Tactical Tips for the Oxford and Cambridge Interview Process

Okay, so you’ve made it to the Oxbridge interview rounds, congrats! Everyone knows the interviews are one of the most stressful aspects of the entire Oxbridge application process, but luckily for you, we’ve compiled some practical tips from applicants that survived the interviews! These general tips come from both Oxford and Cambridge interviews, so please click through the Profile links to find out more about each experience. Remember, each respective college has its own idiosyncrasies, but to start things off, here are some good general interview tips. 

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

(1) Look up all deadlines and course requirements well in advance, and comply with them as soon as possible. (Profile 665)

(2) Make sure you've got some ideas about the subject! be able to say what interests you and demonstrate some evidence of thought beyond your a-level course. (Profile 246)

(3) 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. (Profile 665)

(4) Read around the subject; for science, journals and magazines are more useful than books. know your alevel stuff, if you don't you will suffer! (Profile 208)

(5) 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. (Profile 665)

What did you wear to your interview?

(1) I wore smart-casual clothes, as they were comfortable but also gave me confidence. I would say that as long as they're comfortable, and you're happy with the impression they give, it's not a big issue. No one seemed bothered about it. (Profile 665)

(2) In my first interview I wore jeans and a smart but very thick pink jumper (because it was cold!) and to my second I wore trousers and a blue smart V-necked top (because after the terrible interview the day before I wanted to try and impress a bit more!). (Profile 817)

(3) Brown cord jacket, white blouse, dark navy blue trousers and dark shoes- smart/casual i.e. suits were a bit formal, trousers/skirt and jacket bit more relaxed. (Profile 208)

(4) Plain black dress, tights, black boots, denim jacket and a scarf. Smart, comfortable but not over the top. (Profile 641)

(5) I wore a suit because I feel comfortable in a suit. I only saw about 3 other applicants, and suits seemed to be the thing, which made me a bit more comfortable. (Profile 41)