A Coffee Enthusiast’s Application to Oxford for Physics

Oxford JX

Applying to Oxford for Physics (Not my Dad’s)

If you’re reading this, you just might possibly be considering the thought of maybe perhaps APPLYING FOR PHYSICS at Oxford.

Do it.

My dad (whose physics application advice is also on this website) and I are the only Malaysian physicists here and we’d love for you all to join the *cough* fun.

Brian’s Journey to Oxford (Part 1)

Brian’s Journey to Oxford (Part 2)

No. He’s not my real dad.

I’ll have more information concerning my interview than anything else, because that’s the most memorable part, and dad’s article sums up all the good tips for everything else already.

Here we go!

 

FIRSTLY, THE PAT

I honestly cannot remember much from my sitting of the PAT.  Nevertheless, my checklist for preparing for it was along the lines of:

[] Read through the PAT Syllabus ( https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/study-here/undergraduates/applications/physics-aptitude-test-pat/pat-syllabus ) and note down any topics which your Sixth Form course has not covered

[] Read through AS-level and IGCSE physics

[] Brief research of eclipses and astronomy (which my A-level studies did not cover)

[] ALL the past year PAT papers from http://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/pat/ . This here website is your new best friend. Don’t forget to check with its model answers

[] A few servings BPho (British Physics Olympiad, not the Vietnamese noodle soup) from http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/olympiad/PastPapers.html#BPhOP1 . Again, these have marking schemes and, as dad said, they do in fact resemble the PAT questions

When it gets to the PAT, keep calm and just show them what you know! Very few people can complete every single question with confidence. I remember blanking out for a few math concepts I had not used for months but give everything a good shot and cross your fingers for…

 

THE INTERVIEW

Hehe. I remember getting my interview email in the middle of Lumut’s jungles covered in soil and sweat on my teacher’s iPad. I was in the middle of KTJ’s Outward Bound School trip for Sixth-Form students and frustrated that books were forbidden during the course. Good times…

I had two interviews over Skype: the first with Oriel and the second with Pembroke (obviously, the Pembrokian tutors who interviewed me and are now tutoring me are nicer 🙂 )

The link to the interview questions and solutions are at the end of this paragraph. I urge you to not look at the answers and instead give the questions a worthy go before checking your attempt with my answers.

JX Physics Interview and Solutions

Preparing for the interview

  1. Do lots of Fermi Problems
  2. Do lots of Puzzles
  3. Chill
  4. Drink coffee
  5. Read and practice from the following list

Book recommendations: These are just some books that I read or read excerpts from that were very interesting or helpful to the interview.

Jearl Walker – The Flying Circus of Physics

This book, although incredibly elusive, is a treasure trove of physics brainteasers with awesome explanations.

Conservation of Momentum blog

https://conversationofmomentum.wordpress.com/

Lots of physics interview questions and puzzles.

Richard Feynman – QED ; 6 easy pieces ; Tips on Physics ; Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman

Great look at an unconventional perspective of physics. The last book isn’t really about physics but it’s the only biography I have ever enjoyed reading.

George Gamow – Mr Tompkins in Paperback

A pretty fun exploration of physics you should be interested in. You can find these (legally) free online.

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality – Manjit Kumar

A nice historical overview of modern physics.

 

All in all, I hope you have a great time applying for and studying Physics (if you’re here not for the physics, good luck with whatever you’re doing anyway!). I hope the advice here helps. I know it’s short, but it’s so that you have more time to practice which is what will really matter.

All the best! Hi Mum and dad (Oxford and in real life)!


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Jiaxen Lau, full time physicist, coffee connoisseur, photographer, videographer, fashionista, poet, cryptoanalyst, is currently reading Physics in Pembroke College, Oxford University. Indeed, he may have forgotten lunch but he will never forget about coffee. Make no mistake, this man is not a Victorian dandy but, with certainty, a Victorian gentleman who, as rumour has it, seems to have a girlfriend. Shame on him if that’s true, he’s supposed to love physics and coffee and only physics and coffee.

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Oxford Chemical Engineering Application

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Hi, this is Christopher Lim Zi Kai from the land of agriculture, Kedah! I’m born in 1994 and am currently 20 years old now. After graduating from SMJK Sin Min with 9 A+,

2A in 2011, I was awarded a bursary offer to pursue Cambridge A-Levels in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya. My subject combination was Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Further Mathematics.

However, my life was not as smooth as the life of other scholars you may come across before. In 2012, I was selected to attend the second batch of National Service. During that period, I was involved in an accident which resulted a brachial plexus injury. For your information, it is a nerve injury which causes the loss of feeling and control of my right hand, which happens to be my dominant hand. Back then, I was told by doctors that they had never seen this case before and none of the doctors dared to guarantee that I would make a full recovery

After countless sessions of physiological exercises and treatments from traditional doctors all over Malaysia, my hand managed to recover fully after 1 year. Then, the time for university applications came. Initially, I was reluctant to include the famous Oxbridge universities in my application. However, thanks to a classmate persuading me that I should never give up before trying, I decided to include University of Oxford as part of my UCAS application for Chemical Engineering.

Hence, if you are still feeling doubtful whether to apply to University of Oxford, please do not hesitate any longer. If someone with long-term physical injury like me can go through all the challenges, there is no reason why you don’t stand a chance of being offered a place to study in the university of your choice. Take ACTION now to enter your DREAM university!

What was included in the application process?

As a summary for those of you who are interested to apply to any engineering subjects in University of Oxford, here’s what’s included in the application process:

  1. a) UCAS application
  2. b) Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)
  3. c) Interview Session (may be one or two session depending on your subject and college you apply to)

What did I include in my personal statement?

Here’s a list of the points I included in my personal statement:

  1. a) How I develop my passion for chemical engineering;
  2. b) Why I choose chemical engineering;
  3. c) Awards in various Mathematics Competitions;
  4. d) My experience of brachial plexus injury;
  5. e) My future vision of being a chemical engineer and how can I contribute back to society
  6. f) Strength of my character;
  7. g) Activities which I participated in and what I learnt from them, such as what had I learnt from being the Treasurer of Taylor’s College Toastmaster Club, President of Computer Club in SMJK Sin Min, etc; and
  8. h) Why I want to study in the UK.

PAT and Me

This test consists of 2 sections, which is Maths followed by Physics. Unlike A-Levels, there are no mark schemes available online for the past year questions. At the same time, although the questions can still be solved using A-Level knowledge, the solutions can be quite lengthy.

So, I started off by practicing the specimen paper. Initially, I got a false impression that PAT was quite easy as the level of difficulty of the specimen paper was almost similar to what we learned in A-Levels. However, when I started doing the actual past year papers, I was in a shock to find how tricky the questions could be! The solutions will require you to use the knowledge you learn from Cambridge A-Levels (refer to the syllabus section in the link below for more info) and manipulate some equations or linking theories between a few chapters in order to solve them.

I found out that I was quite comfortable with the standard of Maths question as I had practiced solving questions from Australian Mathematics Competition and Euclid Mathematic Competition before (Yup, I had no experience solving Mathematics Olympiad questions at all) and the questions were more or less on a similar level. The only difference was that NO CALCULATOR is allowed during the test (which made life more difficult)!

However, the Physics part was relatively tougher as I did not have much experience in attempting problem-solving questions. In addition, the Physics section can be further split into 2 parts, the objective questions and the long structured questions. At the same time, my lecturer had not finished certain topics from the A2 syllabus. Hence, a lot of self-study was needed in this aspect in order to achieve the level to solve the questions.

Hence, every time after I completed a past year paper, I would find my classmate who was also practicing the paper, and we cross-checked our answers. If either one of our answers did not tally with the other, we engaged ourselves in an intellectual discussion on how to solve the problem. If we failed to come to a consensus, we engaged our lecturer to discuss and find the solution.

Refer to this link for more information about PAT: https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/studyhere/undergraduates/applications/physics-aptitude-test-pat

The Moment I Had Been Dreading: The Interview

Surprisingly, a month after PAT, I was invited to an individual Skype interview with two professors from the University of Oxford, one who was responsible for asking me Maths questions and another who was responsible for asking me Physics questions. Personally, I wasn’t expecting to get that far, that’s why I was quite worried about the interview as I did not even have the experience of a mock interview. Nevertheless, I just surfed online and read through how previous candidates performed in the interview. Also, I applied some tips which I got from a senior, which was “Think Out Aloud” – saying out what you are thinking consistently so the professors can understand how you process information and how to help you out when you are stuck.

The interview started off with a maths question. The professor asked me to sketch the function, y= sin (ex). Initially, my reaction was “Oh no, I’m so gonna fail this”; however I just smiled and sketched the shape of a sine function and exponential function next to each other and continue to stare at the paper (Oh ya, you have to prepare your own papers and stationery beforehand). After 2 minutes of silence, the professor asked me if I would like any advice. I accepted his advice and he asked me to analyse the graph from 3 aspects, when x<0, x=0, and x>0. Hence, I followed his advice by substituting x=0 into the equation and managed to get the y- intercept, which was sine 1 radian. Similar to the PAT test, no calculator is allowed during the interview, so I had to convert 1 rad to degrees, using the value of pi divided by 180. The professor then asked me to round off the value to 60 and hence that’s how I obtained the approximate value of the y-intercept, which was 0.866.

After that, I went on to analyse the case where x<0. So, all the values of ex is now smaller than 1 radian. Hence, I know that all the solutions would be positive as they all lie on the first quadrant. The smaller the value of x, the closer the line will be approaching zero from the positive side (Further Maths student should be able to understand what I am saying). On the other hand, for x>0, since the value of ex increases exponentially, the period of the sine function will decreases as x increases. Put together all 3 parts of the graph and you will get:Sin

My next question was all about the interpretation of data from a “Stress versus Strain” graph. Attached is an almost-the-same graph which they showed me:

Stress

I was asked about the gradient of the graphs, Young Modulus, and identifying which object belongs to which category. The most interesting thing that I will like to point out is the professor related an item which I wrote in my personal statement, “Thera Band” to the graph. Hence, make sure that you know what you are writing in your personal statement before you go for your interview. Because this definitely proves that the professors have read your personal statement before interviewing you!

Moreover, after I finished answering this question. I was asked 2 personal questions.

1) Why do you want to study Chemical Engineering, apart from what you have written in your personal statement?
2) Why do you want to study in UK?

In conclusion, rather than calling it an interview, it is more of a stimulation of the actual tutorial system in the University of Oxford. The only reason why I can remember the questions is because I really have learnt from the interview. Personally, I felt that the purpose of the interview was not for them to eliminate students’ applications, but to find potential students who they like to teach for the next 4 years. If they find you teachable, you definitely have a high chance of succeeding the interview!

The interview is definitely something worth experiencing in your lifetime and you will certainly learn something from it!

Here’s a link that tells you further on how the admission tutors select potential students: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29222233


Christopher
Christopher Lim is a dynamic young adult who is pursuing Engineering Science- Chemical Engineering in University of Oxford under JPA scholarship. Being a fan of self- development courses and books, you will find him attending seminars after seminars especially during weekends. He is also the co-author of the book “Gen Y : Code of Success”.

My journey applying for Economics & Management at Oxford

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Hey everyone! I’m Esther Ng and I will be reading Economics and Management (E&M) in Oxford University this October.

I applied to read pure economics at Warwick, LSE, Bristol and UCL. However, as Oxford did not offer a pure economics course, I chose E&M instead. (UCAS only allows you to apply to a maximum of 5 universities). Moreover, E&M appealed to me as it combines my interest in the management of business with my passion for economics, and is also less mathematical than a pure economics course in say, LSE or Cambridge.

Personal statement (PS)

Next, the dreaded PS which you would spend centuries redrafting. A personal statement is your opportunity to write about your achievements, passion in the subject and differentiate your application from the others.

I only had 3 weeks to draft and submit my personal statement so, I would really recommend you to start your PS as early as possible to allow yourself ample time to redraft and perfect it.

As you are limited to 4,000 characters (about 1 A4 page), it is vital that you focus your PS on your achievements and experiences that reflect your passion and interest in the course you are applying for.  Below is how I structured my personal statement:

  • Introduction. Why economics? What sparked the interest? Instead of merely mentioning my involvement in community service and mission trips, I’ve linked this to how it initiated my desire to study economics – i.e. “to explore economic policies which would reduce chronic destitution and poverty”
  • Books I read which supplemented my interest and articles which I found thought provoking. i.e. The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier, Paul Krugman’s End this Depression Now!
  • My achievements which linked to economics (i.e. UKMT math challenge competition), and the transferrable skills I gained from the subjects I took in A levels (Further Maths and History) and how they further propelled my desire to study economics.
  • Interest in management. i.e. Link to the practicality of economics/ any experience you have in business management (Enterprise CCA)

UCAS only allows you to submit 1 personal statement so if you’re applying for E&M to all 5 universities, then you may want to give equal weighting to both subjects. However, since I applied for  slightly different courses (E&M and pure economics), I only had a small section on management to acknowledge and show interest in it, as I did not want it to affect my pure-economics application to the other 4 universities.

  •    Conclude

TSA Test

The Thinking Skills Assessment is a pre-interview test held in early-November, with the intention to test applicants on their critical thinking and problem solving skills. This is only applicable to certain courses and universities, so do check if you need to take it!

The admission test consists of 2 sections.

  1. Section 1: 50 MCQ in 90 minutes
  2. Section 2: Answer 1 essay from a choice of 4 in 30 minutes which would be reviewed by the admissions tutor of your chosen Oxford college

It’s useful to gain an insight to the structure and time constraints of the paper by looking at specimen/ past papers.

Interview

If you’re shortlisted for the interview, you can decide to fly to the UK or hold a Skype interview.

You are expected to be reasonably well-prepared for your interview.

  • practise answering typical questions like “Why Economics and Management
  • ensure that you are able to discuss anything you mentioned in your personal statement
  • read about your subject, like current affairs/ latest happenings
  • have mock interviews with your teachers/ subject specialists (if you think it will help you, I found this useful!) My economics teacher held a mock interview with me which I recorded to see which areas I could improve on.

For my interview, I decided to fly to UK so that I would be able to visit the campus and my college. I applied to Trinity College and had 1 interview there with 3 interviewees and a 2nd interview at Keble college. Both interviews were starkly different, with my 2nd interview being much more math-based.

Example of parts of my E&M interview:

  • Simple math equation which I had to sketch and questions relating to it. I was not really expecting math questions (I don’t know what I was thinking :/)
  • Interviewer asked me about the Keynesian stance which I mentioned in my personal statement
  • ‘What would I say about a government that keeps using fiscal stimulus however, there is no improvement?’
  • Summarise some articles (mine was on employment) which they allowed me to read before the interview

I was nervous for both interviews and felt like I performed terribly especially for the math questions. However, the interviewers were very friendly and would guide me along the math problems whenever I was stuck.

What are the tutors looking for?

  • Confidence and clarity in expressing and discussing ideas
  • Interest and passion in subject
  • Flexibility and ability to construct and assess arguments
  • Teachability

I almost considered not applying to Oxford due to the limited time I had to prepare my personal statement, and the “certainty” that I would be rejected. What stirred me on was the belief that ‘I know I’ve tried’, so regardless of the outcome, apply to your dream course and university. #noregrets

All the best for your application!


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Esther Ng Kah Wei is delighted to be reading Economics and Management in the University of Oxford. ‘All Glory to God!’, she says. She’s a huge fan of chocolate crepes and loves travelling around the world!

Mechanical Engineering at Oxford

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Intro

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.

UCAS

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: fuyoh94@ymail.com. Good luck!


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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.

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.

Oxford PPE Application Part 2: Interview & Tests

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Read Part 1 of the story HERE

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I am privileged: with a nurturing environment, a family that encourages independence & unpopular opinions, a mother who is an educator, and a father who talks like a politician, mixing sense and nonsense with a poker face. (I kid, I kid! Don’t kill me, pa!) I read a lot as a child – compared to many of my schoolmatesl. My sister is a CMU grad, working as a software engineer, and my brother is studying PPE in The Queen’s College, Oxford. That’s both very encouraging and very pressuring.

Now enough with my yammering and on to the part you’re really interested in.

On the UCAS App

Oxford is not as concerned about your co-curricular activities as they are about how you furthered your interest in your chosen subject. Do relate your activities with your course where possible. I did not do an internship, and if you do it only in interest of increasing your chances to get into Oxbridge, then you probably shouldn’t apply. Make sure you take part in these things because you’re truly interested. Oxbridge has an incredibly heavy workload which you can only appreciate if you like the subject you study. I did do a part-time desk job in college for pocket money and some working experience, which did provide fodder for my PS. I doubt that it was a major factor in consideration of my application, however. My passion and clarity of opinion may have been.

Choosing a college is advisable if there are any particular colleges you don’t want to get. Many people choose colleges for a variety of different reasons – it could be famous for a course, or it may be located nearer to town, or they simply have a good vibe about it. No need to fret too much if you can’t decide: you can make an open application. I did this. It simply means that you will be allocated to a college, which won’t know if you chose it or not (hence, it won’t affect your chances whether your application is open or not).

On the TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment)

People applying for PPE will have to take the TSA – Oxford’s thinking skills assessment. Structurally, it is very similar to the multiple-choice questions (MCQ) exam paper taken by CIE AS level Thinking Skills students, so you can practice those questions on the XtremePapers page to get a feel of it. There are 50 questions, and the only difference is the time given (90 minutes). After the MCQ paper, there will be an essay section: choose one of five essay topics and write about it in 30 minutes. This will not be graded. Interviewers and admissions officers may refer to it, however. Make your essay straight to the point and flesh out your points in a clear manner. Don’t be afraid to say something controversial if you believe in it. Likewise, don’t say something controversial if you don’t believe in it. Sense = necessary. Bombastic = unnecessary. Check the website on the Oxford TSA to find out more. They also have a few sample questions you can glance over.

On The Interview

If you get a good score (for my year, it was 60.05 and above. They grade on a scale. Don’t be alarmed by a 70 – that’s very good! (I got 68.1!) – have a good reference (and grades), and write a good personal statement; you may be shortlisted for interview! Somewhere between half to a third of applicants are interviewed. People who apply for Medicine have to be in Oxford for this – the rest can choose to be interviewed via Skype (find the best connection you can!). There should be no material disadvantage of your chances if you opt for this.

The interviews are held in December over a span of two to six days. The college that you choose, or are allocated to, will interview you at a certain time and date. After that, keep checking the notification board or your email for invitations to other interviews. You may be interviewed by two or more colleges, though your original college has first dibs. I was only interviewed by one college myself.

Prep

The best preparation for interviews is to read your personal statement and any written work you submitted, practice voicing your train of thought and argument in a clear way, and basically read about your subject (as you should have been doing all this while). The interviewers look for teachability, passion, and organised thinking. They are not going to quiz you on facts, though you are expected to have at least some degree of general knowledge where your course is concerned. Some people participate in mock interviews. Do that, if you think it will make you feel better. Don’t, if you think the thought will distract you during your actual interview. You don’t have to. I didn’t. (Note: Admissions tutors advise against coaching.)

The interview is purely academic – they don’t judge you based on your background or clothes or accent (though please speak clearly!). They may ask you about your personal statement, a hypothetical scenario, or current affairs. The questions are not meant to stump you completely, but should be unfamiliar enough to show your critical thinking skills rather than memorising skills. Interviews are often said to be like mini-tutorials – you may find that answers need a moment or two of deep thought, and your interviewer will often guide you through that process. It isn’t about the answer – sometimes the question doesn’t even have a right or wrong answer – it’s about how you reach it. They’re generally friendly and want you to be at your ease so that panic doesn’t affect your performance.

My Interview

My interview was held over Skype. They usually want you to be in your college or school when interviewed, so that college staff can make sure you are uninterrupted – sometimes the interviewers may ask you to show them the room to prove you are alone. I was in Hanoi, on holiday. The line was a bit shaky, so after introducing themselves they switched off their video and just watched mine.

I was interviewed by three people for each component of my course, and each of them had a ten-minute talk with me:

  1. The first, the politics tutor, asked me about an opinion I gave on democracy in Malaysia, making me explain why I felt it was important, as well as consider and give opinions on the efficacy of autocracy in comparison. The conversation was mostly questions from the tutor, followed by my answer, followed by questions about my answer, etc etc.
  2. The following bit with the philosophy tutor was more unnerving – he told me a story and asked me what I could infer from it. This ventured into fields of epistemology – the philosophy of what we know and how we know it. (As in, how do I know I am not just having a very vivid dream about the interview?) I felt almost totally lost, and tried to figure my way through it. The tutor tried to help, but I felt his efforts were in vain.
  3. Finally, the economics tutor led me through a scenario of homogeneous cookie production with a certain number of loyal and fickle customers, asking me how to price my cookies such that I will earn the maximum profit possible. This one in particular made me feel very stupid at the end for giving the wrong answer in the beginning, as well as not knowing what a cartel was. With the tutor’s guidance, I reached the best solution.
  4. After the last part, they asked me if I had any questions. I asked the philosophy tutor how he would have answered his question – he gave the opposite answer from me but didn’t have time to explain why.

I ended the interview feeling appallingly idiotic, on the verge of both laughter and tears. It felt like I had been terrible at answering all of them, especially the philosophy tutor. I thought I’d failed.

I didn’t let that spoil my holiday, though.

Conclusion

The outcome will usually be announced in January. You’ll get an email and a letter, as will your referee. Unlike Cambridge, the pooling happened during the interview stage, so any offer you receive comes from your college or another college that interviewed you. Otherwise, you will get an open offer, which means that they haven’t decided on your college but you are confirmed a place in one of them.

For PPE, the standard offer now is AAA, with an IELTS score of at least 7.0 overall and for each component (they also accept TOEFL and others, check the page out: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/international-students/english-language-requirements). By the way, acceptance rates overall are about 1 successful applicant for every 6.5 applicants, and 1 to 10 in Malaysia.

If you are of comparable intelligence, can reason well, and love learning about PPE (or indeed any other subjects that Oxford offers), go ahead and apply! Worried about funding? Bear in mind that there are many scholarships available. My brother only received his after holding an unconditional offer for months.

As I write this, I am two days away from receiving my A-levels results. Good luck, and bon courage to the both of us!


Links which you may find useful:

  1. Oxford Malaysia club: https://www.facebook.com/notes/outreach-oxford-university-malaysia-club/faqs-on-applying-to-oxford/1382102442020174
  2. Some more detailed advice about Oxford: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=956112
  3. How fair is Oxford? http://www.stdominics.org.uk/media/uploads/Oxford%20Fairness.pdf
  4. And of course, the most important page for PPE applicants: http://www.ppe.ox.ac.uk/

Wei LingThe University of Oxford claims that BNM scholar Tay Weiling is sure to “achieve the required grades and subsequently enjoy” reading PPE there. Meanwhile she dabbles in everything from poetry to parkour to particle physics. You won’t find her easily – the wild Weiling is shy of strangers.

Oxford PPE Application Part 1: UCAS

Corpus ChristiI’m Weiling from Port Dickson. I did A-levels at Inti International University, Nilai, and hold a conditional offer from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, to read PPE.

PPE stands for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. I think my teachers, especially, are quite dismissive when I tell them I’m going to study a subject that isn’t hard science (or law), but they tend to soften when I say I’m going to Oxford to do it.

My sponsor (Bank Negara) stipulated that I must apply for pure Economics where possible. Oxford does not offer Economics as a standalone course, so I was permitted to choose PPE – it’s arguably one of the most famous courses here. (If you are under no such restrictions, please be aware that many universities offer PPE or variants of it! Applying for different courses in different universities may complicate your personal statement. If you prefer pure Economics, Cambridge has just such a course – you can choose it instead of Oxford.)

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I was lost when people said “…of course, you apply through UCAS” because they never explained what it was. When I finally looked it up, I realised it was because they didn’t need to. If you don’t know what UCAS is, just google it and go to their website. They are obscenely clear about things.

You can and should apply for a maximum of five universities through UCAS (maximum of one Oxbridge university). You will have to fill in basic personal details, attach a reference letter from a lecturer or counsellor (who will also submit your predicted grades, if you don’t have your official results yet), and write one personal statement, which will be sent to all the universities you apply to.

… okay, that’s the only preface you need.

Personal Statement

What is it?

An essay that admissions officers will look at in deciding whether or not to offer you a place. Ideally it should explain why you’re interested and how you’re qualified. The personal statement needs to be 4,000 characters or under, including spaces. This is the part people worry about the most.

I won’t post my personal statement here in case someone gets the wrong idea. I got rejected by two very highly respected institutions: LSE and UCL. (Note: I applied for Economics to LSE, UCL, Warwick and Durham.) My essay was a strong PPE essay… with insufficient emphasis on Economics, according to LSE. When writing it, I carefully crafted it such that it would stress my passion for philosophy and politics, but related it to an all-encompassing theme of economics.

I only realised how much I was staking on Oxford when I got my first reply, about three weeks after my application was sent.

It was from LSE.

It was a rejection.

… Happily, Durham offered the following week, and Oxford shortlisted me for interviews the fortnight after.

Disclaimer: everyone has their own style of writing, and none is better than the other. This was how my personal statement went:

Introduction: I linked my life principles and childhood interests to “political economy, and the philosophies behind it” (Not-exactly-fun fact: Economics used to be known as “political economy”, and originated from moral philosophy.)
Body: The following paragraphs explained the parts I enjoy the most about economics – inevitably, its philosophy and uses in politics.

An excerpt:

“Questions of legislation and state intervention in the economy pique my curiosity. Equality and social justice are issues close to my heart. Growing up in Malaysia, a country distinctive for its affirmative action in favour of the majority race, has made me ponder the definitions of racism and secularism. The policies of my country have fostered division socially as surely as it has closed racial gaps economically. My experience working with the marketing department of my college has shown me that private firms must play by race in the market because of this. It has caused me to question the dynamism of democracy, and whether there truly are those who are “more equal than others”, as Orwell’s Animal Farm puts it.”

I basically explained what I liked and gave an example of it in Malaysia. Here I also linked it to working experience and a relevant book I’ve read. Some of it was unintentional – all of it came from the heart. And to be frank, “working with the marketing department” was being a part-time telemarketer who attended a marketing department meeting in college.

I wrote another two paragraphs detailing how I had important learning skills like critical thinking, problem solving, “mathsy” skills, self-discipline etc. It was linked with my school stuff (science stream, Scouting, debating, OMK, and I totally should have said chess! Why didn’t I?! Argh!) as well as stuff I did myself (reading, watching talks and debates).

Ending: A brief note on what I want to accomplish after my degree, and another mention of “political economy and the philosophy it operates on.”

Reference and Predicted Grades

I got my Physics lecturer to write about me. I didn’t read it.  Nevertheless, he was my favourite and my closest lecturer. And it was a last minute thing… So much for self-discipline. I did not know I had to request predicted grades from my faculty, or that it usually took three working days. I asked my Head of Programme to print one out on the spot. It was A*AAA.

Pro-tip: get it all sorted out at least a week before the deadline, which, for Oxford apps, is mid-October.

Review & Advice

In hindsight I could have done a much better job of applying. My application was sent on the day itself by my college – without my predicted grades. And as you can see, my grades were the bare minimum for those top universities I applied to (UCL may have rejected me for this). Individual universities requested my grades, except LSE and Oxford. If I was offered a place, it must have been based on my personal statement and relatively good academic track record.

I have some words of advice for future applicants:

DO set a much earlier deadline for yourself. I suggest starting a draft of your personal statement a few months in advance – don’t put it off! It may not be perfect at the beginning. Start early and you can take your time editing it.

“The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.”
– Joshua Wolf Shenk

A well-written reference letter is also very importa

nt, so choose your referee well and give them time!

DO look things up yourself – I hardly need to state this. If you’re really interested, you’d find out what there is to know about the application process, the university and/or course requirements, the style of teaching, scholarships etc. Websites like The Student Room (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/) are your friends.

*By the way, Durham accepts alternate personal statements in place of the one submitted through UCAS.

DO find someone to proofread your essays. Sometimes we get so caught up in our views, we forget that the personal statement is read by someone who has never met us and doesn’t understand us completely. That said, take advice discerningly. Someone I know had his friends read his personal statement and comment, only to edit it in a way that was not at all what they suggested. It is entirely possible that you may get some sort of an epiphany from your teacher/parents/friends’ comments, even if it isn’t what they mean.

DO make the personal statement personal. There is no fixed format – anything goes as long as it reflects YOU and YOUR passion. And is, preferably, easy to read.

DO what you want to do! Apply for your dream university, even if it isn’t the one your parents/teachers/friends want you to go to. Just make sure your personal statement is not specific to any one university.

DO focus on your exams as well – hence the “early deadline” advice. Don’t let your worry about meeting deadlines affect your exam preparation.

DON’T PANIC! (Actually I just put this here for Douglas Adams fans. But, well, try not to panic.)

And paradoxically… don’t take advice! Just read it, weigh it, and make up your own mind. Chances are, you’re a legal adult now, and fully aware of how much not-very-credible information is out there. Trust yourself.

May the force be with you.

Read Part 2 of this story HERE


Wei LingThe University of Oxford claims that BNM scholar Tay Weiling is sure to “achieve the required grades and subsequently enjoy” reading PPE there. Meanwhile she dabbles in everything from poetry to parkour to particle physics. You won’t find her easily – the wild Weiling is shy of strangers.

My Journey to Oxford (Part 2)

Brian Khor will read Physics in University of Oxford- the city of dreaming spires

Brian Khor will read Physics in the University of Oxford – the city of dreaming spires.

 

Read Part 1 of this story here.

Interviews

The Specific Details of my Interviews

1st Oxford Physics Skype Interview (Conducted by Physics tutors from University College, Oxford)

I applied to University College (informally known as ‘Univ’) at the University of Oxford. And as part of Oxford Physics Department admission process, I was interviewed twice, once by Univ and another interview by a second randomly assigned college (for my case, Pembroke College). Unlike the University of Cambridge (where interviews can be conducted in Malaysia or in Cambridge itself), Malaysian applicants to Oxford can only choose to either fly there for the interviews, or have their interviews through Skype. I opted for Skype interviews. My Univ interview lasted for about 45 minutes, and revolved around interesting problems and phenomena about Physics and Mathematics.

An integration problem with a nice clever trick.

After receiving this math problem, I thought of the standard substitution method, and told my interviewers about how it works. Unfortunately, while working through the question using the substitution method, I realized that the steps were longer than expected. Out of my curiosity, I asked my interviewers for hints whether there were other approaches to this problem, and I was shocked at how elegant and simple my interviewers would have otherwise solved it. Here’s the hint (spoiler alert for people who is trying to solve this!):

I was awestruck at how simple this hidden pattern is! This approach was much shorter and more beautiful.

I was awestruck at how simple this hidden pattern is! This approach was much shorter and more beautiful.

In case you haven’t realized it, the integrand (which is the thing you’re supposed to integrate) simply has (1/x) as the numerator, and the differentiated form of (1/x) which is (ln x) as denominator. When you have integrands in the form of f’(x) / f(x), the integral (result of integration) will be ln ( f(x) ). Don’t worry if you don’t quite get this. It is actually in the Cambridge A Level A2 Maths syllabus.

After several Maths problems, the interviewers moved on to a Physics phenomenon: moving charge in a magnetic field. The interviewers didn’t just ask about the issues and problems that could be found in the A-Level syllabus; they went beyond and tested me on how much I could adapt and solve the unknown. The interviewers started with the standard A Level magnetic field case, where the moving charge is moving perpendicularly to the magnetic field, in a circular pattern. Then they moved on to moving charges moving at an angle (not perpendicular as in the first case) inside a uniform magnetic field. It’s not covered in the A-Level syllabus but if you break down the velocity into its horizontal and vertical components, you will realise that the component perpendicular to the field will move in a circular motion while the parallel component will move with constant velocity, which results in a helical motion. Then came the tough bit, the last interview question that I spent almost 10 minutes struggling to understand:

Predicting motion of positive moving charges

Predicting the motion of moving positive charges in a converging field

The problem was about predicting the motion of positive moving charges coming at an angle inside a converging field. In the previous 2 cases, I only dealt with uniform magnetic field, and now I was asked about what would  happen to the motion and trajectory of a moving charge coming at an angle to a converging magnetic field (see pic above). This was a rather strange physical phenomenon where I had never thought about it before and found it  interesting to speculate the motion of the moving charge. First, I stated that the  magnetic field strength is increasing (since the field is converging) but I struggled (in a rather unfruitful direction) for the first five minutes on this problem. Finally, I asked for a hint, and it’s this one hint, that led the way to understand and solve this problem. The hint was: The Lorentz force acting on the positive moving charge, in real mathematical form, is the cross product of qv and B ( F = qv x B). While this hint was obvious to me, I never thought that it would be useful in handling this problem. Then, I came out with a sketch of my solution while explaining verbally what was  going on (see pic below):

The hint that led him to solve the complicated problem

The hint that led Brian to solve the complicated problem

This is on why the hint was useful: Interview B field question

As you can see, the cross product will change the component of the velocity perpendicular to the magnetic field, and since the field strength is increasing, it will “attract” the vector of the velocity towards its perpendicular component. But the cross product constraint will require the magnitude of the velocity to stay the same and hence it results in a rather weird helical motion which will eventually result in a circular path that stops going forward. See following 2 paragraphs for further explanation. Spiral motion

  • As the converging magnetic field implies that the magnetic force (which acts in the direction perpendicular to both magnetic field lines and velocity) is increasing, this will thus increase the Lorentz force on the component of velocity perpendicular to the field lines. The direction of Lorentz force (which is always perpendicular to velocity) will have some complicated change in direction due to the change in velocity and increase in magnitude of the force, so I will not show the details here but just the big picture. This perpendicular Lorentz force is like centripetal force acting perpendicularly on velocity – stronger centripetal force will cause the moving charge to move in a spiral. This is because stronger force leads to higher acceleration, which leads to greater change in the perpendicular component of velocity.
  • If the spiral motion was in only 2-D, the magnitude of velocity increases due to increasing centripetal force (centripetal acceleration = rw2, so while circular radius, r, decreases, w needs to increase more than r in order to account for increasing centripetal acceleration. This leads to increase in perpendicular component of the motion of charged particle in converging magnetic field). But in this case which is 3-D, the Lorentz force is cross product of velocity and field line, plus, magnitude of speed needs to be constant. In order to accommodate the increasing perpendicular velocity component, the horizontal component of velocity needs to be reduced to keep the magnitude constant.

I spent around 10 minutes speaking out my thought process, assumptions and reasoning to the interviewers on this problem and realized that I enjoyed the experience and learnt new physics along the way! (For those who are interested to further understand the mathematical details of this phenomenon, it’s called Magnetic Mirror and you can find out more by googling.)


2nd Oxford Physics Skype Interview (conducted by Physics tutors from Pembroke College, Oxford)

My 2nd Skype interview was held 2 days after my first interview. In comparison with my first interview, I would say that this interview was much ‘quirkier’ in a sense that the questions were rather open-ended and required general mathematical aptitude rather than specific mathematical techniques. Of course, in this section, I’ve handpicked interesting problems as well to present my interview experience. Here’s one of the weirdest interview questions:

Interview distance question

There’s a 4.8m shadow in London and none in Paris. What’s the distance between London & Paris?

At first, this problem appeared to be too broad and I thought of too many approaches (that didn’t work out that well, somehow). I didn’t know where to get myself started so I made some assumptions. I clarified that the sunlight shines at some small angle to London while it’s directly above Paris and assumed that the distance between the city is just a tiny minor arc of the earth surface (and can be approximated as a straight line) and the interviewers immediately corrected me on these 2 faulty assumptions. So, my corrected assumptions are as below:

  1. Sunlight is assumed to come in parallel straight line
  2. Earth is perfectly spherical and 2 cities are located at 2 points on the minor arc (see pic below)
Interview distance question

The solution

After being corrected on my assumptions, I was immediately enlightened about the right approach to this problem. By utilizing the general geometry principles about parallel line, I could work out the length of the arc (which is the distance between London and Paris).

Brian’s second problem at his second Skype interview

This is a big problem with 4 sub problems, but I have only selected the interesting pieces to discuss here (2 of the 4 sub problems). While I was unsure about the term ‘Flux’ in the context of the problems, the interviewers clarified it and in a more mathematical language, it was simply the rate of change of volume (flow rate). After clarifying the word ‘flux’, I went on to solve this problem by modeling it using differential equation. In case you are interested in how h(t) can be obtained, here’s the solution:


brian diff eqn sol

Integrating it:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.36.51 PM

After solving it, I immediately realized  that it was a  negative exponential function and went on to solve the 2 subsequent sub-problems during the interview. The interviewers’ final question (arguably one of the toughest) was:

Sketch the HEIGHT OF WATER against TIME for the 2nd Jar.

I was asked to sketch the height of water against time for the 2nd jar. While I struggled to imagine the general picture of the curve, the interviewer once again enlightened me by asking me 2 questions:

  1. What happened to the beginning of the curve and how it should look like?
  2. When almost all water from the 1st Jar has been transferred to the 2nd jar, how should the water level on the 2nd jar drop?

For the first part, I figured out that it would look almost like some sort of increasing exponential shape and for the second part I figured that it would look almost like a negative exponential graph (not exactly because while water is filling up the 2nd jar, water is flowing out at the same time so the exact curve shape and equation will be different) and here’s my sketch (of course, my assumption was that when water level is falling exponentially it will come to a point where it can be approximated as 0):

The soulution

The soulution

After sketching the graph, 30 minutes had passed and the interviewer ended the interview. In general, I love the kind of intellectual conversation going on in both interviews and I couldn’t wait to see myself engage in this kind of conversation in my next 3 to 4 years in the Oxford tutorial system. These problems, once again, broadened my problem solving perspective and I must say that I love it.

Conclusion

I will advise and say that the best form of preparations to get into Oxford are:

  1. Not being afraid to explore and think about new ideas and issues
  2. Learn to communicate clearly and clarify your thoughts during the interview
  3. Mostly important, apply to the course you’re really passionate about! As the famous saying goes “Love what you do, or leave.” I believe this doesn’t apply just to scientists but also to all of us in general.

And, all the best!  Give yourself a try, and you might not know some of your best efforts will pay off. Links which you may find useful: 

  1. Integrating f’(x) / f(x) types: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j2rwuz909o
  2. Magnetic Lorentz force: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/magnetic/magfor.html
  3. Motion of moving charge in a magnetic field: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slmV2IlluAM
  4. Differential equations & exponential function: http://www.mathsrevision.net/advanced-level-maths-revision/pure-maths/calculus/differential-equations 

 


Brian KhorBrian Khor Jia Jiunn, a National Scholarship holder and an aspiring physicist is one step to achieving his dreams by pursuing Physics in the University of Oxford (did you know that Stephen Hawking was from Oxford too?). With his immeasurable passion, he will definitely go far in the field and be part of ground-breaking findings.

My Journey to Oxford (Part 1)

Brian Khor will read Physics in University of Oxford- the city of dreaming spires

Brian Khor will read Physics in University of Oxford- the city of dreaming spires

UCAS Personal Statement

For my personal statement, I mainly wrote about my passion in Physics and what the aspects in physics that excite me are. I think the most important message for prospective applicants to include in their personal statements is to demonstrate their interest for the course they are applying to. Do take note that literally writing down “I’m interested in Physics” and demonstrating passion in your personal statement can be two different things.

Read around your subject and discuss them in your personal statement

Read around your subject and discuss them in your personal statement

My personal statement utilized a few aspects to demonstrate my passion and aptitude for Physics. I wrote about how my interest in Physics started when I watched MIT Physics lectures and how those counter-intuitive and cool demos by Professor Walter Lewin challenged my intuition and imagination about the world around me. (You’ll probably want to watch his demos as they are simply mind blowing!)

I went on to write a bit more about my leisure readings related to Physics outside of standard school syllabus, and discussed a bit on “The Fabric of the Cosmos” (semi-academic book by Brian Greene, intended to spread ideas like quantum mechanics to the layman audience) and how this book stirred my curiosity and led me to keep questioning everything around me.

The next thing I wrote about was my involvement in Science and Maths-related activities and achievements, and how these experiences convinced me that Physics is the right thing for me to pursue at the Undergraduate level and beyond (I aspire to be a research physicist one day). I mentioned Mathematics competitions, and how solving those “unusual” problems compared to problems in standard school curriculum sharpened my creativity, and changed my perspective about problem-solving in general.  My involvements in the Math Club and peer tutoring programs were my channels to spread my passion and love for Physics and Mathematics to peers around me.

While I think this is optional, applicants perhaps can include activities not related to their intended major, but care must be given not to write too much about, say, your achievements in football, to the extent that it strays from original purpose of the statement, which is to demonstrate passion for the course you are applying for.

To sum up, the UCAS personal statement is about one thing: showing your passion.

Admission Test

I wrote this part exclusively for application to Oxford. For most UK universities, submitting the UCAS online application is sufficient, but Oxbridge has written tests and interviews as part of their selection process. Engineering, Material Science and Physics applicants to Oxford will need to sit for the PAT (Physics Aptitude Test).

I sat for PAT in early November 2013. In preparation for it, my advice is somewhat generic: practice PAT-style problems (from past PAT papers or British Physics Olympiad (BPhO) AS Challenge Problems)

*Note: Just a bit of extra info, the Oxford Physics Department is responsible for selecting British students to represent the country for IPhO at the international level. Thus, they set national level Physics Olympiad problems and the ‘flavor’ of BPhO AS Challenge problems are very similar to what you’ll expect for PAT*

As for the level of physics you need, I will advise those who have not attained enough prerequisite knowledge to do some self study before the test (sufficient level of preparation for physics is up to core syllabus of A2 Physics for Cambridge A Level). For the maths part of PAT, you need to know your AS level Mathematics as well as how to solve some probably unusual problems.

So, the best way to prepare is: practice.

Interviews

Here comes the part of the application process that I enjoyed the most: the Oxford Physics Interviews (and probably the most important part in your application).

For those who have achieved a passing score for PAT (Oxford shortlists from over 1100+ physics applicants to about 500 applicants for interview, and you can refer to Oxford Physics admission statistics for further info), you’ll be emailed and called for interview(s). For those who have arrived in this stage, well done, and reward yourself with some cookies!

Here are some general interview advice for Oxford interviews. I will also be pinning down the details of my personal experience for Oxford interviews.

General Interview Tips

Here are a few personal qualities that are important:

Demonstrating passion and clarity of thoughts. Essentially, you will need to show that you’re really excited about the course that you’ll be studying at university. While the personal statement is a way to show passion, I think it’s also important to show that you love your course and to show that you’ll be able to think critically about your subject through the interview. During the interview, a great way to break the awkward silence is by thinking aloud, presenting your thought process, why you are arguing in the particular way, and how you arrive at the conclusion. Ultimately, the interviewers are not interested whether you arrive at the correct solutions. Instead, they are more interested in your thought process, and the way you build up your arguments and reasoning. Also, speak out any assumptions that you’ve made in your reasoning.

Potential. During the interview, it’s much more important for you to show your potential than to tell them your achievements thus far (you’ve probably included your achievements in your personal statement so it’s best probably not to duplicate information while wasting your interview time). The tutors and interviewers are more concerned about how much you can grow and learn from them than how much you have achieved, which leads me to the next point.

Being teachable is really, really important. The interview is actually very similar to how tutorials are conducted at Oxford, so the tutors are essentially choosing the students they will love to teach for the next 3 or 4 years. If you enjoy the interview, you will probably enjoy the next 3 to 4 years of intellectual conversations with your tutor at Oxford. I treated my Oxford interview as an opportunity to learn Physics from world class physicists, and that alleviated my nerves and kept me excited before the interview. Of course, you must be able to communicate your ideas clearly, and don’t be shy to ask for hints in the case that you’re stuck.

Don’t freak out if you are unable to answer interview questions. Oxford interviews are meant to push students beyond their limits and boundaries, so that the tutors can assess the potential of the students and to what extent students can be stretched. This is what the tutors actually aim to do, to see how far students can handle unfamiliar scenarios.

Read Part 2 of this story here

Links which you may find useful: 

  1. Professor Walter Lewin videos: http://video.mit.edu/channel/walter-lewin/
  2. Get “The Fabric of the Cosmos”: http://www.amazon.com/The-Fabric-Cosmos-Texture-Reality/dp/0375727205
  3. Physics Aptitude Test (PAT): http://www.admissionstestingservice.org/for-test-takers/pat/about-pat/
  4. Admissions procedures for Physics courses at Oxford: https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/study-here/undergraduates/applications/admissions-procedures-for-physics

Brian KhorBrian Khor Jia Jiunn, a National Scholarship holder and an aspiring physicist is one step to achieving his dreams by pursuing Physics in the University of Oxford (did you know that Stephen Hawking was from Oxford too?). With his immeasurable passion, he will definitely go far in the field and be part of ground-breaking findings.