Since Oxford and Cambridge interviews are ultimately designed to test the ability to problem solve and think independently, any interview preparation you conduct with your students must focus on these qualities.
We’ve already covered the importance of mock interviews in a previous blog post – these are a really effective way to make your students more comfortable and confident in an Oxbridge interview, especially if you can recreate the conditions of an interview as closely as possible.
Review the Personal Statement
Spend some time with students to ensure they have the necessary grasp of the key components of their Personal Statement. For example:
- Encourage students to break down the Personal Statement into its component parts – can they talk about every aspect of it in detail, and with articulacy?
- Does the passion they demonstrated in their opening and closing paragraphs translate into an interview setting?
There’s no point trying to prepare students to deliver a fixed set of responses – it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality in an interview. The best kind of Oxbridge interview preparation will encourage students to talk widely and openly about their subject, and will encourage them to think on their feet.
With this in mind, it’s also important that any students preparing for Oxbridge interviews don’t over-prepare or over-rehearse. Interviewers aren’t interested in students who simply rely on facts and figures – spontaneity is everything.
Prepare them for the unfamiliar
Students need to be confident and well-informed in front of course leaders and admissions tutors they’ve never met.
So, if your school is running interview preparation, or workshops for Oxbridge applicants, why not pair your students up with teachers or guidance counselors they don’t normally interact with, and who may be more likely to ask tough or unpredictable questions?