Aug 05

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Key piece of advice for Oxbridge candidates #1

Cambridge university advice for interview preparation and Oxford university interview questionsThe best piece of advice any one gave me as a prospective Oxbridge candidate was listen to BBC Radio 4. My listening prompted me to read a book that I referenced in my personal statement, and fuelled a brilliant conversation during my interview.

Radio 4 listening serves two purposes.

The intellectual debate on the current affairs programmes train listeners’ brains for the kind of thinking Oxford and Cambridge Universities (and other elite institutions) are looking for. Try the World at One  or PM. With the magic of the iPlayer (the BBC’s listen on demand service) it’s often possible to skip to the highlights.

And the second benefit is that subject specific programmes provide a painless and interesting way of keeping up with the latest discussions in your area of interest. Here are a few ideas for programmes currently on air (June 2016).

Maths, economics, physical and natural sciences: More or less

Physical and natural sciences, medicine, veterinary science: Life Scientific, Natural Histories, Frontiers

Medicine, biological sciences, philosophy: All in the Mind

History, economics, politics, classics: In Our Time

History, economics, politics, geography, physical and natural sciences: Analysis and File on Four, Face the Facts

Literature/languages/music/arts: Front Row

Music: Tales from the Stave

Medicine, biological sciences: Dr Brok’s Casebook

History, literature: Shakespeare’s Restless World

Law: Law In Action

Literature, languages: A Good Read

Business, management, economics: In Business

Not every episode will be immediately relevant to the subjects listed above, but this plays to your advantage.  At the level of higher education, subjects are less well defined and tend to blur into each other. Stretching your areas of familiarity in a handful of directions will help you navigate interview questions with flair.

If your subject is not listed above, then follow your nose starting with the subject you’re studying at A level/ Pre-U/IB.

The beauty of the iPlayer is that in many cases you can pick and choose the episode that’s most interesting to you.

Impetus Coaching provides workshops and coaching to help students applying for Oxbridge (and other elite institutions) prepare for a confident interview performance, and write a winning personal statement.

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