Students hoping for a place at Oxford and Cambridge universities are being asked a series of bizarre questions as academics attempt to choose between students achieving almost uniformly high scores at A-level.
The academic skills of two students may be separated only by the width of a cigarette paper, so the two highest-ranked universities in the UK have turned to trying to discover whether applicants are capable of thinking outside of their own subject disciplines and can construct an argument out of thin air and native wit.
Some of those questions have now been released by Oxbridge Applications, an indepepent education consultancy which helps coach students in the application process.
How would you get on?
Below are some of the questions apparently asked by the universities which should be answered in around 100 words...
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? (Law, Cambridge)
Why is there salt in the sea? (Biochemistry, Oxford)
Instead of politicians, why don't we let the managers of IKEA run the country? (Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge)
Would you rather be a novel or a poem? (English, Oxford)
Why is it a disadvantage for humans to have two legs? (Medicine, Cambridge)
Describe this mug to me, imagining that I am an alien on the other end of the telephone? (Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge)
Is it morally wrong to attempt to climb a mountain? (Theology, Oxford)
Can history stop the next war? (History, Cambridge)
How would you poison someone without the police finding out? (Medicine, Cambridge)
How many monkeys would you use in an experiment? (Experimental Psychology, Oxford)
Would you rather be a seedless or "non-seedless" grapefruit? (Medicine, Cambridge)
What would you do if I were a magpie? (Natural Sciences, Cambridge)
Do you think you're clever? (Law, Cambridge)
Monday, October 20, 2008
This from the Independent:
Do you have an Oxbridge mind?