harlem
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The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable, but you did not
display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an
applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course.

Not completely sure what they mean by the first sentence.

This was the only part that was applicable to me and the rest was generic, the whole feedback was about a page.
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theJoyfulGeek
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(Original post by harlem)
The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable, but you did not
display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an
applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course.

Not completely sure what they mean by the first sentence.

This was the only part that was applicable to me and the rest was generic, the whole feedback was about a page.
Just a guess (I haven't applied to Cambridge yet; I'm applying this year), but:
They could imagine teaching you and you seem like a good student and generally nice person.
You didn't engage with questions enough - maybe didn't go into enough detail, or appear interested or curious enough.
You didn't make your thought processes clear enough (or didn't explain all of your reasoning).
You don't seem to love your subject enough, but you still seem like a hardworking and committed student who could get a good degree (which is more important anyway!).

However, this is just my interpretation and I might be completely wrong! I'm often too pessimistic / perfectionistic / negative.

Also, lots of it seems like the generic feedback that they give to all applicants, so I wouldn't take it personally - it's the classic "damning with faint praise" rejection that lots of British people do.

Which degree are you going to study next year and where? :hello:
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2500_2
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(Original post by harlem)
The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable, but you did not
display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an
applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course.

Not completely sure what they mean by the first sentence.

This was the only part that was applicable to me and the rest was generic, the whole feedback was about a page.
you were respectful and interested but you didn't think out loud enough/question/speculate so they couldn't assess how bright you are
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harrysbar
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(Original post by harlem)
The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable, but you did not
display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an
applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course.

It sounds like they didn't think you were right for the teaching style at Cambridge but thought you would do very well at other unis because you are "teachable" :rolleyes:
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Oxford Mum
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Don't know, as I am not the tutor, but as a guess:

The tutors wanted to give you a chance and wanted to see if you would enjoy the tutorial format. The interviews do loosely follow the format of future tutorials. You, for some reason, did not respond in the way they would expect.

If you do not, for example,

make eye contact with the tutor
listen to the tutor (and talk over them)
if you panic and "switch off"
If you seem bored by the questions
use evidence to give your answers (for example, if there is evidence in a passage you have been given.
think out loud (and show your workings). The tutors say they wanted to "access your thought processes". this is a key skill to tutorials and needs to happen in an interview.

In an interview, the tutors "want" to give you a place. But you have to give them an opportunity to give you that place. As one Oxford demystified chapter writer said, you have to be "ready to be taught". They want to see you as sitting opposite them in that tutorial room. They were willing to meet you half way, but you were not helping them.

The thing about the Cambridge questions is, they will be extremely hard to answer. Yes, knowing your A level syllabus helps a little, but it will not give you the answer. You need to make the leap between what you know, and the answer, or at least, YOUR answer.

For some of the questions, there is no right or wrong answer at all. Now the key to a successful interview is how you arrive at that answer, rather than the answer. For example, one candidate was asked a puzzle. Almost the entire interview was made up of this puzzle. When she got home she looked up the answer and it was completely wrong. Resigned, she thought, there goes my Oxford place. Wrong. Not only did she get a place, but she came first out of her entire college for prelims.

So, let's examine where she went "right". The reason they gave her a place was because they "liked the way she thought", even though she had got it wrong!! Firstly she spoke out loud, and explained her thought processes as she went, ie how she was getting to the conclusion she had made.

It is important to not answer straight away, but think about the question and how you intend to answer it. For example my son (German) concentrated on a map of Germany behind the tutor, as he figured out his answer. Do not be afraid of admitting you are wrong. For example there was one answer he knew he had got wrong. He asked if he could answer again and they gave him another chance at a (better) answer. Also, something else he found out, if you do not understand a word in one of the questions, you can ask what it is and they will explain.

My younger son had a medical interview. It went very badly (but was actually successful). In fact he said it was the "hardest b*****y interview in Oxford, and even a medic would struggle! He said the first ice breaker questions, (taken from his PS) were ok, but then he "proceeded to make a fool of myself".

Many times, during the course of the interview, he was given little verbal clues when he was struggling. So they lead you a little way down the right path towards the answer, but you have to carry on down that path, and use that crumb of information to carry on thinking and come to some kind of conclusion, whilst all the time explaining what you are thinking, and why. If you are given one of these clues and do not try and respond to it, again this will not go down well.

Here is an excerpt from Oxford Demystified:

In "Getting into Oxford and Cambridge – 2011 Entry” (Blatt, K), a Cambridge Admissions Tutor lists the reasons why a candidate may be unsuccessful. They:

Are eager to agree/not keen to discuss/debate
Are well informed but cautious or uncritical in thinking
Had difficulty when challenged to think for self
Are reluctant to engage with the unfamiliar
Jump into answers without thinking

Here is the Oxford university guide, showing us what Oxford is looking for:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxf...ide%202017.pdf

Here is another quote

Why does Oxford have to interview candidates? It is not to scare people: quite the opposite. According to the “Four Myths about Oxford” (University of Oxford Department of Computer Science)

https://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/u...our_myths.html

“We use interviews as a way of being as sure as we can that we are fair to everyone who applies, and we do our best to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the candidates. I think you should view the interview as an excellent opportunity to show what you can do. At the end of the process, I hope you will be able to feel proud that you have done yourself justice, and anyway feel that you were given a fair chance of a place.”


The trick is to keep your head and try to respond to the tutors, and work well with them. If you do not work with them, they cannot visualise working with you.

Does this help at all?
Last edited by Oxford Mum; 2 months ago
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by harlem)
The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable, but you did not
display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an
applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course.

Not completely sure what they mean by the first sentence.

This was the only part that was applicable to me and the rest was generic, the whole feedback was about a page.
"The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable" this means that when they explained something to you, or gave you new information, you picked it up, realised its significance, and applied it correctly in your thinking. So there must have been points in the interview where you got a bit stuck, they threw in a fact or an idea, and you went 'Ah, yes, will in that case, this would have happened and ....

"you did not display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course".

This means, when they posed you a question that they wanted a two way conversation about, asked for your opinion on something most probably, you just didn't talk enough to get a conversation going, you weren't open enough to have an academic discussion. That's how Supervisions work at Cambridge, and if you can't participate in them you miss the whole point of Cambridge's difference from other unis.

So you are bright enough for Cambridge, but didn't demonstrate a good fit for the teaching style.
Last edited by threeportdrift; 2 months ago
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harlem
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(Original post by theJoyfulGeek)
Just a guess (I haven't applied to Cambridge yet; I'm applying this year), but:
They could imagine teaching you and you seem like a good student and generally nice person.
You didn't engage with questions enough - maybe didn't go into enough detail, or appear interested or curious enough.
You didn't make your thought processes clear enough (or didn't explain all of your reasoning).
You don't seem to love your subject enough, but you still seem like a hardworking and committed student who could get a good degree (which is more important anyway!).

However, this is just my interpretation and I might be completely wrong! I'm often too pessimistic / perfectionistic / negative.

Also, lots of it seems like the generic feedback that they give to all applicants, so I wouldn't take it personally - it's the classic "damning with faint praise" rejection that lots of British people do.

Which degree are you going to study next year and where? :hello:
I am reapplying and taking a year to work to save up.
Not sure where and how to look for jobs...
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999tigger
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(Original post by harlem)
The members of the interview team felt that you were teachable, but you did not
display the engagement with the supervision style questions that we would usually expect of an
applicant. Without this interaction interviewers cannot assess the thought processes or
curiosity that demonstrate a candidate has the skills essential for thriving on, not just completing, a Cambridge degree course.

Not completely sure what they mean by the first sentence.

This was the only part that was applicable to me and the rest was generic, the whole feedback was about a page.
Others have given the answer, but just to add on the sentence, they see a lot of people and you just werent interested or interesting enough as a potential student thand what they are looking for or are expected. They expect you to be interactive, curious and thoughtful to the extent you show you cna thrive on their teaching methods, rather than passive and hidden. If you dont show them what sort of student you are and that you are thinking plus challenging or absorbing what they are trying to teach, then they dont see you standing out enough and the effort is all theirs.

Think you should have understood what they are looking for and you could have aced it. If you arent naturally like that then you will do better at other unis.
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Oxford Mum
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My elder son is looking for work at the moment. You need to google reed employment, indeed, put your CV on the CV library etc.

Do you have any work experience? If so, punch that in, for example my son speaks German so he googles "German speaking jobs", and a whole bunch comes up. It will ask you where you live, and how many miles radius you want to be for your job. Find a job close to where you live. Does it have transport links etc? As someone with A levels, you may not get a fantastically paid job, but it is work and you will have time to research whilst re-applying to Cambridge. My son studied ship broking when he came home from work and has now got his ship broker certificate (or at least he will when he gets his results in a month's time)

If you are willing to try hard and work, and are not too picky, you may well, with a lot of persistence, get something.
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harlem
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I'm reapplying this year.
How can I utilise this feedback as much as possible?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by harlem)
I'm reapplying this year.
How can I utilise this feedback as much as possible?
When you receive new information from someone, you need to quickly internally interrogate it and work out a question and go back to the person with a question. Not in the style of a young child that just asks why all the time, but as someone who wants to explore some aspect of the information in greater depth. Your mind needs to not just receive information and file it away, but receive, interrogate and come back with an idea/comment or further question on it. And alongside, practice having conversations with people on academic subjects and just keep them going for a while.
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