Oxbridge Sciences Logo

Blog


The Benefits Of Tutorial Simulations For University Applicants

If you’re a university applicant with no prior experience, and who has never been through the application process before, it can seem like nothing short of an ordeal. You will doubtless feel under an enormous amount of pressure, some of that coming from family members, and perhaps even more coming from within yourself, and this is only natural. However, if you plan to attend mock interviews and tutorial simulations, then you will be given a good understanding of what is expected of you and what skills and understanding you will need to be able to show, to stand a chance of winning a place on your chosen course. While your stress levels may only reach simmering point, they will surely be greatly lowered than had you entered straight into the application process with no real idea of what was to come, and how you should behave and perform.

What is a tutorial setting like?

The tutorial simulation will be as close to the real thing as is possible, and so will involve students usually being split into small groups whereby they are given topics or problems to debate and discuss. Tutorials are always held in a formal setting, and aside from debating and chatting about important issues together, students will be given the chance to read mock interview questions and put together mini presentations, along with practicing their essay writing skills.

The nature of the topics and discussions will naturally be of a level higher than that of which students have previously been studying, and applicant’s responses and replies should show the appropriate degree of intelligence.

What is the main premise of a mock tutorial?

Interviewers are searching for candidates who can show that they possess the necessary skills and maturity to excel at their chosen university, and mock tutorials enable them to watch applicants and see how they interact with their peers and tutors alike. How they perform in such a setting will give interviewers a much better understanding of the applicants and their suitability for the course of their choice.

Mock tutorials are usually run by the very tutors who will be present on the course that students are applying for, too, giving them the chance to meet each other in a slightly more relaxed and informal setting.

What you will get out of a mock tutorial?

Mock tutorials are extremely beneficial to candidates in showing them what is expected of them and giving them a chance to interact with their peers in the same setting as they will be accustomed to should they be selected. For many, knowing who they are up against when being interviewed for a university placement can help them to work on their skills should they feel they are lacking in some areas, and there is no doubt that each candidate will walk away from the tutorial with a strong feeling of having learned something that will be of benefit to them when it
comes to the real interview.

Ultimately, mock tutorials give applicants a much better understanding of what the real interview process will be like and what is expected of them, and have been proven to help candidates be successful in their applications, particularly compared to those students who did not attend such an event.

Why The Sciences Need More Female Students

Nowadays, there are many more women in prominent positions within the fields of medicine, law and business than ever before, but the fields of science and engineering seem to be taking a long time to catch up. There are thought to be several different factors affecting this, some of which include gender biases, and environmental and social barriers. However, equal opportunities in all fields of work should be encouraged, and it may be that some institutions need to do more to encourage female students to consider science and engineering as a career,
since there is absolutely no reason why women cannot excel in either field.

Let’s look in a little more detail at the reasons why females may be choosing not to study at University, when in fact, the evidence shows that they may well excel and should pursue the sciences as a career:

Stereotyping:

There is a widely accepted stereotype that females in general, are not good at math and science, and whether this is a verbal or subconscious stereotype, it can still have a deeply negative impact on a female. When sitting a math or science test, (and often in a room full of males) females are already on the back foot mentally and even a subtle reference to their inferiority at the chosen subject can have a hugely negative impact on their performance.

While most claim not to believe the stereotype, the fact remains that it exists, and this only adds to the unconscious stereotype.

Having a ‘growth’ mindset:

Students who are studying math or science may approach the subject with differing mindsets; some may have a ‘fixed’ mindset, which makes them highly susceptible to the concept of intelligence being static without the possibility of further development. Those with a different type of mindset, usually referred to as a ‘growth’ mindset, believe that intelligence can be developed, and the individual feels encouraged to learn more and embrace challenges to their intelligence.

The ‘fixed’ mindset often leads individuals to believe that their intelligence will help them combat and overcome challenges easily, and when they are faced with them and cannot immediately resolve or overcome them, they are subject to experiencing an intense loss of confidence.

Since encountering and challenging obstacles is part and parcel of studying science, students who believe that their intelligence will help them do this easily and without the need for further growth and learning will never be as successful as those who push themselves to learn more and gain a higher level of intelligence. As females are subject to many stereotypes regarding their abilities and levels of capability within subjects like math and science, they may already have the mindset that they need to develop their intelligence to combat such stereotypes. So, while the
‘growth’ mindset clearly benefits students of both genders, it could be that females are more prone to the idea of growth and as a result, could become more successful in their chosen field than those of the opposite gender.

Never let stereotypes hold you back in any career path, and if you’re a female considering studying the sciences but are fearful of how others may react to this, remember that there is no evidence to support the stereotypes that still exist today, and if you have a ‘growth’ mindset, there is no reason whatsoever why you cannot excel in this field.

How To Prepare For A Mock Interview

Mock interviews for university applicants are not dissimilar to those conducted by employers for potential employees, but naturally when held for students, the interviews are held with a tutor instead. The good thing about such mock interviews is that students are given detailed feedback once they are over and can learn ways in which they can improve their performance for the real interview.

Since getting into esteemed universities is so important to the applicant, these interviews can be extremely worthwhile and not only enable you to prepare better for the real interview but can give you a taste of what is expected of you should you become a successful entrant to the course of your choice, at the university of your choice.

Group tutorials may also be held after the mock interviews, in which students can work together as a group to discuss current events or philosophical conundrums for example, and these can be effective in highlighting those candidates who may be performing better. This can go on to show other candidates how they may improve, and which elements of their application may need further work when compared to their colleagues.

Preparation tips for your mock interview:

  • View other mock interviews online

Doing so can give you a better idea of what is expected of you, and can help you to prepare for what questions you may be asked etc.

  • Dress appropriately

It may be a mock interview, but you still want to give a good impression, and dressing scruffily or too casually will not do you any favours.

  • Don’t be late!

It goes without saying that tardiness will not put you in anyone’s good books and so set a good example by showing up in plenty of time for your interview.

  • Use some relaxation techniques

If you often get stressed or unsettled when it comes to important events, it can make a real difference if you try to relax before the interview. This can be achieved in multiple ways, but ultimately comes down to personal preference and what works best for the individual; some may meditate or listen to their favourite tracks while on the journey to the interview.

  • Don’t leave your personality at home!

Your individual character will be of interest to the mock interviewer as well as your skills and knowledge, so don’t forget to let a bit of your personality shine through.

Mock interviews for college or university applicants can give students an idea of what the real interview will be like, and what is likely to be expected of them. This enables them to prepare fully and work on any issues that the mock interviewer may have brought to their attention. Ideally, mock interviews should leave applicants feeling far more confident of their chances of getting a place on the course of their choice and should give them the upper hand over other candidates.

How Are International University Applications Different?

If you’re applying for a university course in a country that you’re not native to, such as the United Kingdom, it can be a daunting experience, and while the interview process will be the same no matter what country you are from, language barriers and a lack of knowledge about the nuances of British universities can make the whole process tricky to navigate.

So, if you are thinking about applying for a university course in a country such as the UK, there are some key points to consider, and you should know that there is also plenty of help out there for you:

Points of consideration for International Students before submitting applications:

  • Some universities in the UK, such as Oxbridge, accept students based purely upon their academic eligibility and will not make any considerations about the country that they are applying from, which is of course great news for overseas students.
  • The structure of the courses in a university such as Oxbridge will be different to those in the U.S. for example, and where U.S. courses are quite broad, UK ones are much more specific and focus directly upon the given subject. Because of this, the entire admissions process in the UK is also different, and at Oxbridge academic ability and a passion for the chosen subject, rules over all else, and even extra-curricular activities and pursuits may not sway a judgement, compared to applications in the U.S.

International tutors and mentors:

Many students nowadays seek professional help when applying for international university courses, and mainly because they really want to be given a place on the course and want to give themselves the best opportunity.

Some service providers have a range of tutors and mentors available either online, over the phone, or even face to face if you’re already living in the country in which you wish to study in. Most of them will have been through the same experience as you and have a wealth of knowledge and experience related to studying overseas; many may even have attended such universities as Oxford or Cambridge and will have first hand experience of the whole application process. They can even help you practice for any interviews which may take place, and will run
mock interviews that are as close to the real thing as they can be.

The goal of the tutoring and mentoring services is to give the applicant the same chance of being accepted for a university course, as a person who is native to the country, and their role is to make sure that you understand every aspect of the application process, from beginning to end.

International university applications can differ greatly from those of your native country, and to give yourself the best opportunity at being selected for your chosen course, you should consider seeking help from those who have already been there and who have perfected the process from beginning to end.

No better advice can come from those who have experienced exactly what you are about to, and no person will better understand your fears and concerns.

Don’t Make These Common University Application Errors

With university education being more and more sought after, and competition for places on courses at its fiercest, getting your university application right has never been more important. While each university application process will vary, there are some common errors many students make, and these can mean the difference between success and failure:

  • Course eligibility

Most universities issue a list of requirements that students will need to meet to qualify for their desired course, and if you don’t meet those requirements, there may be little point even applying, since your application will most likely be discarded.

  • Misreading application instructions

Take the time to read thoroughly the set of guidelines that most universities issue when you are applying for a course; incorrectly reading the instructions may lead to your application not be taken seriously.

  • Not giving specific reasons for pursuing a course

Giving a generic response to the question of why you want to apply for a course, will do nothing to make your application stand out from your competitors.

  • Unoriginality

If you are asked to produce an essay – as many universities do – you must try to make it as original as possible and avoid plagiarism. This will allow the assessor to get a better picture of your personality.

  • Don’t be boastful

There is a difference between listing your achievements and skills in an objective way and bragging about them in an overtly narcissistic manner. This will serve only to make your application less appealing.

  • Try not to make any grammatical errors

Grammatical mistakes will stick out like a sore thumb in any university application, and they will certainly not go in your favour. Get someone professional to proofread your application before you submit it.

  • Talk about your goals and ambitions

It’s important to show faculty members that you have ambition and drive, since these are the types of thing that they look out for, and which could separate you from your rivals.

  • Avoid the temptation to write one essay for each application

Adapting the same essay for different university’s may be tempting as it will save you time, but assessors will be looking out for essays that don’t mention specific details about their university or the course you are applying for, and they will instinctively know that you haven’t taken the time and effort to write a new essay.

  • Get your application in with time to spare

Late applications will not impress anyone and suggests that you may have rushed things and left it to the last minute, a clear indication to many that you might not be an organized student and therefor not suitable for the course.

  • Allow plenty of time for letters of recommendation

Try to give your professor or employer enough notice and time to write you a letter of recommendation; these can be vital for some applications and you want them to have enough time to write it properly and include all the relevant details.

If you’re struggling with your university application, there are services out there that can help give you tips and guidance to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of being selected for the course of your choice.

What Are The Benefits To Studying Abroad?

For some, the prospect of leaving their mother country to study abroad is a daunting one, while for others it can seem like an exciting opportunity. While one decision does of course not fit all, there are countless benefits to studying abroad, and here are just a few of them:

  • You’ll see more of the world

The advice given to many young people today, is to ‘get out there and see the world’, and if you can do something as worthwhile as earning yourself a degree while you’re doing it, then so much the better. Studying abroad means that you will truly have to immerse yourself in the customs and traditions of your new host country, and this can teach you so much about yourself and the world around you.

Travel is said to broaden the mind, and there are a few who will argue with this.

  • Experience a different way of learning

Every country has its own style of education, and when you enrol in a study abroad program, you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you wouldn’t have seen had you studied in your home country. Embracing the education system of the country in which you are studying, will help you to engage better with the people there and understand more about their traditions and values.

  • You’ll uncover new cultures

Since most students who opt to go overseas to study may never have left their home country before, they will inevitably find the different cultural perspectives of their host country, fascinating and new. Not only will you be meeting new people who are also attending the same place of study, but you will be experiencing so many new things for the first time, and you will never be bored!

  • Your language skills will be enhanced

Studying in a country in which the mother tongue is not the same as your own, gives you the perfect opportunity to learn a new language, and even if the language spoken is the same, there will always be colloquial variations that you can pick up and learn to help you talk and behave more like a local.

  • It will provide you with new career opportunities

Once you’ve completed your study abroad program and arrive back to your native country, you’ll undoubtedly discover that not only has your entire outlook on life changed, but you’ll feel more confident and worldly. These are attractive qualities for any employer, and they will find your resume more appealing than others who have not taken such an opportunity in life.

While studying abroad may not be a possibility for everyone, and may not even seem appealing to some, of those who have completed their degrees overseas, few regret the decision and most state that it change their lives for the better and allowed them to embrace new opportunities in life.

If you are considering studying for a degree abroad, there are companies out there who will help you prepare your application and even arrange mock interviews so that you can give yourself the best chance of being accepted in the university of your choice.

Why Should You Choose A Degree In The Sciences?

Selecting a degree to study is a big decision for anyone to make, no matter how confident you are in your abilities, or how certain you are of what career path you want to follow. Choosing a degree in the sciences is a popular choice for many students, so let’s look in a little more detail at just what this might entail and what jobs it might lead to:

What types of science degrees are available?

The three most commonly known science degrees are of course, biology, chemistry and physics, however, these are very broad and traditional subjects such as those you may have studied at school, and there are many more specialised areas of the sciences that you can choose to study, such as: medicine, maths, natural sciences, veterinary sciences, psychology, human sciences and materials sciences, to name but a few.

What jobs can you apply for with a science degree?

Because the spectrum of science degrees is so broad, most of them can lead to a wide range of jobs and careers, and whichever science you choose to specialise in, you can opt to advance your career by becoming a research scientist in your specialist area.

A chemistry related degree can open doors for graduates in several industries, such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and healthcare.

A biology related degree can help you develop a career in agriculture, biomedicine, environmental conservation, food and drink, genetics, horticulture and marine biology.

A degree related to physics can provide opportunities for a career in quite a range of employment sectors, such as aerospace and defence, automotive, computing, healthcare and telecommunications to name but a few.

What other careers can a science degree lead to?

Undertaking a science degree doesn’t necessarily mean that you are limited to becoming a scientist, there are many alternative career paths that you can embark on with your science degree. For example, you could try finding employment as a science journalist or even as a science teacher or lecturer. There is also a legal aspect of science careers, such as a patent attorney. The business and financial sectors also have many different openings for those with science degrees.

Some of these careers however, may require advanced qualifications or a post graduate science degree.

Should your degree be specialized or broad?

The answer to this question lies in your chosen or desired career path. If you are clear about what job you would like once you’ve completed your degree, then you can find one that will enable you to fulfil your goals, if you’re unclear about what career path you want to go down, then a broader science degree might be the best option.

To help you decide, it may be wise to look in more detail at the content of each degree and the modules that you would be required to complete.

Studying a degree in any one of the sciences is sure to set you on a good career path and offer you a wide variety of jobs in several different employment sectors, and there are vast opportunities to expand upon your knowledge base and skillset.

5 Top Tips For A Successful University Application

Completing your university application can be a nerve wracking time, and even if you don’t put yourself under copious amounts of pressure, oftentimes your family members certainly will! One way of helping the whole thing run more smoothly, and to reduce your stress levels as much as possible, is to get yourself prepared in plenty of time. Here are a few simple ways in which you can achieve this and hopefully bag yourself a place at the university of your choice:

  • Research your chosen course and university thoroughly

Make sure that you know all there is to know about the university and course of your choice, before you even think about applying. Read the course syllabus, ask around to see if you might be able to talk to anyone else who is studying the same subject there. You will need to show the interview panel that you know all about the course and what it entails, and if you can show them your specific interest in some of the modules, that will go in your favour.

  • Find out as much as you can about the interview and application process

Knowing what to expect in your university interview or admissions tests process will ensure that you’re able to prepare fully for what lies ahead, and if you’re not sure, simply call the university and ask any questions that you might have. The more you know, the less you may worry and staying calm before an interview is important if you’re to perform well on the occasion.

  • Work on your personal statement

Some applicants tend not to put so much effort into their personal statements, believing that their academic ability is all that the interviewers will be interested in. However, this is not true, and in some cases, a personal statement that shines (and is backed up by the applicant when they meet them face to face) can be the deciding factor in whether you are accepted for the course of your choice. So, try to make it truthful and never be ashamed to highlight your talents and abilities. Then read it and reread it and remember what you have written!

  • Sign up for a mock interview

There are some great services out there offering mock university placement interviews for candidates, and in most cases, their teams are made up of previous university attendees who know exactly what will be expected of you. This process may seem unnecessary to some, but rest assured it can really help you get a taste if what is to come and help you to prepare so that you put your best foot forward on the big day.

  • Prepare a list of questions for the interviewing panel

This will help you to stay focused during the interview and not leave you tongue tied, plus it will get any questions that may have been worrying you, cleared up and answered.

The single most sound piece of advice that can ever be given to anyone applying for a course at university, is to do your preparation. Seek professional help with your application if necessary, and you will not see it as money wasted if it helps get you on the course of your choice, at the university of your choice.

Could A Mentor Help You With Your University Application?

Mentors can be incredibly useful tools in many fields, whether it be from a personal or professional perspective, and many people use them to help find a new career, or progress in their current one. While some use the term ‘coach’ in place of mentor, there is in fact, a difference between the two:

Mentoring and coaching, two very different things:

Being someone’s mentor has similarities with being their coach, but mentoring focuses on building a long and lasting relationship that supports the growth and development of the mentee. Mentors are a source of wisdom, teaching and infinite support, but they do not give observational guidance related to certain actions or behavioural changes in daily work or personal circumstances.

Coaches, on the other hand, place an emphasis upon making certain current behaviours stronger, or eradicating them wherever necessary.Usually employed by professionals, they help to correct and strengthen those behaviours that will help the individual progress in their career or improve their performance at work. They are usually taken on for a set period, in which the individual will be expected to reach the targets agreed between the two.

A brief history of mentoring:

Believed by scholars to have been written in the 8th century BC, Homers poem entitled ‘The Odyssey’ is where the term ‘mentor’ is first known to have been featured. The king of Ithaca went to do battle in the Trojan War and left his kingdom in what he believed to be the safe hands of the character, Mentor.

The current dictionary definition of the term mentor, describes it as a ‘trusted counsellor or guide’, or someone who helps you with your career, specific work projects or general life advice based upon their own selfless wishes to help others progress.

Could a mentor help you with your university application?

It is difficult to imagine how a good mentor couldn’t help any one of us, so provided you find a good one, there is every chance that they could go on to help you put forward a successful university application. As mentors are usually experienced professional people who have ‘been there, done that and got the t-shirt’, they are perfectly suited to help give advice and guidance to younger professionals who are just thinking about taking a university course to help give them a worthwhile career. They are of course particularly effective, if they have studied the same course that you will be applying for. While they may not give specific advice on how to complete your application, they will help you to face your fears, embrace your goals, and look at how you challenge yourself professionally and personally. In many cases, mentors go on to help people live their lives to the fullest, and their guidance is often extended far past achieving a place at university, or bagging the job of your dreams.

A good mentor can genuinely be the factor that enables you to progress in life in exactly the way you wish to, whether they are supporting you as you apply for a university placement or helping you to cope with personal issues in your life.