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#StudyingatOxford – Physicist

Student Profile: Oxford Physicist

How do you typically fill your days?

My typical day usually begins at around seven in the morning when I wake up and go for a short run around the University Parks before having breakfast. During the week, I have lectures before lunch. Typically, I eat my lunch in the college, so that I have a chance to meet my friends even during a busy day. Then there are tutorials in the college during the afternoon. Before the individual study time, I take a short break for coffee and read the news online. I prefer to work in my room, I do however go to the library in case I want to eliminate any possible distractions or simply need to use some books which I do not have at hand. In the evening, I have a rowing training indoors every other day. If I have a particularly busy day, I tend to work quite late, but if I managed to finish all of my work I hang out with my friends afterwards. Before going to bed, I read a book for half an hour to relax

#OxbridgeInterviews – Biomedical Science Applicant

One of our tutors discusses their subject:

I am currently majoring in Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Physiology and minoring in Neuroscience, so have a strong grasp of a broad range of biological topics. I have previously studied aspects of Psychology, developmental biology and Cellular Physiology. For my dissertation I worked in a lab in Oxford on bone marrow adipocytes and the differentiation of stem cells, and will be starting a DPhil
on dietary constituents and their effect on bone health.

A typical 3rd year day consists of a lecture or 2 in the morning, lunch in the college bar, working in the college library in the afternoon. In the evening I’ll go home and cook dinner and finish up work before reading and going to bed.

How did you find your Oxford application?
My application experience was relatively easy. I was actually only in Oxford for 1 day of interviews (compared to some people who were there for 5 days), so I had 3 interviews on the same day which was quite intense. Once I’d received my offer, I was really considering turning it down and accepting an offer from Bristol as I didn’t think Oxford was for me, but now so glad that I didn’t as I love Oxford and I’ve
found I really appreciate being pushed intellectually and working hard.

I only discovered Biomed as a course while looking through course description on university websites. It appealed to me as I enjoyed human biology in school but didn’t want to be a Medic.

#OxbridgeSciences – Human Sciences Applicants – Experiences

Why did you choose to apply to Human Sciences at Oxford?
Whilst applying to university I really struggled to choose a subject. I couldn’t find any one subject that I felt wasn’t too narrow or had enough variation as this is something I have always valued. I chose to do A-levels in Maths, English literature, Philosophy and applied Ethics and Biology which goes some way to demonstrating the difficulty I had in narrowing my options down. I chose these subjects based purely on enjoyment and my aim was to find a degree course that continued this. I undertook an extended project qualification on healing miracles in an attempt to look at the intersection between the biological and cultural aspects of the subjects I was studying- and it was at this point that I found the human sciences course. When I found it, I felt that I had finally discovered a course that satisfied my wish to study a broad range of subjects and the areas of intersection between them. It seemed unique in that it is one of the few truly interdisciplinary subjects available at a degree level.
I am very passionate about the subject I study and during sixth form, I attempted to raise awareness of the course by giving short presentations on it to younger years and discussing with the senior management teams ways in which we could help raise its profile in the school.

#OxbridgeApplications – Mathematics Interviews

A Maths tutor gives us a little insight into their application to study Maths at Oxford:

My experience applying to Oxford, while still very challenging on a personal level, was by no means a solo endeavour. Throughout my mathematical journey there have been many fantastic people- friends, tutors, teachers- to which I owe much of my success today. It is for this reason that I am involved in a tutoring program such as Oxbridge Sciences, so that other people may have the same level of help and opportunities I received, and to help brilliant mathematicians achieve all they are capable of. As for why I chose maths I don’t think any other subject offers the same level of natural beauty and complexity, while at the same time still offering high levels of utility and practicality.

What I find particularly interesting about these two areas of mathematics is that both provide great insight into mathematical problems in the real world, whilst also extending much beyond the scope of applied mathematics and into the more abstract and exciting world of pure maths.


#OxbridgeApplications – Why Biology at Oxford

We discuss with one our current tutors, a masters student at Oxford, why they chose to study Biology:

I chose to study biology because I am someone who craves change. As a society, we tend to resist it, but progress is what propels us forward: socially, technologically, and intellectually. Although biology is defined as the study of life, I view it as the study of change. Evolutionary theories and processes form the foundation of biology, because to understand the way our world is living now, we must understand where this great diversity all came from. I hope to work in wildlife conservation, because I believe it is our responsibility, as scientists, academics, and humans, to preserve our great planet. In fact, I am already involved in local wildlife conservation research efforts here in Oxford. To me, to understand biology is to understand the past, present, and hopeful future of the entire tree of life.

#OxbridgeApplications – Why Engineering?

We ask one of our tutors why they chose to study engineering at cambridge:

The word engineering derives from ingenuity. Engineering is about applying knowledge of maths and physics in creative ways to solve real problems.

That’s what is on the cover of any university course, but in Y12 I struggled to distinguish engineering from physics. Now I understand that physics, as a science, is about the pursuit of knowledge about how the universe works, whereas engineering takes the useful bits to actually create something that makes people’s lives better. Physics is often the study of the very big or small, whereas engineering usually involves objects that can be seen or touched.

Engineering is also a team sport, a business, and a serious career. Engineering in the real world involves teams cooperating to create something that one person never could, such as an aeroplane. Lastly, the demand for versatile Cambridge engineers, the course being as broad as it is, is enormous.

#OxbridgeMedicine – #OxbridgeExperiences – Medical Student

We ask one of our Oxford Medics about their course:

I’m currently doing the lecture course on cell physiology, which is really broad.  As an illustration, I’ve been doing tutorials on G protein coupled receptors, protein folding and secretion, second messenger signalling, stress, ovulation, and I’ve got acid and oxygen sensing coming up soon.  My research is on cardiac optogenetics – GM mouse hearts and shining light on them to see how it changes.  I started off not explaining that but then doctors started asking me what it actually meant.  I’m also writing a mini review on why cancer patients get weird taste sensations.
I chose medicine because human life is the most important thing we have.  There are very few careers where you are at the frontier of dealing with human health every day.  The amount you have to know in order to practice is immense – and it changes all the time – and I never want to stop learning.  It’s also a very versatile career.  When I graduate I have so many career routes to choose from – and some of them involve practising abroad which would be really exciting.  People talk about how the NHS doesn’t have enough doctors, but if you look at the stats for some other places it’s far worse.

#OxfordApplications – Biomedical Sciences – Experiences

One of our Biomedical Sciences Tutors describes what areas they enjoy most in their degree subject:

My special areas on interest within my degree are Immunology and Microbiology, Pharmacology and Cardiovascular Physiology but I have a good general all round knowledge of most areas of Biomedical Sciences because my first year had to give a flavour of all topics including Neuroscience and Psychology to allow us to pick our options in later years. However, my absolute favourite part of Biomed is Pharmacology and the action of drugs on receptors and the clinical implications this has. This itself is quite broad because it involves cardiovascular drugs, gastrointestinal pharmacology, respiratory pharmacology and neuropharmacology, so I have a basic understanding of lots of pathways and physiology.
What does a typical day at Oxford look like for you?
A typical day for my degree involves 3 hours of lectures and maybe a tutorial in an afternoon (usually 2-3 a week). When I don’t have a tutorial in an afternoon I’m usually reading around for my next tutorial but the depth of reading you do really depends on how interested you are personally in the topic that it’s on. If the tutorial topic is not something you optionally want to read further into you don’t have to. Other than that I play college netball, there’s plenty of time to do any extra-curricular activities or sports you are interested in with Biomed.
How do you describe your Oxbridge interview experience?
With my application to Oxford, I had no help at all before I walked into the interview. I came from a state sixth form College and not many pupils get into Oxbridge universities so there was not a lot of support or interview preparation available at all. Therefore, whilst I had no idea what to expect at all, looking back the interview was definitely something where the tutors tried to push me. They asked questions of increasing difficulty that they did not at all expect me to know the answers to. It was all about how I reasoned and what suggestions I had. I often got the response “No that’s not how it actually works but it could be”. They just wanted to see what I could logically reason and were impressed when I proposed an answer that wasn’t always correct but showed a different perspective or way of thinking.

#Oxbridge #Medicine – Applying to Cambridge

We ask one of our Cambridge tutors about their daily university routine and what made them a successful oxbridge applicant:


You could say my typical day is quite hectic, as it consists of 2-3 hours of lectures, 2 hours of practicals and 1 hour of supervisions. When I get home I try to work for another 2 hours but I am a firm supporter of relaxing and having a balanced lifestyle so I keep myself sane by playing the piano or going to the gym.

Being an international student, I get how frustrating and stressful the application and interview process is for a student and particularly one that doesn’t have English as their first language. However, it is also a time to learn and gain valuable experience in writing personal statements and being interviewed, skills which I have now come to appreciate more. I spent a lot of time writing my personal statement and I am now very in touch with what Cambridge admissions tutors like to see in it in my role as a tutor. I have also gained valuable interview skills that I can pass on – how to make a good first impression, what things you should and should not say as well as how you should prepare for them and structure your thinking. I am very passionate about medicine and have always been from a very young age and especially at Cambridge, as it is a leading centre of research with countless opportunities for research projects and internships, as well as a research career alongside your medical career.