First of all, congratulations! You’ve made it this far. You have an interview at one of the best universities and are in no doubt wondering, where do I go from here? These simple tips will help guide you to understanding the process a little better and hopefully provide you with the guidance to make the most out of your interview.
Show your workings out
Remember in maths when the teachers drilled it into you to show your workings out? Well, the same theory applies for an Oxbridge interview. When you’re asked a question, you’re not only being judged on the answer you provide, but how you reached that conclusion. Those assessing you are interested in your thought processes, so no matter how much you feel like out of place talking out loud, keep at it.
You may have been asked to do a test, send in coursework or at the very least provide a personal statement. There is a good chance your interviewer will quiz you one or more of these pieces of work. Be prepared and not only learn what you said in these writings, but prepare alternative ideas to those you put foreword and consider how someone may criticize your conclusions. Interviewers will be interested to see your critical thinking and demonstrate that you can think around your own ideas rather than have fixed points of view.
What not to prepare
There are some things you don’t need to know for your interview. For example, they don’t care if you know the history of the college, nor are they particularly bothered if you can recite the college anthem backwards in Latin. You need only focus on academic knowledge. Anything else they ask you in the interview, such as your oboe skills are merely a polite conversation starter to settle you into the flow of an interview.
Dusty Professors and dreaming spires
Yes you’re in one of the most famous universities walls and yes you’re being interviewed by world renowned professors, but at the end of the day they are people too and bricks are just bricks, no matter how pretty they are. Be inspired by your surroundings not intimidated. Going into your interview you may feel inadequate but there is no need to be. Self-confidence is a winning trait and you’ve been asked to be interviewed for a reason. Those who read your application believe that you are Oxbridge potential. Be proud of that and go into your interview with pride and self-confidence.
Tell me about a banana
We’ve all heard the myths about an Oxbridge interview. But fear not, you will not be asked the weight of a human head nor calculate how long it will take you to row to the moon. These questions you hear in the media are either contrived dribble for reading purposes or misplaced from their context. If you are asked about a banana, it will have been preceded by various questions such as evolution or perhaps the chemistry of commonplace items. You will never be asked strange questions out of the blue; so don’t worry about being quizzed on the weird and wonderful. And finally, good luck.