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Oxford Chemistry Students and Applicants

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    Trust the tutors' decisions. They only let people in who they think will get an upper second or a first, so if they let you in, they've seen from your thoughts that you'd be fine in the lectures and everything. Trust them
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    (Original post by LurkerintheDark)
    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!
    This is typically how studying a science at ANY uni tends to go :p: If you don't get it, chances are a lot of others don't either. But uni is more about actual learning than just being taught if you see what I mean.
    As for lectures, at the start it's all okay and following the lecture is fine, then its 'yeah just about following' then 'screw it just copy off the board and try and make sense later'. As long as you put the hours in at the right time (like I didn't this year) it'll all be okay.
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    At the college I am currently writing this post from 4 out of 10 1st years failed chemistry prelims. I wont deny its a subject which has one of the highest drop out rates in the university.

    Its not too bad though, if you work hard you will be alright. You will find that it looks really hard in lectures, and you wont understand alot in some lectures. But follows GAVs advice and put in the hours to understanding it and you will be ok.
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    If, as it sounds, you're breezing through A-Level chemistry (ie getting the concepts as they appear in the classroom and not having to commit to any large amount of reading round the subject) you'll breeze through the first two terms. Put in the work and you could feasibly end Prelims with a Distinction.

    2nd year is where it begins to ramp up and you can quickly get left behind, but some concerted effort at revision can sort that out.

    As for lectures and understanding there and then, its a rare thing for many, particularly in physical where the pace is particularly quick. You'll find plenty of people who lay down the 'i'm so screwed, i don't understand a thing' chat so if you feel that way you definitely won't be alone.

    Even the class of what I'd call 'super-chemists', (top 15 or so in the year) have their off days so you really have nothing to fret about.

    Put in your application and come and have a great time, so far it's been the best two years of my life
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    (Original post by IBSweeper)
    If, as it sounds, you're breezing through A-Level chemistry (ie getting the concepts as they appear in the classroom and not having to commit to any large amount of reading round the subject) you'll breeze through the first two terms. Put in the work and you could feasibly end Prelims with a Distinction.

    2nd year is where it begins to ramp up and you can quickly get left behind, but some concerted effort at revision can sort that out.

    As for lectures and understanding there and then, its a rare thing for many, particularly in physical where the pace is particularly quick. You'll find plenty of people who lay down the 'i'm so screwed, i don't understand a thing' chat so if you feel that way you definitely won't be alone.

    Even the class of what I'd call 'super-chemists', (top 15 or so in the year) have their off days so you really have nothing to fret about.

    Put in your application and come and have a great time, so far it's been the best two years of my life
    Hmm... another person in my year... but who?
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    I've just passed Prelim resits after failing the first time round in June. I found the course very difficult especially physical as, like you, I dropped physics at A level. Saying this however, the majority of the other chemists in my year also didn't take Physics A level and they passed first time round.

    There is definitely more work than in other subjects, especially in first year where you have to do a maths course as well. But, if you work hard (especially in the vacations where you revise for collections) then you should have no trouble. Yes, chemistry has quite a high rate of resits, but everyone who sat resits this year passed them, probably after realising they should get their ass in gear. (I should probably mention here that some people were kicked out before resits due to failing too many Prelim exams)

    I'd give it a go
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    How many people were actually kicked out?
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    Yeah, I was wondering how many they'd boot out this year, given that you can't all fit into the PTCL lecture theatre. You'll have even more fun next year in the DP...
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    Well im now an only child.
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    The PTCL problem was only really bad at the beginning of the year -- when everyone went to lectures.
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    PTCL was less than half full for the last few weeks of kinetics lectures!

    I'm not sure how many were kicked out. I know of two definites...
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    That's mostly because kinetics is dull, and also because Claire Vallance's lecture notes are so comprehensive, it's hardly worth going.
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    'Cause it will inevitably happen.

    ... and bore everyone else senseless
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    Yay as I definatley have only to do 1 inorganic lab from the options list.

    (Went to ICL and they printed off which labs ive done and how many points ive got (9 atm))
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    ixivixi is a biochemist, and our chem chat scares her...
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    *subscribes* :redface:
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    Boo, Chemistry!

    Let U be an open subset of C which is simply connected, let f : U → C be a holomorphic function, and let gamma be a rectifiable path in U whose start point is equal to its end point. Then the integral around gamma of F(z) w.r.t z is equal to zero.

    Yay, maths!
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    If you had 9 does that mean I'd have had 9? I'm confused by life and labs. And really want to maximise the amounts I've done of all the others so I can just blitz organic when necessary.....*sigh*
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    (Original post by tarnishedpenny)
    If you had 9 does that mean I'd have had 9? I'm confused by life and labs. And really want to maximise the amounts I've done of all the others so I can just blitz organic when necessary.....*sigh*
    *puts question into amazing chemistry answer machine*

    It says..... reply hazy, try again.

    Disclaimer: My amazing chemistry answer machine is not a Magic 8-Ball.

    I'm not invading your thread, honest! It's just that you're the only people crazy enough to be up this early! *runs away*
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    (Original post by Mrs Carrothead)
    *puts question into amazing chemistry answer machine*

    It says..... reply hazy, try again.

    Disclaimer: My amazing chemistry answer machine is not a Magic 8-Ball.

    I'm not invading your thread, honest! It's just that you're the only people crazy enough to be up this early! *runs away*
    person, Id never be up at 7. From the sounds of it, Carl wouldnt either. Not all chemists are as crazy as TP

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Updated: April 8, 2014
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