Oxford Interviews Explained | university of oxford (2023)

Oxford Interviews Explained | university of oxford (1)

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(Video) Interviews at Oxford

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Over the next two weeks, Oxford will host thousands of prospective students for their annual university entrance interviews.

Most applicants have at least two interviews depending on their chosen field of study and stay at Oxford colleges for free during subject interviews.

Each year, the questions asked are topic-specific and give the candidate the opportunity to show their interest and passion for their chosen topic. Students applying for modern languages ​​may be asked why, in a world where English is the dominant language, it is still important to learn French or Italian, while aspiring engineers may be asked to use the physical forces behind of this to explain and outline the speed that governs the process of kicking a soccer ball, from rest to air.

Regardless of the question asked during the interview, it's important for candidates to remember that getting the "correct" answer isn't necessarily the main goal, as explained by Professor Nick Yeung, professor of cognitive neuroscience and mentoring fellow at the University , College, “In every interview, I want to get to a point where the person doesn't know the answer right away. Because one of the really important things we want to see is how the person thinks when they don't know the answer yet. Of course we're willing to make it happen and we don't want anyone sitting there for minutes, but I think we'll give people space and time in an interview to think, and we could if they did. if we did something sitting around confused, we might ask someone to think it out loud, say what the first thought was, and then build from there.

Samina Khan, Director of Admissions and Graduate Outreach, said: “The process is designed to help the candidate and make them feel as comfortable as possible. In a new and unfamiliar environment, being questioned by people you have never met can be overwhelming, so we decided to put the student at ease and keep things as simple as possible.

“There are no leading questions, everything we do has a purpose, which is to show us how a student thinks and reacts to new ideas and information, in an academic conversation, similar to the tutorials they will see when they come to study at Oxford. . We're looking for prospects to see if they can hold their own in an academic conversation about a topic they're passionate about or topics they've mentioned in their personal statements that are important to them. An important piece of advice would be to read and understand the lyrics and topics that you have included in your personal statement; this is not the time to feed them.”

In addition to mock interviews and an online brochure about the interview process, the university produced a podcast this year in which three admissions tutors offer interview tips and explain some of the questions to ask.
Dr Khan adds: "We know there are myths and misconceptions about the Oxford interview, which is why we publish so much information and have many helpers available to put the student at ease. Having an idea of ​​what to expect can help them prepare." for interviews and reducing the unknown.'



He:Earth sciences
Interviewer:Professor David Pyle, Professor of Earth Sciences, Geodesy, Tectonics, Volcanology and Related Hazards
Question: Show the candidate a rock sample and ask him to describe the rock and what he sees.

Respondedor:Many of my colleagues can contribute a rock sample to an observe, describe, and infer question. The stone may well have a specific characteristic, in its appearance or in the materials from which it is made, that the interviewer will begin with. The questions begin like this: ... here is a stone; Take a moment to look at this example and work through it. Can you tell me what you can see? I don't want to know what it is, I want you to describe what the rock looks like or what it seems to be made of. Can you see particles? or crystals? and uses all kinds of descriptive words with which he is familiar. We make no assumptions about whether contestants have explored rock before.
The initial approach is to make careful observations and separate them from any preconceived or immediate interpretations that the candidate may want to jump to. These observations provide evidence for how the rock may have formed; and finally to what we could call a rock.
We will then take the observations and direct the questions so that the discussion moves on to thinking aloud about what physical or chemical processes might have helped create this particular rock property: Why are the grains round? Did they start out this way or did they get discouraged? What kind of place on Earth can you imagine today where you could find grains that look like this? Why do you think the stone is red? What elements or compounds do you know that have a red color? Etc. The way to approach these types of problems is to listen to the questions and take the time to think aloud while working on the task. This is not a pop quiz or trivia exercise; It's an exercise to see how you can objectively collect evidence and then use that information to build some simple ideas about how the sample might have been formed.

He:politics, philosophy and economics
Interviewer:Dr. Matthew Williams, Academic and Professional Development Scholar, Jesus College
Question: Is war the opposite of politics?

Respondedor:It is common for interview questions on politics to ask implicitly (or in this case explicitly): What is politics? This is a difficult but important question for the discipline. Good answers will break down the question and interpret what "war", "politics" and "opposite" mean. The interviewer will ensure that the candidate answers the question with an argument and explains how they interpreted the question.

(Video) What to Expect in an Oxford Interview

In common parlance, "politics" can include, but is not opposed to, "war." Therefore, the aim is to encourage students to think outside the box and imagine an interpretation of politics that could even be seen as positive and optimistic: politics as conflict avoidance. The best answers will point out that terms like "war" can mean acts of physical violence, but can also include cyber warfare or financial hacking. And the policy can be seen at the state level and even at the household level. Therefore, the strong distinction between war and politics may not be very helpful to our understanding of these terms.

As the interview progresses, we'll talk more abstractly about the use of terms. Basically, the question arises about the validity of constructing binary opposites to understand concepts such as politics. Does this polarizing use of language (x is the opposite of y) illuminate or obscure reality? This could be a question to end the interview.

Interviewer:Professor Nick Yeung, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Tutorial Fellow at University College
Question: How important is the "facial area" of the brain and its stimulation when humans see and recognize faces?

Respondedor:Facial recognition is a very useful skill and one that we often take for granted. With this question we look for the candidate who thinks critically about the experimental design and what we can learn from the results. For example, does the experiment have clear hypotheses and predictions? Is it good to try this? Are the methods used adequate? Does the experiment have the necessary control conditions?

We are not only looking for critical thinking, but also creative thinking, for example, about how the experiment can be improved and what the results of said experiment can tell us about how people think and how the brain works: what does it do? Does it mean to "recognize" a face? What cognitive processes are involved? What could be special (or not special) about faces? Why might there be an area of ​​the brain dedicated to facial recognition?

(Video) Example Oxford interview questions!

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What are Oxford interviews really like? ›

Interviews are similar to Oxford's teaching tutorials and you may well find you actually learn a lot. Don't worry if you don't know an answer immediately - see if you can work your way through it aloud. This lets tutors see how you think and means that your final answer is only part of what they find out.

How does Oxford interview process work? ›

Normally you will be interviewed by two tutors, occasionally more. If you are applying for a joint course, with two or more subjects, you should expect to be interviewed by tutors representing each of the subjects. For some joint courses you may be interviewed separately for each subject area.

What percentage of Oxford interviewees get an offer? ›

Your chances of obtaining an offer from Oxford or Cambridge (before you have confirmed your course and college choice, sat your potential admissions test, and been invited up for interview) are roughly 17%, a figure that comes from around 46,000 applicants chasing 8,000 places at the two universities (for 2021 entry, ...

What does it mean if you get a second college interview Oxford? ›

When you're up at interview at Oxford and you are sent to other colleges after you've been interviewed by the first college. This is called pooling. You'll have an initial interview (or two) at your first college and then be asked to interview at a different college.

Why are Oxford interviews so hard? ›

Oxbridge interviews are designed to test your response to things you don't already know about, and this makes them intrinsically difficult to prepare for. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to help boost your confidence and feel prepared.

Is it harder to get an interview at Oxford or Cambridge? ›

Cambridge take into account UMS scores and A-Level grades during their shortlisting process to decide which applicants should be interviewed. Oxford, on the other hand, focus more on admissions test scores and GCSEs. Cambridge also tend to interview 75% of their applicants, a higher proportion than Oxford.

How do you ace an Oxford interview? ›

How do you secure an Oxbridge interview?
  1. Meeting the grade requirements. ...
  2. Scoring highly enough in your admissions test. ...
  3. Building a strong academic profile. ...
  4. Writing a quality personal statement. ...
  5. You will be interviewed by a panel of two or three academic tutors. ...
  6. Interviewers will be looking for your academic potential.
Feb 23, 2022

How many Oxford interviews will I have? ›

Most candidates will have at least two interviews, depending on their chosen subject of study, and will stay in Oxford's colleges for the duration of their subject interviews, at no cost.

Are you allowed notes in an Oxford interview? ›

To prepare for this, look again at the job description, your application, your CV and supporting statement and think about the key points you want to make. It is fine to take notes to the interview with you.

What is the hardest course to get into at Oxford? ›

Economics and management is the most difficult course to be accepted into at Oxbridge, but the rest of the top ten toughest courses may surprise you. Getting into Oxford or Cambridge University is an achievement in itself, but cracking your way into economics and management is another feat entirely.

What is the hardest college to get into at Oxford? ›

All Souls College

All Souls is the most elusive Oxford College and it takes no undergraduate students. In order to get in, graduate and postgraduate students apply for examination fellowships through “the hardest exam in the world”.

What is the easiest subject to get into Oxford? ›

  • Best chance of getting an interview (%) Chemistry 96.2. Classics 95.9. Human Sciences 92.8. Modern Languages & Linguistics 92.5. ...
  • Highest Success Rate (%) Classics 40.1. Chemistry 33.6. Theology & Oriental Studies 33.3. ...
  • Highest Success Rate (%) Classics 50.3. Music 48.3. Archaeology & Anthropology 45.1.

What of Oxford applicants get interviews? ›

Who Gets Invited? Each year, Oxford receives around 22,000 applications for 3,300 places. Oxford then shortlists around 10,000 candidates for Interviews, which is generally 40-45% of applicants every year. Cambridge, on the other hand, Interview a higher percentage of applicants, around 70%.

How long does it take to hear back from an interview at Oxford? ›

Check whether applicants to your course are usually interviewed in the entry requirements on your course page, under 'Performance at interview'. You will usually find out by email whether your application is successful from your academic department about 8 to 10 weeks after the application deadline.

What are Tier 3 subjects Oxford? ›

Oxford University Tier 3 Subjects
  • Chemistry.
  • Computer Science.
  • Computer Science and Philosophy.
  • Earth Sciences.
  • Engineering.
  • Mathematics.
  • Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • Mathematics and Philosophy.
Nov 18, 2022

What is the hardest entrance exam in the world Oxford? ›

It has been described in the past as "the hardest exam in the world". Two papers (the 'specialist papers') are on a single subject of the candidate's choice; the options are classics, English literature, economics, history, law, philosophy, and politics.

Who gives more interviews Oxford or Cambridge? ›

While Cambridge interviews around 80% of its applicants, Oxford admissions tutors interview far fewer candidates (between 20 to 40%). That's because Oxford filters out many of its applicants when they take an admissions test like the TSA or PAT. Cambridge doesn't tend to give these tests.

Is Oxford more competitive than Harvard? ›

Oxford University has a fair acceptance rate of 17% in comparison to Harvard where only 5% of all the applications received are accepted. You may gain a chance to get admission at Oxford if you have exceptional academic performance and skills.

Is it easier for Americans to get into Oxford? ›

It is, therefore, expected that the University of Oxford is a highly selective institution with an astonishing average acceptance rate of 17.5%. The acceptance rate for international students is even lower, estimated at 9%. More than a fifth of the candidates applying to Oxford University annually face rejection.

Is Oxford more prestigious than Cambridge? ›

World University Rankings

Overall Ranking: 1st Oxford, 3rd Cambridge. Teaching: 5th Oxford, 7th Cambridge.

Is Oxford easier to get into than Harvard? ›

Oxford University has an acceptance rate of around 17% which is considered relatively good in comparison to Harvard University's low 5% acceptance rate, which makes Oxford easier to get into.

Can I wear an Oxford shirt to an interview? ›

An Oxford shirt will show you understand the company's more laid back approach to dressing, just make sure it's pressed well and tucked into your trousers neatly. A tie is optional, depending on the company – you could always take one just in case you feel underdressed when you get to reception.

Does Oxford send rejection letters? ›

In general, shortlist letters (interview invitation/rejections) are sent out between mid November and early December. Usually the middle two weeks of November are when the Interview Yes/No decisions are made. Do they tell you if they're not offering you an interview? Yes they do tell you if you have been rejected too.

What makes a good Oxford candidate? ›

Most successful applicants to Oxford do have a high amount of A and A* grades, or 7,9 and 9 grades, but Oxford looks at the whole GCSE performance of the school or college where you studied to put your grades into context, and you may well be able to make a competitive application to Oxford with lower GCSE grades than ...

How many students get a first at Oxford? ›

While an impressive 31.7% of all Cambridge graduates left university with a first, this figure is triumphantly beaten by their bitter rivals at Oxford, where 33.2% of all graduates successfully swotted their way to a first.

How many applicants actually get an interview? ›

Whenever you apply for a job, it's only natural to have some competition. The average number of people who tend to apply for a single job is 118, while only 20% of them get invited to an interview. So, next time you're wondering how many applicants get interviews, know that it's roughly only 1 in 5.

How many people miss their Oxford offer? ›

Last year Oxford offered 3,771 undergraduate spots, and then enrolled 3,270. So 401 students out of the 3,771 (10.6%) did not or could not take up their offer (that figure includes students who failed to make the required A-level offer).

Can I look at my notes during an interview? ›

It's acceptable to bring notes with you to an interview if the notes contain the questions you plan to ask your interviewer. You might also include questions about the company that you were unable to answer through your research.

How long is an Oxford interview? ›

If you are invited to interview, you will have at least two interviews with academic tutors, lasting about 30-40 minutes.

Can you wear Oxford shoes to an interview? ›

Sandals, flip-flops and other open-toed shoes may be more appropriate for casual situations than a job interview. Instead, you may want to consider a classic dress shoe, such as a pair of oxfords. Since many of them are leather and scuff easily, look over your shoes before getting ready for your interview.

What is the lowest GPA Oxford has accepted? ›

If your graduate course at Oxford requires a 'first class undergraduate degree with honours' in the UK system, you will usually need an overall GPA of at least 3.7 out of 4.0/4.3 or 4.5 out of 5.0.

What is the most popular degree at Oxford? ›

The most popular subjects at Oxford are medicine, chemistry, philosophy, politics, and economics – students pursuing a degree in these subjects make up 20% of the Oxford undergraduate population. Medicine is far and away the most popular subject at Oxford.

What was the lowest GPA accepted in Oxford? ›

The minimum GPA requirement for US students applying to Oxford University is 3.7. A higher GPA is expected for applicants who like to enroll in more competitive courses.

Is Oxford more prestigious than Ivy League? ›

Is Oxford University an Ivy League School? Although Oxford University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in the world, it is not an Ivy League school. The Ivy League is a sports conference of universities from the northeastern United States.

What is the most elite college at Oxford? ›

1. Merton College. Merton College is one of the most popular Oxford colleges and sits at the top of Oxford's Norrington Table with a score of 82.9%.

Which University is more prestigious Harvard or Oxford? ›

They have consistently ranked among the top 10 institutes in the global rankings. According to the world university rank 2023, Oxford University ranked top and Harvard University ranked second in the list, whilst in the QS world university list Oxford University ranked fourth and Harvard University ranked fifth.

What degree is Oxford best known for? ›

There are four academic divisions within Oxford University: Humanities, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; Medical Sciences; and Social Sciences. The university's particular strength is the sciences, and it is ranked number one in the world for medicine.

Do average students get into Oxford? ›

You stand just as much a chance as anyone else. The acceptance rate at Oxford is about 17.5% which is far higher compared to Harvard, Stanford, MIT and other Ivy League Universities.

What is the average GPA to get into Oxford? ›

GPA Range: 3.4 - 4.0. Average MCAT Score: 514. MCAT Range: 499 - 522.

How do Oxford decide who to interview? ›

With so many more applications than places, it just isn't possible to interview everyone. Tutors shortlist the candidates they feel have the strongest potential and meet their selection criteria best. Only those shortlisted are invited to interview.

How do Oxford mark interviews? ›

An evaluation of all the information available on the candidate, including UCAS form, test and all interviews. Numerical grades: 9: exceptional accept, 8: accept, 7: borderline, 6: below borderline, 5: probably reject, 4: reject, <4: clear reject.

How do you know if an Oxford interview went well? ›

They will send you a letter or an email which will give you the answer to this question. However, if you've just had your interview, then the best thing to do, if you really want to know, is to talk to someone who has a lot of experience of Oxford and tell them how it went.

What percentage of people get Oxford interviews? ›

*These stats are for Oxford only. Cambridge doesn't give out any information on who gets an interview but in general, the interview percentage is much higher for all subjects. At Oxford, 25% to 45% of interviewees for the vast majority of subjects are offered places.

What percentage of people do Oxford interview? ›

At Oxford just over half of all applicants will be interviewed, compared with 75% at Cambridge. Students are encouraged to regard the interview as a short conversation tutorial about their subject.

Is AAA enough for Oxford? ›

International A-levels

Specifically, grade requirements differ for each course at Oxford. For example, AAA (at A-levels or equivalent) is needed for courses such as Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Classics and European and Middle Eastern Languages.

What are the most competitive courses in Oxford? ›

Five of the most competitive programs, Economics and management; medicine; philosophy, politics and Economics; mathematics; and law. The least competitive programs are classics; chemistry; modern languages; biology; geography. >> How many students from Russia takes Oxford in the first University?

Can I get into Oxford with AAA? ›

However Oxford usually only has around 3,300 places each year so even excellent grades will not guarantee you an offer. Offers for Oxford places are between A*A*A and AAA at A-level, depending on the course. (See course pages.) See a list of Oxford courses with conditional offers including at least one A*.

What percentage of Cambridge applicants get an interview? ›

We invite the majority of applicants to attend an interview. In previous years, this has been around 75% of Home applicants. Not everyone interviewed will be offered a place but everyone who is made an offer will have been interviewed.

How long do Oxford interviews last? ›

If you are invited to interview, you will have at least two interviews with academic tutors, lasting about 30-40 minutes.

Is it easier to get into Oxford or Cambridge? ›

Cambridge interviews around 75% of undergraduate applicants. At Oxford, where applications are around six per place, around half of all applicants are shortlisted for interview. For the most competitive degrees, the applicants who most closely meet the selection criteria may have multiple interviews.

How many Oxford applicants get interviews? ›

Who Gets Invited? Each year, Oxford receives around 22,000 applications for 3,300 places. Oxford then shortlists around 10,000 candidates for Interviews, which is generally 40-45% of applicants every year. Cambridge, on the other hand, Interview a higher percentage of applicants, around 70%.

What Ivy is the easiest to get into? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate.

Is Oxford more elitist than Cambridge? ›

The University of Cambridge made nearly 2,953 offers to four home counties, and 2,619 offers to the whole of the north of England. Whereas Oxford made 2,812 offers to applicants in five home counties and 2,619 to students in the whole of northern England.


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