What's the difference between the words 'lie', 'deceive' and 'mislead'? Oxford releases interview questions

University releases sample questions ahead of interviews in December to "demystify" the process

What makes a short story different from a novel? And is it easier to live in the sea or on land?

These are the types of conundrums that would-be Oxford students could find themselves pondering at an interview for the prestigious university.

The institution has released its annual sample of interview questions as part of its bid to demystify the admissions system.

The questions - which also include such brainteasers as which historical figure would you most like to interview and why? - come on the deadline day for students hoping to gain a place for next year to apply.

Among this year's offerings is a question for potential philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) students on the meaning of the words lie, deceive and mislead.

Dave Leal of Brasenose College who posed the question said: "Questions of this sort help us to test a candidate's capacity to draw nuanced distinctions between concepts, and to revise and challenge their own first moves in the light of different sentences containing the key words.

"Discussion may well lead into areas which could crop up during a degree in philosophy, including questions in ethics, the philosophy of mind and of language. It's not, though, a test of 'philosophical knowledge', and the content of the discussion begins from words which candidates should have a good familiarity with."

Martin Speight, a biological sciences tutor at St Anne's College said he may ask someone "Is it easier for organisms to live in their sea or on land?"

And Stephen Tuck from Pembroke College proposed asking budding historians who they would most like to interview from the past and why.

"The question is not so much about which person the candidate wants to meet, but what sort of issues the candidate wants to find out about (which can be quite revealing) and then working out the best way to do so," he said.

"'Meeting' Elizabeth I or Winston Churchill might be exciting, but if the candidate wants to find out about, say, their leadership style, they might be better off asking questions of a courtier or member of the war cabinet. Or if they wanted to find out what we don't know about any given period, they might want to interview people who didn't leave any written records."

Mike Nicholson, Oxford's director of undergraduate admissions said the university looks at GCSE results, aptitude test scores, references, personal statements and interview performance when deciding whether to admit a student, and that the interview can be the most daunting part for many candidates.

"Academic interviews will be an entirely new experience for most students, so we want to show students what they are really like so they aren't put off by what they might have heard," he said.

"Most interviews don't involve strange or irrelevant-sounding questions at all - they might include a logic problem to solve for a subject like maths, or a new text to read and discuss for English.

"They may start with familiar territory and then move into areas students have not studied before, introducing new material or ideas, and they are entirely academic in focus."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor