Taking an interview is always challenging, but if that interview just happens to be for the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge, then you’re bound to be both excited and nervous.
You don’t know what the interviewer is going to ask and more importantly, what kind of an answer you need to offer to ensure you come out with flying colors. Judging by what former Oxford applicants have to say it does appear that the interviews themselves are not something to be really worried about, so long as you know how to go about your preparation.
What does an Oxbridge interviewer actually look for in an applicant?
The interviewer will be keen to ascertain if you hold the strong desire and willingness to learn. That’s why it’s important to forget about making any silly mistakes during the course of your interview and just remember that you are human and keep controlled and relaxed. All that the interviewer wants to know is whether you’re good enough to respond to a situation – or are you likely to falter under stress.
Is expressing disagreement with the interviewer unacceptable?
Most applicants feel that their main job is to somehow satisfy the interviewer before getting out of the room. In reality, the interviewer may just be expecting the opposite. Once you feel that there is something to be disagreed with, don’t hesitate to express your views. After all, the fear that the interviewer creates in you might well be to see how you gear up to counter their opinion.
How much preparation will suffice for an interview?
It’s always hard to decide on the different areas that you need to research before appearing for an Oxbridge interview. If you think that it’s enough to excel in academic knowledge, your interviewer may just take you away from your comfort zone. What the interviewer will be really keen to analyse is how efficient you are with handling particular questions – even if that happens to be outside your then academic standard.
Overall, going by what students from Cambridge and Oxford have to say, it is clear that what matters most in an interview is how you present yourself and express your desire to succeed, rather than what actually you know right now.