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Online Oxford Interviews

Oxford University has recently announced that interviews for the 2022 Application cycle will be held online once again. Whilst for many, news of Oxford interviews being held online will be something of a relief – no long train journeys or spending up to a week out of your comfort zone in a new environment – it can also represent a significant change to the preparation that you will be doing should you receive an invite. We’ve brought together a guide of our top tips and points to be aware of when preparing for an online Oxford interview to make sure that you’re familiar with the interview procedure, allowing you to show admissions tutors your full potential!

Set the Stage
One of the main drawbacks of an online interview is that it can be easy to get distracted by the atmosphere surrounding both yourself and the other person. It’s for this reason that picking the right location for your interview is very important to ensure that both you and the interviewer(s) can concentrate properly on what you’re saying. It’s best to pick an empty room, ideally making sure that other people in the house aren’t likely to be walking through or know not to disturb you for the duration of the interview. Try to pick a spot which has little background noise as well as a neutral backdrop (perhaps now isn’t the best time to show the tutors your taste in music, TV or fashion through your wardrobe or posters on the wall – perhaps replace these with some books you’ve used for wider reading, or other items which reflect your academic interests). It’s important that others are not in the room with you, as they could be feeding you ideas or answers – the interviewers may even ask you to pan your camera over the room so that they can confirm you are alone.

Prove you are who you say you are
Interviewers also need to confirm for certain that you are indeed the person you say you are, and double check that no one else is sitting the interview in your place. To do this, at the start of the interview they will ask you to show a piece of ID confirming your identity. They may also take a screenshot of you (with your permission to do so) to make sure they have an accurate memory of each candidate when making their decisions. Don’t let this put you off or make you nervous – they’re not using it to judge you or your appearance, just to help keep your fantastic responses fresh in their mind!

Have a back up
As we’ve probably all experienced first hand (unless you’re incredibly lucky) technology simply isn’t always as reliable as we would like it to be. In the event of the video call dropping or your internet cutting out, you should make sure to have access to another way of making calls, such as a mobile phone or landline. This phone should be in the room with you so that, in the event of weak WiFi, the online conferencing system can be used for sharing images, whilst the conversation itself is held over the phone. If you are forced to conduct the interview over the phone, the university will call you, so don’t worry about any expenses incurred on the phone call.

Don’t take a souvenir
It’s important to remember that you are not permitted to record your interview in any way; not via screen capture, dictaphone, nor mobile phone or similar devices. Whilst every interview is different, recording your interview could be seen as an attempt to help other students gain an unfair advantage by providing them with a preview of the interview format.

Put pen to paper
Although the interview is being held online, don’t forget that you’re allowed to have pens and paper in front of you and may take notes throughout the video call. This will be particularly handy if you’re interviewing for a STEM subject, since interviewers may ask you to show your working for a particular problem, but have a pen and paper handy regardless of your subject to take notes and make diagrams.

Be Tech-savvy
Whilst interviews for all subjects require the same basic equipment (access to the internet and Microsoft Teams, speakers or headphones, a microphone, and a camera or webcam), some subjects will require a little more tech to make sure the interview runs as smoothly as possible. To simplify these requirements, Oxford has divided subjects into three tiers. Tier 1 subjects require just the basic equipment, whilst Tier 2 subject interviewees are also recommended to use Miro whiteboard software, and Tier 3 candidates are recommended to use Miro as well as a separate touchscreen device. Miro is an online whiteboard software which is relatively straightforward to use, for which a link will be sent to you before or during your interview. If you don’t have access to any of the equipment required for your subject interviews, do not worry! Departments and colleges are committed to working with applicants and schools to make sure that everyone, regardless of their means, is able to interview in such a way that they can demonstrate their ability to the fullest. Double check what is required for your course interviews and reach out to the college you’re interviewing at if you’re having difficulties - they will then work with you or your school/college to make sure you have the required equipment or make alternative arrangements to your interview.

Time flies when you’re having fun
Whilst interviews will be set for an allocated slot, they frequently overrun. Make sure that you have a relatively clear schedule in the hour or so following your interview in case your interviewer has any further questions.

Honesty is the best policy
Remember: admissions tutors are humans too and have almost certainly also experienced technical difficulties. If your call connection is poor or are having difficulty using the video call software to the extent that it’s impacting your ability to perform to your best, make sure that you inform your interviewers. Without this information, there is nothing they can do to help resolve the issue from their end or make allowances for a poorer performance. Whilst they may seem scary, tutors really are there to try and help you perform to your best.

Online Mock Interview Courses

Our online Mock Interview Package helps you to prepare for the Oxbridge interviews through four one-hour, subject-specific, formal mock interviews with four different Oxbridge-graduate interviewers, with constructive, detailed feedback after each. Get in touch with one of our consultants for more information or to book your course today via telephone on +44 (0)20 7499 2394 or email [email protected].

Mock Interview Package x4

The interviews for Oxford and Cambridge are, arguably, the most important part of your application. The package gives candidates four subject-specific mock interviews, designed to recreate the real interview environment, and help candidates gain confidence in the process of how to get into Oxford or Cambridge.

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Our Oxbridge-graduate consultants are available between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, with additional evening availability when requested.

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