Cambridge Economics Interview

Preparing for an interview can be pretty daunting at first, and a Cambridge interview, no less (those can get pretty intense). In this article, I will share my personal experience of the interview day with you.

Arriving at the Scene

I did my interview at Taylor’s College Subang Jaya and was allocated to (probably) the last slot of the day at 4.30 pm, so you can quite imagine the anxiety that had slowly built up throughout the day as I waited for my turn.

Reaching the waiting area 30 minutes early, I tried my best to kill the butterflies in my stomach by praying and recalling everything I’d prepared. Suddenly, someone tapped my shoulder from behind. When I turned around, to my surprise, it was the interviewer himself! (You will know your interviewer beforehand via email.) That caught me totally off-guard and almost gave me a heart attack. And that was how I went into the interview room.

The Interview Proper

Though I was still recovering from shock, things escalated right off the bat! After a quick introduction, he wrote a pretty complicated equation and asked me to sketch a graph based on it. Caught off-guard at how quickly things started, I took a few seconds to calm myself down and analyse the equation before asking him about the few unknowns in the equation. He then wrote down on paper the parameters for the unknowns and explained them to me.

I managed to determine how the first part of the equation would only affect the gradient of the graph and not its shape. The shape can only be determined from the 2nd part of the equation by first deducing how an e−x graph would look like, and work my way towards the end product by slowly explaining how the graph will be affected step by step. After a few hiccups here and there due to panic and carelessness, I managed to complete the sketch with to his satisfaction. He was there to guide me whenever I got stuck.

Next, he then asked me a few more questions regarding what I’d talked about in my personal statement, regarding the effectiveness of microcredit in reducing poverty and the various factors that would affect this proposed solution. Hence, you need to be thoroughly well-versed with all the books and concepts that you have mentioned in both your PS and COPA.

Before concluding the session, he asked me if I had any questions. Trying to leave a meaningful impression, I asked for his view on the effectiveness of supply side policies in combating poverty. That didn’t end well for me: he stopped me midway and said that he didn’t have the time for that. So, maybe ask something simple or don’t ask at all. We then bid farewell to each other and that was it.

Lessons Taken

To sum it up, Economics at Cambridge can be very mathematical and so your interview would most likely be similarly so. Make sure you have a strong grasp of A-levels maths and economics concepts before the interview. Further Mathematics knowledge is definitely an added bonus. I find it very helpful to vocalise your thoughts so that the interviewer can understand your thought process and assist you if you get stuck. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. At the end of the day, the interviewer is trying to find someone who is a good fit at Cambridge and not someone who knows everything. All the best to you if you are applying!


Aaron Goh Zhong Fu’, a Bank Negara Malaysia Kijang Scholar, is currently on a gap year and will be reading an Economics degree at Cambridge University come September 2019. Besides playing a ton of futsal, there is nothing he enjoys more than binge watching a good anime series. Aaron is as humble as it gets and one can frequently hear him say, “All glory to God.” If you intend to contact the author, feel free to contact the CollegeLAH Team at contact@collegelah.com.

Advertisements

Economics Personal Statement

Shanker Sreetharan  is currently a first year undergraduate reading BSc Economics at University College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to UCL, University of Warwick and University of Nottingham for Economics.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the UN’s targets for poverty eradication, environmental preservation, and achievement of prosperity. Initially, I was interested specifically in the target of eradicating poverty within 15 years, which seemed overly optimistic. In ‘The End of Poverty’, Sachs estimates that with planned developmental aid, poverty can be eradicated by 2025. This argument is predicated upon the existence of the poverty trap (represented by the S-shaped curve), which he argues a one-time injection of resources will help the poor escape.

Contrary to this, economists like Easterly reject his notion of a poverty trap, and instead argue that poverty can be tackled by educating the poor as to the efficient way to benefit from their existing resources. Personally, I do not think the two ideas are mutually exclusive; greater efficiency and information will increase the efficacy of aid. However, research I conducted during an economics internship at Malaya University suggests the existence of thresholds in corruption and governance, which prevent aid from serving its intended purpose.

I am eager to further explore growth and development models at university. The SDGs detail far more than just poverty, but I think that there are multiple conflicts between the different targets. For instance, the goal of speedily eradicating poverty conflicts with that of controlling climate change, since the UN’s time targets would require heavy industrialisation. Growing up in Malaysia, I have witnessed the harms of overly rapid development first-hand. Cities like Kuala Lumpur experience flash floods, landslides, and pollution due to over-urbanisation. I am therefore convinced that sustainable development must be the overarching goal.

To explore the subject further, I took Columbia’s online course, ‘The Age of Sustainable Development’. I learnt that growth must comply with planetary boundaries in order to be sustainable. While researching the link between development and sustainability, I was fascinated to stumble upon the environmental Kuznets curve. If the hypothesis of increasing development leading to environmental improvement after a point is true, then concerns of sustainability will sort themselves out naturally. However, empirical work by Levinson et al. has found little support for an inverted U-shaped relationship between national income and environmental indicators.

Competing in the Malaysian Public Policy Competition, I employed this knowledge to conclude and argue that development policies must be designed to be sustainable. My EPQ on sustainable development argues that development policies need to strike a balance between neoclassical and ecological economics. Neoclassical economics considers the environment a subset of the human economy, focusing on maintaining a constant available capital stock by ensuring a high savings rate; this investment then drives technological improvement. On the other hand, ecological economics rejects the subsuming of the environment, instead arguing that it is the human economy which is a subset of the environment, since natural resources are not perfectly replaceable by man-made capital.

I argue in my EPQ that firms must move towards investments with positive externalities, and that this is the only way to ensure that the micro-foundations of development are sustainable. Businesses could invest in waste management, ensuring safe work environments, education and reducing carbon footprints. This ultimately generates dynamic increases in productivity, achieving growth while preserving the environment. Therefore, I suggest that governments should move to subsidise and encourage such investment; failure to do so spells doom in the long-run.

As a scholar of the Central Bank of Malaysia, I will have a platform to craft policies and models for sustainable development. I am keen to explore the intricacies of sustainability and development through economic theory at degree level.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

History Personal Statement

Terence Khoo Rong Her  is currently a third year undergraduate reading BA History at King’s College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to King’s College London, LSE, University of Exeter, University of York and University of Bristol for History.


History has a special place in my life due to visits made to my grandfather. His wartime stories brought me closer to him. One particular account that still fascinates me is the first that he ever told me. Images flash through my mind as he describes his youthful curiosity of the roar of the Japanese planes flying overhead their village. Curiosity turned to terror when he relives the anxiety shown in his mother’s eyes when rumours spread that Japanese invasion was imminent thus leading them to seek shelter in the nearby jungle. It was rather disconcerting to pass by the usually vibrant downtown areas of my hometown, Ipoh, knowing that in the past, the same place was a backdrop for horrendous atrocities which occurred there. It’s hard to envisage that almost seventy years ago, people, especially of Chinese ethnicity, lived in fear of the Japanese and the atmosphere of oppression that gripped the city rather than the lively and vibrant city that it is today.

As I grew older, what started as an in-depth look at Malaysian history has progressed to a passionate love of both European and world history. I am fascinated about the interlinking events that occurred in 20th century Europe and how these have a profound effect on the rest of the world. Indeed, how the actions of one individual can have such a grave effect on the history we study today. For example, a craving for a sandwich by Gavrilo Princip after a botched assassination coupled with the jamming of the gears of Archduke Ferdinand’s car culminated not just in his death but more significantly the trigger event of WW1. Indeed, the impact did not stop there as Germany’s eventual defeat in war and its humiliation in regards to the Treaty of Versailles led to the rise of Nazism and the eventual outbreak of a further war in 1939. The ending of WW2 saw a new conflict in regards to that of East vs West and likewise the creation of Israel in 1948 has ramifications for peace in the world today.

History allows us to ask questions. Indeed, what if Princip was not hungry, how would the world look today? The fact that History is a huge story filled with tragic coincidences and intriguing human behaviours are what makes the study of history so appealing. Increased understanding of human behaviour empowered me to study A Level Psychology as it enhances my knowledge of how the mind works thus gaining a deeper insight into people’s actions. For example, was it Stalin’s paranoia that led him to purge so many people and likewise was it Hitler’s failure to deal with rejection by Jewish owned artist galleries that led to the holocaust? Solving these dilemmas is like deciphering through a mathematical equation – a skill I have primed during my study of this subject. Likewise, just as History taught me to see things in perspective, economics elicited my ability to translate theory into practice.

My internship at a local law firm certainly gave me an insight into the real life pressures of work. In particular, it enabled me to understand the need for thorough analysis as I was involved in undertaking research of clients and companies. More importantly, it taught me the importance of having the right information for as in history, having the wrong information may lead to misguided conclusions.Outside of academia, I am a keen musician and sportsman. I have achieved Grade 8 in piano and have also been elected as head of the Sports Committee within the college’s Student Council. This has enhanced my communication skills which in turn have aided my oral development during classroom discussion.

The intention to pursue History at undergraduate level comes after much deliberation. However, A Level history has eroded any doubts in my mind as the learning experiences I have gained has strengthened my passion to delve further into this wonderful arena. I am strongly motivated to continue these studies as this will act as a platform for me to contribute back to a society of which I have freely taken from.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement

Arijey Sura  is currently a first year undergraduate reading MEng Mechanical Engineering at University College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to UCL, University of Manchester and University of Bristol for Mechanical Engineering.


Speed. My love affair with engineering began with speed; the cutting edge technology of Formula 1 racing. The Kinetic Energy Recovering System, hitched my heart immediately. Kinetic energy recovered during braking is stored as electrical energy, then used to boost torque between the fly and drive wheels. Such sophistication ignited my curiosity to explore this field of mechanics leading me to spearhead the Robotics Initiative of my school. We designed and programmed robots with ultrasonic and light sensors, integrating data received to perform various tasks. By equipping solar panels to the motors, our robots raised the Malaysian flag when the Sun was up. Despite complications due to energy-load proportions, we achieved success by manipulating gear ratios, increasing total force.

Engineering however, isn’t limited to moving particles. Its versatility complements my profound yet diverse passions. The Physics A-Level course supplemented my interests. As a pianist I was curious as to how 88 piano keys produced various pitches. Deriving the standing wave equation relating tension and frequency, explained this. I investigated the piano further, noticing the thickness differential in the wire wound strings. The different materials used fascinated me; lower pitch wires were coated with copper to increase mass yet maintain string stiffness. Appreciating this detail, the length-mass-tension ratio, in producing seemingly asynchronous waves that formed perfect melody, made music more colourful. I admire the application of Maths and Physics in this manner and my achievement in the National Science Challenge, that tested proficiency of both fields, reflects this.

Studying Economics provided a new viewpoint of the engineering world as I learnt the cost benefit analysis that tests the practicality of projects. My internship with United Engineers of Malaysia (UEM) reinforced this as I engaged in discussions to migrate the mechanical systems of UEM towards green engineering. Ideas of equipping thermocouples to condenser units of air conditioners; using unwanted heat as an energy source, intrigued me. However its feasibility was questioned, when implementation costs outweighed benefits. I learnt of the financial truth behind engineering and how economics links a concept to its reality.

Engineering inspires. The philosophy of the small but powerful carbon nanotubes (CNTs) captivates me. Superficially, it’s just another allotrope, graphene; mere pencil lead, but under the lenses of engineering, endless possibilities unveil. Humble upbringings made me relate to this simple pencil. Yet, with positive pressure and support I received, as do CNTs through orbital hybridisation, I displayed strength. 2 years ago, a football injury left me on crutches. My inability to walk led me to empathise with amputees who suffer worse. I realised my passion of prosthetics through this and researched its future prospects. I read up on CNTs, an immensely light body with greater tensile strength than steel. Its ability to contract rapidly when connected to a significant voltage meant, CNTs could potentially be more efficient than organic muscles. The works of Easton LaChappelle inspired me. At 17, he started Unlimited Tomorrow, producing affordable prosthetics using 3D printers. Till now my passion remains. I aspire to further integrate CNTs in prosthetic development to reduce its cost and reading engineering would support this.

The two greatest days of a man’s life is the day he’s born, and the day he finds out why. Job shadowing an engineer highlighted the latter. Designing actuator valves in refrigerant flow cycles to increase its efficiency, prompted me of what I already knew – that second great day was when I realised, relating to a pencil was alright. My past brought rationality and flexibility to detect mistakes, quickly sketching new ideas. A trait valued in every field, especially engineering. That second great day, ignited my passion in engineering.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Civil Engineering Personal Statement

Tan Wei Hoe  is currently a second year undergraduate reading MEng Civil Engineering at Imperial College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester and University of Bath for Civil Engineering.


Many a times I’ve asked myself, “What is my passion?” and many a times I could not muster an answer. Though, I’ve always loved to play Lego. I would indulge myself for hours in it. As I grew older, my perspective towards the world changed. Curiosity led me to a construction site near my house. How structural elements were pieced and combined to produce spectacular structures deeply related to my time playing Lego. It was then and there that I knew, Civil Engineering was, is and will be my passion!

Fascinated by how natural resources can sustain humanity, I’ve led many construction projects in Scouting. The remarkable achievement to me was the construction of a 12 foot tall two-tower archway. Taking into account structural stability and material suitability, the archway had to support the weight of pupils as they walked across it. This particular aspect required me to do independent research on Structural Analysis. How does loads affect the equilibrium of the structure? How will the structure be built based on soil strata? This allowed me to apply concepts in physics and mathematics which I’ve only learned theoretically. Finding practical application to abstract concepts gave me a sense of satisfaction which strengthened my zeal for Civil Engineering.

3D Printing Construction, I believe, is the future of Civil Engineering. Envision a world where we can just ‘print’ buildings into life. Like the ink in our printers, we need only input a certain quantity of building materials. This can drastically reduce cost and material wastage. However, to achieve such advancements, I believe that priority in research must be given to two key fields, namely Robotics Engineering and Materials Engineering. Intelligent systems capable of interpreting abstract blueprints and translating them into concrete elements complemented with flexible ink-like material which can be moulded to mimic materials such as steel and concrete. As companies such as Dutch company MX3D have already made headway in research, I strive to be one of the pioneers of 3D Printing Construction for the future of Civil Engineering.

My work attachment for a day to a power plant opened a new world of perspective for me. I witnessed how different fields of engineering complemented one another. As it was located in an oil palm plantation, Civil Engineers were responsible for laying the foundations of oil mills and power plants. Chemical Engineers then devised methods to produce biogas from the biomass harvested. The biogas is then combusted to produce mechanical energy to turn the turbines. As electricity is produced, Electrical Engineers plans and builds the necessary electrical framework for distribution. My personal experience taught me that to achieve a sustainable world, we must unify the fields of engineering.

My involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and winning the Gold medal in 2016 has developed my confidence and understanding of my potentials. My first taste of entrepreneurship came when I founded SEALS, the abbreviation for Sea, Air and Land Survival in Taylor’s College. This, together with my journey towards the King’s Scout award, sharpened my leadership and organisational skills. Knowing of the importance of Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, I have participated in the National Olympiad Challenge in Mathematics and Chemistry. The Olympiad challenge provided me with accelerated learning complemented with critical thinking skills. As for Physics, I’ve managed to build a LED display board with a group of friends for the Engineers’ Club. The process was exhilarating as we planned and built the electrical circuits from scratch. I realised that through teamwork, anything is possible.

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. In the wise words of Friedrich Nietzsche, I hope to take my first steps into Civil Engineering in one of the most esteemed universities in the United Kingdom.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Law Personal Statement

Jansen Law Zhen Hao  is currently a first year undergraduate reading Law LLB at University College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to UCL, LSE,  King’s College London, University of Bristol and University of Warwick for Law.


The judicial state of Malaysia is worrying. The catalyst of change for the prejudiced has been freedom of speech. Malaysia’s strengthening of the Sedition Act has harshly restricted this freedom as illustrated in 2015 whereby surges of government critics were prosecuted under the Act. It baffles me how a bygone act, abused by autocrats, is justified due to Malaysia’s racially tensed past and multi-faceted society. Democracy in Malaysia is dissipating as lines of permissibility are contingent on political convenience rather than legal foresight. The discussion on what laws should be universal, and variable based on the society it serves, is one that has sparked my interest in law.

Amidst questionable laws, the recent decline of respected lawyers has left citizens in a limbo of mistrust. “A strong legal system prevents tyranny” becomes an unattainable statement. The rule of ‘separation of powers’ in Malaysia has disorientated into a farrago of chaos. No thanks to politically motivated legal members and absurd constitutionally-granted power of parliament to amend free speech laws. The way faults in a legal system can change a country’s path is both a fearful and riveting trait that I would love to explore.

My interest led me to an internship with the chief criminal lawyer in Malaysia. Knowledge of legal terms and concepts made trials and commentaries easier to process. Mr.Salim developed my analytical skills by presenting me legal principles and asking for their applications in scenarios. While interning, I discovered a trend in Malaysian rape cases showing that a defense counsel had to not only raise doubt but actively prove an accused’s innocence. Due to cultural disgust for sex offenders, the rule of law has been distorted. This reaffirmed my view that the Malaysian legal system has been controversially morphed based on non-legal reasons. Differences between morality and legality interest me as it results in the discrepancy in punishments.

I had the opportunity to substantiate my views on the Sedition Act in my EPQ. My essay focused on how the Act deviated off legal principles and how these deviations weren’t justified in other contexts. I assessed that the Sedition Act was unlike other strict liability offences. Statutes of traditional offences clearly detail provisions to justify that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Yet, there has been prosecutions under Malaysia’s Sedition Act based on broadly undefined terms such as ‘feelings of ill will and enmity’. I also questioned the proportionality of the punishment in the Act. I found a Malaysian Law, requiring proven intent, punished those that made offensive racial remarks with a lesser imprisonment time than Sedition. This was in spite of how those remarks would also constitute Sedition. Through my survey and interviews with lawyers and politicians, I was also able to contextualize Sedition in a political and social landscape.

The prospect of compounding my views with greater legal knowledge in university motivates me. Love for greater knowledge and varying planes of logic culminated in my election as President of the Debate Society. Debating refined my verbalized thoughts and enabled me to pick out main points of contention. I have learned that verbal smokescreens and clutter were prominent in my court visits – the ability to pick out the main issues would be vital. The opportunity to be a trainee judge at national level competitions solidified my debating prowess. Judging allowed me to critically contrast the pros and cons of an argument and analyze a participant’s thought process and logic post-debate.

I look forward to studying Law as the debate is a cornerstone of the course. My experiences have equipped me with discipline, persistence, and consistency to fulfill my potential in law and consolidated my interest. Studying Law will allow me to navigate through political discord and influence people on juggling Malaysian intricacies and democracy through laws.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Economics Personal Statement

Han Chun Ting  is currently a first year undergraduate reading Bsc Economics at London School of Economics and Political Science. This personal statement was part of his successful application to LSE, UCL, University of Warwick, University of Bath and City University of London for Economics.


Economics is an important subject that shapes the world. The concept of Economics helps governments to implement the best policies for their countries to move forward and helps firms to analyse what are the best steps to take to maximise their revenues. Besides that, Economics is also a unique subject as having knowledge on the subject itself is not enough because the practical implementation of this knowledge is hugely affected by human behaviour. This makes Economics very intriguing as models are made to predict the most probable outcomes based on how people are behaving now and how they might in the future.

The current economic problems in my home country have fuelled my interest to study Economics at university level. In recent years, due to falling global oil prices, the revenue of the Malaysian government has taken a big hit. This has led the government to look for other sources of revenue to replace the loss of income from its petroleum industry. Some of the measures taken include the implementation of Goods and Services Tax and the removal of subsidies towards certain necessity goods. These measures have brought on a new high in the level of inflation within the country. As the cost of living increases, many people, especially low and medium income citizens are starting to go into unemployment. As a result, Malaysia is experiencing one of its worst economic recession over the past two decades. Social unrest is also reaching its peak as people are starting to publicly protest and question the government’s actions. The measures taken by the government have also affected my family as we are forced to change our lifestyle to accommodate the increase in price of the goods that we consume. All of these have left me to question the rationality behind some of the decisions made by the government as I argue on what should be done to replace the country’s source of income without placing extra burden on its people.

The broad range of subjects that I have taken up to A-Levels have allowed me to understand how the discipline of various subjects can be used concurrently. Studying Physics, I have learned to become more systematic and sensitive when assessing and drawing conclusions towards any implications of a given situation. I have taken up Economics in A-Levels to gain a better understanding on the subject. I also possess a strong mathematical background having studied Further Maths at A-Levels. Topics such as calculus and statistics are closely related to Economics, thus I believe I am well equipped to face the demands of studying Economics at degree level.

Academically, I have participated in competitions and won numerous awards. I believe by participating in these competitions, I can equip myself with better skills and be more competitive with the many challenges that are yet to come. Being an active participant in extra-curricular and social activities, I have learned a lot such as leadership and compassion, all of which has built me to become a more holistic and all rounded individual. Besides that, these opportunities have help build my confidence to talk to a large audience which could prove to be beneficial in the future when presenting my ideas. Being a part of my school’s football team has taught me more than anything else on how important teamwork and team harmony is to succeed.

With its high standards of teaching and state-of-the-art facilities, it is clear that the UK is the best place for me to pursue my university studies. I believe that my passion for the subject along with my academic potential will aid and bring me a step closer towards my goal to make a change in my home country.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Chemical Engineering Personal Statement

This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to UCL, University of Bath, University of Birmingham and University of Sheffield for MEng Chemical Engineering and University of Manchester for MEng Chemical Engineering with a year in industry. 


As a child, I would listen to enthralling stories of my grandfather tapping rubber at his family’s estate. The local community then was intertwined with the rubber industry as Malaysia was the largest producer of natural rubber in the world. Meanwhile in school, I would learn about the importance of natural rubber and wondered how a thick white liquid could be processed into remarkable products such as latex gloves and automotive parts and exported globally. I realised that complex processes involved in manufacturing raw materials into products were not limited to rubber but included myriad industries such as petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. During Chemistry lessons, I discovered that natural rubber can be vulcanized by adding sulphur to refine its properties, modifying it into an improved material by increasing its hardness and durability. At this point, I realized that vulcanization was only a small part of a larger process to produce rubber as the final product.

Albeit challenging, A-Level motivated me to pursue continuous learning and to be open to new ideas. Physics, Chemistry and Math helped develop my critical thinking and problem solving skills. I became interested with the idea of connecting the theories of chemistry into practical situations in life. The concept of creating products from raw materials using a series of processes drew my attention towards Chemical Engineering. I now look forward to generating processes for the creation of products, leveraging on my problem solving skills and ensuring that products made meet customers’ requirements.

Following up on this interest, I spoke to practicing Chemical Engineers who suggested I read up on Fluid Mechanics for a start. In “The Essentials of Fluid Mechanics”, I read about laminar and turbulent flows and learned how fluid flow rates are laminar at low velocities, represented by highly ordered motion. As the velocity of the fluid increases, the fluid flow becomes more chaotic and is hence turbulent. For example, cigarette smoke rises in smooth streamlines at first, then starts fluctuating in a random manner as it continues rising.

Realizing the importance of learning new skills and challenging my brain, apart from my academic pursuits, I have advanced my interest in music and learned the guitar, while continuing with singing and playing the piano. I joined Sunway Student Volunteers as I wanted to reach out to people of different ages and strata of society. I have helped at the National Zoo where I observed the zookeepers who were committed and took pride in their demanding tasks, a trait to leverage on to achieve my goals. I regularly teach children aged 5-6 at my church. Interacting with them has taught me patience, a strength I can rely on in the future.

I participated in shot put and javelin events and won a few medals for my school. I was selected to be on the netball team, won second place in my school’s cross country run and became one of the top athletes there. Sports taught me to embrace the failures in life and not be discouraged to continue striving. In 2015, as the President of Red House, a school sports team, I learnt that kindness and empathy were effective approaches in relating to people and building team spirit. This role taught me not to underestimate the importance of teamwork.

Born into a multiracial family, I engage easily with people of various backgrounds. Having mastered English, Malay and Hokkien, I have also picked up Spanish. This is the first step in preparation for me to practice in any part of the world. Attending one of the universities in the UK would not only equip me with academic knowledge, but would also sharpen my soft skills. My dream would be to have all these come together when I finally contribute my skills to advancements in industry as a full fledged Chemical Engineer.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Computer Science Personal Statement

This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to UCL, University of St Andrews, Durham University, University of Warwick and Lancaster University for Computer Science. 


I believe the possibilities computer technology present is limited only by one’s imagination and desire to innovate which both attracts and motivates me to study in this field. The unpredictability associated with this so called era of digital Darwinism excites me and with software bridging the gap between humans and computer, it is my aspiration to be in the forefront of future technological breakthroughs by pursuing a degree in computer science and ultimately a career in software engineering.

Being born in a multilingual country has exposed me to the different interpretable “layers” that make up speech in spoken languages. This has given me a better appreciation of the literal and precise syntax of the programming language. During ICT lessons, I was taught programming languages such as Python and often given projects to create relatively simple games such as “Hangman” using basic concepts we had been taught. My failures leading up to eventual success in creating the game taught me the importance of using logic to understand the flow and structure of any written programme. I truly enjoyed this programming experience which required both creativity and careful planning.

This year I was granted the opportunity to intern with a computer software consulting company. The research I conducted for the company on de-constructed databases enlightened me on the future of “big data” and how it will be one of the key drivers to the growth and development of the global economy. With this better understanding and appreciation of data being a coveted commodity, one of my aspirations as a future software engineer would be to help Malaysian companies develop efficient software systems that would integrate both structured and unstructured data harvesting into usable analytics and thereby enhancing business intelligence, improving their efficiency and ultimately competitiveness.

Possessing an affinity for numerical equations, mathematics and physics has taught me to analyse problems through critical thinking and utilise my understanding of concepts to find a solution. I enjoy the challenge that mathematics presents and the logical thinking required to break down seemingly convoluted problems into simple, solvable parts. Moreover, I have come to be fastidious and methodical when working towards a solution to avoid carelessness, an indispensable characteristic when developing software whose functionality hinges upon a line by line programming perfection.

To me, being creative is an asset to this vibrant industry of computer technology because just as no two artists create the same masterpiece, no two software engineers programme the same way to create identical systems. As a photographer, I have learnt to observe my environment from different perspectives to frame dynamic shots that excite me. It is my belief and hope that my unique perspective as a photographer will help me, as a computer science student, to regard problems as something three dimensional thus approachable from different angles to provide “out-of-the-box”-successful solutions. As an athlete, sports is equally a mental game to me as it is a physical one. Over the years, it has given me confidence, strength to persevere under duress and discipline to reach my goals. With that confidence, I took on the role of Vice House Captain of my college and organised the annual house trip for over a hundred students. This experience developed my leadership skills, communication skills as I had to correspond with many parties and teamwork when working with my peers. A three-month internship stint with a local magazine fostered my soft skills in a working environment and ingrained time management to meet published deadlines.

Ultimately, with my innate diligence and desire to learn, I hope to pursue a degree in Computer Science in your prestigious university and my goal, as a fully qualified software engineer, would be to successfully contribute to the burgeoning advancement of technology.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Medicine Personal Statement

This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to UCL, University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary University London for Medicine. 


As a St. John Ambulance first aider, I treated a schoolmate who fractured his forearm and dislocated his elbow. I immediately assigned my fellow first aiders their roles before speaking calmly to my schoolmate. Yet, held back by the limitations of being a first aider, we could only stabilise him before transferring him to the hospital for treatment. My perceived limitations sparked my consideration of pursuing medicine as a career choice as it exposed me to the extensive possibilities of being a doctor.

Intrigued by the decision-making process in medicine, I shadowed a doctor in the emergency ward of a local hospital. He diagnosed patients not just by using a fixed algorithm, but by using a blend of his clinical acumen, the results of lab tests and imaging modalities, considering every aspect of the illness. Through this, I realised that he maintained a healthy dose of scepticism to avoid red herrings, which could have caused misdiagnoses. Wielding the wisdom to choose his diagnostic tools at the correct moments, he avoided the unnecessary usage of resources, which were then made available for patients in the Intensive Care Unit. By doing so, I recognised that doctors constantly problem-solve, highlighting the investigative nature of a doctor’s role, consequently strengthening my resolve to study medicine.

I also understood the importance of compassion in medicine after witnessing the gravity of the psychological impact of illnesses on patients, especially those with heart disease. To tackle this, the doctor reassured and motivated them to change their sedentary lifestyles, a tough but gratifying task. From this, I learnt that doctors play a pivotal, yet unspoken role in solving some modifiable risk factors in such illnesses, consequently improving public health. He also adopted a scientific approach to most cases by not only addressing the symptoms but also the pathophysiology. Through this, I realised that science and benevolence are symbiotic in this field, exposing me to the holistic aspect of medicine.

Reading about the vastly unexplored area of neuroscience exposed me to the danger of brain tumours, such as glioblastomas. The heterogenous nature of these cells renders chemotherapy ineffective, leaving neurosurgeons with only the crude option of surgery to remove these tenacious tumours. Even then, the dilemma of deciding whether to operate or not plagues doctors ‘minds. I am optimistic that further research can solve this issue by paving the path to the finding of non-invasive diagnostic techniques, such as monoclonal antibodies. This can potentially lead to the discoveries of effective chemotherapeutic agents and oncolytic viruses that can specifically target these cells, such as the Zika virus which can kill glioblastomas. Research is an integral and exciting aspect of medicine, which ultimately aims to improve patient care. I believe that it is vital to apply research in the clinical setting. Volunteering at a hospice enabled me to empathise with the elderly. One particular lady left me feeling helpless as she was bedridden and blind, binding her to a challenging life. I realised that my company brought her joy, exposing me to the importance of applying medical humanities in the clinical setting.

To further improve my interpersonal skills, I tutored underprivileged children from a rural area in English through my college’s Rotaract Club. This allowed me to understand the importance of communicating well in a multiracial society, another key aspect of a doctor’s job scope. This experience further inspired me to champion public health as the kids were living in poor conditions. Currently, I am self-learning to code and play the guitar, whilst regularly playing badminton to ensure that I am constantly learning new skills whilst leading a balanced lifestyle. Together, these experiences gave me the valuable insights needed to practice in this field that is an imperfect science but nonetheless a gratifying art.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.