Everyone who is short-listed will be interviewed, either in Oxford or by Skype or phone (if you live outside Europe). The interviews are conducted along the lines of a tutorial. We go through questions and problems, discussing your ideas and responses, and finding out something about how you think. There will always be more than one interviewer in the room, and you will be interviewed at least twice, sometimes at more than one college.
How to Have a Good Interview
- Make sure you’ve had some practice in speaking about your subject outside the classroom; perhaps at school if that can be arranged, or better still, try explaining a couple of the issues in your subject to someone who knows nothing about them: grandparents, friends, strangers on trains and so on.
- Re-read any submitted written work and your personal statement to remind yourself of what you said.
- Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
- Listen carefully to the questions and ask for clarification if you don’t understand.
- Don’t prepare a script of ‘clever’ things to say. This will only detract from your ability to listen to the question.
- Don’t worry about ‘thinking aloud’ – this is what we want – you will not sound stupid!
- If it feels difficult and you don’t immediately know what to say, then it’s working! Interviews are not easy, but they should be interesting.
- You don’t need to have a prepared question of your own to ask.
What will your interview be like?
To help give you an idea of what an interview might be like, here are a couple of mock interviews - one for Classics and one for Physics. Interviews are not designed to be scary or to catch you out, but are an opportunity for you to illustrate a passion for your chosen subject and to have a conversation about it with some of the leading researchers and teachers in the field.