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Ella Tournes

Ella Tournes


Total Article : 45

About Me:Sixth form student currently studying English Literature, Drama and Theatre Studies, Classical Civilisation and History.

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The Content of My Oxford Interview

The Content of My Oxford Interview

There’s often a lot of ambiguity and curiosity surrounding the actual content of an interview for one of the two revered ‘Oxbridge’ universities. As someone who went through the interview process for English Language and Literature at Oxford, and lived to the tell the tale, I thought it would be useful to shed some light on the questions I was asked.


My first interview was at Christ Church. Twenty minutes before the actual interview I was called to a ‘Reading Room’, given a dictionary, and the time I had left until my interview to get to grips with an unseen poem. The poem I was given was ‘Reluctance’ by Robert Frost. When I walked into my interview, I was questioned on:


- What I thought the overall meaning of the poem was

- What language devices I could pull out from the final stanza

- What I thought of the word ‘ravel’, and how I related it to the word ‘unravel.’


I was then asked questions relating to my personal statement, mostly about the ‘Odyssey’ (a text I’d mentioned I’d studied in Classical Civilisation. I was asked:


- What I though the role of women was in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’

- How this portrayal of women had affected other pieces of literature

- Whether I thought Penelope was an example of a woman of Homer’s time

- Whether I thought Penelope had any power in the world of the ‘Odyssey;


My second interview was also at Christ Church. The process of the ‘Reading Room’ and the time I was given to prepare before my interview was the same as the first. I was given the poem ‘Prayer (I)’ by George Herbert. The first part of my interview was centred around this poem, and I was simply asked what I thought of the poem, then I sort of led the discussion from there.


I was then asked:

- What Shakespeare texts I’d studied at school so far.

- What my response would be if I was told that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ wasn’t written by Shakespeare

- Whether I’d rather read a play script, or see it performed

- What similarities I thought there are between the director of a theatre performance and a theatre critic

- Why I chose English Literature as a subject

- If I’ve ever read a book I didn’t like

- What interested me about the Oxford course in particular


For my third interview, I was pooled to a new college; Mansfield. I was taken to a pre-interview room, and given a poem to quickly scope before I walked into my interview. The poem was ‘Second-hand Coat’ by Ruth Jones. I was asked:


- What I thought of the poem overall, whether I liked it or not

- What I thought was interesting about the poem

- What I thought the final two lines meant


I was then asked:

- What literary genres I’m interested in

- What my favourite book is

- If I think language itself is inherently patriarchal



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