These sample interview questions come direct from the tutors who conduct the interviews. We hope they’ll make you think, and help you understand why we ask the questions that we do.
Here is a list of three compounds, A, B and C. Which one is most soluble? (A, B and C will be specific simple compounds which the candidates should recognise.)
Why do some habitats support higher biodiversity than others?
Why do lions have manes?
Ladybirds are red. So are strawberries. Why?
Would it matter if tigers became extinct?
Why do many animals have stripes?
Here’s a cactus. Tell me about it.
If you could save either the rainforests or the coral reefs, which would you choose?
Is it easier for organisms to live in the sea or on land?
Why is sugar in your urine a good indicator that you might have diabetes?
Why do a cat’s eyes appear to ‘glow’ in the dark?
Why do you think Dido kills herself in Aeneid 4? Couldn’t she just have gone back to her old life?
How do pirates divide their treasure?
The Holiday Puzzle:
Economics and Management
Do bankers deserve the pay they receive? And should government do something to limit how much they get?
Place a 30cm ruler on top of one finger from each hand so that you have one finger at each end of the ruler, and the ruler is resting on your fingertips. What happens when you bring your fingers together?
How would you design a gravity dam for holding back water?
JK Rowling has just published a book for adults after the hugely successful Harry Potter series. In what ways do you think that writing for children is different to writing for adults?
Tell me about [this literary work you have mentioned in your UCAS personal statement]
Why do you think an English student might be interested in the fact that Coronation Street has been running for 50 years?
If I were to visit the area where you live, what would I be interested in?
What would a historian find interesting about the place where you live?
Is violence always political? Does ‘political’ mean something different in different contexts?
Imagine we had no records about the past at all, except everything to do with sport – how much of the past could we find out about?
Which person (or sort of person) in the past would you most like to interview, and why?
History of Art
Do you recognise this image?
What does it mean for someone to ‘take’ another’s car?
If the punishment for parking on double yellow lines were death, and therefore nobody did it, would that be a just and effective law?
How hot does the air have to be in a hot air balloon if I wanted to use it to lift an elephant?
Imagine a ladder leaning against a vertical wall with its feet on the ground. The middle rung of the ladder has been painted a different colour on the side, so that we can see it when we look at the ladder from the side on. What shape does that middle rung trace out as the ladder falls to the floor?
How many ways are there to cover a 2 x n rectangular grid with 2 x 1 tiles?
I see from your personal statement that you have done (voluntary work / shadowing / some other first-hand experience of interacting with patients or vulnerable individuals). What did you find most surprising about that experience? Is it possible to quantify any benefit you brought to the people you met? How did they feel?
Why does your heart rate increase when you exercise?
Why do we have red blood cells?
What makes a novel or play ‘political’?
Should poetry be difficult to understand?
What is language?
What makes a short story different from a novel?
In a world where English is a global language, why learn French?
If you could invent a new musical instrument, what kind of sound would it make?
Can archaeology ‘prove’ or ‘disprove’ the Bible?
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Why is income per head between 50 and 100 times larger in the United States than in countries such as Burundi and Malawi?
When I was at school in the 1970s, there was talk of a pensions crisis that would one day hit. The talk persisted in the 1980s, and the 1990s – and then there was a pensions crisis, and little had been done politically to prepare us for it. Is there a fault with the British political system that means we can’t sensibly address serious medium and long-term problems when they are identified?
I’m having trouble with the meaning of three words: Lie, Deceive, Mislead. They seem to mean something a bit similar, but not exactly the same. Help me to sort them out from each other.
What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?
A ball, initially at rest, is pushed upwards by a constant force for a certain amount of time. Sketch the velocity of the ball as a function of time, from start to when it hits the ground.
A large study appears to show that older siblings consistently score higher than younger siblings on IQ tests. Why would this be?
Imagine that 100 people each put £1 into a pot for a prize that will go to the winner of a simple game. Each person has to choose a number between 0 and 100. The prize goes to the person whose number is closest to 2/3 of the average of all of the numbers chosen. What number will you choose, and why?
An experiment appears to suggest Welsh speakers are worse at remembering phone numbers than English speakers. Why?
What is ‘normal’ for humans?
Why do human beings have two eyes?
Should interviews be used for selection?
Theology and Religion
Is someone who risks their own life (and those of others) in extreme sports or endurance activities a hero or a fool?
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017 was awarded jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”.
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 was divided, one half awarded to Rainer Weiss, the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.
Oxford 2018 interview questions http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/interviews/sample-interview-questions These sample interview questions come direct from the tutors who conduct the interviews. We hope they’ll make you think, and help you understand why we ask the questions that we do. Biochemistry Here is a list of three compounds, A, B and C. Which one is most soluble? (A, B […]
World education rankings: which country does best at reading, maths and science? https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading Country Name Reading score Maths score Science score Source: OECD, PISA 2009 Database Download this data OECD average 493 496 501 Shanghai-China 556 600 575 Korea-South 539 546 538 Finland 536 541 554 Hong Kong-China 533 555 549 Singapore 526 562 542 […]
The 100 Best Universities in the World Today The 100 Best Universities in the World Today 1. Harvard University 26. Hebrew University of Jerusalem 51. University of Birmingham 76. Imperial College London 2. University of California – Berkeley 27. University of Washington 52. Boston University 77. University of Göttingen 3. University of Chicago 28. The University of Texas at Austin 53. University of Tübingen 78. University of […]
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Founded: 2007 in Australia Prize motivation: “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”
The 20 best mining schools in the world http://www.mining.com/20-best-mining-schools-world/ https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2017/engineering-mineral-mining Colorado School of Mines Curtin University The University of Queensland Pennsylvania State University The University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia) McGill University Queen’s University of Kingston University of British Columbia Technische Universitat Bergakademie Freberg Universidad de Chile The University of Western Australia RWTH Aachen […]