In order to impress your Oxbridge interviewers, you need to be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of current affairs and news stories. It will be hard to convince them of your burning desire to study Economics if you are unaware of the main economic stories that have occurred in the lead up to your interview. In order to prepare for your interview, you need to think about the best ways in which to demonstrate that you are passionate about your chosen subject, and by that I mean passionate enough to follow relevant stories outside of the A level syllabus. Last month I explained how to choose three main topics to focus on. This month is for how to manage your understanding of current affairs and events.
In order to gain a broad understanding of current affairs and to understand the different perspectives on an issue, it is best to read from a wide range of sources. Even if you don’t have time to read a newspaper every day, aim for two or three times a week so that you can keep up to date with the latest news. Try and switch between newspapers (but not newspapers such as Metro, Daily Mail etc.) so that you can understand the different points of views on different issues. The BBC news website often does very simple timelines and provides synopses of events that should help you increase your knowledge quickly and efficiently.
Use your time wisely by using your newspaper reading time to practise the pre-reading part of your interview. Look at a new article and spend ten minutes reading it in detail. Then spend some time anticipating the questions that could be asked. For example, for an article on the UK’s economic recovery, you could anticipate the question: “Do you think the economy would have recovered more quickly if Osborne had used Keynesian measures?” Work your way through the article and write out potential questions. This works best if you can do it with a friend so that you can work together to come up with the hardest questions possible and then plan answers for them.
Always try and push beyond your A level syllabus in order to demonstrate to your Oxbridge interviewers that you are able to think for yourself. This will be easier the more you read. Reading a wide range of sources and opinion columns from different newspapers will allow you to gain ideas that you can use to shape your own opinions and ideas and this will help you to show passion beyond the syllabus as well as intelligent thinking and independent thought. By working like this in the lead up to your interview, you will hopefully have anticipated lots of difficult questions, practised reading sources and gained lots of knowledge on the way!
In order to ensure that you don’t forget how current affairs and economic stories have developed in the lead up to your Oxbridge interview, be sure to tear out and file articles that have timelines or good summaries of the situation. That way, in six months’ time when you’ve started gearing up for your interview, you’ll have a library of the most important issues of the year.
All views and ideas represented in this blog post are exclusive to Resham, and do not represent those of any other third party.