Interviews are mandatory for entry to Oxford and Cambridge.
Due to recent reforms in education and immigration, an increasing number of other universities such as UCL and Warwick are also calling applicants for interview. This is to guarantee that they select the right students who will be able to perform well and work hard throughout the three to four years of undergraduate education.
The format of interviews differs in each university. Interviews may be conducted by the Head of a candidate’s Faculty or in the case of Oxford and Cambridge, by the subject tutors of a student’s chosen college. Some interviews may be conducted by a panel or by professors accompanied by graduate students.
Interviewing professors may teach candidates when they are undergraduate students, in tutorials or lectures. Making a good impression at the interview stage is vital not only for successful university entry but to maintain a good relationship with a tutor during undergraduate life as well.
Interviews may include a range of exercises and questions to test a student’s ability, instinctive thinking and personality. Students may be asked to consult an unseen text or piece of data and analyse it, in terms of origin, date or reliability, for their interviewers. They may also be asked to enlarge upon material or challenged on the assumptions they have written about in their personal statement.