Some tips for interviews at Oxford (from a medic)

By Celine

If you mention something in your personal statement, make sure you know it thoroughly. If you say you did something, you need to reflect on that experience. I read through my personal statement, and highlighted everything that the tutors might be interested in—there were more than twenty potential topics! I made a list according to that and wrote down all the details.

Practice explaining your thoughts to people. An interview is similar to a tutorial, and in tutorials (and practical classes where we have the chance to discuss questions with the instructors), the tutors often say, ‘talk me through’, or ‘explain the whole process—start from the beginning’. Being able to explain a thing is often indicative of good understanding.

Listen! Listen to the question—we all tend to answer the question that we’d like to be asked, but really do try to think about what the tutors are looking for in your answer. Additionally, the tutors will be trying to teach you something and see if you can take in new information and make connections. So don’t be afraid of asking for a minute to think through what they’ve told you.

Don’t dwell on a mistake!!! If you make a mistake or say something you don’t feel great about during an interview, move on and focus on your next bit of discussion instead of feeling terrible about a previous answer. However, after one interview, you could perhaps have a bit of reflection so that you can avoid some simple mistakes in your next interview.

If you’re applying to medicine, try to revise your A-level/IB Biology and Chemistry. Physics would be helpful too if you take it. Have some basic understanding of experimental design (advantages and disadvantages of different types of studies, etc.), and read about medical ethics.

For all the introverts out there—it’s okay to speak slower and have a few seconds of silence, but try to speak clearly. I feel that this is especially important for online interviews.

Make sure that you are well-rested. Good luck!