Oxford Interview Tips for Everyone!
* 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.
* Stay up-to-date with developments and topical issues about your subject.
- Research your subject on the internet, read current articles on recent developments.
- Read the newspaper.
- Listen to the radio.
- Watch the news.
* 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! * WHY? 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!’ * Bring warm clothes – the University is spread around the city, rather than being one campus, so it’s likely that you’ll have to venture out into the cold.
* Try to think about whether you can envisage yourself studying at Oxford - some people love it, whereas others find it’s not for them at interview.
* Ask if you get lost – out in the Deer Park in Magdalen College, I wandered around several times for what seemed like hours trying to find my way to the main college.
* Try not to be intimidated by the other applicants – focus on YOU and take what everyone else says with a pinch of salt.
* Keep checking the boards – the timings of your interviews tend to be pinned to a board. You'll be told where it's located on arrival, keep checking it during your stay, you may get a very last-minute interview at another college.
* Be prepared to be unprepared – so many subjects have give applicants ‘unseen material’. This is a great way of putting everyone on a level pegging, to stop students just regurgitating what they have learnt at school. It’s your time to shine!
* Be prepared to be put on the spot – I had no idea that I was going to be asked to write a book list of everything I'd read over the last 12 months when I arrived at Magdalen College for interviews. It took me by complete surprise but that is the point of Oxford Interviews, to see how you cope under pressure.
* The tutors aren’t trying to trick you – remember they are interested in your knowledge and how your mind works, there are no trick questions.
* Wear what you feel comfortable in - it's your mind that matters, not your clothes.
* Pack your notes – you’ve spent weeks meticulously preparing your notes, so now is not the time to ignore them.
* Be prepared to be interviewed at other colleges - this is a really normal part of the Oxford application process.
* Finally, try to enjoy the experience as much as possible! You'll be staying in a beautiful city, discussing a subject you love and meeting loads of interesting people.
Good Luck! 🍀🍀🍀🍀
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