How To Get Into Oxford: University Reveals Interview Questions

Are you brainy enough to tackle them?

For Britain’s brightest young people, it’s a tense time of year.

With the Oxbridge application deadline just around the corner, hundreds of A Level students are furiously working away in an attempt to bag a place at one of Britain’s top universities.

With only 3,500 places, but 10,000 interviewees, the application process at Oxford University is renowned for being especially tough.

But in an attempt to soothe nerves and remove some of the mystery around the interviews, it has released a set of sample questions.

How many would you be able to answer?

<strong>Oxford University interviews 10,000 A Level students, but takes only 3,500 </strong>
Oxford University interviews 10,000 A Level students, but takes only 3,500
John Rensten via Getty Images

Modern languages

Should poetry be difficult to understand?

What is language?

In a world where English is a global language, why learn French?

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?

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.


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.


Why do you think Dido kills herself in Aeneid 4? Couldn’t she just have gone back to her old life?

English Literature

Why do you think an English student might be interested in the fact that Coronation Street has been running for 50 years?


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?

Is violence always political? Does ‘political’ mean something different in different contexts?


If the punishment for parking on double yellow lines were death, and therefore nobody did it, would that be a just and effective law?

What does it mean for someone to ‘take’ another’s car?


Why does your heart rate increase when you exercise?

Why do we have red blood cells?

Biological Sciences

Here’s a cactus. Tell me about it.

If you could save either the rainforests or the coral reefs, which would you choose?

Why do many animals have stripes?

Ladybirds are red. So are strawberries. Why?