111 -Oxbridge Preparation- questions

What should I be doing over the Summer to prepare?

Read! Whatever subject you are applying for, Oxbridge applications require you to show interest in that subject beyond what you are taught at school. If you need recommendations on what to read, we can talk about that!
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Thomas C.

Answered by Thomas, tutor with MyTutor

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Estimate (!) the number of atoms in the Sun given that it takes the light about t=8.3 min to reach us.

Use the following constants: light speed in vacuum c=3*10^8 m/s , gravitational constant G=6.67408 × 10^{-11} m^3 kg^{-1} s^{-2} and Avogadro's constant A =6.02214086 × 10^{23} mol^{-1}.
Assuming that Earth moves in an almost circular orbit we can equate centripetal force F1={m*v^2}/{R} to the force from the Newton's law of gravity F2=G*{m*M}/{R^2} such that F1=F2.Knowing the period of Earth's rotation to be around T= 365 days we can find Earth's orbital velocity in the following way: v={length of the orbit}/{period}={2*pi*R}/{T}={2*pi*c*t}/{T}. After equating forces and plugging in the expression for the velocity we have M={v^2*R}/{G}={(2*pi)^2*(c*t)^3}/{G*T^2}. We assume that the Sun is made up only from single hydrogen atoms (wich actually makes up about 71% of Sun's mass) which have molar mass of n=0.001 kg /mol. Now we find the number of moles of hydrogen in the Sun and multiply the answer by Avogadro's constant to get the number of atoms N={M*A}/{n}={(2*\pi)^2*(c*t)^3*A}/{G*T^2*n}. Now we just plug in the numbers and get the final value which should be of an order 10^57.
Questions similar to this can be part of the interview when applying for physics or engineering degree at Oxbridge.
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Arnas V.

Answered by Arnas, tutor with MyTutor

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Estimate (!) the number of atoms in the Sun given that it takes light t=8.3 min to reach Earth.

Gravitational constant G=6.67408 × 10^{-11} m^3 kg^{-1} s^{-2} and Avogadro's constant A = 6.02214086 × 10^{23} mol^{-1} .Assuming that Earth moves in an almost circular orbit we can equate centripetal force F={m*v^2}/{R} with the force from the Newton's law of gravity F=G*{m*M}/{R^2}. The period of Earth's rotation is about T= 365 days, so we can find the velocity: v={2*pi*R}/{T}={2*pi*c*t}/{T}. After equating forces and plugging in the expression for the velocity we have M={v^2*R}/{G}={(2*pi)^2*(c*t)^3}/{G*T^2}. We assume that the Sun is made up only from hydrogen atoms (which actually makes up about 71% of the total mass) , with molar mass n=0.001 kg/mol . Now we find the number of moles of hydrogen in the Sun and multiply the answer by Avogadro's constant to get the number of atoms N={M*A}/{n}={(2*pi)^2*(c*t)^3*A}/{G*T^2*n}. Now we just plug in the numbers and get the final value which should be of the order 10^57.
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Arnas V.

Answered by Arnas, tutor with MyTutor

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What are the most important things to remember when writing a personal statement for Oxbridge?

Your personal statement should show academic interest and a breadth of knowledge for your chosen subject, without becoming a list of facts. Oxbridge want their prospective students to show a passion for their subject, and to have taken it upon themselves to read and learn about this subject further than their school curriculum. Opening with a short, subject-relevant phrase that is eye-catching and interesting is a great way to stand out to admissions tutors and encourage them to read on. It is then important to explain why you are interested in your chosen subject, and provide examples of how you have nurtured this interest. This may be through reading you have done, or through activities and work experience you have completed. Choosing examples that are unique and relating these directly to parts of your proposed course that particularly inspired you to apply will show that you have been thorough in your research. A crucial thing to remember is not to try to fit in all your know about your subject, pick and choose particularly interesting parts that demonstrate your passion and curiosity to learn. As Oxford and Cambridge are academically rigorous institutions they are not particulalry interested in extra-curricular activities that are not directly related to your chosen subject. If you want to include them in your personal statement, make sure you emphasise how they have nurtured your interest in your subject and why they are relevant for your studies at Oxford. The main thing to remember is that your personal statemnt is personal - there is no formula that can get you an Oxbridge interview. Focus on showing your passion for your subject and what makes you ther perfect student for study at Oxbridge.
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Emily A.

Answered by Emily, tutor with MyTutor

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What can I do to make my personal statement stand out to Oxbridge universities?

First of all, remember that your personal statement is going to go to ALL your university choices, not just Oxford or Cambridge. Therefore, definitely do make your personal statement Oxbridge specific. What Oxford and Cambridge want are students who have a genuine passion for their subject. This means that 90% of your personal statement needs to be academically based in your chosen degree subject. In this 90% you can show that passion in a number of ways: talking about a certain module at school/college that you found particularly interesting and preferably how you then developed this by researching further; what work experience you have done in your field; what books or journals you have read on the subject; what lectures you have attended; and just generally explaining what sparks your interest in the subject. Finally, it is vital to SHOW not TELL. This means do not list out all the companies that you have done work experience for; instead, pick a few specific examples of what you saw and what you learnt. 
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Lavanya G.

Answered by Lavanya, tutor with MyTutor

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What should I write in my personal statement?

Your personal statement should be a concise, enthusiastic and interesting promotion of yourself. It may seem awkward to write about the things in which you excel at first but remember that this is the one opportunity you get to show the universities why they should want you to study with them. Open with an original and subject-related phrase; the admissions team have thousands of statements to get through and you want yours to stand out! Talk about why you want to study your chosen course and what you hope to gain from studying it. If your statement is university specific, such as the Cambridge SAQ, have a look at the course content online, pick something you find interesting and mention it briefly in the statement, to show your curiosity and engagement with the course. Extra-curricular activities are important, but they are not the priority of your personal statement. If you do wish to mention them, talk about the transferable skills you have gained from them which will make you a better learner. Show that you have an interest in your subject outside of the curriculum, and specify a book, film or news article etc which you found particularly interesting. It is important to show off your passion for your subject! Universities are looking for people who are keen to learn, so do not worry about whether you are getting the top marks in your class or not. The important thing is your thirst for knowledge, curiosity and drive to succeed.
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Emily B.

Answered by Emily, tutor with MyTutor

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How best can I prepare for an interview in Classics at Cambridge

First of all, critical thinking is essential when it comes to preparing for any Oxbridge - and in this case - Cambridge interview. Second of all, your ability to read widely and beyond the syllabus is what is going to greatly set you apart. Find an area of Classics that you are particularly passionate about and do not underestimate that passion you have, even if you think the area where your passion lies is not as important a topic of discussion. Remember what you wrote in your essays and be prepared to discuss it widely, as it relates to other aspects of Classics and/or even contemporary society. Remember that the interview is a mirror of what weekly supervisions/tutorials are actually like, so let your enthusiasm come through and remember you are not expected to know everything. 
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Nnenda C.

Answered by Nnenda, tutor with MyTutor

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Am I what Oxbridge are looking for?

If you're considering applying to Oxbridge, the key thing you need is a passion and drive for learning. This doesn't mean you need to be that person who is always studying or the person who consistently gets the top grades in class, but rather the person who is curious about things and then does something with that curiosity. Oxbridge really takes the time to get to know their prospective students. My Cambridge application included: - A Level Grades - UCAS application (personal statement etc.) - A separate Cambridge entrance exam - An SAQ (Supplementary Application Questionnaire - where you can add a little bit more about what interests you about your course / the university itself) - Interviews with Senior members of the College While this can look daunting, each step is simply an opportunity for you to demonstrate what it is that drives you. To simplify this process, they are looking at your academic history (your grades), your academic potential (your interview and test), and your intellectual passion (your SAQ and personal statement). Oxbridge are making efforts to improve access and diversity within their respective institutions so don't rule yourself out just because of your background or any other reason for that matter! Preparation for applying to Oxbridge needn't be time consuming, and really isn't as mysterious as some people make it out to be. So I cannot stress enough, the application process rewards authentic passion and curiosity. Because of this, there is no 'ideal' Cambridge applicant as everyone's interests differ.  I can offer tutoring on writing a strong Personal Statement, preparation for interviews and the English entrance exam (ELAT). 
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Grace G.

Answered by Grace, tutor with MyTutor

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