Oxbridge Economics interviews can be a pretty scary prospect. But don’t worry! There’s plenty you can do to prepare for an Economics interview, and put yourself in the best position possible. We’ve got 5 top tips so you can prepare yourself and stand out in your Economics interview.
Read lots around the subject
All the books recommended in our Economics reading list are useful preparation for interviews. The best way to get a grasp of Economics is to read around the subject, and explore the key concepts. This will improve your ability to answer questions, as you will have a wider understanding of the subject, and you may also get asked questions about what you have been reading recently.
Another way to use reading to prepare for your interviews is to practice vocalising the concepts you come across. For example if you read a really informative chapter in a book about Supply and Demand, try and summarise everything you have read, and talk to somebody about it. Try and explain to them the concept, and what the book was arguing or commenting on it. See if they can ask you more questions, to really test your understanding, and invite debate with them about it.
Keeping up with the news
You may also get asked questions on current economic news, so ensuring you are up to date and well read is important. Reading the Financial Times before your interviews would be useful, and regularly reading articles that relate to economics. For example, there is a whole section on the BBC news website about the economy. Just this morning you could have read an informative article about how Brexit could negatively impact food supply, or the worth of blue gold is falling.
A mock interview
If you have a teacher who is able to give you a mock interview, this is really useful preparation. It is difficult to clearly vocalise all your thoughts, and practice is the best way to overcome this hurdle! Even if you do not have a teacher that can specialise in economics, you can find lots of economics interview questions on the internet, and just getting one of your parents to ask you some and debate the answers with you will be sufficient.
It is useful as preparation to expose yourself to as many economics interview questions as possible. This will give you an indication of the areas tutors focus on, and the concepts you want to be familiar with in the run up to your interviews.
I compiled a long list of all the questions that I thought they could possibly ask – there are some great resources out there (books, online, etc.) that will give you sample questions – and I wrote down outline answers for each of them. Even though you will inevitably be asked something that you haven’t prepared, it helped my confidence to know that I’d prepared as thoroughly as I possibly could!Helen, E&M, Oxford
Look over your Personal Statement
Your personal statement is the only evidence the interviewers have of your interest. It will give them an idea of what parts of economics interest you, and what you have done to explore this interest. Therefore the questions they give you will most likely follow on from things you have written about on your personal statement. Make sure you can answer questions on every sentence of your personal statement. Read through your personal statement out loud, elaborating on every point, to ensure you are fully comfortable talking about all of it.
In your interviews you may get given a graph, that represents some sort of economic growth or decline. If you haven’t done Maths A-Level (not a compulsory prerequisite for the Oxford courses), then you may not have had practice interpreting graphs recently. Look over some graphs that show economic trends, and try and analyse them. Make sure you are familiar with the facts that the
- Independent variable goes on the x axis
- Dependent variable goes on the y axis
- If the independent variable is time, you cannot go into the negative quadrants
- Which quadrant each one is
- How to calculate the gradient of the graph
To then practice graph reading, ask yourself some questions about the graph, like:
- Where is the maximum reached?
- When does decline begin?
- When is the rate of increase steepest? (here you want to be looking at the gradient)
- What would happen to the dependent variable as the independent variable tends to infinity?
Top Tip: Supply and Demand graphs are a staple of Oxbridge economics interviews. Make sure you are familiar with reading, analysing and sketching supply and demand graphs, as it is highly possible you may get a question on one.
For more information, take a look at our complete guide to Oxbridge Economics interviews, and our annotated example Oxbridge Economics interview. And if you’re applying for PPE, check out our example Oxbridge Politics interview.