Applying for Law at Oxford University

There are two Law courses at Oxford: Course I is a three-year course; Course II is a four-year course which follows the same syllabus, but with a third year abroad at a university in France, Germany, Italy, or Spain (studying French, German, Italian, or Spanish law), or the Netherlands (studying European and International law). Students on Course II (Law with Law Studies in Europe) gain additional skills through exposure to different legal systems and the different approaches to teaching practised by our European partner institutions.

Students who have graduated in other subjects may undertake the accelerated ‘Senior Status’ version of Course I. For further information about the courses, please refer to the Law Faculty website.

Academic Requirements:
- A-levels: AAA
- Advanced Highers: AAB or AA with an additional Higher at grade A
- IB: 38 (including core points) with 666 at HL

We’ve compiled some useful tips -- preparation leading up to the interview, and real world experiences describing the interviews themselves. If you find a tip particularly useful, click through the profile link for more information.

How did you decide between Oxford and Cambridge?

For my subject, I had the impression that Oxford had a better reputation and record of results. In addition, after visiting Oxford I found I liked the atmosphere of the city and university. (Profile 799)

Preferred Cambridge but only slightly (loved them both) but Oxford was about 1.5 hrs closer to home and took approx 8 people per college for my subject whereas Cambridge only took approx 3. (Profile 933)

Oxford as a city appeals more and, again rightly or wrongly, I had this feeling that Oxford was better for law. (Profile 772)

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

Read "Letters to a law student" - essential. Then find a lawyer who has been to Oxbridge and get him/her to take you through legal problems. That is what you will get in the interview. (Profile 772)

Say why you are interested in law, what particular area (i said constitutional), what you've been reading and give this much more weight than outside interests (Profile 219)

Do not listen to anyone who says you cannot prepare! Especially those who say it with regards to law. Read law books like Glanville Williams, A.W.B. Simpson etc. in order to fine-tune a more logical way of thinking that the tutors are looking for. Read newspapers critically. N.B. Try and the find the decisive word(s); the thing on which your opinion on the article/cace/etc. Hinges. (Profile 864)

Look up all deadlines and course requirements well in advance, and comply with them as soon as possible.

If possible, arrange a mock interview with someone you don't know well personally, perhaps a head of Sixth Form. This will prepare you for the format of the interview and should make it easier to deal with the real thing. Unless your mock interviewer has specific knowledge of the Oxbridge admissions system, the actual questions will probably be nothing like the real thing, but it should get you into the right mindset.

Before the interview: Set generous margins for error in all travel arrangements to avoid panic. If you have a long journey it may be best to travel the day before and stay overnight.

Don't worry too much about doing reading in preparation. From my experience, the interviewers don't expect any specific subject knowledge (although this may only apply to subjects like Law that are not commonly done at A-Level) and you won't get much of a chance to use it. Try to relax so you can think clearly.

Have answers ready for 'stock' questions like "Why do you want to study ____?" These are normally asked at the start to put you at your ease, and won't make or break you, but giving a good answer will help calm you down and do better.

For the interview itself: Don't rush. Always allow yourself a little time to think about what you're going to say.

On the other hand, don't be so afraid of being 'wrong' that you don't say anything! You're allowed to change your mind. (Profile 799)

For law there is nothing that you can do to prepare! It is all questions based on an extract which you had half an hour to read before hand. There were no questions about my personal statement or why i wanted to do law- thankfully, i think thats a horrible question! (Profile 933)

What questions were you asked during your interview(s)?

We spoke about the following topics with regard to my personal statement:
- Article 23 (HK law)
- Work experience
- English literature

We then discussed a passage based on a law case for the rest of the interview. (Profile 1019)

I was ripped apart in the first one! Had never felt as stupid really! I was given a section from a statute and asked to interpret it and see which cases would apply. The second was aimed more at my interests and was about as difficult but more comfortable

What is your favourite subject? Why did you do mostly science subjects if you want to do law (they asked my friend why didn't he do sciences!)? They were the common ones. (Profile 219)

Things like. What is the diffetrence between Euthanasia and Assissted suicide? And then But what if this happened? and what about this situation? etc etc (Profile 933)

I was asked NOTHING about my personal life, sport, music, etc etc. It was all about law and legal problems. For the first interview I had half an hour or so to read an article on the meaning of "intent". It was complicated but there was enough time to read it thoroughly. The first part of the interview was on the article, and then some questions about intent as applied to murder. As I said, the interviewers were incredibly polite and friendly, but pushed me very very hard. After murder, I was asked questions about when you might/might not be obliged to pay someone who washed your car in a supermarket car park. (Profile 772)