Classics Interviews

The best place to start is Oxford's official information on preparing for interviews. But after you've looked there, read on to hear some students talk about their Classics interviews.

The first interview I had was a philosophy interview in which I was given a set of syllogisms and asked to talk them through and work out whether they made sense logically and work out any logical fallacies. I found this interview difficult and it was mainly about thinking through what was in front of me and trying to work it out.

The second interview focused on my personal statement and I was asked questions relating to books, plays, speeches and so on I had mentioned in my personal statement, so focusing on ancient history and literature.

student from 2012 LMH student
Joe Stephenson

I remember the hardest question being, "what do you want to talk about?" My interviews were really more like a chat, and I went out of them having really enjoyed the experience (but also sure that I wouldn't get in). Almost everyone thinks their interview went terribly, but you have to remember that the tutors aren't looking to catch you out. My interviewers wanted me to be comfortable with the material so they let me choose what to talk about, so we discussed something that I find interesting (depictions of women in Greek tragedy). When you encounter unfamiliar material (and you will), it's important to think seriously about it. I had a philosophy-based interview and knew nothing about philosophy, but I took the interview one question at a time and wasn't afraid to admit where I had made a mistake. To give an idea, they have me a set of hypothetical social rules, and then asked me what I would do in a certain situation given these rules. Try to think clearly and logically, they don't expect you to get everything right.

Joe, Christ Church, student from 2013

I had two interviews: one focussing on literature, the other on history and philosophy. For literature, I was actually asked what I would like to be asked questions on so I chose Ovid's Metamorphoses. I prepared for the interview by doing lots of secondary reading on everything I'd mentioned in my personal statement and that was a massive help because I felt more confident about being asked questions. I found the second interview harder - both ancient history and philosophy were things I had never studied before so I went in not knowing anything and had to think on my feet. For philosophy they gave me an extract to read and I had to explain it. I gave my honest opinion and thought aloud so the tutors could follow my thought process. I don't think I answered correctly but I showed that I had tried to get my head around it. For history, I was asked about the historical context of Ovid's Metamorphoses which I had no idea about, but tried to come up with educated guesses.

Emily, Corpus Christi, student from 2012

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