The University of Oxford today published a set of sample questions in an attempt to demystify its admissions process. One of the world’s most prestigious universities, Oxford also released a video explaining how the interview for some of its most competitive courses works.
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“Interviews will be an entirely new experience for most students, and we know many prospective applicants are already worried about being in an unfamiliar place and being questioned by people they have not met – so to help students become familiar with the type of questions they might get asked we release these real examples,” said Dr Samina Khan, Oxford University’s director of admissions and outreach.
She explained that questions are designed to give candidates a chance to show their real ability and potential. “No matter what kind of educational background or opportunities you have had, the interview should be an opportunity to show off your interest and ability in your chosen subject, since they are not about reciting what you already know,” she said.
Her advice to prospective students is to start responding by making very obvious observations and build up discussion from there. “Solving the problem quickly is less important than showing how you use information and analysis to get there. We know there are still misunderstandings about the Oxford interview, so we put as much information as possible out there to allow students to see the reality of the process,” she said.
The university has offered a range of mock interviews online, video diaries made by admissions tutors during the interview process, and lots of sample questions to help students.
Some of sample questions include: What makes a novel or a play political; Why do older siblings do better on IQ tests than their younger counterparts; and What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?
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