Are you actually smart enough to get into Oxbridge?

If you can answer half of these questions you’re a genius

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Every year Oxford release a sample of their interview questions, they’re usually really difficult, thought provoking and occasionally just plain weird.

Sample questions came out a few weeks ago, ahead of the interviews that are currently taking place for shortlisted applicants.

The questions are:

•Is war the opposite of politics?

•What is the significance of the brain’s ‘face area’, and it being stimulated when people see and recognise faces?

The questions aren’t necessarily about getting a right answer. They’re more about critical thinking skills.

Professor Nick Yeung, a professor of neuroscience at Oxford explained: “Because one of the really important things that we want to look at is, how does the person think when they don’t already know the answer.”

Still, I swear they get more difficult as the years go on.

See if you could actually answer any of the below questions and if you can, you’re Oxbridge material.

Oxford 2014

Q: How much of the past can you count?

Q: Why do some habitats support higher biodiversity than others?

Q: An experiment appears to suggest Welsh speakers are worse at remembering phone numbers than English speakers. Why?

Oxford 2015

Q: Do Bankers deserve the pay they receive? And should government do something to limit how much they get?

Q: Why is sugar in your urine a good indicator that you might have diabetes?

Q: Imagine that 100 people all put £1 into a pot for a prize that will go to the winner of a simple game. Each person has to choose a number between 0 and 100. The prize goes to the person whose number is closest to 2/3 of the average of all of the numbers chosen. What number will you choose, and why?

Q: Can archaeology ‘prove’ or ‘disprove’ the Bible?

Oxford 2016

Q: What makes a novel or play ‘political’?

Q. About 1 in 4 deaths in the UK is due to some form of cancer, yet in the Philippines the figure is only around 1 in 10. What factors might underlie this difference?

Q: What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?

Q: A large study appears to show that older siblings consistently score higher than younger siblings on IQ tests. Why would this be?

Oxford 2017

Q: ‘I agree that air transport contributes to harmful climate change. But whether or not I make a given plane journey, the plane will fly anyway. So there is no moral reason for me to not travel by plane.’ Is this a convincing argument?

Q: Put these countries in order by their crude mortality (deaths per thousand of the population): Bangladesh, Japan, South Africa, the UK.

Oxford 2018

Q: The viruses that infect us are totally dependent on human cells for their reproduction; is it therefore surprising that viruses cause human diseases?

Q: What are the different ways in which you listen to music? How does that change the way in which you think about what you’re listening to?

Q: How many different molecules can be made from six carbon atoms and twelve hydrogen atoms?

Q: How can we estimate the mass of the atmosphere?

Q: What can historians not find out about the past?

Other questions from previous interviews

Q: Instead of politicians, why don’t we let the managers of Ikea run the country?

Q: If a wife had expressed distaste for it previously, would her husband’s habit of putting marmalade in his egg at breakfast be grounds for divorce?

Q: At what point is a person “dead”?

Q:What would you do if I were a magpie?

Q: If my friend locks me in a room, and says I am free to come out whenever I like so long as I pay £5, is this a deprivation of liberty?

Q:How would you poison someone without the police finding out?

Q: What happens when I drop an ant?

Q: Are you cool?

Q:Should someone sell their kidney?

Q:If there was an omnipotent god, would he be able to create a stone that he couldn’t lift?

Q:Why can’t you light a candle in a space ship?

Q:Can history stop the next war?

Q:Where does honesty fit into law?

Q:What books are bad for you?


Credit: SWNS

Q:Does a snail have a consciousness?

Q:Think of a painting of a tree. Is the tree real?

Q:What is the point of using NHS money to keep old people alive?

Q:Is the Bible a fictional work? Could it be called chick lit?

Q:Do you think chairman Mao would have been proud of china today?

Q:Why isn’t there a global government?

Q:If you’re not in California, how do you know it exists?

Q:What is the population of Croydon?

Q:Are there too many people in the world?

Q:Was Romeo impulsive?

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Questions sourced from University of Oxford, Do you think you’re clever?

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