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Jun 21

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Why Oxbridge? (What’s the big deal?)

The universities are old, the cities are pretty, but there’s more to it than that. Yes, you’ll be learning from top academics alongside likeminded bright sparks. But the clincher is the format of the teaching.

As well as lectures and practicals and/or seminars, Oxbridge undergrads also have tutorials (Oxford) or supervisions (Cambridge). And it’s in these intense sessions the real learning happens.

Once a week or so (depending on your subject) for each course you are studying, you will have an hour in conversation with an academic going through your latest essay or question sheet, in forensic detail.

You will be stretched and pushed and tested and inspired. You will be asked questions that you hadn’t even considered possible. You will not know the correct answers. There might not even be correct answers.

When you come out of the other end of the Oxbridge undergraduate experience your brain will be primed for critical thinking, original ideas and the ability to analyse and discuss with the best of them. This is why Oxbridge graduates are in great demand, whether in the world of academia, business or elsewhere.

This teaching approach is not for everyone. This is why Oxford and Cambridge take great care to pick prospective candidates with brains that like to be stretched. They will try it out on you at interview, which can feel uncomfortable for students who are used to knowing the right answers.

The best way to prepare for this is to practise.  At Impetus Coaching, we run interview success workshops where prospective Oxbridge candidates play around with mock interview questions until they begin to relish, rather than dread, the prospect of the real thing. Contact us on Melissa@Impetuscoaching.net to find out more.

(With thanks to students at Parmiter’s school for inspiring this piece).

Oxbridge interview candidates

What advice would you give Oxbridge candidates?

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