This week, one of our interviewers, Katie, will be sharing her experiences at interview with you. Whilst all interviews at Oxford and Cambridge are different, we hope that hearing a little more about our interviewers’ own experiences will help you to better understand what you can expect, whilst also providing you with some practical advice and tips on how best to prepare.

Where did you interview and for which subject?

Biological sciences at Worcester College, Oxford. My second interview was at Queen’s College.

What were you feeling before the interview? What tips would you pass on?

I was nervous but looking forward to it.

Tip: they want to know how you think not what you know. Don’t be scared to ask for the question to be rephrased. Explain your thinking out loud so they know why you give the answer you do.  

Describe your interview and how it went. What advice would you give here?

My two interviews were completely different. For one of them, all of the questions stemmed from a topic I suggested and my personal statement. The other was based around pictures, graphs and objects. Both were testing how I thought not what I knew. One gave me a black and white photo. First, I had to describe the picture imagining that the person listening had never seen the image. I stated the obvious – that it was a black and white image – and the interviewer was thrilled as I was the last interviewee of the day and the first to point out that it was black and white! Then I could ask the interviewer three questions to try to figure out what the picture was of. It was very much about how I thought and used information, not about what I knew.

One last piece of general advice for the interview…

Enjoy it! The interviewer wants to offer places to those that they will enjoy teaching and who they think will enjoy the experience at Oxford.  Also – wear something you are comfortable in!

We hope you’ve found Katie’s tips and experience useful. Stay tuned for another one next week!