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Oxbridge Interviews

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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    If you worry about ice-breakers and an opportunity to clear up any queries you might have then you really do have problems. These are not part of the decision-making process.
    Yes, alright, the first one I could deal with, it's just that everything you say begins to sounds horribly cliched; "I love it, it's my passion, I've always wanted to study it.." Bla bla and bla. But the latter freaks me out; I'm terrified that I'll be sitting there whilst they all stare at me expectantly and I'll panic and say "Why did the chicken cross the road?" or something like that. I know it won't be a deal-breaker, but for confidence's sake, I'd rather not make an arse out of myself.
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    (Original post by chebanana)
    I'd rather not make an arse out of myself.
    Then stop trying to second-guess mere pleasantries and learn how to have a normal conversation.
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    I remember that in one of my interviews, the tutors literally had a list of questions, and we went through them, one by one. Funnily enough, we ran out of questions before the time ended, at which point the tutor said 'Well, that was fast work!' and asked me about some reading I'd mentioned on my personal statement.
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    (Original post by xx_rachel_xx)
    Judging by what you've said I've been thinking about the interview in a one-sided way - as J_w and others pointed out, an opportunity to discuss a subject I love with a leading scholar could be very positive!

    Thanks for all your replys...lots of helpful advice in there.
    Yea that's the way I thought of them. I actually really looked forward to them. :p: Don't worry too much about them. Some of my friends were totally convinced they'd screwed up the interview and had no chance and they still got in. Remember they're not expecting you to know everything or get all the answers straight away. They're looking at your thought processes and how well you'll cope with tutorials. If you look on the website (for Oxford anyway, don't know about Cambridge), you should find selection criteria for your subject telling you exactly what they're looking for (in general and in interviews). Here's what it says about interviews for my subject (EP):
    Tutors will be looking for the following qualities at interview: Clarity of analysis and presentation of ideas; ability to generate own ideas and proposals; ability to listen and respond to ideas put forward during discussion, and to draw inferences from them; ability to put forward coherent and well thought out proposals and responses.
    http://www.psy.ox.ac.uk/undergrad/selection_criteria
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    Hi, i'm looking at applying for Cambridge this year but i'm torn between which college to choose basically because different colleges require different admissions requirements (i.e submitting an essay, preparatory study or just a straight interview).

    I'm not the most confident of speakers so was wondering if having a preparatory study to look at before the interview was better (gives you more time to think) than just having a straight interview (which would put you more 'on the spot' - a position im really uncomfortable in).

    Also I'm looking to study Geography at Cambridge but we haven't done any pieces of coursework for the course, just practice exam questions which are only around 1 1/2 pages long each answer. Would this be long enough or even what theyre looking for?

    Just wanted people's advice on both questions who've applied there and gone through the application process. thanks
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    (Original post by RLM)
    Hi, i'm looking at applying for Cambridge this year but i'm torn between which college to choose basically because different colleges require different admissions requirements (i.e submitting an essay, preparatory study or just a straight interview).

    I'm not the most confident of speakers so was wondering if having a preparatory study to look at before the interview was better (gives you more time to think) than just having a straight interview (which would put you more 'on the spot' - a position im really uncomfortable in).

    Also I'm looking to study Geography at Cambridge but we haven't done any pieces of coursework for the course, just practice exam questions which are only around 1 1/2 pages long each answer. Would this be long enough or even what theyre looking for?

    Just wanted people's advice on both questions who've applied there and gone through the application process. thanks
    My advice would be to try and improve your confidence by having some interview practice. Regardless of whether you have a preparatory study or just a straight interview, you'll still be "put on the spot" and expected to think through an answer to an unexpected question. In fact, this is much like the supervision system at Cambridge so it's a situation you will encounter frequently should your application be successful.

    A practice exam essay would be fine to submit, although it may be wise to send an extended answer rather than one that specifically fits the exam time constraints.
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    i think that going for preparatory study really helped my interview. we didn't actually speak about the topic i was supposed to prepare until the end of the second interview but having something to prepare allowed me to read loads about my subject thus ending up also reading stuff that was unrelated to the topic i was assigned. i would definitely recommend it. before actually speaking about the topic i was assigned the interview asked me questions that were related to stuff i'd mentioned in the personal statement.
    good luck!
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    (Original post by RLM)
    Hi, i'm looking at applying for Cambridge this year but i'm torn between which college to choose basically because different colleges require different admissions requirements (i.e submitting an essay, preparatory study or just a straight interview).

    I'm not the most confident of speakers so was wondering if having a preparatory study to look at before the interview was better (gives you more time to think) than just having a straight interview (which would put you more 'on the spot' - a position im really uncomfortable in).

    Also I'm looking to study Geography at Cambridge but we haven't done any pieces of coursework for the course, just practice exam questions which are only around 1 1/2 pages long each answer. Would this be long enough or even what theyre looking for?

    Just wanted people's advice on both questions who've applied there and gone through the application process. thanks
    I would suggest to not be worried about your oratory skills. But just to ensure that you have a passion for geography that reflects through on your personal statement and at the interview. The admissions tutors/Directors of studies have done the application cycle over and over again to the point they can distinguish between the genuine and the fake.

    Just do whatever you do, to ensure that you have an unbridled passion for your subject matter.
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    (Original post by alix.alicis)
    i think that going for preparatory study really helped my interview. we didn't actually speak about the topic i was supposed to prepare until the end of the second interview but having something to prepare allowed me to read loads about my subject thus ending up also reading stuff that was unrelated to the topic i was assigned. i would definitely recommend it. before actually speaking about the topic i was assigned the interview asked me questions that were related to stuff i'd mentioned in the personal statement.
    good luck!
    What exactly is the preparatory study? An article or something similar to look at 30 minutes before the interview or do they send it to your home much earlier than your interview date?

    thanks everyone
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    (Original post by RLM)
    What exactly is the preparatory study? An article or something similar to look at 30 minutes before the interview or do they send it to your home much earlier than your interview date?

    thanks everyone
    they sent me an article to read about a week before the interview. it was taken from the economist, actually downloaded from the economist's website, it was one of their special reports.
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    Hey,
    I've got an interview in about three weeks time (overseas) and my interviewer is a lecturer in physiology and director of studies in medicine and veterinary medicine - but i'm applying for PPS so i'm guessing my interview will mainly be based on my ps? or what should i expect?

    I also have to take a PPS/TSA test and a 30 min subject-related essay. The TSA test is apparently a special version developed for PPS applicants, but would the online practice tests still be relevant and helpful? ohh and i have no clue of what to expect from the subject-related essay. :/

    any help and suggestions are much appreciated
    thanks!
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    I was actually wondering about something quite similar to this. What's the difference between 'preparatory study at interview' and 'reading preparation before interview' (that only Newnham and Pembroke have for Law)?
    Does before the interview mean that they actually send us material to read (a) week(s) before the interview?
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    (Original post by maka9)
    Does before the interview mean that they actually send us material to read (a) week(s) before the interview?
    It can do. Some colleges/subjects send material out in advance.
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    Hello, one of my teachers told me that tutors tend to push strong applicants more because they see more potential in them, whereas for weaker applicants, the tutors might ask simpler questions because they will most likely not get an offer anyways, so there is no point in drilling them as hard. Is there any merit to this?
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    (Original post by icy-snowflake)
    Hello, one of my teachers told me that tutors tend to push strong applicants more because they see more potential in them, whereas for weaker applicants, the tutors might ask simpler questions because they will most likely not get an offer anyways, so there is no point in drilling them as hard. Is there any merit to this?
    No. The tutors are looking to see that you can be pushed and challenged, so perhaps a better student would get further through a series of interrelated questions of increasing difficult but that's not a case of deliberately being asked harder questions.
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    (Original post by icy-snowflake)
    Hello, one of my teachers told me that tutors tend to push strong applicants more because they see more potential in them, whereas for weaker applicants, the tutors might ask simpler questions because they will most likely not get an offer anyways, so there is no point in drilling them as hard. Is there any merit to this?
    If they had weaker candidates, why would they invite them for interviews anyway? Surely, there's no need to waste their time with interviewing unable students.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    No. The tutors are looking to see that you can be pushed and challenged, so perhaps a better student would get further through a series of interrelated questions of increasing difficult but that's not a case of deliberately being asked harder questions.
    Oh, I see. That makes much more sense. Thanks!

    (Original post by Ivanka)
    If they had weaker candidates, why would they invite them for interviews anyway? Surely, there's no need to waste their time with interviewing unable students.
    Nah, by "weaker", I simply meant those who seem less suited for the teaching system in Oxbridge compared to others who have also been invited for an interview. By no means am I implying that they are stupid or anything. :grin:
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    Im curious as to how people would answer this question if it came up in the interview at the end. Would it be better just to say you dont have any questions (even if you do). You can't really ask about anything to do with the course because they would expect you to know that anyway wouldnt they? I'd perhaps Like to ask about an academic question, but the same kind of thing with that, wouldn't they have expected you to research the answer yourself?
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    (Original post by QuantumOverlord)
    Im curious as to how people would answer this question if it came up in the interview at the end. Would it be better just to say you dont have any questions (even if you do). You can't really ask about anything to do with the course because they would expect you to know that anyway wouldnt they? I'd perhaps Like to ask about an academic question, but the same kind of thing with that, wouldn't they have expected you to research the answer yourself?
    It doesn't really matter if you don't have much to ask.
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    I had one genuine question, so I asked that at the end of my first interview. At the end of the second I said "No, thanks, I already asked at the first interview". Don't think they care much.

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