The Student Room Group

Oxford Demystified- Law

Written by me @Sofiavlaw for @Oxford Mum and her incredible Oxford Demystified series.

Before we start I just want to say I'm state school educated and take A Level Biology, History and Spanish and I also did an EPQ.
I originally applied to Pembroke College, got reallocated and offered an interview at Trinity and then had a second interview with St Anne's. I received my conditional offer from Trinity.

Why did you want to study your subject?
Truthfully (although I never mentioned it anywhere on my application because universities hate to hear it) I've wanted to do law since I can remember. As to my more logical reason for studying law, I love essay writing subjects, in particular History, and I strongly deliberated studying that instead. My history teacher was trying to convince me and I could see the benefit of doing it, it was something I knew I liked and knew I was good at, whereas law was a large unknown. It was only once I attended the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference that I became set on law. Talking to the law tutors there and attending lectures helped me erase the stereotype I had in the back of my mind that law was a boring subject when it absolutely isn't! I was completely enthralled the whole time!

Reading books on law also really helped, if you read a book and become bored or aren't interested, then the subject probably isn't for you. Reading helped confirm that law was something I could see myself studying for 3 years, I had follow up questions and found the issues raised super interesting.

Why Oxford?
I visited Cambridge for the law conference and I found it slightly too small for my liking. I come from a larger town and didn't like that I was able to walk around the whole of Cambridge within an hour. It was very beautiful, but it felt more like a 'city built around a university' rather than a 'university within a city'. It depends on which you prefer, but I knew as soon as I visited Oxford that it was the right place for me. It was larger and had more going on, there seemed to be more shops and I liked the overall vibe. Also, I just had that feeling that this was it. Not sure how to describe it but I just knew.

Did any of your teachers inspire you? Or any other expert (TV presenter etc)
My history teacher is actually a former Merton student and she encouraged me to apply for Oxford but for history. Her style of teaching is similar to that of an Oxford tutor (I suppose from having studied there herself) and her enthusiasm and passion for learning definitely rubbed off on me. Also, her desire to analyse everything further had me prodding at my own understanding, trying to push myself to go deeper, which any good Oxford applicant should be doing. I never actually asked her for help with anything Oxford related, as I felt slightly embarrassed, but she definitely inspired me without realising it!

Which resources did you use (please name as many as possible) Which books/journals did you read? Which did you like best, and why? What did they teach you?
Books- Reading played a large part of my preparation. I really recommend trying several different books as it takes a while to get a grasp of a completely unfamiliar subject. The first book I read left me really confused and it wasn't until I went back and reread it a few months later, having read several books since, that I could get my head around the style of writing.Another thing, if you read a book and dislike it, put it down. I tried to read 'An Introduction to Law' and hated it, although it's highly recommended. Try find topics you're interested in and develop your understanding on a much deeper level. I really enjoyed researching the proposed Bill of Rights so went really in depth with that. Niche topics make your PS stand out and mean you aren't mentioning the same things as everyone else.

The introductory law books I read all came off the Oxford Law reading list which is available on their undergraduate website. Beware that these are books people tend to mention on their PS (I mentioned the first!) so admissions officers are probably slightly sick of seeing them, so it may also be good to invest in a more niche book too.

However, these books really helped me understand and love the subject enough to know I'd enjoy it. I'll list them below in the order I recommend reading them in:
Letter's to a Law Student- covers large legal questions and current issues, good essay and LNAT tips and also tips for current law students

What about law?- covers the main modules of law, each topic has a case analysis where they discuss the main problems raised and how the judgment was reached.

Eve was Framed OR Misjustice (Both by the same author, I read both and a lot is copied over)- great insight into how women are treated in the law and by the justice system

About Law- a short and concise introduction, it covers some of the core modules and legal issues

Rule of Law- useful insight into what the rule of law actually is and how it is implemented in society, slightly drier read thoughSome other law books I read and enjoyed were:
Secret Barrister- not so good for things to include on a PS but good insights into the legal system)

Debating Law: Euthanasia- I read it for my EPQ and mentioned it on my PS, gives convincing arguments for both sides of the assisted dying debate

On Fantasy Island - I mentioned the Bill of Rights and the European Court of Human Rights on my PS and read this book before my interview, I found the content absolutely fascinating though it was definitely the most challenging/ academic book I read on this list

Podcasts- I also listened to a lot of podcasts, I tend to have them on a lot in the background when I'm getting ready, walking to school etc. I also run a lot and would listen to The Guardian: In Focus on my runs. Each day they release a 30 minute episode and deep dive on a current affairs issue. There's a lot on law, international relations and politics. It was super interesting and I definitely learnt a lot from it. Understanding current affairs is really useful for law and I really recommend brushing up on the news. The LNAT mentions a whole variety of different topics so it’s good to get even the most basic understanding of topics like economics which you may not have been exposed to (I certainly hadn't!)

I also listened to Law Pod UK and Law In Action quite regularly and those are really useful for developing an understanding of law and current legal problems. They also have things you can mention on your PS.

News- As I said, keep up with current affairs. For newspapers I recommend the BBC, the Guardian (they have a law section which is super useful) or the Financial Times.

Questioning what you read, whether it has any underlying motives, biases, assumptions, why they're writing it and whether there are any strong counter arguments is important. These help with the LNAT as the multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and essay question can be on absolutely anything and all you can do is prepare for that by exposing yourself to different sources, styles of writing and topics.

Did you attend any lectures, or take part in any competitions? If so, would you recommend them, and why?
CSFLC- I highly recommend the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference to all Year 12 students. It’s open to both state and private schools and is on a first come, first served basis (I think applications opened in November for me). It was about £80 for food, accommodation and the lectures. I got to stay at Sidney Sussex college for several days, attend lectures run by world renowned professors, talk to current students and also meet lots of applicants in the same boat as I was! Basically, it was fantastic. I mentioned something we covered in the contract law lecture on my PS but I could have just as well mentioned any other one of them! Highly recommend!

Inspire Programme- I also did the Yr 12 and 13 Inspire Programme run by St Johns College Oxford. It’s a regional outreach programme for those in the South East (you can find your regional outreach colleges on the Oxford website to see what programmes are available to you)
I started the Inspire Programme in Yr 12 and each week they would send us different academic taster lectures and follow up tasks. They were aimed at different subjects, but I attended some amazing ones for Biology and History too. Also as part of the programme, I got to attend Oxford for a Foreign Languages day (they didn’t have a law one and this was the next best thing!) It was the first time I visited Oxford and it was really inspiring. The final thing I did as part of the programme was an optional Research Project which I had to submit a Research Proposal for. They liked my proposal which was based on the euthanasia research I was hoping to do for my EPQ (not yet begun) and I was given a Research grant for £100 for Blackwell’s to carry out my research. I made a research poster and am receiving an award in April for completing it!

MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)- I did two of these on the website Futurelearn. The first was Exploring Law and it was by Cambridge University, each week covered a different area of law e.g public law or private law and it was super insightful. I very nearly mentioned something on the prorogation of Parliament covered in the course however it got cut from the final draft. I also did another called Jurisprudence: Introduction to the philosophy of law, which was super enjoyable and is making me really look forward to the Jurisprudence module at Oxford. It covered all sorts but I particularly liked the week on different defences in the law, there are some really strange ones such as sleepwalking!

Lectures- I attended a few of these run by various Oxbridge colleges. I signed up to the Oxford and Cambridge applicants newsletters and throughout the year signed up to a few academic taster sessions that interested me. There’s also lots available on Youtube if you search up the colleges or the Oxford Law Faculty.

Competitions- I did two competitions, the first was the Peter Cane Legal Reasoning Prize run by Corpus Christi Oxford. The essay was on wills and testamentary intention and how UK law means that our desires when we die are irrelevant and have no legal effect if they aren’t in a legally binding will. I received a highly commended award for my essay which was also very cool.

The second was the Robert Walker essay prize by Trinity College Cambridge. It was on environment law and truthfully, I was swamped at the time and didn’t put enough effort into it. I suppose the takeaway from that was, either fully commit to an essay competition or don’t do it, as they’re large time commitments and you won’t get anything significant out of it!

Did you have any work experience? If so, how did you find it?
I did a week at an immigration law firm and it was alright. I did enjoy the pro bono case I got to help out with, which involved preventing an illegal immigrant getting deported back to her home country based on it constituting a humans right violation but aside from that it wasn’t the most enlightening thing I’ve ever done. It did let me know that maybe being a solicitor isn’t for me, but I suppose more experience will help me figure that out.

Did you have a specialist subject/EPQ? What was it? How did you go about your research?
I’ve kind of already covered this but yes, I did one on whether assisted dying should be legalised in the UK. It was a super interesting topic and since then, I’ve decided I’d like to do medical law as an optional module at university. EPQ's definitely a huge time commitment and not expected by universities, but if you find the time or have a topic you’d like to research further it can be a great way of showing universities a dedication for your subject. Unfortunately, my school gave me a very short window to submit it in if I wanted an A* prediction for UCAS so I had to get the whole thing done during the summer holiday!

What did you mention in your personal statement and why?
I mentioned the contract lecture I attended at the Cambridge Law Conference and a bit about my research on euthanasia and getting the research grant from St Johns College. I also mentioned something I found interesting in the book Letter’s to a Law Student and the essay I wrote for the Peter Cane essay competition. I also gave a rather controversial take on the Bill of Rights, highlighting how maybe the government is justified for wanting to take radical measures to limit the courts authority, given past cases such as Ghaidan v Godin Mendoza where the court has overstepped their interpretive role.

I also had a small paragraph at the bottom on extra curriculars such as the half marathon I had run that year for charity, my volunteer work with a charity based in Hong Kong and my role on the Student Leadership team. They say your PS should be 90% academic and 10% extracurricular for Oxbridge and I think I probably did about that.

I really recommend reading different PS’s before writing your own. I reached out to some law offer holders on TSR the year before I applied and asked for their tips and a few lovely people sent me their PS to review. Obviously never copy, UCAS has measures in place for that, but understanding different structures you could use is super useful. I know TSR also has a section where you can review others PS’s and it’s listed by subject.

Which techniques did you use for the entrance test?
I used Arbitio to prepare for the LNAT. It does cost money but feel free to private message me and I can send you a 10% discount. I know people have different takes on paying for help with admissions. This was the only thing I paid for and I think it was worth the price. I don’t want to plug them too heavily though as I know you can get lots of similar resources for free if you look around, but I know for me it really helped. As for advice, my main tip is practise, practise, practise but some more specific things:

Multiple choice section- I went through the questions one by one after each paper and tried to understand why my answer was or wasn’t correct. There’s usually two or three you can immediately cross off and then for the two left I recommend really questioning the vocabulary used and trying to see which has a flaw to its argument. Sometimes it really is just an educated guess though. My approach for reading the extracts was to read through the text slowly once to really grasp it and then refer back to it for each question to check my answer. However, do what works for you, practise will let you know how you should approach it.

Essay section- I did less of these because my essay skills are stronger due to history. Some essay titles to get you started, that I saw whilst preparing were: Should the government prioritise funding for sports or the arts? and Should religious symbols be displayed in classrooms?

My main tip is to be as concise as possible, be very clear, if you can use 1 word instead of 4 DO. Have a clear plan before you start and aim to write between 500-700 words. You don’t need a long essay, in fact shorter essays which only mention your 3 strongest arguments and develop them fully will likely be more impactful. Make sure you stick to the question and write an answer to the question, not what you wish the question was and remember you should know your conclusion before you begin writing.

How did you choose your college?
I chose Pembroke due to the spiritual/ religious moment I had when I first walked in. I had this feeling that applying there would mean things worked out. It’s odd because although I liked the college, there were others I preferred, so I suppose I really relied on intuition and gut instinct with it. When I got reallocated to Trinity, I was so incredibly happy because I couldn’t imagine a better outcome. I love the look of the gardens and the library and the architecture is beautiful. I suppose you can rely on statistics, gut instinct or really do your research and see which has the best facilities for you.

Did you go to an open day and if so, did it help you to decide?
Nope, unfortunately I had mocks that week, but I did go as part of the Inspire programme and I visited once with my family. It’s what made me fall in love with the city and get an idea of the various colleges.

How did you find the interview process? (NO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS PLEASE - this is against TSR guidelines)
Stressful however I did enjoy it. My first one was with Trinity and only 20 minutes long. I was so nervous that the answer to my first question was completely nonsensical and I had to apologise and tell them I was nervous, to which they were very understanding. I also had a panel of 4 interviewers which was slightly intimidating. After the first question I told myself that this was it, that it was now or never and everything seemed to go alright from there.

For my second interview at St Anne’s, I had half an hour pre- reading and the material was rather complicated. I still feel like I answered those questions terribly and that they could tell that I was waffling my way through it. During the second half of the interview, I was given rapid fire moral legal problems and every answer I gave was questioned. I ended up arguing with the interviewer (in a good way) and left feeling very dazed, but at the same time it was incredibly enjoyable.

Any interview tips?
My school didn’t really offer interview help so I had to search for my own. The two resources which I am wholly indebted to are:

In2_law- They were my biggest help, please look them up on Instagram as they are a brilliant group run by Oxbridge students who help law applicants in the admissions process. It’s completely free and they run LNAT webinars, offer help with Personal Statements and they ran an interview day at Clifford’s Chance which really helped me. I had a mock interview with an Oxford student and he gave me some amazing feedback.

Oxbridge Launchpad- Another free resource, a student at Pembroke gave me an interview and also gave me some amazing feedback.

As for general tips:
THINK OUT LOUD- I don’t care how silly you feel, explain your every thought. There is one caveat to this, take a few seconds before you respond to formulate an overall answer then go from there.

Define- If you’re given a text, define the individual words first. Language is super important in law so understanding the purpose of each word and its utility helps.

Analyse- Deconstruct the various assumptions, implications, counter arguments and limitations which may be presented.

Be creative- Try and think beyond your derivative thoughts and think outside the box. They interview a lot of people so give creative examples to demonstrate your logic.

Examples- Mentioned above but they help justify your reasoning

Justify- Why is this important? Is it because it protects democracy? Will it lead to an increase in authoritarianism?

Practise- I found all the possible law interviews for Oxbridge I could find on Youtube (there are quite a lot) and watched them. I paused before each answer and gave my own answer trying to do everything I mentioned above. I did this in the week leading up and it really helped. I went into the interview kind of knowing what to expect and had some practise expressing my thoughts articulately.

Read- I read About Law and An Introduction to Law to get my brain in the right headspace in the week leading up and this was super useful for thinking about law analytically.

How did you feel after the interviews?
Conflicted and unable to tell, I tried not to dwell on them.

Where were you when you got your offer? How did you react?
I AGAIN had mocks that week so I told myself I wouldn’t look until the afternoon as I had to study and knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate once I opened it, regardless of the result. I spent the morning revising, albeit most definitely thinking about the email I knew was there waiting for me. In the afternoon I finally gave in and checked it. I saw both the UCAS and Trinity email there. I opened the Trinity email first and it was one sentence long, however it’s all I needed, as it confirmed I had a place. I sat there in shock for about half an hour trying to convince myself I was awake and that it was real. I still don’t really believe it to be honest.

Are you looking forward to coming up to Oxford?
I still have to do my A Levels and achieve the grades, but so long as everything goes right, yes absolutely. Its hard to put into words but it really is a dream come true :smile:
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Sofiavlaw
Written by me @Sofiavlaw for @Oxford Mum and her incredible Oxford Demystified series.

Before we start I just want to say I'm state school educated and take A Level Biology, History and Spanish and I also did an EPQ.
I originally applied to Pembroke College, got reallocated and offered an interview at Trinity and then had a second interview with St Anne's. I received my conditional offer from Trinity.

Why did you want to study your subject?
Truthfully (although I never mentioned it anywhere on my application because universities hate to hear it) I've wanted to do law since I can remember. As to my more logical reason for studying law, I love essay writing subjects, in particular History, and I strongly deliberated studying that instead. My history teacher was trying to convince me and I could see the benefit of doing it, it was something I knew I liked and knew I was good at, whereas law was a large unknown. It was only once I attended the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference that I became set on law. Talking to the law tutors there and attending lectures helped me erase the stereotype I had in the back of my mind that law was a boring subject when it absolutely isn't! I was completely enthralled the whole time!

Reading books on law also really helped, if you read a book and become bored or aren't interested, then the subject probably isn't for you. Reading helped confirm that law was something I could see myself studying for 3 years, I had follow up questions and found the issues raised super interesting.

Why Oxford?
I visited Cambridge for the law conference and I found it slightly too small for my liking. I come from a larger town and didn't like that I was able to walk around the whole of Cambridge within an hour. It was very beautiful, but it felt more like a 'city built around a university' rather than a 'university within a city'. It depends on which you prefer, but I knew as soon as I visited Oxford that it was the right place for me. It was larger and had more going on, there seemed to be more shops and I liked the overall vibe. Also, I just had that feeling that this was it. Not sure how to describe it but I just knew.

Did any of your teachers inspire you? Or any other expert (TV presenter etc)
My history teacher is actually a former Merton student and she encouraged me to apply for Oxford but for history. Her style of teaching is similar to that of an Oxford tutor (I suppose from having studied there herself) and her enthusiasm and passion for learning definitely rubbed off on me. Also, her desire to analyse everything further had me prodding at my own understanding, trying to push myself to go deeper, which any good Oxford applicant should be doing. I never actually asked her for help with anything Oxford related, as I felt slightly embarrassed, but she definitely inspired me without realising it!

Which resources did you use (please name as many as possible) Which books/journals did you read? Which did you like best, and why? What did they teach you?
Books- Reading played a large part of my preparation. I really recommend trying several different books as it takes a while to get a grasp of a completely unfamiliar subject. The first book I read left me really confused and it wasn't until I went back and reread it a few months later, having read several books since, that I could get my head around the style of writing.Another thing, if you read a book and dislike it, put it down. I tried to read 'An Introduction to Law' and hated it, although it's highly recommended. Try find topics you're interested in and develop your understanding on a much deeper level. I really enjoyed researching the proposed Bill of Rights so went really in depth with that. Niche topics make your PS stand out and mean you aren't mentioning the same things as everyone else.

The introductory law books I read all came off the Oxford Law reading list which is available on their undergraduate website. Beware that these are books people tend to mention on their PS (I mentioned the first!) so admissions officers are probably slightly sick of seeing them, so it may also be good to invest in a more niche book too.

However, these books really helped me understand and love the subject enough to know I'd enjoy it. I'll list them below in the order I recommend reading them in:
Letter's to a Law Student- covers large legal questions and current issues, good essay and LNAT tips and also tips for current law students

What about law?- covers the main modules of law, each topic has a case analysis where they discuss the main problems raised and how the judgment was reached.

Eve was Framed OR Misjustice (Both by the same author, I read both and a lot is copied over)- great insight into how women are treated in the law and by the justice system

About Law- a short and concise introduction, it covers some of the core modules and legal issues

Rule of Law- useful insight into what the rule of law actually is and how it is implemented in society, slightly drier read thoughSome other law books I read and enjoyed were:
Secret Barrister- not so good for things to include on a PS but good insights into the legal system)

Debating Law: Euthanasia- I read it for my EPQ and mentioned it on my PS, gives convincing arguments for both sides of the assisted dying debate

On Fantasy Island - I mentioned the Bill of Rights and the European Court of Human Rights on my PS and read this book before my interview, I found the content absolutely fascinating though it was definitely the most challenging/ academic book I read on this list

Podcasts- I also listened to a lot of podcasts, I tend to have them on a lot in the background when I'm getting ready, walking to school etc. I also run a lot and would listen to The Guardian: In Focus on my runs. Each day they release a 30 minute episode and deep dive on a current affairs issue. There's a lot on law, international relations and politics. It was super interesting and I definitely learnt a lot from it. Understanding current affairs is really useful for law and I really recommend brushing up on the news. The LNAT mentions a whole variety of different topics so it’s good to get even the most basic understanding of topics like economics which you may not have been exposed to (I certainly hadn't!)

I also listened to Law Pod UK and Law In Action quite regularly and those are really useful for developing an understanding of law and current legal problems. They also have things you can mention on your PS.

News- As I said, keep up with current affairs. For newspapers I recommend the BBC, the Guardian (they have a law section which is super useful) or the Financial Times.

Questioning what you read, whether it has any underlying motives, biases, assumptions, why they're writing it and whether there are any strong counter arguments is important. These help with the LNAT as the multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and essay question can be on absolutely anything and all you can do is prepare for that by exposing yourself to different sources, styles of writing and topics.

Did you attend any lectures, or take part in any competitions? If so, would you recommend them, and why?
CSFLC- I highly recommend the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference to all Year 12 students. It’s open to both state and private schools and is on a first come, first served basis (I think applications opened in November for me). It was about £80 for food, accommodation and the lectures. I got to stay at Sidney Sussex college for several days, attend lectures run by world renowned professors, talk to current students and also meet lots of applicants in the same boat as I was! Basically, it was fantastic. I mentioned something we covered in the contract law lecture on my PS but I could have just as well mentioned any other one of them! Highly recommend!

Inspire Programme- I also did the Yr 12 and 13 Inspire Programme run by St Johns College Oxford. It’s a regional outreach programme for those in the South East (you can find your regional outreach colleges on the Oxford website to see what programmes are available to you)
I started the Inspire Programme in Yr 12 and each week they would send us different academic taster lectures and follow up tasks. They were aimed at different subjects, but I attended some amazing ones for Biology and History too. Also as part of the programme, I got to attend Oxford for a Foreign Languages day (they didn’t have a law one and this was the next best thing!) It was the first time I visited Oxford and it was really inspiring. The final thing I did as part of the programme was an optional Research Project which I had to submit a Research Proposal for. They liked my proposal which was based on the euthanasia research I was hoping to do for my EPQ (not yet begun) and I was given a Research grant for £100 for Blackwell’s to carry out my research. I made a research poster and am receiving an award in April for completing it!

MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)- I did two of these on the website Futurelearn. The first was Exploring Law and it was by Cambridge University, each week covered a different area of law e.g public law or private law and it was super insightful. I very nearly mentioned something on the prorogation of Parliament covered in the course however it got cut from the final draft. I also did another called Jurisprudence: Introduction to the philosophy of law, which was super enjoyable and is making me really look forward to the Jurisprudence module at Oxford. It covered all sorts but I particularly liked the week on different defences in the law, there are some really strange ones such as sleepwalking!

Lectures- I attended a few of these run by various Oxbridge colleges. I signed up to the Oxford and Cambridge applicants newsletters and throughout the year signed up to a few academic taster sessions that interested me. There’s also lots available on Youtube if you search up the colleges or the Oxford Law Faculty.

Competitions- I did two competitions, the first was the Peter Cane Legal Reasoning Prize run by Corpus Christi Oxford. The essay was on wills and testamentary intention and how UK law means that our desires when we die are irrelevant and have no legal effect if they aren’t in a legally binding will. I received a highly commended award for my essay which was also very cool.

The second was the Robert Walker essay prize by Trinity College Cambridge. It was on environment law and truthfully, I was swamped at the time and didn’t put enough effort into it. I suppose the takeaway from that was, either fully commit to an essay competition or don’t do it, as they’re large time commitments and you won’t get anything significant out of it!

Did you have any work experience? If so, how did you find it?
I did a week at an immigration law firm and it was alright. I did enjoy the pro bono case I got to help out with, which involved preventing an illegal immigrant getting deported back to her home country based on it constituting a humans right violation but aside from that it wasn’t the most enlightening thing I’ve ever done. It did let me know that maybe being a solicitor isn’t for me, but I suppose more experience will help me figure that out.

Did you have a specialist subject/EPQ? What was it? How did you go about your research?
I’ve kind of already covered this but yes, I did one on whether assisted dying should be legalised in the UK. It was a super interesting topic and since then, I’ve decided I’d like to do medical law as an optional module at university. EPQ's definitely a huge time commitment and not expected by universities, but if you find the time or have a topic you’d like to research further it can be a great way of showing universities a dedication for your subject. Unfortunately, my school gave me a very short window to submit it in if I wanted an A* prediction for UCAS so I had to get the whole thing done during the summer holiday!

What did you mention in your personal statement and why?
I mentioned the contract lecture I attended at the Cambridge Law Conference and a bit about my research on euthanasia and getting the research grant from St Johns College. I also mentioned something I found interesting in the book Letter’s to a Law Student and the essay I wrote for the Peter Cane essay competition. I also gave a rather controversial take on the Bill of Rights, highlighting how maybe the government is justified for wanting to take radical measures to limit the courts authority, given past cases such as Ghaidan v Godin Mendoza where the court has overstepped their interpretive role.

I also had a small paragraph at the bottom on extra curriculars such as the half marathon I had run that year for charity, my volunteer work with a charity based in Hong Kong and my role on the Student Leadership team. They say your PS should be 90% academic and 10% extracurricular for Oxbridge and I think I probably did about that.

I really recommend reading different PS’s before writing your own. I reached out to some law offer holders on TSR the year before I applied and asked for their tips and a few lovely people sent me their PS to review. Obviously never copy, UCAS has measures in place for that, but understanding different structures you could use is super useful. I know TSR also has a section where you can review others PS’s and it’s listed by subject.

Which techniques did you use for the entrance test?
I used Arbitio to prepare for the LNAT. It does cost money but feel free to private message me and I can send you a 10% discount. I know people have different takes on paying for help with admissions. This was the only thing I paid for and I think it was worth the price. I don’t want to plug them too heavily though as I know you can get lots of similar resources for free if you look around, but I know for me it really helped. As for advice, my main tip is practise, practise, practise but some more specific things:

Multiple choice section- I went through the questions one by one after each paper and tried to understand why my answer was or wasn’t correct. There’s usually two or three you can immediately cross off and then for the two left I recommend really questioning the vocabulary used and trying to see which has a flaw to its argument. Sometimes it really is just an educated guess though. My approach for reading the extracts was to read through the text slowly once to really grasp it and then refer back to it for each question to check my answer. However, do what works for you, practise will let you know how you should approach it.

Essay section- I did less of these because my essay skills are stronger due to history. Some essay titles to get you started, that I saw whilst preparing were: Should the government prioritise funding for sports or the arts? and Should religious symbols be displayed in classrooms?

My main tip is to be as concise as possible, be very clear, if you can use 1 word instead of 4 DO. Have a clear plan before you start and aim to write between 500-700 words. You don’t need a long essay, in fact shorter essays which only mention your 3 strongest arguments and develop them fully will likely be more impactful. Make sure you stick to the question and write an answer to the question, not what you wish the question was and remember you should know your conclusion before you begin writing.

How did you choose your college?
I chose Pembroke due to the spiritual/ religious moment I had when I first walked in. I had this feeling that applying there would mean things worked out. It’s odd because although I liked the college, there were others I preferred, so I suppose I really relied on intuition and gut instinct with it. When I got reallocated to Trinity, I was so incredibly happy because I couldn’t imagine a better outcome. I love the look of the gardens and the library and the architecture is beautiful. I suppose you can rely on statistics, gut instinct or really do your research and see which has the best facilities for you.

Did you go to an open day and if so, did it help you to decide?
Nope, unfortunately I had mocks that week, but I did go as part of the Inspire programme and I visited once with my family. It’s what made me fall in love with the city and get an idea of the various colleges.

How did you find the interview process? (NO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS PLEASE - this is against TSR guidelines)
Stressful however I did enjoy it. My first one was with Trinity and only 20 minutes long. I was so nervous that the answer to my first question was completely nonsensical and I had to apologise and tell them I was nervous, to which they were very understanding. I also had a panel of 4 interviewers which was slightly intimidating. After the first question I told myself that this was it, that it was now or never and everything seemed to go alright from there.

For my second interview at St Anne’s, I had half an hour pre- reading and the material was rather complicated. I still feel like I answered those questions terribly and that they could tell that I was waffling my way through it. During the second half of the interview, I was given rapid fire moral legal problems and every answer I gave was questioned. I ended up arguing with the interviewer (in a good way) and left feeling very dazed, but at the same time it was incredibly enjoyable.

Any interview tips?
My school didn’t really offer interview help so I had to search for my own. The two resources which I am wholly indebted to are:

In2_law- They were my biggest help, please look them up on Instagram as they are a brilliant group run by Oxbridge students who help law applicants in the admissions process. It’s completely free and they run LNAT webinars, offer help with Personal Statements and they ran an interview day at Clifford’s Chance which really helped me. I had a mock interview with an Oxford student and he gave me some amazing feedback.

Oxbridge Launchpad- Another free resource, a student at Pembroke gave me an interview and also gave me some amazing feedback.

As for general tips:
THINK OUT LOUD- I don’t care how silly you feel, explain your every thought. There is one caveat to this, take a few seconds before you respond to formulate an overall answer then go from there.

Define- If you’re given a text, define the individual words first. Language is super important in law so understanding the purpose of each word and its utility helps.

Analyse- Deconstruct the various assumptions, implications, counter arguments and limitations which may be presented.

Be creative- Try and think beyond your derivative thoughts and think outside the box. They interview a lot of people so give creative examples to demonstrate your logic.

Examples- Mentioned above but they help justify your reasoning

Justify- Why is this important? Is it because it protects democracy? Will it lead to an increase in authoritarianism?

Practise- I found all the possible law interviews for Oxbridge I could find on Youtube (there are quite a lot) and watched them. I paused before each answer and gave my own answer trying to do everything I mentioned above. I did this in the week leading up and it really helped. I went into the interview kind of knowing what to expect and had some practise expressing my thoughts articulately.

Read- I read About Law and An Introduction to Law to get my brain in the right headspace in the week leading up and this was super useful for thinking about law analytically.

How did you feel after the interviews?
Conflicted and unable to tell, I tried not to dwell on them.

Where were you when you got your offer? How did you react?
I AGAIN had mocks that week so I told myself I wouldn’t look until the afternoon as I had to study and knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate once I opened it, regardless of the result. I spent the morning revising, albeit most definitely thinking about the email I knew was there waiting for me. In the afternoon I finally gave in and checked it. I saw both the UCAS and Trinity email there. I opened the Trinity email first and it was one sentence long, however it’s all I needed, as it confirmed I had a place. I sat there in shock for about half an hour trying to convince myself I was awake and that it was real. I still don’t really believe it to be honest.

Are you looking forward to coming up to Oxford?
I still have to do my A Levels and achieve the grades, but so long as everything goes right, yes absolutely. Its hard to put into words but it really is a dream come true :smile:


Hurrah! It’s finally worked @Sofiavlaw [br] [br] i am amazed how completely you have managed to access all the help Oxbridge could provide ( you really remind me of my younger son in this respect) and all these golden tips will be invaluable for future students. Believe me, there will be many, many more opportunities once you start at Oxford and I have a funny feeling you will make the most of them, and thrive.

I will comment on this in more depth as soon as I can.

Brilliant chapter, well done!
Sofia, you were very lucky to have an inspirational teacher, who must have been enthusiastic about Oxford, having studied at Merton herself.

Basing her lessons on an Oxford tutorial, and pushing you further and further is a great way to practise. One Oxford student said, in a prospectus, "Oxford taught me to read between the lines" and it is certainly the case with you. My younger son also once told me, "you must question everything". A Cambridge medical student said that Oxbridge likes a "one thing leads to another" approach. You go to a lecture, which inspires you to listen to a podcast, which in turn inspires you to go to the library to read up on the subject. So, without even knowing it, you are adopting Oxford ways of thinking before you even start applying!

I salute your teacher for believing in you, and encouraging you to go for an "unknown" subject. Yes, you love essay subjects, which is telling. What is a great performance in court, but telling a convincing story, presenting an argument that is compelling, interesting and believable?

Speaking about courts, I don't know if this is still the case post Covid, but my sons used to go to the magistrates court and crown courts (they even attended a murder trial and visited the Old Bailey). You only had to be 14 or over and dress smartly.
Your application is an absolute masterclass in what I call "stranding". That is, divide each section of your application into different strands, then tackle each one of them to the max. To demonstrate, this is what you did:

Take part in a conference (Cambridge sixth form college). Just because you are applying to Oxford, it doesn't mean you have to stick to Oxford schemes only. Cambridge have some great schemes, and ditto for the essay competitions

Attending lectures

Reading books on law (both the Oxford reading list, then others that intrigue you)

Researching (here, bill of rights)

EPQ

Podcasts

Newspapers (law section)

Keeping up with current affairs

Programmes run by colleges and take part in research projects as part of college programme

MOOCs

Essay competitions

Work experience

LNAT practice

In2Law

Oxbridge launchpad.
Another worthy scheme, if you are a state school student and have 7 or more 8/9s at GCSE, is Zero Gravity.

If eligible, you will get an hour's worth of mentoring by a current Oxford law undergraduate via your mobile, and it's free of charge


https://www.zerogravity.co.uk/impact
A word about the essay competitions...

They are really great ways to get your teeth into Oxbridge essay writing. Yes, there is a cash prize and the kudos, however don't worry if you don't get placed (Sofia is only the second person I know who won a prize). It's all about engaging with the subject, researching and expressing yourself on paper succinctly. After all, if you get in, you will be doing this kind of thing all the time.
I love your approach to PS writing (although the PS will be scrapped from next year). You actually went on TSR, found the personal statement bank, and read them all to see how you others have presented themselves, and to get techniques (although not to copy).

As for the LNAT, you have really gone to town on this one. You have practised and practised, not only using Arbito, but also being very critical about what you have written. You are not just writing the answers, then moving on. You are also trying to understand why you have answered as you do, and if not, what you may have done wrong. You will need all these critical and analytical factors in your career.
How I love your interview tips! Perfect for any law applicant. With this approach, no wonder you received an offer.

I can't wait to find out how you get along with the course. Do keep us posted!

@Sofiavlaw
@harrysbar

Harrys, after years of waiting, we finally have the law chapter!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Oxford Mum
How I love your interview tips! Perfect for any law applicant. With this approach, no wonder you received an offer.

I can't wait to find out how you get along with the course. Do keep us posted!

@Sofiavlaw
@harrysbar

Harrys, after years of waiting, we finally have the law chapter!

Wonderful! And certain parts like the section on useful resources will be valuable for any student applying for a Law degree & wondering what they can do to research the subject further/ help their application.
I will be directing a few people from the Law forum towards this chapter and hope other people do too.
Original post by harrysbar
Wonderful! And certain parts like the section on useful resources will be valuable for any student applying for a Law degree & wondering what they can do to research the subject further/ help their application.
I will be directing a few people from the Law forum towards this chapter and hope other people do too.

Glad we could help you Harrys!

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