Psychology, Philosophy And Linguistics @ Worcester, Oxford in 2016

Interview format

3x 30 min interviews, half a day apart

Interview content

Psychology: document about experiment given beforehand; Linguistics: worksheet, motivations, areas of interest

Best preparation

Read, and think about what you're reading

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Think aloud!

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

Tests taken: MLAT, TSA

Number of interviews: 3

Skype interview: No

Time between each interview: half a day

Length of interviews: 30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

In my psychology interview, I was given a document before to read which was about an experiment, which then formed the basis for the interview. I was asked why the experiment was done, what it showed and what was bad about the experiment.

In my linguistics interview, I had a worksheet in a made-up language, where I had to work out what each word meant and come up with my own words. We also then had a more general chat about why I wanted to study linguistics and what particular areas I was interested in.

How did you prepare?

To prepare for the TSA, I did practice papers from TSA website and used a book of TSA questions.

To prepare for the interview, I spoke to people who were at Oxford at the time to get an idea of what it would be like, and also spoke to people at open days as well.

I would say the most valuable thing you can do is to read, read, read! Having a general overview of the subject is good but the most important thing is showing areas of particular interest and thinking critically and analytically about anything that you're reading. It's much better to only read one chapter but think of some counter-points and evaluation than just to skim read a whole book.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

In the interview itself, think aloud! It might sound silly, but it's much better to explain why you thought what you thought than just sit there and come out with an answer from nowhere because then tutors can lead you in the right direction if you get it wrong.