Oxbridge Law Interviews
If you’re reading this article, it probably means that you’ve either landed yourself a law admissions interview at Oxford or Cambridge University, or you’re considering applying to do a law degree at one of these prestigious universities and wondering what the application process at these universities involves. So, congratulations on that for starters, to even be able to apply to Oxbridge is a huge achievement in itself.
But you didn’t come here to be congratulated. Oh no, you realise that the only time that a ‘congratulations’ will be in order is when you graduate and secure yourself a training contract with a top law firm. No, what you came here for was advice on how to nail the Oxbridge law interview.
What does an Oxbridge interview involve?
An interview at Oxford or Cambridge is likely to take place over the course of a few days. You’ll have a few interviews and may also have to take a test. The college where you are being interviewed will provide you with accommodation.
Preparation & practice
No doubt you’ve read countless articles and listened to every single one of your teachers telling you to prepare and practice for your Oxbridge interview. Though annoying and repetitive, there’s a reason why everyone is telling you to prepare and practise… because it’s important!
It’s imperative that you know your personal statement inside out, upside down, back-to-front, etc. The personal statement is the part of your application where your love for law is really expressed. Knowing it through and through will help you focus on why you want to study law and why you’re the best applicant. It’s also good to know your personal statement so that you’re able to discuss any topics of debate that have possibly been mentioned.
There are parts of the Oxbridge interview you can expect, such as questions surrounding your personal statement and general questions such as ‘Why do you want to study law?’, ‘Why Oxford/Cambridge?’ and ‘What are your career aspirations?’. It’s important that you prepare and practise answers to these sorts of questions so that you’re calmer with the more difficult questions you’re bound to get asked…
Oxbridge law interview questions
Oxbridge interviews are infamous for their tough, complex questions. If you have an interview, you’re going to be asked a tough question. There’s little use in trying to guess what the question will be, but you can check out some sample questions and answers to get a feel for how you should approach the question and break down the complex problems.
It’s highly unlikely you’re going to be faced with the interviewer asking you to discuss a banana, but you could be faced with the following questions, which has been published on Oxford University’s website (of all places!)...
Sample Oxbridge interview question
“If the punishment for parking on double yellow lines were death, and therefore nobody did it, would that be a just and effective law?”
Oxford explain that “Candidates are not meant to give a right or wrong answer to this question” but rather you would “need to demonstrate that they have recognised the various issues that arise” with “The candidate who distinguishes between 'just' and 'effective' does best… A just law might not be effective, or vice versa. The issues of how proportionate the punishment is to the crime refer to the justness of the law. The answer to its effectiveness is already in the question: ‘and therefore nobody did it.’”
What about the test?!
Again, you won’t know what the test will involve, so there’s not much you can do to prepare. Read the question carefully and be analytical.
The Oxbridge law interview is undoubtedly a testing process but with ample preparation it can be less of a daunting process and more of an exciting opportunity and experience.