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    Hi everyone, so admissions tests were yesterday, and I have nooo idea how well I did. My question is, are people going to be preparing for the interview from now on? I'm just unsure as I have absolutely no idea whether or not I'll get an interview, and although I absolutely love discussing and reading around my chosen subject, I don't want to dedicate a huge chunk of time to preparing for an interview that I may not actually get? Thanks!
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    I am - I don't think I will have got one because I don't think the TSA went that well, but I'd be even more mad with myself if I didn't prep anything and then ended up getting called
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    Please start preparing... it helps trust me! even if you don't expect to get an interview.

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    Yep, prepare. View the videos. Re-read your written work. Read around/listen to blogs/radio/watch tv. My admissions test was mediocre. My interviews went well because, I think, my interest/passion came out. Now I’m in Oxford trying to relearn everything I thought I knew about critical reading and essay writing. I think THAT is why the interviews matter, especially in humanities, as the adjustment is huge and they are looking for the flexibility and commitment needed to adapt.
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    (Original post by SonOfAGeek)
    Yep, prepare. View the videos. Re-read your written work. Read around/listen to blogs/radio/watch tv. My admissions test was mediocre. My interviews went well because, I think, my interest/passion came out. Now I’m in Oxford trying to relearn everything I thought I knew about critical reading and essay writing. I think THAT is why the interviews matter, especially in humanities, as the adjustment is huge and they are looking for the flexibility and commitment needed to adapt.
    Thank you so much for this - it's really motivated me
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    I think I did fairly well on the HAT - so I'm going to probably work on interview prep. I'm just planning on rereading written work, rereading books on my personal statement, and reading some historiography books. I'm not going to get too enamored in it, because I don't want to sideline school work and get too focused on interviews if they don't happen..
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    All I can is that get ready, because they are going to ask you a lot of random ****!
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    I did interviews last year for history and english and here's what I wish people told me:

    • - written work
      • o They are going to ask you about it. A lot.
      • o I submitted my history IA and at every single interview, I was asked about it. One professor didn’t think my area was worth researching at all, and I had to defend my choice of topic to him. One professor disagreed with my argument and I had to defend my point to him. The important thing to do here is:
      • o Re-read and be very familiar with your written work, your argument in it, and be sure of yourself. They are going to want to argue with you, and that is a good thing: this is your chance to show them you are confident in your research skills, and the conclusions you drew from them.
      • o This brings me to my next pointà
    • - reading “around” your “area”
      • o I didn’t really know what they meant. How far around should I read, and what exactly was my area? Hopefully me experience will clear a few things up for you.
      • o My history IA was on the role of music in the St Petersburg Blockade during WW2- whether it was government propaganda, or was it a genuine response of the people to the crisis. This is a pretty vague topic, and I, with very little concrete evidence, argued that it was a genuine response. One of my interviewers took this specific topic and wanted me to apply it to a general trend. He asked me questions like:
        • § Propaganda in Russia played x role. What about the role of art in Hitler’s Third Reich?
        • § You talk about the role of music in WW2 Russia. What about other art, like visual art, cinema, posters, radio… how were these used throughout the soviet union (not just WW2)?
        • § Based on your research, how do you think other leaders use art to solidify their rule?
      • o As you can see, they ask you general questions, but are still specific. So, if one of the examples of written work you submit features an argument, make sure you have thought about, read about, and are able to talk about how your conclusion applies to other relevant areas. For example, if, like me, you are talking about the role of a specific art, in a specific government, make sure you know how different art applies to different governments.
      • o This is what people mean when they advise you to “read around your area”. They mean if you have something that interests you, you should try to boil it down to a concept (e.g. the role of art and government), and see how it applies in areas other than the area you “specialize” in (e.g. read about the role of art in different governments and think about how they compare). And because at oxford interviews, the questions they ask will come from your personal statement and the written work you submit, make sure the concepts you mention there are the concepts you’re reading about.
    • - Examples
      • o This point connects to both previous points. When you are arguing, defending your idea, or saying how you find something interesting, or are tearing down the professor’s argument, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES. But (and here’s the catch) you can’t just name drop. I totally panicked and did that, btw. An obvious question is “why do you want to study x”. and your answer will be something along the lines of “because I found this interesting, which lead me to blah blah bah” (you should definitely have an answer for this question btw). But of course, at some point, you’re going to have to talk about external things that motivated you to study these subjects, like inspiring people, books, events, phenomena, etc… but whatever it is- make sure you have a specific name you can say, and would be comfortable discussing for a few minutes.
      • o For example, because I applied for history and English, in my Personal Statement, I talked about how the two were interconnected and, in my highly valued and important opinion, could not exist without one another. Lo and behold, I arrive at my interview and get asked the following question: “can you give us an example of a literary work in which history is prevalent and essential” or “can you give an example of a historical event inspired by literature”. Something along those lines. I completely panicked. I was nervous, not expecting to be put on the spot like this, and my mind conveniently pulled a complete blank. So I began name dropping famous things I hadn’t fully read, and kept listing things, which in turn made it obvious that I was panicking. What I should have done, I prepared 2-3 specific examples, and talked in depth about them. This would have been more valuable.
      • o So, go through your written work and personal statement, and see where they may ask for other examples, and prepare a few (not a lot, only a few). And be ready to talk about them.
    • - what to do in between interviews
      • o if you could do that interview you just came out of again, what would you do differently? What do you wish you had known? Think about that and then prepare, as if you were going to do that interview again. Not as in depth as if you were about to do exactly that interview, but places you blanked out on, be sure you know them, because sometimes the same questions come up with different interviewers.
      • o For example I walked out of one interview thinking “wow I wish I knew more about the Third Reich. Shame I didn’t prepare for that enough. Oh well, it’s over and it won’t come up again”. To my great chagrin, the same Third Reich came up in my next interview. I wish I had used that time in between interviews to catch up on things I didn’t know enough on. Please don’t make the same mistake as me.
 
 
 
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