Philosophy, Politics And Economics @ Merton, Oxford in 2018

Interview format

3x 40 min interviews, over 3 days

Interview content

Politics and economics: problem sheet; Philosophy: discussion

Best preparation

Past papers, examiner reports, advice from other websites

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Discuss things with friends and family; be ready to justify what you say; give yourself time to think; it's OK to say 'I don't know.'

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: TSA

Number of interviews: 3

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: 1 day

Length of interviews: 40 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In politics and economics we were given a problem sheet 20 minutes before the interview, and the interview consisted of discussion (in a tutorial format) about the problems on the sheet.

The philosophy interview stemmed from a discussion of philosophy questions I had been thinking about recently.

The atmosphere was very welcoming for all subjects, but philosophy was definitely the most intense, with the longest periods of silent thought.

How did you prepare?

I did lots of practice papers from online (the TSA website), and read through past examiners' reports and advice from other sites.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I prepared with a mock interview (at school, not very helpful) and by looking at advice online.

The best way to prepare is just constantly to discuss things with family and friends. Be prepared to back-up what you say, and don't say anything that you can't justify. Equally, make sure you are giving yourself time to think but make sure to engage and keep discussion flowing. If you are at a complete loss then it's okay to say "I don't know".