招生主任Mike Nicholson说，“关于牛津大学的面试题，外界有很多传闻，但我们的开放式题目并不是捉弄人的，题目不要求任何特殊知识，也没有什么‘对’或‘错’的答案。那些开放式问题是为了激发学生与面试官之间的讨论，观察考生对新思想的反应或者是否能提出有趣的论点。” “我们希望看到候选人的思考过程，而不是得出具体的答案。面试问题会从熟悉的领域开始，然后拓展到课本以外的广泛领域，看看他们如何应对新的知识和思想。面试不是测试个性或爱好，不会涉及与所选主题无关的事情，例如嗜好或运动成绩等等。”
负责英语学科面试的考官Lucinda Rumsey说： “我们不是为了难住考生，所以没必要猜测考官接下来要问什么，没必要提前准备好答案。开放式问题是为了激起讨论，可以有很多发散思维的方向。我们希望看到候选人的批判性思维以及如何探索新的思路。” “希望这些例子对考生入学面试准备有所帮助。它也可以让候选人提前了解牛津大学的氛围，因为入学后，这样的面试过程在学习任何一门课程时都会遇到。 ”
Subject 科目：地理 Geography
面试老师Interviewer: Lorraine Wild, St Hilda’s College
问： If I were to visit the area where you live, what would I be interested in? (如果我去你的家乡旅行，我应该看些什么有趣的东西？)
面试老师：Helen Swift, St Hilda’s学院
问：What is language(什么是语言)？
面试老师： Lucinda Rumsey, Mansfield College
问： Why might it be useful for an English student to read the Twilight series(为什么英文专业的学生有必要阅读Twilight(暮光之城)系列？)？
面试老师：Robert Wilkins, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (生理学，解剖学和遗传学系)
问：为什么运动时你的心跳会加速(Why does your heart rate increase when you exercise)？
面试老师：Martin Speight, Department of Zoology (动物系)
问：If you could save either the rainforests or the coral reefs, which would you choose? (如果你只能拯救热带雨林或珊瑚礁中的一个，你会选择哪个)？
面试老师：Ben McFarlane, Faculty of Law (法学院)
问：What does it mean for someone to ‘take’ another's car(一个人“拿走”别人的车是什么意思)？
面试老师：Byron Byrne, Department of Engineering Science (工程科学系)
问：How would you design a gravity dam for holding back water(你会如何设计一个重力蓄水大坝)？
Interviewer: Lorraine Wild, St Hilda’s College
Q: If I were to visit the area where you live, what would I be interested in?
Lorraine Wild: ‘The question gives candidates an opportunity to apply concepts from their A level geography course to their home area. They might discuss urban planning and regeneration, ethnic segregation and migration, or issues of environmental management. The question probes whether they are able to apply ‘geographical thinking’ to the everyday landscapes around them. It reveals the extent to which they have a curiosity about the world around them. By asking specifically about their home area the question eliminates any advantage gained by those who are more widely travelled and have more experience of a variety of geographical contexts.’
Subject: Modern languages
Interviewer: Helen Swift, St Hilda’s College
Q: What is language?
Helen Swift: ‘Although I would never launch this question at a candidate on its own, it might grow out of a discussion. Students sometimes say they like studying Spanish, for example, because they 'love the language'. In order to get a student thinking critically and analytically, the question would get them to consider what constitutes the language they enjoy – is it defined by particular features or by function (what it does)？ How does form relate to meaning? And so on.’
Interviewer: Lucinda Rumsey, Mansfield College
Q: Why might it be useful for an English student to read the Twilight series?
Lucinda Rumsey: ‘There's several reasons I might ask this one. It's useful in an interview to find some texts the candidate has read recently and the Twilight books are easily accessible and popular. Also, candidates tend to concentrate on texts they have been taught in school or college and I want to get them to talk about whatever they have read independently, so I can see how they think rather than what they have been taught. A good English student engages in literary analysis of every book they read. The question has led to some interesting discussions about narrative voice, genre, and audience in the past.’
Interviewer: Robert Wilkins, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
Q: Why does your heart rate increase when you exercise?
Robert Wilkins: ‘The simple answer, which all students can provide, is because you need to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to muscles and remove metabolic products. But follow-up questions would probe whether the student appreciates that there must be a way for the body to know it needs to raise the heart rate, and possible ways for achieving this. Answers might include sensing lowered oxygen or raised carbon dioxide levels. In fact, gas levels might not change much, so students are further asked to propose other signals and ways in which those possibilities could be tested. This probes selection criteria such as problem-solving and critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm and curiosity, and the ability to listen.’
Subject: Biological sciences
Interviewer: Martin Speight, Department of Zoology
Q: If you could save either the rainforests or the coral reefs, which would you choose?
Martin Speight: ‘I’d expect students to be able to use their general knowledge plus their common sense to come up with an answer – no detailed knowledge is required. Students might then be asked about the importance of natural features, such as biodiversity and rare species, and human interests, such as the fuel and food, ecotourism and medicines we get from rainforests or reefs. Finally there are impacts to consider from climate change, soil erosion, pollution, logging, biofuel replacement, overfishing, etc. The final answer doesn't matter – both reefs and rainforests must be managed sustainably to balance conservation and human needs.’
Interviewer: Ben McFarlane, Faculty of Law
Q: What does it mean for someone to ‘take’ another's car?
Ben McFarlane: ‘There is no right answer to this question. For example, can you take a car without driving it, or even without moving it? Our focus is on the candidate’s reasoning – how he or she formulates an initial definition, and how he or she then applies and refines that initial definition in response to hypothetical examples provided by the interviewers. One example might be: I am walking along the street when it starts to rain. I open the door of an unlocked car and sit there for 15 minutes until the rain passes. Have I ‘taken’ the car? The aim of the interview is to give the candidate a chance to show his or her application, reasoning ability, and communication skills.’
Interviewer: Byron Byrne, Department of Engineering Science
Q: How would you design a gravity dam for holding back water?
Byron Byrne: ‘This is a great question because the candidate first has to determine the forces acting on the dam before considering the stability of the wall under the action of those forces. Candidates will probably recognise that the water could push the dam over. The candidate would then be expected to construct simple mathematical expression_r_r_rs that predict when this would occur. Some may also discuss failure by sliding, issues of structural design, the effects of water seeping under the dam, and so on. The candidate will not have covered all the material at school so guidance is provided to assess how quickly new ideas are absorbed. The question also probes the candidate’s ability to apply physics and maths to new situations and can test interest in and enthusiasm for the engineered world.’