By Boston Wyatt
First of all, well done! You have got an interview for Jurisprudence at Oxford - WOW! Take a minute to let that sink in and realise they’re interviewing you because you’re one of the top applicants and they want to meet you!I’m a 1st year Law student at Mansfield College and I hope to give you some tips about what to expect and how to stay chill in this extremely exciting but nerve wrecking time!
So what is the gist of a Law interview at Oxford? Well it will commonly consist of two. You may be asked to interview elsewhere - but that’s nothing to worry about just yet! Law interviews themselves will typically come with some reading before, don’t worry it’s not a lot! It’s usually a set of problems to apply a bit of law to. Don’t panic, you’re expected to know nothing prior, and I really mean NOTHING.
So the interview itself. Typically two academics will interview each time, however this can vary. They will ask questions relating to the reading you were given prior. They may ask one opening question on your personal statement, it is likely to be 100% not law. I was asked “Why do you think the Weimar Republic failed?” As I studied a German option on my A-level History. As it happened I was being interviewed by a History graduate! It threw me a little, but it was nice to be asked a question on something I genuinely knew about - so it helped to relax me! Apart from the problem questions they may attempt to extend your thinking, this happened in my first interview. They kept changing the scenario of the situation to push my thinking and make it even harder to apply the law due to knew circumstances. Looking back it was actually quite interesting to see how complex purchasing jewellery could be! Too complex!
Ultimately they are testing the way you reasons and your logic in argument, so just be clear with your thought processes and DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET THINGS WRONG! I had to get them to explain the whole statute mid-way through my interview. I admitted I didn’t understand and then was able to revoke my answers and apply the law in the now understood correct way. It might sound scary, and it certainly was at the time, but it’s good to get things wrong! After all, it’s about reasoning and argument, and there are many great arguments for completely flawed things - so don’t worry too much about it!
Lastly, I would say try to enjoy this extremely testing and gruelling time. Firstly, see Oxford, chat to people and try not to forget about the 20 minutes you’re being grilled by a tutor! Also, enjoy your interviews! They’re a chance for you to show your interest and indulge in a subject you are passionate about! I remember being sat in my second interview in front of one of my favourite Jurisprudence academics (hadn’t read any of his work though...) and having a really good discussion about medical law. I am really interested in this law and it brought up very interesting things! So enjoy it, as much as you can ... I know it’s tough!
Good luck to all you interviewing! Remember Oxford isn’t the be all and end all. Just be passionate and talk about what you enjoy!