Applying to Homerton College, Cambridge

Founded in London in 1768, Homerton moved to Cambridge just before 1900. Once an academy for the Nonconformist Church, then a renowned teacher-training college, Homerton has been, since 2010, a full College of the University of Cambridge, offering a full range of academic subjects.

Homerton is one of the most attractive Colleges in Cambridge, with a mixture of old and new buildings set in spacious wooded grounds away from the noisy centre of town. It is also the largest College in terms of student numbers, with a thriving and diverse community.

Education Studies is one of the more popular courses at Homerton College. The historical connection between Homerton and Education remains strong – as is the geographical connection: the College is next door to the Faculty!  Homerton has the largest number of students for the Education Tripos, and it has considerable depth of support for the course. Homerton offers teaching across three tracks, including practical drama, and have Fellows with both local and international links in the Education sector.  It also co-sponsors the Cambridge/Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature – where some of the world’s leading experts in the field are based. 

Why did you choose Homerton College?

I chose Homerton because it seemed the most friendly, it has the best facilities in terms of accommodation, and it is a pretty building. (Profile 568)

It is where the main body of Education applicants are. (Profile 524)

Homerton is right next to the Education Faculty, which would make it easy to move back and forth between my place of living and place of study. It's also further out from the city center and quieter, which suits my work habits just fine. (Profile 911)

Nice en-suite bedrooms :) for all 1st yrs (and perhaps 3rd yrs) , friendly, non super-religious. (Profile 145)

Most Education studies students are at Homerton; they specialise in Education studies and Homerton was really friendly and beautiful when I went to look around on the open day. (Profile 569)

Homerton just seemed real nice. It’s difficult to decide when you are applying for a subject you're not sure you want to study (Profile 291)

What was your general impression of Homerton and any other colleges you visited?

The education building is a bit naff (and is on the grounds of the college) but the college itself is pretty. It is very far from the rest of the university. (Profile 524)

I visited Homerton in the summer before I applied. I loved it - the people were friendly and the grounds were spacious. The architecture is lovely, too. (Profile 911)

Homerton was extremely friendly, new and so nice! The buildings are huge, modern and the library was impressive. I also visited peterhouse and pembroke, they gave me a pressurised and old-fashioned impression. (Profile 145)

I stayed in Homerton overnight; some students were very friendly, but when I was trying to find my way around people weren't too helpful. Overall it was really nice; it definitely made me want to go there for uni. (Profile 568)

Homerton was very friendly and had beautiful architecture and grounds. (Profile 569)

Very friendly and modern. Didn’t seem as stuffy as the older colleges. (Profile 291)

Describe the day-to-day aspects of living in the college. If you stayed in college, how was the accommodation? How about the food?

- Accomodation: Good. rooms had just been built within the last ten years. The dining hall was fantastically old and classrooms were well equipped and the library was real big...if slightly empty looking. 

- Food: Dinner was pretty bad as there wasn't much choice and the students were not interested in serving at all which was incredibly annoying. However the breakfast was great and the staff really nice (Profile 291)

- Accomodation: Good size and ensuite bathrooms! (Profile 524)

- Accomodation: En-suite with internet connections. kettle. nice long practical tables lamps etc, rooms are well heated. New. (Profile 145)

- Accomodation: The accommodation was very nice; seemed very new and I had an ensuite. (Profile 568)

- Accomodation: Size of rooms about average, many appeared to have en suite facilities though :) (Profile 569)

Any  thoughts on the tutors/students at Homerton?

- Tutors: I didn't meet many. The first guy I didn't like but the second was really friendly and passionate about his subject.

- Students: Apart from the lazy sods in the canteen, everyone was happy to help friendly and surprisingly normal. No one had been driven mad by overwork and all of them seemed to have a good work-life balance (Profile 291)

- Tutors: Very friendly, not at all stuffy, very interesting to talk to

- Students: Friendly, they appeared to really love Homerton! (Profile 569)

- Tutors:  Very helpful and friendly. Supportive.

- Students: Friendly, down to earth. (Profile 145)

- Students: Friendly and not the typical Cambridge type. (Profile 524)

- Tutors: I really liked them; they made me feel at ease and were nothing like what I imagined. (Profile 568)

What questions were you asked during your interview(s)?

[Economics] I was asked some typical questions, like : why economics, lots of current affairs and my views, some stuff on the research i was doing in my gap year, and i was given a math/iq question. (Profile 145)

[Education Studies] why education studies? why biology? Lots of questions about my personal statement (Profile 569)

[Education Studies] Education interview went really well, they were just interested in your opinion on and awareness of Educational issues. English and Drama interview was slightly more iffy but they really helped to make me at ease. Had a drama workshop which was really fun and helped you to relax with the interviewers. (Profile 524)

[Law] Umm...human rights mainly; some stuff about jury systems; questions about the LNAT essay; some questions about my A level subjects. (Profile 568)

[English] In the first interview he asked about the extracts I'd just written about and why the poem I’d written had influenced me so much. The second was more on general interests, what Id written in my personal statement plus some questions on wide issues around novels I'd mentioned (themes, ideas, writing styles, the effect of context etc) (Profile 291)

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

[Education Studies] Read in depth about the course and know why you're applying. Understand and explore various aspects of education that interest you - this will help for both the personal statement and the interview. 

Try to get the balance right between unique and conservative writing (on the personal statement and Cambridge Overseas Application Form). You need to be interesting and avoid offering standard answers, but at the same time, retain some conservativeness in your answers because there is some expectation/criteria for what goes on these forms. (Profile 911)

[Education Studies] The form: Be honest, and interesting. Don't make any spelling or grammatical mistakes. (There are more important things in life, but most Oxbridge tutors will notice these mistakes, and many will consider them an indication of lack of thoroughness.) Have attractive handwriting or choose a good font. Mention things which you have done which are to some degree relevant to the subject for which you are applying, rather than saying that you have always been interested in it.

The interview: It's not really the same as all the others. You'll obviously have done some work experience in a school and will hopefully want to talk enthusiastically about that. Be sure to have talked to the teachers there about the things that concern them. No harm in reading the T.E.S. (Profile 299)

[Law] There isn't really much you can do...just make sure to read newspapers/watch the news and be ready to answer questions on current affairs. (Profile 568)

[Education Studies] Don't panic at any stage of the applications phase! Read up as much as you can about interviews and the characteristics they're looking for in a potential student. Go to the Faculty of Education website. Lastly, go for it if you have decent grades. It's definitely worth a try. (Profile 911)

[English] Don’t kill yaself...if you haven’t read 'that classic' or seen 'that play' don't worry. What they want is breadth, depth and variety. So what if everyone else has read war and peace and you just watched the film? get over it. Apart from getting some tuition in literary criticism and interview technique the best thing you can do is just be yourself. If you can bore your friends silly about one paragraph in a book. If all you ever do is read or watch plays and if you break into a cold sweat when the library shuts and you liked writing your coursework then you'll ace any interview you get. preparation is individual too so don't worry if you get the impression others are doing more then you and also be familiar with the specialties of the person interviewing you. If you share the same interest, it'll make the interview more comfortable and if not showing your aware of it is sure to get you brownie points (Profile 291)

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International students applying to Homerton can check out (Profile 911) for a unique perspective from an overseas applicant. While the process is different for every applicant, it’s always nice to get a first-hand perspective:

How was/were in general your interview(s)?

[Education Studies] Easier than expected. Then again, perhaps my interviewer expected me to give a more elaborate answer, and I was merely skimming the surface! For an international applicant, interviews tend to be short, so mine was fairly short and sweet. Most of the questions I anticipated came up. (Profile 911)

What questions were you asked during your Education Studies interview(s)?

- Why Education? 

- What do you understand about the Education degree? (What do you understand by the philosophy of education?...psychology, sociology...etc)

- Lots of questions on the books mentioned on my personal statement 

Nothing on recent education issues in the news, but this seems to be a fairly common question in other interviews. (Profile 911)



Posted

Applying to PPE - Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, often referred to as PPE, is one of the most popular courses of study at Oxford University. PPE was born of the conviction that study of the great modern works of economic, social, political and philosophical thought would have a transformative effect on students’ intellectual lives, and thereby on society at large. This conviction remains as firm today as it was then. As the world has evolved, so has PPE. The course brings together some of the most important approaches to understanding the world around us, developing skills useful for a wide range of careers and activities.

PPE is a highly flexible degree which allows students to shape their own path: they may choose to specialise in two branches at the end of the first year, or continue with all three. Students can also explore a wide variety of disciplines under the overarching headings of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

Academic Requirements
- A-levels: AAA
- Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
- IB: 39 (including core points) with 766 at HL

Why did you choose this course?

Want to go into Politics, have always loved Philosophy and was good at Economics at school. (Profile 720)

It just seems to me that all of the disciplines corroborate and compliment one another perfectly! I also really enjoy the study of each of them. (Profile 658)

This is what I really want to do. I think it is worth pointing out I applied for this course at all of the universities I went for. Some people at my interview only applied for PPE because that is what Oxford offered. This way round made writing my personal statement a lot easier. (Profile 602)

I was originally planning to apply for law but then began to really enjoy my politics a-level course. I also developed an interest in philosophy and the economics seemed to add relevance to the package. (Profile 570)

I've always wanted to study Politics (as in, I told people I was gonna be PM when I was 10), decided I wanted to add Economics in my early teens. I was planning on doing two undergrad degrees at the same time (which is possible where I'm from) and was considering taking some Philosophy classes. Then I discovered PPE and it was just perfect for me. (Profile 908)

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

Not much of the prep i did for the interview actually helped but it makes you feel confident which is really important. Make sure you read up on current events and that you can draw graphs and find the intercepts etc. (Profile 720)

If you have named a book of your personal statement, think laterally about what quesitons they will ask you. It won;t be 'What do you think of this book?' This means you have to know it really well. Also, make sure you know a lot of detail about any recent political or economic events, especially if you haven't studied the subject before because they will ask you about it assuming you will know what they are talking about. (Profile 602)

Read the newspapers and ensure you know why you are interested in your subject but don't try and learn much about it unless you have studied it. You just need to be able to explain what it is about it that interests you and appear to have not made up your explanation!! (Profile 570)

For PPE specifically, prepare for the TSA test! Practice really helps, it made a huge difference for me.

For interviews, try to relax a bit (I know it's hard) and just explain what you're thinking. I found my debating experience came in really handy because it had trained me to explain thoughts analitically, so you might try that. (Profile 908)

What questions were you asked during your interview(s)?

In Philosophy, I had to look at a sheet of arguments and decide whether they were valid or not, then we moved onto my personal statement.

In economics, it was basic theory about inflation and exchange rates but based on current real life issues. Then I was set a problem about imperfect market knowledge. (Profile 602)

Whether "Do not do what is morally wrong" is a good law. To choose a political issue and talk about it. In general about mergers and takeovers. (Profile 720)

I actually had six interviews. At Christ Church I had 2 interviews on the Monday, one with a politics and economics tutor, one with a philosophy tutor. I found out that I had been summoned by 2 other colleges on the day I was meant to leave, Oriel and Mansfield so i went to these. At Mansfield I had an interview with three tutors all at once and at Oriel I had three interviews with the specific tutors, which was very probing.

My interviews were all based around puzzles or challenges. A few economics tutors asked me to draw graphs on the spot, like y= 5x/2. Philosophy had logical puzzles, you had to deduce the correct answer from various statements. Politics was discussions on a certain political event which i had to read about. (Profile 113)

politics- something from personal statement i was asked to expand on a concept.

economics- discussion followed by an AS/top GCSE level maths question. 

philosophy- discussion on moral dilemma/laws. (Profile 658)

Well, economics was the first; I was asked what aspects of my syllabus interested me, so I talked around the submitted assay while the tutor argued with me and also the minimum wage debate. In Philosophy I was asked to discuss a hyperthetical case about identity, which went off to a tandem of the nature of truth. Finally, Politics he asked about any texts I had read, at which point I was able to talk about the dull, yet worthy book I'd been ploughing through. Then there was discussion of coalition governments, domestic power and the difference in left and right. (Profile 116)

For Politics, I got a set of graphs 20 minutes in advance. When I came in, I was just told to talk about them, which caught me off-guard but I managed. I then had to give the argumentation of why those things were correlated. Then for Philosophy, I got a thought-experiment-puzzle-thing during the interview and I had to talk about what people would do and why. For Economics I got a set of questions about game theory 20 minutes in advance. During the interview I had to explain what I had done and why, and when we got to the questions I hadn't done yet I had to do them out loud. (Profile 908)

What was your general impression of the college that you applied to/any others you visited?

Christ Church was beautiful and the dining room was used in Harry Potter!

Oriel is not in one geographical area some parts are in a different place and Mansfield is a little bit out of the city centre and quite small. (Profile 113)

I really liked the atmosphere, right from when I first entered on the Open Day and during the interview period. I'm very happy with my decision. (Profile 908)

What advice do you have for potential applicants based on your experiences?

Read your subject- not because you will talk about it at interview (well i didn't), but because; a) it's your subject you should find it interesting and want to read it anyway, b) it shows through in you're intellegence, analysis and terminology used etc, c) it will make you feel much more prepared and calm before the interview. (Profile 658)

Don't be put off by thinking your GCSEs aren't good enough of that it is too much work. If you think you are capable of getting in, try. (Profile 602)

Know your subject matter. Honestly, don't try and name drop or bluff, they will latch onto anything you say and argue with it...I don't know how I got away with a lot of what I mentioned.

Know your material, don't have your heart set on it (like me) and RELAX. Be very enthusiastic in the interviews, and, if stumped - use the magic words: "Well, I'm not familiar with that subject area but my first thought/instinct would be to say......" It goes down far better than sitting getting red in silence. (Profile 116)



Posted

Applying to Computer Science at Cambridge

Cambridge University was a pioneer of computer science and continues to lead its development. There are more than 1,000 specialist computing and advanced technology companies and commercial laboratories in the area (known as ‘Silicon Fen'). A number of local firms and start-ups support our teaching and employ our graduates.

Computer science courses are broad and deep – giving skills to create future technology. At Cambridge, all aspects of modern computer science are covered, along with the underlying theory and foundations in economics, law and business. You will also develop practical skills, such as programming (in various languages, eg ML, Java, C/C++, Prolog) and hardware systems (eg chip design using Verilog).

The following tips come from applicants across numerous colleges including Christ’s, Churchill, Emmanuel, Fitzwilliam, Gonville and Caius, King’s, Pembroke, Robinson, St. Catharine’s, St. John’s, and Trinity Hall.

For additional information about applying to Computer Science at Cambridge, please visit: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/computer-science.

How did you decide between Oxford and Cambridge?

Cambridge was prettier, had a better reputation for my course and was easier to get to from London. (Profile 292)

Cambridge has better rep. for computing. (Profile 103)

Cambridge seems to be better for more science-y subjects than Oxford is. Had an open day at each of them and the computing departments I saw seemed to be better equipped than at oxford, but there probably isn't much difference. (Profile 105)

I never considered Oxford. When I was looking for universities rated highly for my subject, both by word of mouth and newspaper league tables, Cambridge consistently came up. (Profile 127)

Cambridge seemed to have the better courses and the colleges looked better to stay in than at Oxford (Profile 101)

Cambridge was ranked as number 1 for computer science so it influenced in my choice. (Profile 454)

Went round it on an Open Day, so it was the only one I really knew about!

On a more 'serious' note, I liked the fact that Churchill was modern - you could actually walk on the grass. :) I thought it would be good for me as Cambridge's CompSci department is gradually moving itself out towards Churchill. The college had a friendly atmosphere. I think that about sums it up (Profile 97)

The Cambridge course appealed to me more (less theory based) (Profile 99)

Do you have any tips in terms of interview preparation? 

Lads be relaxed. Be well rested. 1 nite of rest beforehand is more beneficial than a nite studying just b4 the interview. DON'T study minutes before the interview, the mind can't think of anything else afterwards and tends to focus on what it just learned. Get a friend or family member to go with you, they calm and support you. Do some reading into your subject. Better still find out what books are compulsory reading for undergrads. e.g. 'an introduction to computer science' by Les Goldschlager.

Have a list of 3 or 4 reasons [about] why you want to go to the college. DON’T lie, unless you lie well. Find reasons you believe in. It's much better to find real reasons, you have them, you may just not know it.

STEP 1/2/3 mathematics papers can help you understand the possible level of question you could be asked. - STEP 3 is really hard, don't be put off.

Computer science is mostly pure mathematics so ensure those areas of your maths are well revised - that is what you'll be tested on. (Profile 100)

Well try and get at least one practice interview with someone, just so you get to experience having to make reasonably intelligent and coherent conversation on the spot. If you have relevant work experience then be prepared to discuss what you learnt from it. Expect to be asked some sort of Maths-related question/problem - you can't really revise for this, but remember to take your time and think about it and if you don't understand it, ask the interviewer to explain it more thoroughly. It's better to work it out eventually with help, rather than trying to bluff your way through it! (Profile 97)

What questions were you asked? 

Lots: Questions about proof and reasoning in the "thinking skills" test. Things like doing jigsaws in your head and working out all the possible solutions. 24 x 7 in the general interview. A series of sort-of-mathematical logic questions in the subject interview. (Profile 455)

5 mathematical questions, 1 3D orientation question, and 1 article reading question; I had 1 interview with 2 people, the admissions and the course tutors. I came super prepared with months of studying about computers and guess what happened, they asked me 0 questions about computers, they set me out with 7 logic questions to work out i got 5 out of 7 and needed help with the other 2 until finally I worked them out. The tutors where very friendly and helpful. (Profile 454)

In the first: Resistance, calculus, probability In the second: How does a router work, show me a sort algorithm, how efficient is it? Show me a search algorithm, how efficient is it? How can it be improved? Whats the efficiency of the new one? What programming have you done? How does this work [choosing one of my examples]. What are you most proud of? (Profile 62)

Additional tips for Computer Science interview:

The informal interview was all chit-chat. What would I contribute to the college if i joined. If i could only do 3 things what would they be. e.g. football, rowing and whateva. The interviewer contradicted me at one point and though I was warned of this it hasn't occurred to me until now, that this could have been a test. My response was amicable and I simply explained why I thought I could do something which he said there would not be time for. I also explained how. Think of your own scenarios to practice. Why did I pick Churchill? etc etc. like any uni interview. The formal interview was about my subjects. They asked me my favourite A-level. I replied Maths and explained why. They asked me about the subject specific reading I had done + what I thought. Then the other teacher (there were 2 in the formal interview, 1 in the informal one) gave me the problem. It was testing, but the teacher guided me through whenever I got stuck. The bad news was by this point I was quite tired already and my mind occasionally wandered. (Profile 100)




Posted

Applying for Chemistry at Oxford University

Teaching and research are closely linked on the course: Oxford has one of the leading chemistry departments in the world with state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories and world-class research in a broad range of areas including: synthesis and catalysis; medicinal and biological chemistry; sustainable energy; advanced materials; innovative measurement; and theoretical and computational chemistry. Students starting in 2020 will be taught an exciting new practical course in our recently-built lab. The department has an outstanding track record in commercialising the innovative work of research staff, which has raised millions of pounds for the University.

The MChem is a four-year course and is not modular, in the sense that the subject is taught and examined as a whole, enabling us to explore the links within the subject. The core material is taken by all students, with opportunities to specialise later in the course. The fourth year (Part II) is devoted exclusively to research – a distinctive feature of Chemistry at Oxford since 1916.

Academic Requirements:
- A-levels: A*A*A (including Chemistry and Mathematics) with both A*s in science subjects and/or Mathematics. A-level students applying to study Chemistry at Oxford would be expected to achieve A*A*A. The A*s must both be in the following science subjects: Chemistry, Mathematics (with either Statistics, Mecanics, or Decision Mathematics modules)
- Advanced Highers: AA/AAB (including Chemistry and Mathematics)
- IB: 40 (including core points) with 7 in HL Chemistry and EITHER 6/7 in HL Mathematics, OR 7 in SL Mathematics (Analysis & Approaches) plus a second science with 7 in HL

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

Thoroughly revise all your current A-Level content. Don't think you are going to have an interview that asks you about your hobbies and why you chose the university, because from my experience that just ain't gonna happen. It will be technical, and you guessed it, will be all chemistry. As you will be hoping to study chemistry for 4 years there, they don't want someone who doesn't know their stuff, they will ask you testing questions. The basics are essential, know all your bond angles and stuff like that. It is likely you will be asked organic mechanisms and you may have to draw them. Also know about bonding. Chemistry is not all you need to know, you need to be able to think logically, as you saw in the door question I was asked. Be prepared for everything, I know that is not possible but it is a true statement! (Profile 72)

I learned the parts of the syllabus we had not yet covered in class (in my case Further Organic). It is difficult to prepare for as the questions are designed to be unfamiliar. It came in useful learning the top half of the periodic table; I was asked to give the electronic structure of Boron and Nitrogen. (Profile 732)

Know AS chemistry really well, and the A2 stuff you've done so far. I wouldn't bother learning stuff off the syllabus - they are testing how you deal with new info and concepts, and how you apply what you know in other areas, not how much you've learnt. It's not like an exam where you have to be able to just recite some things parrot fashion - they really are looking for understanding. (Profile 909)

What questions were you asked during your interview(s)?

I actually had two interviews, one at my first choice college, Balliol and one at Christ Church. I stayed at Balliol College for 4 days and as you can imagine alot of the time is spent doing nothing (unless you use your time productively!) Both my interviews were of a technical nature and purely about chemistry. I can't remember being asked anything about my personal life at all.

My first interview was at Balliol and I was interviewed by 3 people, once from each branch or chemistry (organic, inorganic and physical). They were very friendly and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible, even though I was nervous as hell. It was impossible not to look at one of the interviewers, as they sat in an arc around me. The room was nice and cosy, this made me feel better. My second interview was at Christ Church. Yet again, 3 interviewers, one from each major branch. Again, 3 very friendly blokes who made me feel comfortable. The room was nice, like a living room in fact.

Both my interviews were of a technical chemistry nature. At my first interview I was first interviewed by the organic chemistry tutor. He asked me about alcohols, aldehydes and ketones and the way in which they can be distinguished between each other both chemically and physically. I think I also had to write some oxidation of alcohols equations down on a piece of paper too. i can't remember if I had to do a mechanism or not but I think I did. The first thing the inorganic tutor did was hold up two molecules in front of me (models obviously). At first sight and to a none chemist they would appear the same but infact they were optical isomers (one being the mirror image of the other - a chiral centre). He asked about the effects this has in nature and pharmaceuticals. That is all I can remember from the inorganic chap. I was only asked one thing by the physical chemistry tutor and in my opinion I made a serious cock up and I didn't get the grasp of what was being said. I found out afterwards that the same thing had been discussed on some TV lectures (I wish I had seen it!) Anyway I was posed this scenario: There are 3 doors in a line and behind one of the doors is a sports car which you can win. Initially you go and stand behind the middle door and choose it. At this point someone opens the left hand door and you see that there is no car behind it. To maximise your chance of winning the car do you stay behind the middle door and choose it or do you move to the door to the right and choose that??? I had absolutely no idea what he was getting at, I knew it was something to do with probability but I knew there would be a catch. Anyway after I finally got the scenario worked out in my head I said the door to the right. He asked me why and so I jokingly said that if is was behind the middle door then you would have seen the bonnet stick out in the left door when it was opened. This gained some quiet chuckles from the other two interviewers. Anyway moving to the right is the correct answer, I don't quite understand why still. The reason is something to do with initially the chance of it being behind any door is 1/3. When you choose the middle door the chance of it being behind there is 1/3 and so the chance of it being behind either of the other two doors is 2/3. However the door on the left is opened and there is no car behind it. So the probability of it being behind the door on the right remains 2/3. I still don't get it, LOL. My second interview was also totally technial, I can't remember it as vividly as my interview at Balliol though. If I can remember rightly it was mostly inorganic. Alot of stuff asked about the shapes of molecules. Everything seemed to flow quite well in the interview too, we moved from one thing to the next slowly. I can remember we talked about BF3 quite a bit and co-ordinate bonds came in to the conversation alot as well. (Profile 72)

Topics: Shapes of Molecules, Electronegativity, Maths - Calculus & Graphs, Moles Calculations, Mechanistic reasoning, Physical Chemistry

I was asked about the shapes of molecules. Firstly NH3, then BH3, then NH3BH3, then N3B3H6. I was asked to draw the mechanism of bromination of cyclohexene, and about geometrical and optical isomers of that molecule. I was asked to determine the number of water molecules in a given cup of 180ml, stating my assumptions (temperature & pressure, dissociation, ions, relative mass of O=16, H=1 etc.). I was asked to differentiate progressively harder equations. I was given an equation and told to draw it, with it ending up being the equation for an energy curve relating to internuclear separation. I was then asked to differentiate and suggest what the curve would look like for different diatomic elements. (Profile 732)

One question was "does it take longer for an egg to boil up a mountain" in my interview at Trinity they asked about IR and UV waves and the greenhouse effect.  They asked how many molecules in a glass of water qu, the answer is 6.022^23 because 18 cm of water means n= m/mr. Had to draw phosphoric acid in inorganic

Questions about cis-trans and optical isomers. Question about a mass on a spring and if you took a picture where was it most likely to be in relation to x (a line that he drew) and it was the opposite of what you'd expect because it travels faster in the middle. (Profile 861)

I had 3 interviews, 20 minutes each, each with 2 people (either 2 tutors, or 1 tutor and 1 postgraduate student). 1 organic, 1 inorganic, 1 physical. We were all called in to a room together beforehand to meet the interviewers, and were told what was going to happen to settle our nerves. They said all the interviews would be purely about chemistry, as they didn't have time to ask about personal statements/ other interests etc. Having said that, in my first interview (organic) he asked a quick question about work experience and my gap year plans, which was really good in settling nerves.

What did you wear to your interview(s), and why?

Chinos, loafers and a shirt (no tie). I took a casual jacket and scarf to my interviews as it was very cold, but took them off before starting. (Profile 732)

A suit and heels and a silk blouse. I feel more confident wearing a suit but other people were wearing a variety of clothes including jeans... most medics were in suits however. (Profile 861)

I wore smart black jeans, flat shoes, striped blouse and big cable knit jumper. I didn't want to do the whole suit thing, but didn't want to do the totally casual thing. To be honest, people were at both ends of this spectrum, and I really don't think it matters at all. (Profile 909)

Posted

Tactical Tips for the Oxford and Cambridge Interview Process

Okay, so you’ve made it to the Oxbridge interview rounds, congrats! Everyone knows the interviews are one of the most stressful aspects of the entire Oxbridge application process, but luckily for you, we’ve compiled some practical tips from applicants that survived the interviews! These general tips come from both Oxford and Cambridge interviews, so please click through the Profile links to find out more about each experience. Remember, each respective college has its own idiosyncrasies, but to start things off, here are some good general interview tips. 

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation for the interviews?

(1) Look up all deadlines and course requirements well in advance, and comply with them as soon as possible. (Profile 665)

(2) Make sure you've got some ideas about the subject! be able to say what interests you and demonstrate some evidence of thought beyond your a-level course. (Profile 246)

(3) If possible, arrange a mock interview with someone you don't know well personally, perhaps a head of Sixth Form. This will prepare you for the format of the interview and should make it easier to deal with the real thing. Unless your mock interviewer has specific knowledge of the Oxbridge admissions system, the actual questions will probably be nothing like the real thing, but it should get you into the right mindset. (Profile 665)

(4) Read around the subject; for science, journals and magazines are more useful than books. know your alevel stuff, if you don't you will suffer! (Profile 208)

(5) Set generous margins for error in all travel arrangements to avoid panic. If you have a long journey it may be best to travel the day before and stay overnight. (Profile 665)

What did you wear to your interview?

(1) I wore smart-casual clothes, as they were comfortable but also gave me confidence. I would say that as long as they're comfortable, and you're happy with the impression they give, it's not a big issue. No one seemed bothered about it. (Profile 665)

(2) In my first interview I wore jeans and a smart but very thick pink jumper (because it was cold!) and to my second I wore trousers and a blue smart V-necked top (because after the terrible interview the day before I wanted to try and impress a bit more!). (Profile 817)

(3) Brown cord jacket, white blouse, dark navy blue trousers and dark shoes- smart/casual i.e. suits were a bit formal, trousers/skirt and jacket bit more relaxed. (Profile 208)

(4) Plain black dress, tights, black boots, denim jacket and a scarf. Smart, comfortable but not over the top. (Profile 641)

(5) I wore a suit because I feel comfortable in a suit. I only saw about 3 other applicants, and suits seemed to be the thing, which made me a bit more comfortable. (Profile 41)



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New Oxbridge Admissions site is up

After over a dozen years of running on its initial design since back in 2006, we're happy to announce that the new Oxbridge Admissions site is now available in beta.

The site is still quite rough around the edges, but hopefully you'll already benefit from better filters, simplified profiles, and a site that actually works on mobile. The new app also lacks UI/UIX polish, which should be coming later this year. 

In the meantime, please bear with us as we fix some of the teething issues that will inevitably come up. If you experience any bugs or see profiles that seem to be migrated incorrectly, please let me know at jan@oxbridgeadmissions.com.

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