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3.5 out of 5 stars
Do You Think You're Clever?: The Oxford and Cambridge Questions
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128 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2009
There are a whole lot of guides for sale on how to get into Oxbridge, but this isn't really one of them. It's not that it won't help you, but it's a whole lot more entertaining than that.

There are a lot of myths about the Oxbridge entrance procedures, a lot of them true (somehow I made it into Cambridge, so I know). But the greatest myth is that the questions they ask are somehow impossibly esoteric and unanswerable. In truth, the questions they ask relate to the subjects they teach, and test not just intellectual rigour, but intellectual curiosity.

This book will appeal to the intellectually curious. The rigour is there in the hands of the author, who has covered an impressive amount of ground in researching and contemplating the answers to interview questions from across the spectrum of subjects. (A quick Amazon search, and you'll see he's pretty well qualified to do so.) For every question, taken from real interview, you get a quick few pages' worth of insight.

This is fun, just for the drama of seeing the question, thinking, "God, how would I answer that", and then rolling on to a reassuringly clear and well thought out response, and then wondering, "could I ever have come up with that?". Always interesting, always entertaining, this is highly recommended. (And a good gift for anyone who might be applying.)
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2009
This isn't just a book for Oxbridge hopefuls. It's great for anyone with an inquiring mind who likes the idea of firing intelligent comebacks to some of the most bizarre, interesting, and loaded questions that the Varsity's finest have come up with.

There's lots of fun to be had posing the challenging questions to friends and seeing how they cope. And John Farndon's conversational, often humorous tone keeps the book light enough to hold your interest without losing any of its sharpness. Reading `Do You Think You're Clever?' made me think that if I could answer just one of the abstract questions even half as well as the author, then I'd be very pleased with myself - perhaps even smug enough to answer an immodest `yes' to the title question!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2013
I enjoyed the challenge of some of the questions and would have answered them differently from the author....but then that's the point. I'm not sure I would have been able to handle the questions so well at 18.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2013
Typically most of us might think we are clever, some may even be arrogantly so.
This ebook has something to offer all that might fall in this category.
I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2013
Don't take this book to be a gospel of information on how to get into oxford or Cambridge. However it is very interesting and informative from the authors point of view. The scenarios of questions aren't necessarily right or wrong, just an opinion and an idea of how they can be answered. Plus this book gives you an idea of the broad spectrum of inquisitive questions one can be asked. Good read nevertheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Mostly very thought provoking and I"m sure readers will have plenty more off the wall questions that remain unanswered. I skipped a couple of questions that I thought were not so interesting but overall a good read. Perhaps the author would consider asking for suggestions for a sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2014
Really interesting and mind boggling questions examined in this book for a range of different subjects. Makes you think out of the box. Bought it to examine the science based questions but ended up reading questions on the other subjects as they were very interesting and engaging.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
What inspires me about this book lies in its ability to halt the oncoming calculating and conditioned way of answering questions seen in GCSE and A-Level papers. It probably won't help you that much in terms of succeeding academically, not just because its answers are far too 'out-there' to provide these conditioned answers, but also because it is far too entertaining to be of genuine interview use! To be able to see the face of the interviewer whose prospective undergraduate receives the answer to "Are you cool?" of "I'm mildly tepid" (which Farden suggests in the conclusion to this question as an appropriate answer).

This book will appeal to those who think outside the box - i.e. those who have the intellectual curiosity which is so necessary to getting into Oxbridge. I would thoroughly recommend it as a gift for those applying: the author unpacks the questions to make them slightly more manageable, and slightly less daunting. John Farden also manages to capture what Oxbridge are really looking for in their student - they are not interested so much in what you have to say, but rather how you get about saying it. Farden manages to capture this in the way he answers the question. By reading his book, which is fundamentally about thinking in a different way to our mundane daily lives, the reader thinks in ways in which Farden does not - and so further capturing the aim of the book; we think beyond the ideas which are portrayed and so we become more aware about things we would not usually think of or contemplate.

Well done! A thoroughly interesting read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2013
I found this book interesting but disappointing. The questions themselves were thought provoking but Ifound the answers less than convincing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2014
A fascinating and reassuring read that I can see myself re-reading a few times, and recommending wholeheartedly to anyone who rates themselves a clever-clogs!
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