Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Oxford explained, “The interviews are an important but often misunderstood part of Oxford’s admissions process. We want to show students as much as possible what they are really like so they aren’t put off by what they might have heard.”
Questions revealed included, “Why do lions have manes?” for prospective biological sciences students, or “How hot does the air have to be in a hot air balloon if I wanted to use it to lift an elephant?” for those applying to do Materials Sciences.
Despite these seemingly unanswerable questions, Nicholson insists, “The interview is an academic conversation in a subject area between tutors and candidate, similar to an undergraduate tutorial. And like tutorials, the interviews are designed to push students to think, not recite specific facts or answers.”