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Oxford Chemistry Students and Applicants

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    (Original post by J-Curve)
    Elles - you're so COOL! You have a red dot next to your name!
    Lol, so do I.

    Elles, I stand corrected. I thought having full marks was overrated, because I always hear people say blah blah have full marks in the whole of their AS, or blah blah have full marks in X, Y, and Z. At least in my school, and a lot of people in TSR. I personally have quite a few, so maybe I'm just jealous I forgot to mention it.

    Edit: wait... that's the referee's job.
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    Was that chemical engineering headstart at nottingham? I went to that but decided to leave it off my application cos it was ****e
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    How did it confirm your desire to study Chemistry? How can you relate it to your degree in Chemistry?
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    Random/childish question: but would I need a pair of compasses (e.g. for maths) or a protractor? Colour pencils?
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    (Original post by Eau)
    Random question: would I need a pair of compasses (e.g. for maths) or a protractor? Colour pencils?
    No. Coloured pencils are for geography students. You need nothing like that!
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    (Original post by cpchem)
    No. Coloured pencils are for geography students. You need nothing like that!
    And mathematicians who colour maps :p:
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    (Original post by cpchem)
    No. Coloured pencils are for geography students. You need nothing like that!
    Lol. I remember we used coloured pencils for transition metal chemistry. 0_0

    How about any weird stationery I should be aware of? No? Okay...
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    Hi,

    I am applying for a chemistry undergradaute course at Oxford for entry in 2008. I thus have a couple of questions; first what roughly is the number of student u ppl think are applying for MChem course and secondly what to expect from the tutor in the interviews.

    Any advise or suggestion regarding interviews will be most appreciated.


    It will b encourgaring to see at least 10 replies.

    Thnx
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    Reply no1:
    have you done a search on this forum?! Maybe try the thread about chemistry :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by ChemBlue)
    Hi,

    I am applying for a chemistry undergradaute course at Oxford for entry in 2008. I thus have a couple of questions; first what roughly is the number of student u ppl think are applying for MChem course and secondly what to expect from the tutor in the interviews.

    Any advise or suggestion regarding interviews will be most appreciated.


    It will b encourgaring to see at least 10 replies.

    Thnx
    The information on numbers applying and total number of places will be available in the prospectus which you can (should) order off the Oxford admissions website.
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    Statistical information:

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/univstats/

    Interview: mainly based on what you know in A-level chemistry. There's no need to read extra material, e.g. university textbooks.
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    (Original post by Eau)
    Statistical information:

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/univstats/

    Interview: mainly based on what you know in A-level chemistry. There's no need to read extra material, e.g. university textbooks.
    Make sure you can apply hybridization theory; otherwise there is a possibility you'll have a major surprise at Merton.
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    Some interviewers might avoid chemistry and throw more maths/physics type questions your way.
    There's absolutely no need to try and learn anything new... just be sure about what you already know. If they ask you about something you don't know a lot about, tell them, and they'll talk you through the question. They're not overly concerned about how much stuff you've crammed in your head, they're more interested in how you can apply both that and new ideas which they may introduce you to.
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    what books did you buy before coming to oxford? i only bought the 2 organic textbooks listed on a letter from my tutors sometime in august now im unsure whether i need to get other books before i start the course..
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    Don't get anything else. Books recommended by tutors often bear no correlation to those that students actually find useful. What was recommended to you, and by whom?
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    (Original post by cpchem)
    Don't get anything else. Books recommended by tutors often bear no correlation to those that students actually find useful. What was recommended to you, and by whom?
    'A guidebook to mechanism in organic chemistry', peter sykes

    'organic chemistry', kemp&vellaccio

    recommended by Robert Adlington
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    (Original post by experiment626)
    'A guidebook to mechanism in organic chemistry', peter sykes

    'organic chemistry', kemp&vellaccio

    recommended by Robert Adlington
    Sykes is good but boring, Kemp & Velaccio, I think I've only used once. The main book for Organic is Clayden, Greeves, Warren & Wothers' "Organic Chemistry" (nobody has an imagination for titles, it seems!).

    Rob Adlington, on the other hand... brilliant. I'm sort-of jealous. If he's half as good a tutor as he is a lecturer, you're in for a great time in Organic!
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    I was seriously considering applying to Oxford to do Chemistry (entry 2009), and given that I managed AAAA at AS-Level, it seems like it would be worth a go.
    However, despite my good AS-Level reults (with high individual module averages too), and my pretty much complete understanding of topics covered in A-Level so far, I still don't know if I'm 'cut out' for an Oxford education. The application process doesn't phase me; if I recieve and offer then 'great', if I don't then 'bugger'. What I loose sleep over is the thought of sitting in lecture theatres, upon my hypothetical admission, with everybody else nodding in understanding, and me dissolving into a mass of confusion, totally lost in an opaque cloud of incomprehension.

    Just how hard is Chemistry at Oxford? What is the drop-out rate? Is the mathematical aspect of the course excruciating? Given that I never did Physics beyond GCSE (although I'm doing A-Level maths), will the physical chemistry be too difficult for me to wrestle with and emerge the victor?!

    Any commentry from current Oxford Chemists would be very welcome, and indeed anybody in the same position as I would be encouraged to share his views too!
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    Well, how good at Chemistry are you? Some people breeze through it, others don't. :p:

    Drop out rate for Oxford in general is very very low and so I suspect any subject breakdown would fluctuate wildly from year to year as they tend to be due to personal circumstances - there's certainly no obvious consistent trend of all the Chemists wanting to drop out that I've noticed!
    But there is a not completely insignificant kick out/failure rate after Prelims (seemed on about a par or a bit higher than with medicine when I last looked up numbers - which was higher than other subjects. Failing prelims in an arts subject is hard work apparently!), which can usually be found in the Examiner's Reports usually:
    http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/teaching/examinersreports.html

    (Whoops, outside the Oxford network you can't read them it would seem - perhaps someone can extract the numbers. Last time I read the Maths paper was the painful one with a handful of resists normally.)



    As a statement of competing interests, I'm not a current Chemist - my anecdotal impression is from a sample of about 4-5 years worth of Chemists at my college who showed some fairly different responses:
    - 2 people who failed prelim resits - 1 transferred to do Chemistry elsewhere, 1 went to do something completely different.
    - 1 who changed subject away from Chemistry (Biochem then Physiology!) and 1 who changed to (from Medicine).
    - My significant other - who didn't hugely enjoy it (lots of Maths and theory).
    - & some friends who loved it!
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    I would imagine that anything you'd struggle to understand at Oxford would still be on a multitude of other chemistry courses around the country. If you've got your heart set on chemistry (and hopefully your head set on it too!) then I see no reason for you not to apply to Oxford.

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Updated: April 8, 2014
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