For most people first day of December makes them realise that winter season is coming. But for medical applicants it means interviews at Oxbridge are fast approaching.
Here are a few tips on how to tackle interviews at Oxford and Cambridge:
1. Interview-proof your Personal Statement:
You can expect a few questions on the Oxbridge interview to center around your Personal Statement. The interviewers may ask you to elaborate on some of the points you made, talk in more depth about your work experience or the scientific/medical aspects you mentioned.
Make sure you know and can fluently talk about each of the diseases, drugs or treatments you've mentioned, as interviewers at Oxbridge like to ask about those things. Go beyond what you learned at school and get a general gist of the topic by watching some Khan Academy videos about it or reading through the Wikipedia (journal-level knowledge is not expected from you, don't worry). Print out and highlight all of those keywords to ensure you don't forget about any.
2. Don't be afraid to err
Many of the Oxbridge interview questions are not about the solution, but the search for it. That's why you shouldn't be afraid to err or risk looking foolish: More often than not, there are no right or wrong answers.
If you feel like the approach you started with isn't right, it's fully acceptable to backtrack in the middle of your answer (but make sure to justify it to the interviewers to avoid confusing them!). If you don't know the answer, never stop there: Just take a wild guess or do the first out of many steps required.
Learn insider interview tips and practice with our Interview Simulations at medfully.co.uk:
3. Revise your A-levels/IB sciences
Oxford and Cambridge medical schools will want to see if you are as fond of the sciences as they are. That's why you can expect a fair bit of questions to be science-based.
Some of it will be based on what you learned at school (that's why you do the questionnaire before). However, Oxbridge interviewers are notorious for going beyond your school curriculum and asking you about stuff you aren't meant to know. But even for those questions the knowledge and frameworks you learned during your science lessons will come in handy.
Focus on the topics you've covered so far. Don't attempt to cover the entire syllabus in detail, but make sure you understand the main concepts well enough you'd be able to explain it to a 10-year old sibling.
4. Think out loud
As mentioned above, the solution you are asked to arrive at usually doesn't matter as much as the way you arrived there. For instance, when you are asked to do a calculation the number/estimation you conclude with isn't as important as explaining each step in the process and the entire thinking pathway you took. Always try to explain what you are doing and why (when solving a problem) or why it is the way you said it is.
5. Practice, practice, practice!
Oxbridge interviews are tough to prepare for, as you can't predict what's about to come. Questions are often abstract or follow-ups based on what you've already said. Therefore don't waste time trying to prepare for exact questions, but rather take example Oxbridge questions and try answering them out loud with a friend or relative. The more you do it, the less stressed you'll feel on the interview day and the more comfortable you'll be with thinking out loud and on your feet.
Good luck with your interview preparation!