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Am I right for Oxford?

Am I clever enough? Will everyone be cleverer than me? Will the tutors like me?

These are the questions I asked myself over and over again. There is no doubt about it Oxford can seem intimidating.

The stunning architecture, Harry Potter-esque dining halls and world expert tutors are enough to make most prospective applicants feel daunted.

Being nervous is normal but being so stressed that you can’t get your words out in the interview room and burst into floods of tears isn’t the best sign. As much as the interviews are used to test your knowledge, they are also a great way of showing how you react under pressure. They are designed to reflect a mini-tutorial which once at Oxford you will have on a weekly basis. So if you can’t cope with the interview, it’s unlikely you’ll cope with the workload and pressure once you start Oxford.

If you think you can deal with the pressure then ask yourself the next lot of questions:

  • Am I committed to working hard?

  • Do I have the grades?

  • Can I motivate myself to meet deadlines without a teacher pushing me?

  • Am I open to new ideas?

  • Does the tutorial system appeal to me?

  • Am I good at exams?

  • Am I passionate about my subject?

  • Does 'Oxford Life' appeal to me?

If you can answer YES to most of these then you really have nothing to lose!

Top Tips
  • Look around Oxford or research it online to see whether the University appeals to you.

  • Research your course, to check you will be happy studying it in minute detail for the next 3-4 years.

  • Self-analyse- ask yourself whether you truly believe you have the qualities to get you through an Oxford degree.

  • Discuss your subject with everyone and anyone who will listen and get them to ask you questions– this is a great way to practice staying calm under pressure.

  • Stop comparing yourself to everyone else – this is difficult but focus on the qualities you have.

  • Don’t pretend to be what you think the tutors are looking for, be true to yourself.

  • BELIEVE - if you really want something you have to believe you can get it and that belief, along with hard work, can go a very long way.


Tutorials – a weekly meeting with your tutor to discuss your week’s work. The tutorial system makes Oxford different from other University. You can’t hide in the back of a lecture theatre, the spotlight is on you!

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