Hello! I am Chow Foo You from Kampar, Perak. I completed my A-levels at Taylor’s College Subang Jaya. With the aid of the JPA scholarship, I am pursuing Engineering Science at Magdalen College, University of Oxford this October.
For your information, I chose a double Maths combination for my A-level course, and the combination comprises Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. In order to get to know about the university application process, I attended talks organized in my college and surfed through relevant websites.
First of all, you must apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for all UK university admissions. One of the sections in UCAS is the Personal Statement, and it plays a vital role in your university application. For this section, I recommend you to take your time in writing it. Do not rush it as you do not rush for your future. It is a piece of essay that is about you. Illustrate your passion towards the subject you choose. How to stand out from others? The answer is simple. Be original! However, you can always refer to lots of personal statements available on the web (or here on CollegeLAH of course!).
After completing your first draft, do ask other people such as friends, lecturers and MABECS staff to proofread for you. This process takes a long time. Therefore, start early for better preparation. You can even start now by jotting down some points on your notepad.
Admissions Test and Interview
From the 5 universities that I applied to (University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University College London, University of Manchester and University of Edinburgh), the only university that asked for admissions test and interview is University of Oxford.
The admissions test I sat for was the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT). You have to register yourself at a centre which provides this test. For my case, I sat for it at Taylor’s College. The test is free of charge but the centre where you sit for this test may charge an administration fee.
I really faced a hard time when sitting for the PAT as my Further Mathematics A-level examination was exactly on the same date. After struggling with the Further Maths paper, I had to deal with my PAT right after that, though there was a 30-minute short break in between.
As for the Oxford interview, there are two options that you can choose from. The first one requires applicants to travel all the way to Oxford to attend the interview. The second one, a Skype interview, would be better either to avoid the hassle or to save money.
I was interviewed by two interviewers and the session lasted 30 minutes. Three questions were thrown to me one after another. The first question was about sketching graph which involved simple calculus. An equation was given and it was obviously a negative exponential graph. However, due to my nervousness, I simply drew an exponential graph without any thinking. The interviewer asked me: “Why do you draw like this? Do you have any proof?” At this point only I realized my stupidity. Immediately I asked myself to calm down and asked for permission to do it again. Finally, I got the correct answer and the interviewers were happy with me. The lesson of the story: do not panic!
The second question was about circular motion and the third was about conservation of energy. These two questions involve real life situations – a rotating marble and a dam. Throughout the interview process, when you are stuck in a situation, you can actually ask for guidance. The interviewers are willingly to guide you. They do not expect you to know everything. They just want to look for your potential. They would like to make sure that you can fit into the tutorial system at Oxford which is basically a discussion-based learning process.
So, here is my story and I hope it does give you a little insight into the UK application process. If you have any inquiry, you can always contact me. This is my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
Chow Foo You,the mathematical genius is going to further his Engineering Science in the University of Oxford under the JPA scholarship. He can travel around the Europe with his Adidas. However, with his pair of super minute eyes, we have no idea how would he view all the beautiful sceneries in England later.