could be asked at an Oxbridge Interview. 

Subject-related Questions

Both Oxford and Cambridge like to focus most of the interview on questions relating to your subject. One of the most common types of these questions is open-ended, broad questions that can inspire lengthy discussions. Whether it is asking you to solve a problem, explain a side of an argument or simply provide your opinion on a subject matter, admissions tutors will be looking for applicants who take the time to consider the question and expertly articulate their thoughts in a reasonable and logical manner. 

In the Oxbridge teaching style, discussion and argument are the cornerstones to success, so testing applicants at this stage allows the admissions tutors to see their thinking skills in action. Perfecting their ability to discuss with interviewers is tough for applicants, but the rewards for doing so will pay off immensely.

Examples:

  • “What are the main reasons for persistent unemployment in the UK?”
  • “What makes the NHS different from all other healthcare systems in the world?”

Academic Questions

Although less common, Oxbridge admissions tutors will sometimes wish to see an applicant’s thinking process in the context of a much more linear question. More frequently seen in STEM interviews, applicants will be given a problem with a definitive solution that they must find. In cases like these, getting the question correct isn’t always as important as being to discuss and justify their process, so ensure they have been practising their presentation of the method. 

Examples:

  • “Could you please solve this equation for us?”
  • “Tell us what you think about this passage of text?”

Reading-related Questions

Applicants are always encouraged to engage in wider reading when preparing for their application. If a specific book has been recommended by Oxford or Cambridge for the applicant’s specific subject, then questions about this text may be asked. These questions could also relate to current events or example passages that have been provided beforehand, so it’s in the applicant’s best interest to immerse themselves in whatever material they have available that relates to their subject when preparing for their interview.

Examples:

  • “Tell me about a book you have read lately.”
  • “What did you think of ‘book title’?”

Generic/Personal Questions

These types of questions are focussed on less at Oxbridge, but applicants will most likely experience one or two during their interview. This could range from questions about their motivation for studying their subject, reasons for choosing this university and thoughts on previous experiences that led to their application. Some of these questions also tie in with the next style…

Examples:

  • “Why Oxford?”
  • “What do you think you can bring to the college experience?.”

Personal Statement Questions

The interviewers will have all read each applicant’s Personal Statement and will have a copy with them, so they will sometimes ask about things written within it. This could be a request for clarity or elaboration on something the applicant has written. Although these types of questions won’t always occur, it is still important that each applicant knows their Personal Statement well and is ready to answer questions regarding anything within it.

Examples:

  • “Tell me a bit more about your work experience.”
  • “What was the most important thing you learnt from your research project?”

Thinking Questions

These are similar to subject-relating questions, in that the interviewer will ask an open-ended question designed to test the applicant’s thought process. However, these subjects can be completely random and have no relevance to the subject making them even harder to prepare for. They could be given a moral conundrum, a description of a historical event or just a random object, and their task would be to answer whatever question is thrown at them with no prior preparation.

These questions will be impossible to answer definitively; some may have no real answer at all. The idea is simply for the applicant to think about and articulate their thought process in a way that makes sense and provides a valid opinion or solution.

Examples:

  • “How would you go about assessing the number of people in here?”
  • “Do you think you know anything?”

Other questions may be asked that do not necessarily fit into these categories, but these categories encapsulate the most common questions your students will encounter in their interviews. Also, be aware that some courses will have different styles of questions unique to the subject, such as translation exercises for language-based courses and drawing exercises for art and architecture. 

Knowing what types of questions to expect is one thing, but applicants should read and answer as many example interview questions as possible. Let’s take a look at a few examples to give you an idea of the types of questions you should look out for when helping students prepare:

Common Oxbridge Interview Questions

“Why have you chosen to apply to study at Cambridge, rather than another Russell Group university?”     

A strong answer to this question would consist of two parts: first, highlighting the benefits of Cambridge’s supervision system for the desired course, emphasising its role in facilitating in-depth understanding; second, discussing personal interests within the subject and how they align with Cambridge’s academic programme.

“What’s an interesting thing that’s been happening in the news recently?”

An effective response to this question should not be an exhaustive analysis, but rather an intuitive and coherent depiction of an event, accompanied by a compelling explanation of personal interest. Interviewers seek genuine enthusiasm for the article’s topic (and ideally, for the chosen course), along with the ability to thoughtfully reflect on its broader themes.

“Is the health of a child more important than the health of an adult?”

A question like this (most commonly seen in a medicine interview) will test the applicant’s suitability for the role of a doctor or other authoritative poison and introduce them to some of the dilemmas that are common in high-responsibility positions. They will often involve introducing a difficult scenario and asking what the most ethical course of action is.

“Do you feel that economists trust models too much?”

A good answer will engage with the question on a relatively deep level. In doing so, they will not jump straight into saying that economic models are always good or bad and instead gives some examples of when they cannot be relied upon. Bear in mind that this is different from sitting on the fence, which should always be avoided in questions like this.

This extended discussion will add nuance to the candidate’s argument, as well as show knowledge of current affairs and how recent events may affect the economy.

“Do you think you know anything?”

Some interviewers will like to get philosophical with their candidates, especially in humanities subjects. There are numerous approaches to consider when responding to this question, but it is important to remember that a comprehensive understanding of epistemology is not expected. The Admissions Tutor simply wants to assess the applicant’s approach to tackling such a question.

“What is your proudest moment?”

This is an applicant’s chance to highlight their suitability for the course by focusing on subject-specific achievements, such as winning a poetry competition for English or the Senior Challenge for the UK Mathematics Trust. While it may be challenging to select just one achievement, they can argue that comparing accomplishments from different fields is difficult. This allows them to mention multiple achievements and impress the interviewer, although they must find the right balance between humility and self-confidence to avoid appearing arrogant.

If you or your students want to explore even more example interview questions, UniAdmissions have a wide variety of interview question guides that offer plenty of questions to practice with, along with a detailed analysis of how each question should be answered. 

Medicine Interviews

Interviews at medical schools can fall into one of two primary categories:

Panel Interviews: These are similar to what we have just discussed, though there will be differences in the panel, set up and question type between universities.   

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI): This interview style is unique to medical schools and is used by many in the UK (not including Oxford and Cambridge). Applicants will be required to complete various stations, each of which contains a task, or “Mini Interview”. Applicants could be asked a personal question, given a problem to solve, asked to enact a role-play and much more. These are very different from panel interviews, so be sure to learn more about them in our Ultimate MMI Guide.

Now that we have a better understanding of what your students will be facing, it’s time to see how your students should be preparing and how you can help them through the process. 

Helping Students Prepare For Oxbridge Interviews

Their Oxbridge interviews are a huge undertaking and are massively important to their application, so your students need to be well-prepared before their interview date. As we mentioned before, we believe applicants need several months to become truly exceptional interview subjects (considering all of the other work that they need to complete alongside their preparation). Time is no one’s friend when it comes to Oxbridge preparation, so you will need to help your students make the most of what they have when preparing. 

Firstly, let’s quickly review some Do’s and Don’t’s for Oxbridge Interview Applicants: 

Oxbridge Interview Dos

Oxbridge Interview Don’ts

What are the best activities that an applicant can undertake while preparing for their interview? These are some of the most effective preparation methods for any prospective Oxbridge student: 

How Do Applicants Prepare for their Oxbridge Interviews?

Research

This is the first step that any applicant should take, as knowledge of Oxbridge and the interview process will guide them through the rest of their preparation. There are multiple things that applicants should have a good understanding of before attending their interviews:

Course Requirements/Structure/Recommendations 

Each course page on Oxford and Cambridge’s websites will have a lot of information that your applicants should know by heart. Applicants should have an understanding of the course structure and syllabus, the entry requirements and any recommended materials for applicants to explore during their application. That last one will be particularly important for your students so they must be aware of it. 

College Details

As well as researching their chosen colleges, it will also be beneficial for applicants to research the interview process of these colleges. They may be able to find articles, blog posts and forum discussions of what it was like to attend an interview at that college and what questions were asked. While colleges will change things from year-to-year, seeing previous applicants’ experiences can still prove to be helpful for managing expectations. 

Admissions Statistics

To help put their application into context, it is good for students to revise the key statistics for Oxbridge admissions in previous years, including success rate and shortlisting rates. This data can be found for specific colleges and subjects, so applicants will be able to get a precise figure of what their chances of success may be. 

Common Interview Questions

Applicants can find many resources online about the most common questions that are asked at Oxbridge interviews, including various articles published by ourselves! While this won’t be a definitive list of all possible questions an applicant will face, it gives them a head start in preparing answers for as many different questions as possible. 

Wider Reading

Wider reading is essential for Oxbridge applicants, as the admissions tutors are interested in those who can fuel their own study and research topics that they are interested in. Wider reading can take many forms, including:

  • Reading from recommended reading lists.
  • Taking part in small research projects related to their subject.
  • Keeping up to date with current affairs in their field.
  • Looking up historic case studies or texts. 

By developing a wider collection of knowledge and topics to discuss, applicants are setting themselves up for more potential questions that they will now be able to discuss with more confidence.

Planning Interview Answers

Once applicants are ready to start taking on interview questions, they should start by developing answers to as many example questions as possible. This can be written answers to start with as it will allow them to articulate their thoughts more, especially if they are less confident with oral discussion. Give them the time to define their approach to the different styles of questions, then they can begin to practice them verbally when they are ready. 

Answering singular questions in a more relaxed environment isn’t the more accurate simulation of what they will be encountering in the actual interview, but it allows them to gradually improve their speaking skills and transition their answers from text to speech in a natural way that does not feel scripted. 

Mock Interviews

This is the most effective way to practice, but it’s also the most difficult and most time-consuming method. Mock interviews can take many forms and be administered by different types of people, but each applicant should experience a realistic mock interview at least once before the real thing. 

Practising with friends or family won’t feel realistic in the moment, so it will be down to you and your faculty to accommodate a mock exam that reals truly realistic. Taking questions from an authority figure will add an extra level of pressure that they need to feel compelled to perform their best, even when they have a prior relationship with yours the interviewer. 

How to Set up a Mock Oxbridge Interview At Your School

This process will require some coordination and time investment, but it should result in applicants who feel more comfortable taking on the actual Oxbridge Admissions Team. Here’s how you can set up Mock Interviews that achieve maximum results. 

UniAdmissions' Teacher Tips

Other Ways to Help Your Oxbridge Applicants

Give them a head start on their research. If you have read through the whole of our Teacher’s Guide series, then you will hopefully have also downloaded a lot of helpful resources that could be shared with your students. Utilise these, along with official resources from Oxford and Cambridge, to give your students a vast amount of knowledge before they have even begun preparing. 

Encourage and accommodate for wider reading. Some students may feel they do not have the time or resources to partake in sufficient wider reading for their application. You can help them get into the habit of wider reading by offering dedicated reading time, providing texts and resources that will be relevant to them or just reinforcing how vital it is that they explore their subject (as well as how interesting it can be). 

Provide support and feedback to applicants when they are practising questions individually. Whether they want someone to say their answer two or someone to mark their written answer, try to provide this extra support to help them build up their skills as fast and effectively as possible. 

Offer them dedicated time if they are struggling to fit in preparation alongside their other work. One of the primary challenges facing Oxbridge students is the time it takes to get themselves to the level that Oxbridge requires. It’s a long, hard journey but you can ease the stress a small amount by giving them the time to let everything else go and focus on their application. 

You should now have a much clearer idea of how and why your students need to prepare for their interviews at Oxford and Cambridge, so it’s down to you and your faculty to provide a comprehensive support system that allows for teaching and realistic practice. While it may be challenging to start with, you will end up with a system that will greatly improve the chances of success for your applicants for years to come. 

Much of this advice is also actionable for other types of interviews that your students will be facing now and in the near future, so it doesn’t hurt to have an adaptable system that prepares them for multiple contexts. Most importantly, this support should be tailored to your students using your understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and abilities. 

Here at UniAdmissions, we have a wide variety of resources available for students to check out for free, so be sure to add our Interview Guides to your school’s library of support content. And as for you, why not learn how UniAdmissions can help you develop the ultimate support programme for your students, covering not just their interviews but the entire application process.  

Other Helpful Oxbridge Resources

Free CPD-Accredited Oxbridge Counsellor Course

This free online course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to help your students secure a place at the world’s top universities. You’ll complete the course as an Oxbridge expert!

Teacher’s Oxbridge Learning Hub

Access all of our highly detailed written guides for teachers, as well as useful resources and information about our school support.