Oxford University

How To Survive An Oxbridge Interview

A good place to start when prepping for an Oxbridge Interview is to consider what its there for. If you’ve done your elementary research, then you too will have stumbled across the tales of lofty silent turret-rooms with aged professors standing looking out over the college court, booming ‘Sit down!’, only to face the terrifying choice of which chair – the forest green leather, the spartan wood or the metal-top? Could my chance at an Oxbridge place really hinge on this precarious decision? For most potential Oxbridge undergraduates, the reality of the interview process proves a little different. As a then post-graduate described it to me on my interview weekend, it’s simply designed to weed out the bright-eyed bushy-tailed young academics from the rote-taught masses, and that description proved pleasantly accurate for my interview experiences. Animated academic discussion about what I loved, and love best; resulting in a desire to learn so much more in this buzzing intellectual environment. Just in case you find yourself being interviewed by one of the old-school eccentrics, these top-tips should stand you in good stead to hold your ground in all eventualities.

First, try to maintain a healthy focus on your core reasons for applying: what is it about your subject that fires you up? Why is it so important for you to continue to the next stage of education with this remaining your core focus? The reality of Oxbridge student life means you are signing up to spending 10-13 hours a day reading, thinking and arguing out your opinions on this subject, so both you and your interviewer will want to be convinced that this will be as fulfilling for you as it is for those who have already commited to the field. It is also, most importantly, this passion that will make you stand out in an individual way – no two people can connect to a subject personally at the same points of reference, so this unique perspective is what will make you an interesting potential student.

Following this, it is then crucial that in the interview your perspective can freely emerge. Don’t be afraid to voice a contentious opinion and explain your thinking around it; this is what makes you accessible for teaching and the way in which you will engage as an Oxbridge student would. Be as fearless as you can in arguing your stance if you feel you have sufficient academic backing; interviewers will often play the ‘devil’s advocate’ to test how confident you are in asserting your own position against alternative critique.

As the interview continues, and you feel perhaps you’ve been too aggressive, perhaps you’ve been arguing in ignorance, just remember to keep breathing! This is a two-way process, and they do in fact want to see as much of your mind as you see of theirs. Lots of potential candidates fall into the trap of ‘absorbing mode’, particularly when the interview diverts to a new topic of conversation – and come to a floundering halt on the dreaded words ‘So, what do you think?’. Don’t be afraid to counter-question and clarify as new information is divulged, to elucidate your thinking in a more normal way; you may find that this enables you to avoid encountering the dreaded question at all!

To evade some of the heady nerves that are inevitably encountered when one is put to trial in a new environment: research, research, research! Research as much around the College you have applied to and your subject within it as possible; how well is your subject represented – is it a majority or minority subject? How many candidates are accepted each year? Which colleges will you be teaming up with for supervisions (if any)? Which other tutors will you be working with for specific subjects? You need to be sure that you are signing up for working in an environment that will suit you, so be honest – do you work well with lots of competition around you driving you on, or are you happiest working as a lone ranger? This should strongly influence your choice of College, and what you need to find out once you get there. Also make it your pet project to know your interviewers inside-out; if you find out as much as possible about their backgrounds and what led them to specialize in a particular area you will have a pretty good idea about the potential directions for conversation in interview.

Finally, try to keep as healthy a perspective on the process as you can. It’s easy to be swept up in the excitement of Oxbridge and what it represents, but the process itself is still to all intents and purposes a numbers game. With only 1 in 5 applicants actually offered a place, factors outside your control are rife. Although the obvious advantages to Oxbridge are that both Universities host intense pockets of bright young individuals challenging world thinking on the spectrum of academic doctrines, with outstanding teaching from leading specialists in each field, this unique position attracts far more students than there are places available for study. However, this is not to say challenging academic climates cannot be found elsewhere. If you don’t make it through the process this time, remember that a challenging academic environment is created by the students within it, living and breathing their subjects and bouncing off one another – hold onto your enthusiasm and passion for your subject and this will find you in a likeminded circle wherever you go.

For more information, contact Tavistock Tutors at [email protected]

Additional resources:

Oxbridge Interview Advice
Oxbridge Interview and Application Tips
Oxbridge Interview Prep

We Are Here To Help

We have hundreds of tutors available right now to help you improve and succeed. From a one hour session online to a full academic
year of face to face lessons, all it takes is five minutes for us to take down your information. We can then find you the most suitable tutors.

Eyup Ozcan
Eyup Ozcan
14:43 24 Feb 20
In the beginning of university terms I was struggling with a few assignments (statistics and research methods specifically). I had contacted many tutoring companies but non of them were able to meet my requirements i.e. some of them were just looking to get their money, some had conditions of how many session you could book and some didn't have the necessary qualifications that were suited for my needs.I had then found Tavistock tutors, they put me through with one of their best statistical tutors they had. I got an email straight away from her and we started working on the assignment and in a few sessions, the assignment was all up to date and I was ready to submit it with great confidence.Tavistock tutors is an amazing company that is worth the investment, they provide you with top class tutors, continuous support outside your lessons as well as being able to match you up with the correct tutor. whenever I need a tutor, all I do is message them on WhatsApp with my requirements and in a day or two, they've found me a perfect tutor.So far I've had great success with tutors in the fields of statistics and research methods as well as medicine related. Really happy with the services I've been given, don't be put of by the membership price, its worth it ;).read more
Muna Ali
Muna Ali
11:48 29 Jan 20
Great service, friendly staff and prompt customer service. Highly qualified selection of tutors and decent price for security and piece of mind.
natalie kanfer
natalie kanfer
15:32 21 Jan 20
By far the best tutoring agency I have ever worked with!
Elena Serena Piccardi
Elena Serena Piccardi
11:26 19 Oct 19
I have been working with Tavistock Tutors for 3 years.I tutor undergraduate and postgraduate students disciplines such as research methods/advanced research methods, SPSS, data analysis, psychology and I also offer support to clients interested in pursuing an academic career (cv and interview preparation).My experience with Tavistock Tutors has been exceptionally good since the very beginning. Each member of the team is striving to provide the best and most personalised service to both students and tutors. This approach helps students achieve their goals and be inspired by tutors, whilst supporting tutors' growth and development of teaching/tutoring skills.Each member of the Tavistock Tutors team is exceptionally passionate about the incredible work they do to help students succeed. Their organisation is fantastic across all the stages of the process: from informing tutors about potential tutoring requests, to communicating any additional personalised requests students might have, to dealing with requests from tutors themselves. Further, their communication is always so friendly and positive: I love interacting with each of them! 😊Overall, I believe this is the finest tutoring agency in London (and probably beyond London!). The tutors are exceptionally talented and a true inspiration for students! As one of the tutors, I cannot be happier I made the decision to join the team a few years ago! They truly made me a better person and supported my personal growth as an individual and as an educator.read more
Melodie Argi
Melodie Argi
08:14 18 Oct 19
Tavistock tutors is by far the best tutor agency is London. The tutor selection is of the highest quality. Handpicked from the British intellectual elite in all sorts of disciplines. The staff is wonderfully helpful as well as being extremely attentive to feedback.read more
Henry Smith
Henry Smith
22:27 17 Oct 19
I have been employed as a tutor with Tavistock Tutors for over 5 years. I tutor mathematics and also help people with job preparation for different career routes (cv, cover letter, interview preparation and online test prep). They are simply a wonderful team of individuals who work collectively and strive to deliver the best possible service to both clients and their tutors. They work doggedly to achieve results. They are particularly honest and their feedback to tutors on how to improve is tailored, concise and always highly constructive. Even after 5 yrs, they only put me forward as a tutor if they think I am the absolute best they can find otherwise they are honest with me and explain why I was not put forward. I think this transparency is a huge reason for their success and keeps the best tutors on their books for years. Their communication on what a client wants is also clinically precise and effective and the team go out of their way to provide potential interests/passions of the client to help the tutor prepare accordingly for the lessons and nurture that interaction. Simply the finest agency and I have tutored with some of the best. World-class tutors and utmost confidentiality with respect to their clientele. I cannot be happier to work for them, a dream job with a team whose capacity for kindness, empathy and boundless intellect never ceases to amaze me. Their work ethic inspires me to relentlessly push myself to be a better tutor with their encouragement and constructive feedback.read more
Albert Tam
Albert Tam
20:50 17 Oct 19
Best tutors in London! Great experience and amazing customer service. Highly recommend, my tutors were all fantastic and a huge help. Really recommend Tavistock Tutors as I never had to worry about not getting the highest quality tutors unlike other agencies and online tutors.read more
I ME
I ME
16:13 17 Oct 19
I’ve used Tavistock multiple times and they never disappoint!I used them for myself secondary school, whilst at university and even now whilst working. Their service is second to none as are their tutors.I highly recommend them to anyone looking to better themselves academically or personally.read more
STAVROS MOUSLOPOULOS
STAVROS MOUSLOPOULOS
13:22 06 Oct 19
Why most reviewers have one contribution, namely to the Tavistock Tutors?High standards ? Mate get a real job rather than living off other's qualifications.Reality Check(See photos attached - that is the owner “looking for me” 1.5 years after leaving London and while my name and photo was on first page of Tavistock Tutor website...)read more
Jonathan Aaron
Jonathan Aaron
16:39 01 Aug 19
Amazing experience, the tutor was reliable, knowledgeable and reasonably priced and the company was both professional and reliable. Definitely will be using them again!read more
David T
David T
16:34 01 Aug 19
I used Tavistock for some Corporate Finance and Financial Modelling training at my firm. They were extremely helpful and the trainer, Simon, was of top quality, experience and charged a fair price. Thank you!read more
Olivia Pluss
Olivia Pluss
11:05 13 Jun 19
I had a fantastic experience with my tutor Elena and Tavistock Tutors. They were very well organized and made the entire experience so seamless and easy for me. I passed my assignment with great marks and the experience was much less stressful than if I had tried to complete the assignment without Elena's help.read more
J Mathews
J Mathews
11:27 22 May 19
My child used Glenda for HL biology. Glenda was outstanding. I would not hesitate to recommend her. Extremely intelligent, always prepared, knows how to teach/very helpful, and also just a nice person. Also, I would use Tavistock again for sure because we had such success with Glenda.read more
Alan Radford
Alan Radford
09:34 09 May 19
Tavistock Tutors were a delight to deal with, and highly professional at all times. They provided my daughter with an excellent tutor at very short notice - after my having approached them on a Thursday urgently requesting a tutor for that weekend. Tavistock Tutors immediately gave the matter their attention; they appreciated the urgency and responded quickly and efficiently, and helped to set my daughter up with exactly the right sort of tutor. Fantastic!read more
Sophie Taieb
Sophie Taieb
12:55 29 Mar 19
Very happy with Tavistock tutors services. They provide a wide range of tutors, from all backgrounds and for all types of needs. My uni son needed some help in research and methodology. We found a perfectly suited tutor in less than 3 days. He is very knowledgeable, punctual, open minded and brings the support needed to my son. I would definitely recommend Tavistock tutorsread more
Next Reviews

How to analyse form in an English essay (13+/GCSE/A-level)

Stuck on analysing form in literature? Tavistock Tutors are here to help…
Whether one is helping a student analyse a play or article, a proper consideration of form is crucial. Yet 'form' is a...

6 Reasons To Hire A Tutor For Your Child

Most children will come across several challenges with learning during their school journey. The desire of most parents is to boost their kids enthusiasm for learning, build educational self-esteem an...

How To Utilize Your Summer Holidays?

Holidays are the best period for many students as they are free from their daily school activities. You’ll never get such blissfully long holidays when you’re working — so make the most of them....

Call Now Button