By Rebecca Wright
1) Firstly, congratulations for being offered an interview. You may be feeling a mixture of excited and scared, as well as a mixture of emotions in between. So, take a deep breath, and remember you are here based on your achievements and the potential that the tutors see in you.
2) The interview is split into two sections. At some colleges these two sections are completed as two halves of one interview, whereas at others it is carried out as two separate interviews.
3) One section is text-based. The text is selected by the tutor at the college you are being interviewed at and varies every year between colleges. You are usually given some time prior to the interview to look over the texts and highlight/ make your own notes. So, if you are asked to arrive early, make sure you do so, to avoid missing out on valuable preparation time. The texts vary, so do not worry if you have never seen the text before. You can bring in all your other theological knowledge to the text in front of you. The tutors usually try to pick texts that students are not familiar with, to ensure it is a level playing field.
4) The other section is more focused around your personal statement, as well as broader questions to get you thinking and test your analytical skills. Ensure that you can talk about each aspect of your personal statement, and that you are very familiar with each of the books you have mentioned that you have read.
5) Do not be worried about pausing to think after the question has been asked rather than rushing in. It is much better to briefly pause and gather your argument, than rushing in and speaking in a muddle with no clear focus.
6) The tutors will play devil’s advocate with your responses, so be prepared to defend your argument. However, if you realise your view has changed as a result of something they say, do not be afraid to admit this, just then explain why. It is best to be yourself, and show that your thoughts have changed, if that is the case, rather than trying to argue something you are no longer convinced with. Equally, continue to argue your case clearly and with reasons if you believe that is the correct answer.
Best of luck with the interviews! Try to stay calm and enjoy the experience of being in Oxford between the interviews.