Classics And Oriental Studies @ Brasenose, Oxford in 2018

Interview format

3x 30-40 min interviews, each 1 day apart

Interview content

Interview 1: personal statement, general discussion; Interview 2: poem given beforehand, philosophy questions; Interview 3: newspaper article given beforehand, personal statement, motivations

Best preparation

Practice papers, any Latin prose/verse come across

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Try to get mock interviews if possible; prepare thoroughly for tests; try to enjoy your time at interview; relax.

Remember this advice isn't official. There is no guarantee it will reflect your experience because university applications can change between years. Check the official Cambridge and Oxford websites for more accurate information on this year's application format and the required tests.

Also, someone else's experience may not reflect your own. Most interviews are more like conversations than tests and like, any conversation, they are quite interactive.

Interview Format

Test taken: CAT

Number of interviews: 3

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: 30-40 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the first interview they asked some questions relevant to things I had mentioned in my personal statement- e.g on religion - before we moved to more general things.

In the second I had to prepare analysis of a poem and then answer questions on philosophy.

The third was with the faculty of Oriental Studies and involved some prep work on a newspaper article relevant to Islam. We also spoke about my personal statement and reasons for choosing the subject.

In all three the atmosphere was very relaxed and I found myself enjoying the discussion at points, though it was of course still stressful.

How did you prepare?

I used the practice papers on the Oxford website and any miscellaneous pieces of Latin verse and prose I could get.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

Looking back, what advice would you give to your past self?

If you know anyone who has graduated from Oxbridge or a teacher who would be willing to give you practice interviews, ask as many of them as you can. The more practice you have talking about the subject and the things you mentioned in your personal statement, the better.

If you have to take tests before interviews then prepare for those very thoroughly using the resources on the uni websites

Try to enjoy your time at interviews- meet people, play games. Getting stressed and anxious the whole time will not help.

Remember that the interviewers want to see you do well, they are on your side.

Relax and do your best and don't try and give answers you think the interviewer wants. Just give your honest feelings and don't be afraid to take time to think carefully.