For those who dream to study in the UK, the first one to feature on their wishlist is an admission into Oxford and Cambridge, also commonly known as Oxbridge!
Every year Oxbridge takes one-fifth of international students and the percentage of Indians in that segment is even lesser, but growing year-on-year. Oxbridge aspirants have to put their best foot forward to dig deep into their subject areas, score high on standardized tests and prepare for tough interview questions that range from ‘why do humans have two eyes’ to ‘should poetry be difficult to understand’. These interview questions can transform the interview room into a panic room!
Although the whole process of preparing for Oxbridge admissions seems to be a prolonged scary movie, with certain fixes you can bridge the gap between your aspirations and admissions.
Here’s a TODO list that brightens your chances to land at an Oxbridge college:
1) Subject Expertise
All good things start with the first step and in the case of Oxbridge, it’s choosing the right subject for your undergrad. While in school, define a career roadmap and master the subject that’s your favorite and is critical for future studies.
Once you choose subjects, fully immerse yourself in them. If you want to take up English majors then delve into literature and classics. If you aspire to become an engineer, then make friends with Maths and Physics. This helps you shine in your subject tests and interviews.
Your interviews are mapped to your subject choices and any detour from your existing subjects may open the gateway of grilling questions. Changing your mind is not a problem, but being unable to justify the change, certainly is. If you want to transition from Science (in 12th) to Liberal Arts in undergrad then be prepared to back your decision with equal doses of logic & passion.
2) Prepare for Interviews
An Oxbridge interview is not a typical admissions interview. So, put all your misgivings to bed and run through the rigmarole of going through past interview questions and aligning your preparation accordingly. You can talk to the alumni and other Indian students through platforms such as Univariety and take their expert advice.
Nothing can fully prepare you for what you will actually be asked, but the more groundwork you have done, the better your chances of not being taken by a surprise.
Watch this video to see first hand what some Oxbridge Interview candidates have faced’
The interviews explore the nuances of your personality and subject choices. While answering, you should come up with fully formed arguments and not shoot in the dark.
3) Practice for the subject and standardized tests
Oxbridge aspirants have to take a combination of general and subject tests to get to the interview and subsequent selection process. Non-native English speakers have to take IELTS or TOEFL or Cambridge Certificate tests or other tests based on the college requirement.
The most common sections across the standardized tests are Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. You can start practicing for these tests in your 11th and 12th by going through a test pattern and including reading and writing activities in the daily routine.
The below infographic entails the subject’s tests for Oxbridge admissions.
The Oxbridge Admission process is one of the most rigorous in the world. Students have good reasons to be anxious about it. Our advice? Be prepared for curveballs and don’t leave anything to chance. Put your best foot forward and have clear college back-up options because you don’t want to leave your future to the last minute!
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