Interviewers at Oxford University aren’t interested in how much you know. They’re interested in how you think.
Which is why the questions asked in interviews are never quite straightforward.
Helpfully, the university has released sample questions for different subjects, and provided explanations about what the interviewers are really looking for.
The five questions below are chosen and explained by real interviewers at Oxford colleges.
Can you impress the University of Oxford scholars? Give the questions a go.
Five examples of Oxford University interview questions
1. Modern languages (French): What makes a novel or play ‘political’?
2. Medicine: About 1 in 4 deaths in the UK is due to some form of cancer, yet in the Philippines the figure is only around 1 in 10. What factors might underlie this difference?
3. PPE (philosophy courses): What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?
4. Maths: Imagine a ladder leaning against a vertical wall with its feet on the ground. The middle rung of the ladder has been painted a different colour on the side, so that we can see it when we look at the ladder from the side on. What shape does that middle rung trace out as the ladder falls to the floor?
5. Experimental psychology: A large study appears to show that older siblings consistently score higher than younger siblings on IQ tests. Why would this be?