49 -Oxbridge Preparation- questions

What is the effect of the first sentence of "Pride and Prejudice" and how would it change if "must be in want" would be substituted for "must want"?

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."  The sentence introduces one of the main themes of the plot, the pursuit of rich, single men. It establishes the prevailing social concept of the time of a "good marriage", and the second part of the sentence makes one realise that the reverse is also true: Single young women at the time had little other choice in life than to marry as high up in status and wealth as possible. If we change the second part of the sentence to "must want a wife", the meaning changes. "In want of" suggests a need for wholeness, the necessity to be complete, which is only possible with a companion, not just with money. A simple "want" however, indicates possession rather than companionship. Here, a wife would simply be an accessoire to complete the man's exterior wealth. Ultimately, one could argue the two phrases are about interiority vs exteriority.
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Aimee D. GCSE English Literature tutor, A Level English Literature tu...

3 days ago

Answered by Aimee, who has applied to tutor -Oxbridge Preparation- with MyTutor


What kind of questions should I expect in a Maths interview?

I can only really answer this from my experience applying to Cambridge. Personally I did a lot of preparation ready for any types of questions they could ask; since it's normal to have two interviews rather than one, I naturally assumed that one half would be personal questions and one half would be testing my mathematical ability. To my surprise, BOTH interviews were purely maths questions, and no personal questions were asked whatsoever. I suppose the thing to take away from this is be ready for anything. These interviews are designed to challenge even the most competent of applicants. That being said, I wouldn't feel too intimidated by the whole process. A majority of my questions were targeted at things I hadn't covered yet from A2 or brand new subjects altogther, making it very difficult to predict any questions in particular. Notably, I don't think that they expect you to answer the questions in full, but rather see how you react on the spot to some difficult topics and see your intuitive approach. My first interview went absolutely terribly, I completely froze up for around 5 minutes when asked to plot a very basic graph just because I was so nervous. I thought I'd already lost my place but went to the second interview regardless. In the second interview I found the questions a bit more approachable, loosened up, and started performing as I usually would, talking the interviewers through my thought process. Even though I really didn't expect it I did get an offer shortly afterwards. A final note: even if you don't get the offer/grades it's not the end of the world, I didn't meet the grade requirements and went to study elsewhere and things still turned out great.
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Callum B. IB Further Mathematics  tutor, A Level Further Mathematics ...

6 days ago

Answered by Callum, who has applied to tutor -Oxbridge Preparation- with MyTutor


How relevant is the reading I mention in my personal statement to my interview?

For History in both Oxford and Cambridge there is typically two interviews for applicants. The first will be based around your personal statement so it is very important that you are familiar with any reading you have mentioned in it. The second is usually focused on a source which you are given half an hour prior to the interview to read. As such, in the second interview your personal statement is not particularly relevant, although the reading you do may come in useful in drawing parellels between themes that you pick up in the source.  In order to prepare for your first interview it is vital that you are very familiar with any reading mentioned in your personal statement. It is useful to show your enthusiasm for your subject by including books that are not included in your school curriculum. For instance, in my personal statement I wrote about the French Revolution (which I had done at A-Level) as well as the Spanish Civil War which I had read about in my own time. Do not worry about knowing all the exact  dates and events in the period you are talking about - what your interviewer wants to see is that you can talk about the main themes of the period and discuss them in an intelligent way. Think of the interview as more of a formal conversation between you and your interviewer who is essentially trying to see if they want to Tutor you should you be successful. For instance, in my interview I was not questioned about any specific events in the Spanish Civil War but my interviewer did want me to discuss themes such as facism and its wider economic and political implications. So when picking what to include in your personal statement make sure you are prepared to talk about it in depth and that you are genuinely interested in it so that you can convincingly defend your point of view about the period you are discussing.
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Genevieve  A. GCSE English Literature tutor, A Level English Literatu...

2 weeks ago

Answered by Genevieve , a -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor with MyTutor


What kinds of questions do tutors ask you in the interview?

Well, that is a good question! I am sure you have heard horror stories about the kinds of questions which they ask you! They might seem random, but they are actually designed that way for two main reasons. Firstly, they try to avoid topics which you might have done at school to level the playing field between other candidates. Secondly, and relatedly,  they are trying to make you think outside of your comfort zone. In an Oxbridge interview, it is not about demonstrating what you know, but demonstrating how you think. Therefore, it is vital that when you are thinking through a problem you say your thought process outloud. They are unlikely to mind whether you get the right answer, in fact there might not be one! For example, in my interview they asked me to interpret a graph about income inequality and then determine what I thought of it. Of course there is no right answer to this question, but they want to see that you can think critically and present a (reasonably) coherent point of view. While you can never know what they are going to ask you, it might be helpful to look at the expertise of the tutors at the college you are applying to. It is likely they will ask you at least some questions about their field. However, please do not worry about reading loads of books on their work! The most important thing for you to do with your time is to practice thinking on the spot about topics outside of your comfort zone. We can practice this together if you like, by doing a mock tutorial? I would also recommend asking your friends and family to ask you questions about things like the news and what is motivating you to study your subject. As important as the above is, you still need to keep in mind what you wrote in your personal statement and why you are applying to your chosen degree. They want students who are able  to motivate themselevs, as well as think critically. Does that answer your question?
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Rosa D. A Level Geography tutor, GCSE Geography tutor, Uni Admissions...

3 weeks ago

Answered by Rosa, a -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor with MyTutor


A windowless room contains 3 light bulbs, each connected to a switch outside the room. You can flip any of the switches in any order. You can then enter and look at the lights, but not touch the switches again. Which switch controls which light?

Flip on switches 1 & 2, wait a moment and switch off number 2. Enter the room. Whichever bulb is on is wired to switch 1, whichever is off and hot is wired to switch number 2, and the third is wired to switch 3.
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Emily F. 13 Plus  Science tutor, GCSE Science tutor, IB Science tutor...

3 weeks ago

Answered by Emily, a -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor with MyTutor


What is the molar concentration of a solution of pure water?

Concentration (mol/dm3) = (density (g/dm3)) / (molecular mass (g/mol)) The density of water = 1000 g/dm3 The molecular mass of H2O = (2*1 g/mol) + (1*16 g/mol) = 18 g/mol Concentration mol/dm3 = 1000 g/dm3 / 18 g/mol ~ 55.5 mol/dm3
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Joshua D. IB Biology tutor, GCSE Biology tutor, A Level Biology tutor...

4 weeks ago

Answered by Joshua, a -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor with MyTutor


What do Oxbridge interviewers look for in a prospective student?

The main thing to remember is that there are no trick questions, the interviewers are not looking to trip you up – they are simply trying to understand the person behind the UCAS form and get a feel for the way that you think. Intellect is one of the two key things which your interviewers will be on the lookout for. Some questions might seem like they’re really stretching you but it’s important to remember that your interviewers won’t be looking for a right answer, in fact for many of the questions, there may not even be a right answer! What they will be looking for is inquisitive and dynamic on-the-spot thinking. They might also throw a curveball in to your line of thinking – again, they’re not looking to trip you up but to see how you respond, whether you can consider different perspectives and think flexibly. The second important attribute which your interviewers will be testing is your interest in the course that you’ve applied for, to ensure that you have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for that subject area. Therefore, you’ll want to demonstrate to them the reasons why you think you’ll enjoying studying your chosen course and that that you're deeply interested in your subject, and keen to learn more.
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Sophy L. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature tu...

1 month ago

Answered by Sophy, a -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor with MyTutor


Why do you want to read Geography at Cambridge?

Why Geography: the answer to this I think is the most important answer that will give the interviewers either a good or a bad impression of you. Most of the questions after this, will be shaped heavily on the answer you give to this. Thus, really practice well on this answer and know exactly why this course, especially at Cambridge is what you want to do. This is what I got told by my geography teacher and I tell this to everyone that wants to do Geography; do NOT answer the question by saying 'I really enjoy/prefer physical or human geography'. By doing this, you have automatically neglected 50% of the course and that leads the interviewer to next ask you 'but you do not have a choice first year, so how do expect to interact/learn the two elements of the course if you only prefer one?'. So be careful in your choice of wording- acknowledging your primary interest, but begin with speaking about why geography is unique, cause unlike other degrees, it is interdisciplinary- we have many disciplines within the course. Mention the importance of both physical and human geography and that the two should not be treated separately as substitutes but work alongside each other. I'd advise you to also google the history the discipline- it's really interesting.
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Nilufa A. A Level Geography tutor, GCSE Geography tutor, A Level Econ...

1 month ago

Answered by Nilufa, a -Oxbridge Preparation- tutor with MyTutor


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