05/10/2011 08:05 BST | Updated 05/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Oxford University Reveals Horror Questions It Asks Students In Interview Process

Why do lions have manes? Why are both ladybirds and strawberries red? And if the punishment for parking on double yellow lines were death, and therefore nobody did it, would that be a just and effective law?

If you can answer any of the above then you may be in with a chance of getting into the University of Oxford.

The university, which was recently ranked fifth best in the world, has released sample questions from its interview process in the hope of explaining the reason for even the most bizarre questions.

Each brain teaser has been provided directly from the tutors who conduct the interviews.

Director of undergraduate admissions Mike Nicholson, who wants to break down myths behind the notoriously difficult and odd questioning technique, said: "The interviews are an important but often misunderstood part of Oxford’s admissions process", he said.

"We want to show students as much as possible what they are really like so they aren’t put off by what they might have heard. The interviews are all about giving candidates the chance to show their real ability and potential."

Interviewer Steve Roberts of St Edmund Hall favours the question: "How hot does the air have to be in a hot air balloon if I wanted to use it to lift an elephant?"

But he has admitted that he does not expect candidates to actually calculate an answer.

"We use this sort of question to try to find how materials science applicants think about problems, and how they might operate within a tutorial. Things we are looking for include how readily they can see into the core of a problem."

Olivia, a graduate from Oxford University, shared her experiences with the Huffington Post. She said: "I personally wasn't asked anything I wasn't expecting but I did hear several horror stories.

"One of my friends was stopped halfway through her interview and told: 'I would ask you more questions but I doubt you'll know the answer.' Needless to say, she didn't get in."