Rund 10.000 junge Menschen haben sich dem Text unterworfen, der getreu den Maximen der Hochschule weniger das Faktenwissen denn Eigeschaften wie Kombinationsfähigkeit, Beobachtungsgabe, Kreativität und eigenständiges Denken untersucht.
Darüber hinaus verhindern die offenen, bisweilen sogar situationsbezogenen Fragen die Vorbereitung durch Nachhilfelehrer und Paukerinstitute.
Beispiel eines Interviews
Wie hätten Sie geantwortet?
Subject: English Literature
Interviewer: Lynn Robson, Regents Park College
Question: Why do you think an English student might be interested in the fact that Coronation Street has been running for 50 years?
Answer: First and foremost this brings popular culture into the mix and also shows that techniques of literary analysis can be applied to other media. It could also open up discussion about things such as techniques of storytelling; mixing humorous and serious storylines/ characters; how a writer might keep viewers or readers engaged; collaborative writing; the use of serialisation, and how writers/texts might move from being perceived as 'popular' (like Dickens, say) to be 'canonical'.
Interviewer: Dan Grimley, Merton College
Question: If you could invent a new musical instrument, what kind of sound would it make?
Answer: This question is really very open-ended, and I'm interested in answers which demonstrate a critical imagination at work--what kinds of sounds do instruments/voices make now, and how might these be imaginatively extended/developed? Are there new ways of producing sound (digital media) which have transformed the way we listen or understand sound? Is the idea of an 'instrument' somehow outdated these ways, and can we imagine more symbiotic/hybrid ways of generating/experiencing musical sound? It's by no means limited to classical music - I'd welcome answers which deal with musical styles and tastes of all kinds (and which are produced/consumed in all places).
Subject: Biological Sciences
Interviewer: Martin Speight, St Annes College
Question: Heres a cactus. Tell me about it.
Answer: We wouldnt actually phrase the question this way - we give the student a cactus in a pot and a close-up photo of the cactuss surface structure and ask them to describe the object in as much detail as possible using the plant and the photo. We are looking for observation, attention to detail, both at the large and micro scale. We ask them to account for what they see - this means they don't have to use memory or knowledge about cacti (even if they have it) but to deduce the uses and functions of the shapes, sizes, structures that they have just described. So for example, why be fat and bulbous, why have large sharp spines, surrounded by lots of very small hair-like spines? Why does it have small cacti budding off the main body? There will frequently be more than one logical answer to these questions, and we are likely to follow one answer with another question - for example: the big spines are to stop the cactus being eaten, yes, but by what sort of animals? We would also bring in more general questions at the end of the cactus discussion such as what are the problems faced by plants and animals living in very dry habitats such as deserts.
Interviewer: Andrew Teal, Pembroke College
Question: Is someone who risks their own life (and those of others) in extreme sports or endurance activities a hero or a fool?
Answer: Theology doesnt require A-level Religious Studies, so we always want to find issues that enable us to see how a student is able to handle and unpick a question, relating the particular to more general concepts. The question appeared to work well because there really isnt a single answer - its open not least because we could state the opposite case and observe how flexible, reasoned and committed each student was. The question is properly approached from many perspectives and opens up many topics - is there something distinctively human about going beyond boundaries? Is this impulse selfish, or does it contribute to the whole of humanitys attainment? Is the heroism of those who respond to the need of the sportsperson more heroic still? What debts do individuals owe to society, and society owe to individuals? What is a hero, and is that category in opposition to folly? What we found with this question is that it did manage to open what is a stressful occasion into a real discussion, and we want to offer places to gifted candidates who are willing to think out loud with us in tutorials, and in a college community, whilst they are still explorers into truths
Interviewer: Dave Leal, Brasenose College
Question: What is 'normal' for humans?
Answer: We're keen to point out to potential psychology applicants that primarily psychology is the study of normal human beings and behaviour; in part this is because of a suspicion that potential undergraduates are attracted to psychology to help them study forms of human life they find strange (neuroses, psychoses, parents). There were various ways that this question might be approached, but some approach that distinguished the normal from the statistical average was a good start. Issues such as whether normality is to be judged by 'biological' factors that might be held to be common to humans, or whether it's normal within a particular culture or at a particular period of history, might also be worth addressing. We are mainly looking for a line of thinking which could be developed and challenged. Once candidates show a defensible position regarding what might serve as the basis of normality we extend the discussion to (for example) the relation between abnormality and eccentricity.