Interviews form an important part of the selection process in Oxford. They are designed to explore your intellectual potential and enthusiasm for the subject, and how you suit our system of small group or one-to-one teaching.

This year, as I am sure you are all aware is going to be a bit different as we will be conducting all our interviews online via Teams. The University website is being regularly updated with news and information about the situation - please check this page for updates

Student Interview Advice

About your interview

Many excellent candidates apply each year, and most have a good personal statement and a glowing reference, and are predicted top grades. With so many applications for each place at Oxford, it isn’t possible to interview everyone. Tutors review each UCAS application, along with any written test or work required for the subject, and then decide on a shortlist of candidates to invite for interview.

For some courses, over 90% of candidates are shortlisted. In other subjects, particularly those that are most heavily oversubscribed, a smaller proportion of candidates will be shortlisted. Sadly, this does mean that some candidates will be disappointed. However, shortlisting means that those candidates who have been identified as having the strongest ability and potential may have more than one interview.

Please ensure that you keep a clear diary for the days when the interviews for your subject are to be held - the revised interview timetable is available on the University website.

You will be interviewed by two or three tutors in the subject(s) you wish to study. You will have at least two interviews, lasting at least 20 minutes or so each. Interviews are not a test of what you have already learned, and you should not worry about preparing for them. Interviews are based on your academic aptitude, and you will not be judged on your extra-curricular activities, although you may be asked about them if they relate to your subject.

You should expect some searching questions about your subject. In some subjects you may be asked questions arising from your written work, or your reading; in other subjects, the tutors may pose a problem and ask how you would try to solve it, or base the interview on a piece of text you will be given to read. The tutors will not be trying to catch you out, but they will be seeking to find out how well your talents are suited to our courses. If you think the questions are difficult, you can be reassured that the other candidates in your subject will be thinking much the same!

If you are shortlisted, then we will be in touch with up to the minute advice and guidance to help you through the on-line process.

We shall certainly miss hosting you all this year, but we are still available to answer any questions you might have about St. John’s, the interview process, or Oxford in general. If you are worried about any aspect of your application, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I was a candidate once myself so I do know what it’s like.

Good luck! 

Sarah Jones, Undergraduate Admissions

Interview confirmation form

Please complete the form to let us know that you are available for an online interview at the times outlined on your invitation communication. 

Interviews at other colleges

As in normal years, it is possible that you might be called for interviews by other colleges. This will vary quite a lot between subjects with some having pre-arranged second college interviews. Obviously things are going to be a little different this year, but we will be making every effort to make sure that you are given plenty of notice should any further interviews be required.

The Oxford University website has useful information on what to expect and how to prepare for interviews.  

When will the interview period end? 

We will be sure to let you know when your interviews have finished and that no more will be arranged for you.


All decisions will be sent out by email at 11am on 12 January. Please note we will not give decisions out over the telephone.