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Oxbridge interviews

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Anybody else got interviews at Oxford/Cambridge? Not long now to go, good luck :)

Anybody had an interview before? Any tips?

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    a few of my friends went through it, and 2 got into Oxford. I suppose they'd be better at giving tips then me, but from speaking to them, i'd suggest it'd help loads (if it gets to that stage) that you practice your interview technique beforehand. Be prepared for the unexpected. A girl on my course who was applying for law ended up in a chicken or egg debate with the professor :)

    Oh and make your personal statement stand out as much as possible, emphasis on extra curricular acivity aswell as those awesome grades :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Oh and make your personal statement stand out as much as possible, emphasis on extra curricular acivity aswell as those awesome grades :)

    I'd assume that he has already applied to oxbridge...hence has an interview date? Therefore his PS has been seen.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    which one you get an interview for?

    but like A Photograph Of Me said they can be rather more than your average uni interview infact I remember one of my friends had to spend the weekend up there doing tests and interviews (cant remember if it was oxford or cambridge cause I have an uber bade memory)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I had an interview with Cambridge a few years ago and very nearly got in (I'd like to think) after a 45 minute second interview (when they're only meant to last 20-25). Anyways. Here are some tips.

    The interview formats are different for the two unis. With Oxford, you have 2 subject-specific interviews whereas with Cambridge, you have a general interview with a dude who has nothing to do with your chosen subject. I was applying for Mod Langs and had my first interview with a professor of Anthropology. The second interview at Cam is the subject specific one.

    Tips. If you're applying to Oxford, ignore this as I know nothing more about the Oxford system. With the Cambridge first interview, I'd highly recommend sitting down and asking yourself what the guy's subject has to do wih your subject. Try and think of all possible ties and connections between the two to show that you've thought about it and have a more open mind when it comes to things outside your chosen subject area. Be receptive and treat it more as a chat than an interview. Chances are the guy interviewing you will not ask you about your subject in as many words but will ask you more about you, about the possible ties between the subjects and will try to evaluate you more as an intelligent person rather than a potential chemist/vet/whatever.

    The second interview is a standard interview. I had 5 people in the room when I was doing mine which made me fucking scared as well as the fact that I had to speak 4 languages during the interview. Never mind. No real tips here that you won't have already had through the nose from teachers etc.

    What are you applying for and where exactly, ie. what college?

    Also remember that, traditionally, Oxford is a very old-school institution whereas Cambridge is more avant-garde (or at least as avant-garde as an 800 year old institution can be). For example, for the ModLangs course, Oxford is heavily literature, literature, literature whereas Cambs is more open to stuff like films, other media etc. Consider this before formulating any particular answers you may have.

    Good luck - let us know how it goes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Modern History at St Catherine's (St Catz).

    I have to get to Oxford on the 6th Dec and stay until the 9th or as late as the 10th if I get passed to another college for interview. It'll be interesting, I'm not bothered if I don't get in really so I'll see what happens.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Modern History at St Catherine's (St Catz).
    My brother went to Oxford. From what I recall they give you a good grilling wth various tutors from the college. I think you would be wise to seek advice from your school - I'm sure they must have at least one Oxbridge graduate on the staff who will be able to give you interview practice. Be prepared to talk around a lot of issues to do with your chosen course.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks..The head at my school did History at Cambridge and I'm having a mock interview with him and I'm slowly getting through reading the stuff I mentioned on my personal statement and other relevant things so hopefully it'll be okay.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not the prettiest college in the world but a very cool one from what I've gathered from friends who have gone there.

    As for the reading, I'd read some more stuff that's not on your PS so you can whip it out in the interview so they'll be impressed. You want it to look like you haven't just done the reading and then written your PS and then left everything. You want them to see that you have a genuine interest in the subject and have continued reading after having done the PS. They'll love that.

    How modern is modern history? Maybe I can help you out with some books...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I went to Oxford (St John's) a few years back to study Arch & Anth. Interviews vary from college to college and from subject to subject, but here's my advice:
    1. Sometimes there will be two or three interviewers in the room. Sometimes they take turns asking you questions but in one of my interviews, only one person asked me stuff and the other person just took notes. Remember to smile and look at both people - it creates a better impression if you include everyone, even if they aren't talking to you.
    2. I was asked the point of studying archaeology, so I suggest having a ready reply to the question: 'why study history?'.
    3. Read some newspapers like the Times/Guardian/Independent, if you don't already. They might try to link in history and current affairs.
    4. Remember that you're trying to sell yourself as an individual. The interviewers aren't just trying to see if you're as intelligent as you appear on paper - they're trying to decide if they like you and would enjoy teaching you.
    5. Smile lots! :)
    I really hope it goes well for you. Good luck!!!
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