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What to expect when you’re expecting (offers)

By Sanaa Mughal

CONGRATULATIONS. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably just completed your interview at Oxford. You may feel a series of mixed emotions, and there is no right way to feel, but just know that one of the hardest stages is over!

My own experience of my Oxford interviews was as expected i.e. entirely nerve-wracking and challenging, but it also was a rewarding experience to see what I really knew! I often say to myself, if you leave an interview (or exam) with a smile, forced or natural, you will remember most aspects as better than they felt at the time. As I left each of my interviews and took time to catch my breath, I put on a smile and took time to reflect on what I had achieved as I walked back to the college. I also took time to note down what questions I had been asked so that I had a clear memory of what had happened during my interview, (not essential but sometimes keeps your mind from making up things!).

So…what to do now?

1. Don’t compare yourself to other candidates. After your interview, when you come back to all the new friends you’ve made who have just gone through their own interviews, it’s easy to start comparing yourself and your experiences. Just remember that everyone has different experiences and might even be doing different subjects! I think it’s true for most universities, but undoubtedly true for Oxford, that whether you had a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ interview in your opinion doesn’t always determine the outcome, so don’t worry if you think it went awfully, (many successful candidates do!). Which leads me to my next point…

2. Trust that you have done the best you possibly could in that moment. It’s safe to say that you will have prepared sufficiently for your interview. Some preparation may have ended up being useless and some may have saved you! For me a geology meme a friend sent the night before was the key to me identifying a rock sample! You have a lot of random information whizzing around your brain at this time of the year and interviewers know this. They’re not trying to catch you out so don’t worry if you didn’t know something specific. If you tried to work through a problem or argument starting with what you did know, you probably did better than you thought!

3. Get those grades. We all know Christmas holidays means revision for mocks when you’re a student, so don’t take it too lightly. You may be burnt out from the intensity of the UCAS application process, but in the end, getting the grades is what will secure a place. Test yourself and see what level you are at this point, so you know later on how to achieve your personal goals. You may not know whether you have an offer or not yet, but in the meantime, you can prove to yourself just how good you are!

4. Rest. You’ve been through a lot, and you’re about to go through a lot more. Your last year in school is full of highs and lows, so take time to recharge yourself and develop your mindset for the months ahead. Spend time with friends and family, and take your mind off Oxford, (it’s used up enough space in your thoughts already!).

Best of luck,


Earth Sciences 1st Year


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