Applications to Oxford University are competitive, and not all students that apply will be offered an interview. Applicants who fail to meet the published selection criteria to a high standard will not be called for interview. Students are selected for interview from their UCAS forms on the basis of:

  • Examination scores (achieved and predicted)
  • Referee's report
  • Personal statement – showing an interest in, and an academic potential for Biology

We are looking for your interest in biology, your ability to engage in conversation about biology related subjects, how you respond when you are given additional pieces of information, and how you respond when you are confronted with things that you don’t know the immediate answer to. You can expect some questions based around your UCAS form, and that then leads onto questions around an object and some data in attempts to try and stimulate a discussion.

Mock interview:

Professor Lindsay Turnbull (Dept. of Plant Sciences) and Professor Owen Lewis (Dept. of Zoology) put undergraduate Joshua Jones through his paces in this mock interview, filmed virtually in July 2020.


What next?

After the college interviews, all College Tutors meet together to discuss the gathered field of interviewees. First choice colleges always have the right to select students they like first, followed by second "choice" colleges, but any college can make an offer. There is also a Pool system whereby a small number of applicants are offered a place to read Biology at Oxford, but their college will not be determined until A-level or equivalent exam results are published in the summer of the following year. 

During the interview we are trying to get the best out of you. We are not interested in asking trick questions – that doesn’t prove anything. The important thing from us is to try and get the best out of you.

- Prof Stephen Harris

My first interview was actually quite enjoyable and rewarding as I felt myself understanding my questions bit by bit as more information was revealed. My second was quite different but I would suggest to not letting a small setback early in the interview changing the way you act throughout the rest of it.

- Madeleine, student