By now many of you will know when your interview is and will be (I hope!) in serious preparation mode. On the day of the interview, you will be a bundle of nerves. Sitting in a room in an ancient building, faced with questions from experts in your field is an intimidating experience and can throw off even the most skilled public speaker so it is important to do all you can now to ensure your Interview goes as smoothly as possible.
The first thing to do is to identify possible questions leading from your personal statement. Print off a copy of your PS and highlight any areas in which you refer to topics that you could be asked about. If you mention a book or an essay you have written, you need to be prepared to discuss it at length so use your statement to remind you of obvious topics for questioning and make sure you refresh your memory. Bullet pointing critical thoughts or opinions will help you keep the information easily available. Ensure you are thinking of original thought and engaging with the material rather than simply summarising the book or lecture as this does not demonstrate your intellectual capacity.
Secondly, choose four topics that interest you and that you feel confident you could discuss for five minutes each (at least!) and make sure they differ. For example, if you are applying for PPE, it makes sense to choose a topic pertaining to each of your three subjects. If you are applying for economics, consider choosing a macro topic, a micro topic and then something related to development or politics or game theory etc. If you have not read a book, journal or article or listened to a lecture on each topic, make sure you do so now and think of points to show your passion for each as well as ways to demonstrate your interest and capability in an interview.
Thirdly, identify areas of weakness and strengthen them. You will be expected to be totally comfortable with your AS subjects (if related to your subject) and with what you have done so far in your A2 year. If you have forgotten anything, make sure you cover it and refresh your memory. You are supposed to be comfortable with your subject so it sends warning signals if you are struggling with your school material. If you are applying for a subject that you have not studied in school, read some basic textbooks so that you can demonstrate your interest and passion. If you are applying for an Economics based degree, you need to ensure your maths and statistics are strong as it is likely you will be asked at least one maths based question. Practice anything you have learned and look up the first year syllabus for your course so you can gain an idea of what you might be asked.
Finally, start collecting articles from newspapers such as the FT, the Times, the Economics and any other suitable newspaper. Ensure this is not the Daily Mail/Metro or any other similar type of newspaper. Articles relating to your four chosen topics are the most important but it is vital that you are aware of current affairs and their relevance/impact upon the UK politically and economically. Post it notes are helpful for remembering your critical points and thoughts – stick one or two on each article with your points so that you can refresh your memory easily and quickly in the week leading up to your interview.
Finally, and most importantly, practice with mock interviews as much as you can. Call in favours from teachers, parents, friends and siblings. Even if the questions are slightly different to what you might be expecting, the practice will help you deal with on-the-spot questions and will make sure you are interview ready by December.