Interviews for Oxbridge can seem scary, especially if you’ve never done an interview before.
We’ve all heard the horror stories, from terrifying questions – “Describe the chair without describing any of its physical attributes,” – to the one where an interviewer set his own desk table on fire. With all these rumours flying around, it can be a daunting task to walk into an interview. There are several things to remember that will help you keep calm during the big day.
Firstly; nerves are a normal part of the Oxbridge interview process.
This is a big day for you, they’re to be expected! They can also help you focus. What you should not do is let nerves take over and turn you into an anxious mess. The best way to keep calm is to be prepared. You can do that by attending mock interviews, re-reading your personal statement, and any texts you’ve mentioned in it.
Secondly; remember that walking into the interview itself is an achievement.
Interviewers have asked you to attend because they want to interview. They think you have a chance of winning a place at their university on their course. Although this is more true at Oxford than Cambridge, where 90%+ of candidates are interviewed, you’ve still made it past the first hurdle! Congratulate yourself on that!
Thirdly; you should remind yourself of what it is that interviewers are looking for at Oxbridge.
They want to see, first and foremost, if they want to teach you. They want to teach students who care about the subject they’re applying for, and those students are the ones who are enthusiastic. Even if you do get nervous and forget names, dates, or specific facts, you can still show your enthusiasm.
Lastly; you should remember that interviewers are looking to admit people.
They’re interviewing not to be mean to you, but because they want people in their colleges and on their courses. Someone has to get that place, so why can’t it be you?
The best way not to panic in an interview is ultimately to feel prepared. Everyone gets nervous, that’s totally normal. Remind yourself that you’re attending interviews for a reason, and you should do just fine.