Why PPE at Oxford? How do I prepare for it?

Q:

Why did you apply to read PPE? In your opinion, what are the main differences between PPE offered in Oxford and other universities? Will it be a disadvantage for me if i do not have any portfolio, volunteering experiences, as well as knowledge on philosophy and economics?

A:

In my opinion, Philosophy is a big part of life.  It’s basically asking questions about everything, and I enjoy that. Economics is the basis of government – if not for the economic problem we wouldn’t need governments. The philosophies of a government are guides to their policies especially economic policies. For example, UK is considerably liberal but also socialist, so they’re something of a welfare state while maintaining their democracy

Well I think the most valuable part of Oxford’s PPE course is the tutorial system. Beyond lectures, tutorials are conducted weekly with tutors. Since they are very small classes (1 – 3), you HAVE to speak and WILL be forced to learn even if you try to run away from it during lectures. My brother is doing PPE now; he says that they have to write a few 1000-word essays for each tutorial, then read out one of them while his tutor and tutorial-mate rebut , question and pick it apart. Then during the following tutorial, the other person would read hers, and he would have to do the same. Durham also has tutorials, but they are much larger (10-15) so a lot is definitely lost there.

I think it’s not much of a disadvantage, they don’t expect you to know anything more than general knowledge and current affairs anyway. You would need to read up, I think they have suggested reading materials on the page for PPE. Paul Krugman books are quite interesting for economics, and Simon Blackburn writes very good intros to philosophy. Tim harford is also a suggested read for economics.

Answered by: Tay Weiling received a conditional offer to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) in Oxford University.  She’s a Bank Negara Malaysia scholar who dabbles in everything from poetry to parkour to particle physics. You won’t find her easily – the wild Weiling is shy of strangers.

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