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PPE Interview Advice

By Jenny

Interviews can be pretty intimidating, especially when you don’t know exactly what to expect. I found that before my interview for PPE I got a lot of contradictory advice, and my own interview was totally different to what I’d anticipated. Before your interview it can be difficult to know how to prepare when you’ve either been bombarded with lots of confusing advice or been given very little at all! Hearing about other people’s interviews can give you a really valuable insight into what to expect and help you to feel a little bit more prepared - and hopefully slightly less nervous - when you arrive.

My interview involved about an hour and a half of time to read the material and prepare some thoughts before one twenty-minute discussion with four tutors from the college. The interview covered all three aspects of PPE but was split into two parts, the first half focused on economics and the second on politics and philosophy. For the economics element of the interview there was a problem-solving exercise. This involved a small amount of basic maths (nothing more complex than square rooting numbers!) but it didn’t require any specialist knowledge of economics. The politics and philosophy aspect involved a discussion about a short article, but again no in-depth knowledge of either subject was needed. The interview is designed to be this way – the tutors don’t want you to just regurgitate facts you already happen to know, they want to see how you think and develop your ideas!

This experience wasn’t what I was expecting at all - I’d prepared to be quizzed on my personal statement and thought I would need to be able to list a bunch of famous philosophers and economists! If you feel like you don’t know whose advice to take when preparing for interviews, or if you feel like you’ve not been given any helpful advice at all, remember that any preparation you do will not be wasted even if it doesn’t come up in your interview. Have a read of a few different people’s interview experiences on That Oxford Girl to get a feel for the interview experience, but don’t get caught up in imagining every possible eventuality.

Ultimately, the best advice I got before my interview was that I had got this interview at Oxford for a reason, that I was capable and that I should just be myself. Try to remember this as you’re preparing for your interview, and good luck!


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