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Oxford University: A New Round of Interview Questions Released

16 October, 2017

The annual sample questions and the answers to them were released this week by Oxford University to unravel its interview process. The interview is usually an academic conversation between the interviewee and the interviewer on the subject the student wants to study. Typically, it takes around 20 minutes, and there is nothing considered as a wrong or a right answer. The interview is mainly held to measure the students' perception of the subject they are going to study and to ensure that they have critical thinking abilities, as well as the novelty and originality of their own ideas.

The questions, of course, will differ depending on the subject the student chose. Law students, for instance, should expect questions about the eligibility of violating some laws under specific circumstances and/or about establishing a new law deciding whether it is just and effective or not. Music students might be asked about inventing a new musical instrument and describe its sound; philosophy students will have to consider if violence was always political; and those applying to study modern languages are expected to be well-read and knowledgeable candidates, as they could be asked about what is lost when reading a translated foreign literature.

The director of admissions and outreach at Oxford, Dr Samina Khan, said “We know there are still misunderstandings about the Oxford interview, so we put as much information as possible out there to allow students to see the reality of the process.

“But interviews will be an entirely new experience for most students, and we know many prospective applicants are already worried about being in an unfamiliar place and being questioned by people they have not met – so to help students to become familiar with the type of questions they might get asked, we release these real examples.”

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