Tutors at Oxford lifted the lid on the interview process to explode some of the myths about what is seen as the most nerve-racking aspect of admissions.
The university has increasingly come to rely on interviews to identify high-fliers because public exams fail to discriminate between the bright and the exceptional. It also considers other information, such as results in admissions tests, references and predicted grades.
And the question about striped animals might be thrown at applicants for biological sciences. Martin Speight, of St Anne's College, said: 'There are no right or wrong specific answers – I'm interested in candidates' speculations about the advantages of having stripes.'