This paper examines students' conceptions of the role of the 'Oxford Tutorial' in their learning. An analysis of interviews with 28 students constituted four qualitatively different conceptions of the 'Oxford Tutorial'. These ranged from the tutorial involving the tutor explaining to the student what the student did not know, to the tutorial involving the tutor and the student in exchanging different points of view and both coming to a new understanding of the topic under discussion. These different conceptions also appeared to be related to variations in students' views of the role of the work done in preparation for the tutorial, their view of the student‟s and tutor‟s roles in the tutorial, and the conception of knowledge that students adopted in relation to the tutorial. The implications of this study are discussed in terms of the relations between students‟ conceptions of tutorials and their anticipated learning outcomes and its implications for contexts outside of Oxford in terms of students‟ conceptions of academic tasks.