University interview season is upon us. So far this year, 45 of our students have been invited to interview at either Oxford or Cambridge. To celebrate this amazing success, we wanted to share our top five tips for a successful Oxbridge interview.
Here is our University Access Officer Charlotte with her top tips. Charlotte works with our students at Central Foundation Girls’ School in London. She created this video on her way to graduation from Homerton College in Cambridge!
Have a read through your personal statement and make sure you are ready to talk about anything you mentioned. If you said that you read something, now is a good time to make sure you’ve done that!
Take the time to do a bit of super-curricular research. Catch up on the latest news around your subject, or watch a couple of TED Talks. There’s no expectation to come in with loads of knowledge, and you may not be asked about current events. But if you are passionate about your subject, this sort of stuff should interest you anyway.
Never be afraid to say “I don’t know” but always follow it with “I don’t know, but I could tell you about this…”, “I don’t know, but could you tell me this…”, “I don’t know, but I’d like to find out more…”.
This will show the interviewer that you have a real interest in understanding the question, and will be willing to engage in conversation.
Don’t come along with any pre-prepared answers or try to cram in irrelevant facts or stories. These interviews are meant to simulate a supervision or tutorial to see if you would be a good fit for Oxbridge’s teaching systems.
As these sessions are basically academic discussions, it’s most important that you come along ready to bounce off any questions that might be asked.
Enjoy your university interview.
This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak to somebody that loves the subject. Take a deep breath, know that you’re capable and knowledgable, and even if you don’t know the answer to every question, that’s ok. You’re not meant to.