Computer Science – Oxford Interview Questions
“How can I prepare when the interviewer could ask me absolutely anything about Computer Science?”
By understanding how the interview works and, crucially, what it is that the interviewer is looking for. The interviewer is not looking to catch you out, but rather for you to demonstrate your curiosity, knowledge and passion for Computer Science.
“How am I able to do that?”
Show that you enjoy studying Computer Science independently
The easiest way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for Computer Science is to show that you are self-motivated and have studied the subject in your free-time for enjoyment – for example through online lectures and independent reading. If you don’t know where to start, review our suggested reading list below.
Demonstrate your subject knowledge about and passion for Computer Science
The key to answering these questions is to always demonstrate your thought process aloud. The interviewer does not expect you to be able to answer every question immediately, but rather wants to determine that you are able to think about and work on unknown topics with confidence, intelligence and clarity – and they won’t be able to do that if you sit in silence! Use the list of questions below to prepare. Perhaps you can have a friend or relative ask you these questions so that you can develop your skills of thinking under time pressure and speaking out loud.
Subject Interview Guide – Computer Science
Our Subject Interview Guides help you to prepare and go into your interview with confidence.
Each guide discusses ten Oxford Interview Questions in depth with answers and approaches – along with possible points of discussion to further demonstrate your knowledge. They have been specially edited for applicants for each subject by a team of Oxford and Cambridge graduates.
Please Note: Currently “The Oxford Interview Guide” is available for Chemistry and Physics (available to download below). Other subjects will be available for download in November – please enter your email below to receive a notification when your subject guide is available for download.
Computer Science Interview Questions
Why is the pole vaulting world record about 6.5m, and why can’t it be broken?
Tell me about binary searches. What about their efficiency?
Algebraic references with respect to summation formulae and proofs by induction. It is a fact that, apart from the peripherals, the whole of a computer can be made from NAND gates. The Egyptians created NAND gates using marbles rolling down shutes and used the them for booby trapping pyramids. Did, then, the Egyptians invent the computer? If not, explain fundamentally why not.
The game of chess will be played perfectly by the computers of 2010. What is the meaning of this statement and is it likely to be true?
How would you ensure security between two people, A and B?
What happens when light has to pass through a medium denser than air?
What is the one fundamental difference between a spreadsheet and a database? Surely both hold information, so perhaps there is no fundamental difference?
Why is the number 2.7182818… used in mathematics?
Explain the principle of the global positioning system (GPS). What factors contribute to its accuracy?