Psychology (Experimental) @ Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in 2015

Interview format

4x 20 min interviews, over 2 days

Interview content

Psychology interviews: personal statement, motivations, experimental design, paper given beforehand; Philosophy interviews: discussion of logic, worksheet

Best preparation

Practice papers, personal statement; practised some interview questions

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Do your best to relax, and ask the interviewers if you have questions.

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: 4

Skype interview: No

Interview spread: 2 one day, about 10 minutes apart; same next day

Length of interviews: about 20 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In the psychology interviews I was asked about my personal statement first and what got me interested (reading etc). I was asked to design an experiment testing something that came up in discussion. In one of the interviews, I had to prepare a paper and briefly present the main points and any objections I had.

In the philosophy interviews, I was asked about logical conclusions and how things follow from one another, but themes pretty much emerged from the discussion (at least at Brasenose - at LMH they had prepared a worksheet which I can’t remember very well).

How did you prepare?

I used the past papers to prepare for the test.

To prepare for the interview, I read through my personal statement again and made sure that I had something to say about each of the books/readings I mentioned in it. I bought a book with example Oxbridge Interview questions and asked one of my teachers to do a mock interview with me, which was useful, not so much in a content kind of way but just in getting used to being put on the spot.

Since I was an international applicant from a school where no one had previously been sent to Oxbridge, this was all the prep I did - and honestly, I don’t think you need to do much more. Interviewers expect you to be able to think on your feet, so making sure you’re familiar with that kind of scenario is probably the most valuable thing you can do.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

While interviews seem really scary, it is best to go in as relaxed as possible. As far as that goes, I would recommend exploring Oxford, hanging out with other applicants and not obsessively preparing alone in your room.

Also, once in the interview, if you’re unsure about something, just ask, or if you don’t know an answer say it and then come up with your best approximation. Most of the time interviewers are trying to get you through the interview as well as possible, so don’t see them as the enemy, just ask if you have questions!