Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences – Oxford Interview Questions

“How can I prepare when the interviewer could ask me absolutely anything about Earth Sciences?”

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 Earth Sciences.

“How am I able to do that?”

Demonstrate your enthusiasm and personality

You might be asked general interview questions so that the interviewer can learn more about you – review our list of General Interview questions to prepare.

Show that you enjoy studying Earth Sciences independently
The easiest way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for Earth Sciences 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 Earth Sciences
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 – Earth Sciences

Our Subject Interview Guides help you to prepare and go into your interview with confidence.

OIQ Interview Guides

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.

Download a sample page from our Physics Guide here.

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.

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 Earth Sciences Suggested Reading

Earth Sciences



Earth Sciences Oxford Interview Practice Questions

How would you calculate the number of molecules of H2O in the ocean?
How does the age of ice change as you walk up a glacier?
You have a picture of a rainbow. Which colour would fade first?
How would you go about calculating the total amount of energy reaching the Earth’s surface?
Calculate the mass of the oceans.
How do tectonic plates move?
What is the true mass of all the water on the earth?
Suggest a list of conditions necessary to sustain life on Earth?
What do you believe would be the major differences on Earth if, a) no atmosphere had ever formed? b) there was no water? c) plate tectonics did not exist?
Why did the dinosaurs become extinct?
How do mountains originate?