The Student Room Group

Oxford Chemistry Interviews: Reflection

Reflecting on my Oxford admissions process! This might be useful to some person reading in the future. The day I wrote this was on 23/12/2023, about a week after my interviews and two weeks until decisions came out. Unfortunately I can't share what they asked me, I know it's annoying!

Expecting: No idea… naturally a pessimist so gut is thinking rejection, but rationally it's more of a 50/50.
Outcome: Offer from Oriel

Course: Chemistry
1st College: The Queen's College
2nd College: Oriel College

1st interview, Queen's (Inorganic & Organic)
Felt like an 8/10. Came out of it really happy but later I've noticed small details that could've gone better. The inorganic section went very well and organic section I needed some light prodding but still I enjoyed it

2nd interview, Queen's (Maths & Physical)
Felt like a 4/10. Cried after this interview. Started off with this pre-reading which I found very complicated but I tried not to stress too much over it and tried to dissect it as much as I could. Maths section went okay… I could do the questions but I just felt like I was being very slow and as a result I don't think I got through all the questions they wanted me to. Physical section was related to the pre-reading but I was just overcomplicating very simple questions they were asking me and I just felt so stupid coming out of it. I barely got through the physical section, I could sense they wanted to move onto something harder linked to the pre-reading but I just didn't have time to get onto it. I think they had 10 questions prepared for me and I only did about 5 (4 maths, 1 physical).

In retrospect, this interview had absolutely crushed me and I thought I had no chance after this interview since I had shown no ability in physical chemistry at all. This goes to show you never know and to not give up!

3rd interview, Oriel (Organic & Maths)
Felt like a 7/10. I think I answered relatively well but I was just such a nervous wreck after my last interview that I don't think I articulated myself brilliantly. Because in my opinion "I ran out of time" in my last interview, I think I approached a lot of questions in this interview too hurriedly without any structure and I just think I could've made a better impression on the interviewers.

Advice: I did so much extra reading that I think I lost sight of what I was expected to know when approaching questions, especially in my 2nd interview. If a question seems really tricky, and you're not sure how to approach it, return to think about your most basic principles! They don't expect you to know everything, in fact they assume very little knowledge from you… don't forget how you can apply your little knowledge to an unfamiliar scenario.
Reply 1
Thank you for sharing, congrats on the offer!
Having read many feedback reports etc I feel the interview process is a random walk. Decision can go either way for any random reason.
Reply 3
Original post by Anonymous #1
Having read many feedback reports etc I feel the interview process is a random walk. Decision can go either way for any random reason.

Unless if you absolutely flop them like me 😇

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