Over the course of this year, this blog has explored the best way to prepare for an interview at Oxbridge. The fundamental thing is to remember to show your passion for your subject and your desire to study the course and this blog will explore the best ways to do so.
It sounds obvious, but many students don’t stretch themselves far enough when preparing for an interview. When choosing a book, look at the course that you’re applying for and ensure you choose a book from the 1st or 2nd year course so as to demonstrate you’re capable of engaging with material significantly beyond the syllabus. Many students continue to read books such as the Armchair Economist or Freakonomics – both interesting books but not enough to demonstrate your ability.
It is painfully obvious when a student claims to read the Economist or the FT and doesn’t and this is very frustrating for an interviewer. You don’t need to read something every day but make sure you choose a wide range of articles and sources so as to be able to demonstrate a breadth and depth of knowledge. Keep a file of interesting articles so that in the week before your interview you can refresh your memory and show that you’re well read to the interviewer.
Interview skills are easy to develop but take time and effort. Join your school debating team, or establish a small club with friends and debate big issues from the news or from past articles. Push yourself by taking up a new topic that you haven’t read much about. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at speaking about new topics. This sort of practice will help you develop the ability to speak calmly and to learn to take time between questions to gather your thoughts and articulate them properly.
Where possible, look into relevant work experience or activities that demonstrate your interest and passion for your subject. This could be work experience or shadowing someone in the relevant field or it could be gaining campaign experience for your local MP. Be able to discuss what you have learnt as well as how you hope to build on this in the future and how it has aided your academic studies.
Looking into the backgrounds and specialities of your interviews can give you an insight into what they are likely to ask you about. It isn’t necessarily wise to only focus on these topics – you will never be able to learn as much as the Supervisor but it is wise to consider what topics you might get asked so you can read the basics about the topic and be more prepared for difficult interview questions.
Re-read your personal statement and anticipate questions that you might get based on that. If you refer to books or to work experience, ensure that you remember the details and that you can discuss it. Be aware of things such as trends in growth, unemployment and inflation and form views on bigger issues such as the EU referendum, the upcoming election, globalisation and fiscal policy. Ensure that you know what you will be studying in your course as well as being able to answer the questions on “Why this college/University/course?”
Finally, remember that your interview is a chance to show off your academic potential. Think of the things you have done in the lead up to the interview that show you would make a good student and practice incorporating these into your interview by participating in as many mock interviews as possible with friends and teachers.
Good luck preparing!
All views and ideas represented in this blog post are exclusive to Resham, and do not represent those of any other third party