How to Read for an Oxford Interview Continued...

By Matilda Trueblood


4) Practise critical thinking

One of the most important things to do whilst reading is to practise critical thinking, as it’ll be crucial for your interviews. At my college, my ability to analyse their set pre-reading was much more important than knowledge I recalled from reading (although this provided useful background). Ask yourself questions like ‘How well is this argument backed up by evidence?’ or ‘Why might the author believe this?’. Many applicants will have reading to do before their interview, so you might want to practise by choosing an article or extract of a book and spending some focused time analysing it critically. You can do the same with objects- my degree involves archaeology, so I spent an afternoon at the British Museum trying to analyse some of the artifacts. Critical thinking isn’t always easy, but all you need to show in your interviews is your capacity to attempt and learn it- no one expects it to be perfect!


5) Discuss your ideas

It’s always very helpful to discuss what you’re reading with other people- this could be a parent, a teacher or a friend. Discussing it will help you solidify your understanding and develop your own ideas. It can also be really valuable practice for your interviews, as discussing your ideas is exactly what you’ll be expected to do there.


I hope this advice helps you prepare for your interviews. Good luck!