How to Discuss Your Favourite Book in a 16+ Interview

16+ Interview Preparation Specialists

When preparing for a 16+ interview, discussing your favourite book can reveal much about your personality, intellectual interests, and analytical abilities. This guide will help you articulate your thoughts effectively and make a lasting impression. This is a common question for both those applying for more humanities-oriented areas (obviously those looking to study English Literature, but also those focused on History, Classics, or Modern Languages), and those who are more interested in the Sciences. For those interested in the Sciences, there will be less focus on literature, but perhaps more on understanding gained, motivation derived from a particular work, etc.

Demonstrating Enthusiasm and Personal Connection to a Book in 16+ Interviews

Your favourite book discussion is an excellent chance to display your enthusiasm for reading and literature. Share what draws you to the book – is it the author’s narrative style, the depth of the characters, or the themes it explores? Emphasising your personal connection to the book offers insights into your character and intellectual pursuits. It’s not just about liking the book, but about why it resonates with you on a personal level. This connection can reveal your values, interests, and even aspirations​​​​.

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Analysing and Interpreting Content of a Book in 16+ Interviews

Delving into the book’s themes, characters, and narrative style shows your ability to think critically. Discuss what the book communicates about human nature, society, or particular philosophical questions. For instance, how do the characters’ experiences reflect broader societal issues? This analysis demonstrates your ability to see beyond the surface and engage deeply with text, showcasing your analytical skills​​​​.

Expressing Critical Opinions and Alternative Perspectives

Articulate your opinions on the book’s themes, characters, or the author’s approach. It’s important to back up your opinions with reasons. Be ready for potential follow-up questions that challenge your views. Engaging in a thoughtful discussion on differing perspectives shows your ability to reason and defend your viewpoints, as well as your openness to considering alternative ideas. This part of the interview tests not just your understanding of the book, but also your critical thinking and debate skills​​​​.

Connecting a Book to Wider Themes and Personal Growth in 16+ Interviews

Discuss how the book’s themes relate to contemporary issues or personal experiences. Does the book offer insights into historical events or current societal debates? How has reading the book impacted your thinking or broadened your perspectives? This approach demonstrates your ability to connect individual narratives to larger societal contexts and shows a mature level of thinking. Additionally, reflecting on what you have learned from the book and how it has contributed to your personal growth can be very telling. It illustrates your capacity for introspection and your ability to extract meaningful lessons from your experiences​​​​. This will be particularly relevant if the question is more ‘general’ and less focused on Literature, for example.

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Understanding the Author’s Craft and Literary Techniques

Discussing the author’s writing style, narrative techniques, and the book’s structure can add another layer to your conversation. How do the author’s choices contribute to the book’s overall impact? Understanding these elements shows your appreciation for literature as an art form and your awareness of the different techniques used in storytelling. This discussion can also lead to talking about other works by the same author or similar books, demonstrating your broader reading habits and interests​​​​.

Preparing for the Discussion

While preparation is key, ensure that your discussion in the interview feels spontaneous and genuine. Practice discussing the book with friends or family members, but be ready to adapt your conversation based on the interviewer’s questions and reactions. It’s also a good idea to revisit the book before the interview to refresh your memory and potentially discover new insights that you might have missed earlier.


In a 16+ interview, discussing your favourite book is an opportunity to showcase your intellectual curiosity, your analytical and critical thinking skills, and your personal growth. It allows you to present yourself as a well-rounded, thoughtful, and engaging candidate. Your discussion should reflect your unique perspective, passion for learning, and ability to engage deeply with literature. Remember, this conversation is not just about demonstrating your love for reading, but about showcasing how literature has influenced your understanding of the world and yourself.

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