How to Prepare for an Oxbridge Interview
Updated: Mar 18
So you’ve got the predicted grades, submitted the personal statement, and completed the aptitude tests — and now you have an interview at Oxford or Cambridge.
Firstly, we have to say congratulations! Getting this far alone is a huge achievement. Even if you don’t end up going to Oxford or Cambridge, you should feel proud of how far you’ve come.
Threshold Education has accumulated a deep knowledge of the Oxbridge entrance process. Our founder, Dhananjay Talwar (Cambridge, French and Italian), has been through the process of applying to Oxbridge himself. Many of our tutors also studied or taught, at Oxford or Cambridge, and we are proud to have former Oxbridge admissions tutors among our network. Please see our Oxbridge Admissions services.
This being said, you probably want to do as well in your interview as possible, so here are some Oxbridge Interview tips to remember as you prepare.
Remember Why You’re Applying
This first point might seem obvious, but keep in mind why you want to attend Oxford or Cambridge university. If it’s because you’re passionate about your subject and believe the curriculum is the best fit for you, let it be known in your interview.
Oxbridge professors will have spoken to countless prospective students before you, and will know when someone is being genuine. Don’t be afraid to answer questions honestly and show your personality. Memorising stock answers will only cause you more stress. Plus, they don’t leave a lot of room for the conservation to flow.
Think about how you became interested in your subject, what you’ve studied so far, and the areas you’d like to focus on in the future.
Know What To Expect On The Day Of Your Interview
While you don’t want to regurgitate meticulously planned interview answers, it’s always useful to know the types of questions you might be asked on the day.
Different subjects, colleges, and even interviewers will conduct their interviews differently. If you know the names of the professors interviewing you, can you find their specialisms online? If you have common areas of interest, it’s good to know!
Aside from this, it’s helpful to know what the structure of your visit will look like. Will you be having one interview or multiple at various colleges? Will you be there for an afternoon or a few days? Knowing these details well in advance will make it much easier to get into a calm, focused headspace.
Chat To Students Who Have Done It Before
Get a rounded picture of what to expect by chatting to older students who have been through the Oxbridge admissions process. They’ll be able to share their unique experiences and what they wish they had known at the time.
See whether you have any contacts through your family or school. If they interviewed at your chosen university and for a similar subject, even better. They’ll understand what you’re going through and should be happy to answer your burning questions.
Do Some Practice Interviews
If you’ve read up on what to expect on the day, chatted to other students, and done your wider reading, you should be in a great position for your upcoming interview.
If you want to get a feel for what it’s like to answer questions on the spot, ask your family or friends if they’ll help you with some practice interviews. This will highlight areas you need to work on and help you familiarise yourself with interview dynamics.
Keep Calm And Have Fun
Going to an Oxbridge interview can be stressful. While a little adrenaline can keep you focused, too much can throw you off. Our key tip is to keep calm, accept the uncertainty of the proceedings, and have some fun. Oxford and Cambridge are beautiful cities with lots to see and experience — so seize this opportunity to soak it all in.
Enjoy your time away from home, explore the streets with your fellow interviewees, and embrace the chance to chat with some world-leading academics. Good luck!
Get Support From Threshold Education
At Threshold Education, we have a thorough knowledge of the Oxbridge admissions process. Working with many tutors who are Oxbridge graduates themselves, we’ve helped countless students prepare for their interviews — and with excellent results. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you.