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Oxford Interview Preparation

There is no doubt about it; interviews are scary but they will be a hundred times more terrifying if you are unprepared.You've sent off your application and you heave a big sigh of relief but, sadly, if you want to be offered a place at Oxford the hard work can't stop there. Start immersing yourself in your subject before you even find out whether you've been offered an interview.


  • Revisit your personal statement and make sure you know everything you have written about in minute detail.

  • I had written in depth about Virginia Woolf in my personal statement but was totally panicked when the tutors focused on my brief reference to Macbeth in my interview.

  • Think about why you want to study at Oxford and why you are drawn to the course. Look up your course online and see which parts excite you.

  • Most of my interviews opened with ‘Why English at Oxford?

  • Live and breathe your subject. Read outside of the school curriculum and read new texts once you’ve handed in your personal statement.

  • If you’ve learnt the Keynesian theory of economics at school, look at economics from a different angle, for instance the more psychological side of behavioural economics.

  • See everything as an opportunity. Talk about your subject with anyone and everyone who will listen. Even if they don’t know about your subject, vocalising your thoughts will help you form opinions.

  • If anyone offers you a mock interview, grab their hand off.

  • I was too scared and always regretted it!

Top Tips


  • Justify everything you say.

  • ‘I think Darwin’s theory of evolution was revolutionary’ is useless if you don’t say WHY you think that.

  • ‘Virginia Woolf wrote from multiple different perspectives’ isn’t insightful if you don’t say WHY she did this.

  • ‘I think Queen Elizabeth I was an important female in history’ WHY was she important?

  • Constantly ask yourself WHY and get everyone you speak to about your subject you ask you WHY.

  • In your interview remember the phrase ‘WHY? JUSTIFY!’

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