By Clare Jarmy, Head of Head of Able, Gifted & Talented, Oxbridge, Academic Scholars & PRE
Getting into Oxford and Cambridge involves lots of work. Students have to get their applications in early. They also usually have to send samples of work, and often have to take challenging admissions tests. In the next month, candidates from Bedales and Bohunt will be off to interviews, and last Wednesday, the two schools organised an interview preparation day together.
In the morning, the sessions were run in collaboration between Rowena Hammal, Assistant Head of Sixth Form (Progress and Guidance) at Bohunt, Clare Jarmy from Bedales and Ioanna Tsakiropoulou (Old Bedalian), who completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate work in History at Oxford, and now works at DEFRA.
The most interesting session of the morning was probably when we split students into broad faculty groups to think about some of the ‘big questions’ of their subject: If you could redesign the A Level, what texts/topics would make it on there? Could Artificial Intelligence replace the need for research scientists in the future? Why haven’t animals evolved wheels? How would you justify your choice of degree to a taxpayer? Is globalisation just a new form of imperialism?
Oxbridge interviews often pose such questions that require students to be able to draw new inferences from what they know, to go beyond what they’ve been taught, and to think for themselves. In the afternoon, students had interviews with experts in the field, and we are extremely grateful to Ioanna and fellow OB Luke Austen, as well as former members of staff Harry Pearson, Nicholas Gleed, and – via Skype – Michael Truss, plus parents and current members of staff for giving up a couple of hours on a Wednesday afternoon to interview, and to offer valuable feedback.
It was a hugely rewarding day, and a real pleasure to get to collaborate with such brilliant people. We will certainly look to do something similar in future years. If you are a parent who could offer subject-specific interview practice for future Oxbridge candidates, we would love to hear from you!