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Oxford Interviews - it’s ok to get it wrong!

By Lizzie Bateman

So you finally make it through to interview at Oxford, which is such a fab achievement, but also incredibly daunting. I remember despite having scoured the internet for information about how they work and what I might get asked, I still arrived at the gate to college, with absolutely no idea what was going on, and part of me was wishing that the ground would swallow me whole. Coming out the other side, however, was a different story.

You may go in thinking that you need to impress the tutors by getting every question right and that if you don’t get the answer straight away that you’ve lost your shot at an offer at oxford but that’s simply not the case. In my interviews, I remember getting a significant number of things wrong (in hindsight even forgetting basic knowledge) and was faced with stuff that I’d never seen before in my life.

But the tutors aren’t looking for correct answers, if you already knew everything then there would be nothing for them to teach you! In the interviews, they’re assessing how your brain works, how you tackle problems and deal with new knowledge being presented to you. If you get a question wrong, they’ll put you on the right track and see where your brain takes you. It’s important to speak your thoughts out loud so that they can see your thought process and ability to tackle problems. And don’t be put off by something completely new and seemingly abstract! They want to see how you sink your teeth into a challenge, so don’t shy away. The important part is to give it a go so they can see how you break the problem down, whether your final answer is correct or not.

Finally, one of the most important things I took away from interviews is to enjoy them! It might seem scary but a new challenge on the subject that you’ve chosen, and love is an exciting experience, so regardless of the outcome make sure to enjoy it whilst you can and showing the tutors your love for their subject is never going to be a bad thing.

Good luck, and go get em’


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