Originally posted by Tom Holder here
Please, please, please post all revisions on the original thread so that I can edit it into the original post - alternatively PM me any necessary revisions for the original thread. Tom Holder/London Prophet
Should I Apply?
First,  about the PPE Course.
What is PPE?
'PPE brings together some of the most important approaches to understanding the social and human world around us, developing skills useful for a whole range of future careers and activities. Studying Philosophy, you will develop analytical rigour and the ability to criticize and reason logically, and be able to apply these skills to many contemporary and historical schools of philosophical thought, and to questions concerning how we acquire knowledge or how we make ethical recommendations.  The study of Politics will acquaint you with the institutions that make crucial decisions which govern our lives as members of nations, states and other political groupings. You will also learn how to evaluate the choices which political systems must regularly make, and about the processes that maintain or change those systems. The study of Politics also includes opportunities to take core and optional papers in Sociology and International Politics.  An appreciation of Economics and the general workings of the economy has become increasingly necessary to make sense of governmental policy-making, the conduct of businesses and the enormous changes in economic systems which are occurring throughout the world at the current time. Economics focuses both on individual units and on the aggregate behaviour of groups, societies and international markets. 
If you're interested in finding out more detail about what topics you can study, have a look at the full syllabus for the course on which is available on Oxford University's PPE website at http://www.ppe.ox.ac.uk/index.php/course-information
Does this sound interesting? If not turn around now - This may be one of Oxford University's most prolific courses, with some of the best job prospects in the country (Many Prime Ministers have had PPE) BUT do not do it unless you are truly interested. Those who do the course for the job prospects tend to hate it, and through hating it tend to come out with a substandard degree. This course will take up a large portion of three years of your life so make sure you know what it's all about before you apply
Why PPE at Oxford?
Oxford University's PPE course is generally thought to be superior to that of other universities offering the course. Oxford does not offer any of Philosophy, Politics and Economics as single subjects, but instead they are offered in such courses as PPE, Economics and Management (E&M), Modern History and Economics (MHE), Philosophy and Theology and Modern History and Politics (MHP) to name a few. The Guardian 2009 league tables put Oxford as the top ranking university for Politics, Philosophy and Economics respectively. Oxford University has one of the five legal deposit libraries in the UK, meaning it has a copy of every research paper published in the UK. PPEists spend most of their time in the Social Sciences Library, The Philosophy Faculty Library and the Bodleian Library. The 2008 THES World League Tables puts Oxford 4th in the world, after Harvard, Yale and Cambridge. With Oxford you also gain from the one on one tutorial system that is relatively unique in the British education system (Cambridge also teach through the tutorial system and other unis such as St Andrews and Durham use a variant).
Despite it's facilities, Oxford University is not for everyone and there are many other universities which offer the course, some of these are: University of East Anglia (UEA), University of Durham [course code VL52), University of Essex, University of Hull, Lancaster University, University of Stirling and University of York (all offering PPE courses in 2009), all (except Durham) use UCAS course code "L0V0".
So is Oxford right for me?
Well here are the yes no questions...
- Would I be happy in a medium sized city? Yes/No
- Would I be happy being taught in 1on1 or 2on1* tutorials? Yes/No
- Would I be happy writing two 2000 word essays a week? Yes/No
- 2 maybe even 3 students to 1 tutor
If the answer to any of the above is no then i strongly suggest you don't apply. Here are some other questions to think about (although answering no isn't such a bad thing as with above):
- Could i cope with the possibility of being average?
- You may have been top in your school or 6th form, but PPE at Oxford brings about some of the brightest students in this country and others
- Could I cope with the possibility of rejection?
- The success rate for applicants is 16% and all most of those applying are very bright, can you cope with the idea you may be rejected
- Could I motivate myself to work on my own?
- PPEists are expected to work at 40 hour week, around 10 hours is likely to be lectures,classes and tutorials, the other 30 or so is reading and writing for essays on your own
- Could I cope with doing exams at the beginning of nearly every term?
- "Collection" exams are set at the beginning of most terms, a few days before the first lectures Have a good think about these questions.
Can I afford Oxford?
For UK students fees are a little over £9,000 per year. You should be eligible for various loans, some means-tested (your parents income), others not - see here
EU students are eligible for extra help.
As an international student there are a limited number of scholarships available
Do I have the requirements for PPE?
The typical Oxford offer for PPE is AAA at A-level. Many applicants will be applying with predicted grades of AAA or better, so straight As is almost a must. For the International Baccalaureate, the typical offer is 39-40 points with 7,6,6-7,7,6 in your Higher Level subjects. GCSEs may be looked at but many students will not have straight As and A*s so don't feel you need it. PPE has no required subjects, you do not need to have previously studied any of the composite subjects individually, but the university does say History and Maths are helpful. You will have to write essays so if you haven't in the past you will have to learn in your first term at Oxford. With regard to maths, read below.
Do I need maths A-level
As mentioned above, there are no officially required subjects for PPE, however maths is considered "helpful". As far as surviving the course maths is useful but not necessary there is also some light maths in the economics papers, but don't worry if you have only got GCSE maths since they will teach you, it is just a lot harder for non-maths people. Most PPEists i know would highly suggest having done at least AS-level maths before applying. Nonetheless, many tutors (particularly the economics ones) will almost completely ignore candidates without a certain level of maths. This varies tutor to tutor, and college to college. [I chatted with an economics avddddmission professor in 2009 who said he personally didn't feel maths was a necessity but some of his colleagues wouldn't pick candidates without it]. I would say you are at a slight disadvantage if applying without maths, but it is certainly possible to be accepted without it. Offers were given to people in the 2011-entry application cycle with only Maths GCSE (not even at A*).
Well all of this considered, if you still want to apply then read on!
The PPE Course
The PPE Course is 3 years and is split into the first year where you build up a basic knowledge of all three disciplines in preparation for first year exams (called prelims or mods), and the second two years where you focus on elements of two or three disciplines in order to take final exams.
A detailed guide to the PPE course can be found in the PPE handbook provided by the university.
First Year Course
In your first year you will study all three subjects. In exams you have 3 hours to answer 4 questions.
- There is no longer a required statistical coursework*
The course is split into 3 sections. In your exams you have to answer at least one question in two different sections so you may only be taught 2 of the following sections or you may be taught all 3. I believe all 3 is most common across most colleges.
1. Logic - This is usually taught in larger classes - it used to be based around the teaching of 'W. Hodges - Logic', however this year a new course using "The Logic Manual" by Volker Halbach is being tested. It is likely that this will be the key text in future years. You will be taught propositional logic, basic predicate logic and basic equivilent logic (affectionately named L1 L2 and L=). - Example Exam questions are: "Explain the difference between semantic and syntactic entailment in the propositional calculus" (Q6.(a) of 2005 Philosophy Prelims paper) "Find counter-examples to '|=[[[[P->Q]->[Q^P]]->R]<->[R->¬P]]'"(Q2.(b)(i) of 2005 Philosophy Prelims Paper)
2. General Philosophy - This is likely to be taught in tutorials and is an introduction to some of the important topics in epistemology and metaphysics. You will be introduced to philosophers such as Locke, Descartes and Hume - The General Philosophy topics are: Knowledge, Identity, Primary and Secondary Qualities, Mind and Body, Free Will, Scepticism, Induction and Perception. - Example Exam questions are/l "Does induction's track record bear on its future prospects?" (Q11 of 2005 Philosophy Prelims paper) "Are you the same person as you were when you were six years old?" (Q14. of 2005 Philosophy Prelims paper)
3, Moral Philosophy - This is also likely to be taught in tutorials and studies moral philosophy in conjunction with 'J.S. Mill's - Utilitarianism'. It covers such areas as "higher and lower pleasures" and "Act and Rule Utilitarianism". - Example Exam questions are: "Does Utilitarianism treat people as mere containers for happiness, with no value of their own?" (Q16. of 2005 Philosophy Prelims paper) "Is Mill's proof of utilitarianism so patently fallacious that it should be used as a warning example in textbooks of logic?" (Q20. of 2005 Philosophy Prelims paper)
This course is split into 2 sections. In the prelims exam you must answer at least one question from each section.
1. Theorizing the democratic state - You will learn about some of the main concepts involved in Democracy such as Liberty and Justice as well as frameworks of power such as Pluralism and Marxism. You may not be taught all of these areas, depending whether your tutor puts more focus into section 2 rather than section 1. - You will meet philosophers such as Mill (On Liberty), Marx, Tocqueville and Rousseau (The Social Contract) - Example Exam questions: "Can it ever be Democratic to place constraints on majority rule?" (Q2. on 2005 Politics Prelims Paper) "Why does Marx think that capitalism will be overthrown by a proletariat revolution?" (Q3. on 2005 Politics Prelims Paper)
2. Analysis of Democratic Institutions - You will learn about the political institutions of France, Germany, UK and USA although not necessarily all four. You will learn about the various branches of government, the constituions, the party system to name but a few areas. You will learn about controversies arising in these areas. This section is very flexible - tutors will choose which areas they teach. - Example Exam questions: "Why are some legislatures more party-dominated than others?" (Q13. on 2005 Politics Prelims Paper) "What constrains the power of the US Supreme Court?" (Q22. on 2005 Politics Prelims Paper)
This course is split into Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. In previous years maths was a seperate topic, however this year the course was changed - the maths has been integrated into the economics more completely, so that it is no longer a differentiated subject, but both macro and micro have a strong focus on the maths they involve. In prelims you must do 3 micro/macro questions. You are likely to be taught Microeconomics one term and Macroeconomics the next this will usually be done in both tutorials and classes; maths will likely be taught in classes or extra tutorials.
1. Macroeconomics/Microeconomics - Microeconomics gives a rough overview of microeconomics so as to bring everyone up to a similar standard including those with no previous economics experience. The exam could almost completely be revised for using 'Hal. Varian - Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach, i strongly suggest you buy this book. Microeconomics also includes a section on trade. - Macroeconomics gives a rough overview of macroeconmics so as to bring everyone up to a similar standard including those with no previous economics experience. More textobooks are needed but many people choose 'Mankiw - Macroeconomics'. - Example Exam questions: "Patents are a form of monopoly. How would you assess the optimal duration of a patent? What would the limitations on the use of your analysis in practise?" (QA4. on 2005 Economics Prelims Paper) "Compare the GDP deflator and the Consumer Price Index as measures of the cost of living across countries." (QA16. on 2005 Economics Prelims Paper)
Second and Third Year Course
You have the choice of the staying with all subjects or droping one and continuing bi-partite, this latter option is more common. In your chosen two of three subjects you must do 2 core papers. bold means you must take this course as one of your core papers if you choose to continue this dicipline.
Philosophy - Ethics, History of Philosophy from Descartes to Kant, Knowledge and Reality, Plato: Republic, Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics
Economics - Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Quantitative Economics (no choice on core papers)
Politics - Comparative Governments, Political Sociology, International Relations, British Politics and Government since 1900, Theory of Politics
You can then take a number of extra modules to bring the total number of modules to 8 on which you will be examined in finals. Some examples of these modules are below Philosophy - Formal Logic, The Later Philosophy of Wittgenstein, Intermediate Philosophy of Physics Economics - Public Economics, British Economic History since 1870, Econometrics Politics - Russian Government and Politics, International Relations in the era of the Cold War, Marx and Marxism
For a full list of courses read the 
So, you've decided to apply for Oxford: the deadline for applications this year is 15th October 2010.
The TSA Oxford Test website 
The TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) is sat by PPE and E&M (Economics and Management) students since 2008 when it replaced the original Oxford PPE admissions test. It is taken in October / November each year (4th November 2009) and you must ensure you have been entered to take the test - talk to your school. You will typically take the test at your school. Results can be downloaded from the website. Many questions on the logistics of the TSA can be found here: 
The test has two components. A) Multiple Choice (90 mins) and B) Writing Task (30 mins). This second section replaces the need to submit written work - so it is important that you show you can write clearly and concisely.
Practise Papers can be downloaded here: 
The importance put on the test by admissions tutors will vary between tutors. Some will take good marks as a big bonus to chances of admission, while other tutors will only care that you get a certain minimum grade and then assess the student on other qualities (PS and interview).
Paper 1: Multiple Choice
The test comprises of 50 questions giving you approximately 1 min 45 seconds per question. The questions come in a variety of forms including (my terminology):
In this you are presented with an argument and you must work out which of the five statements correctly underpins that heart of the argument (this may be done by analogy). Read these carefully - some statements may be consistent with the argument, but not an underlying assumption. The correct answer when "reversed" may suggest a hole in the original argument e.g.:
Question (summary): Pass Rates Improving. Students not actually becoming more skilled (say employers). Thus Pupils being coached better. Answer B: The level of difficulty of examinations has not been falling specimen paper, question 4
If you reverse the answer - that exams are becoming easier - you find that it would present a problem for the original argument - therefore statement B must have been an assumption.
You're given a statement and asked which answer provides the flaw. This question is actually identical to the assumptions questions except they give you the "reverse" answers. if you "reverse" the correct answer it will turn into an underlying assumption of the argument (although it is easier to think of the answer in terms of the flaw - i.e. I'd only test the answer through its contradiction for the assumption questions - the flaw questions do it for you)
All answers are likely to be plausible, but only one is a logical flaw - read ALL the possible answers, even if you think one answer is right.
A slight derivation of the assumption question is one asking for a summary of the main argument (e.g. which answer "best expresses the conclusion") - once again check all answers - the correct one will summarise the conclusion, not just an assisting point. e.g.:
Question (summary): If wages don't increase then staff morale will fall, thus productivity will fall, thus smaller profits, thus bankruptcy. Either they pay higher wages or bankruptcy. Which is the best conclusion? Answer B: If wages don't increase, business will fail Answer D: Fall in productivity may mean business fails Answer E: If wages rise, business will succeed Specimen Paper, Q11
D is logically correct but not the thrust of the argument (which is "either higher wages or bankruptcy"). B and E may appear the same, but E is not necessarily logically true - and certainly not the same way the argument is shown.
For data questions you will be presented with a table, graph or picture and asked a question. The first tip is to read the question, then the graph, then the answers. Much of the time there is irrelevant data and so read the question carefully to make sure you're only looking at relevant information.
Question 19 of the specimen paper produces a table of gas and electricity usage between October and April. The question asks about gas usage - the second column of the table is entirely irrelevant.
A direct or indirect maths question. Take a moment to work out the most efficient way of answering the question. The questions are very diverse and its hard to give tips except to say that usually the answer can be found very quickly IF you stop and think.
For All Multiple Choice Questions
- If you're getting stuck, skip the question and come back to it
- Remember to Breathe. If you're stuck in a rut close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your eyes, and continue.
- Make notes on the paper - summarise the arguments if necessary e.g. if A then B, if B then C, C is true (therefore A or B must be true)
Paper 2: Written Section
First off - only answer one question - may seem obvious but someone will forget. Spend five minutes making a plan, and make sure your plan is clear IN YOUR INTRODUCTION. Some people find it easier to write their plan immediately in prose as their introduction (rather than making a rough plan). But definitely spend a few minutes drawing a rough sketch of ideas.
Be clear and concise.
Be interesting - draw on your knowledge - There will usually be suitable call for some current or historical knowledge to illustrate your points - but don't make to too contrived.
Examples (from Specimen):
- 1. "Privacy is only good because people aren't good. In a perfect world we wouldn't need privacy." Is that right?
- 2. In order to be a successful leader, is it better to be loved or feared?
- 3. Is "ethical" consumerism a solution of poverty, or a dangerous distraction?
Personal Statement: What Should I Show?
What does my Personal Statement need to include?
- 1. Interest in PPE - You must show that you are genuinely interested in spending 3 years of your life studying politics, philosophy and economics. I would strongly suggest that you include elements of all 3 in your PS.
- 2. Personal Drive - You must show that you can motivate yourself. Many people do this by showing extracurricular interests in the both related and unrelated subjects and activities.
- 3. Academic Ingenuity - Your UCAS forum will mention your grades. Most applicants will be applying to Oxford with decent GCSE's (an A average), decent AS-Levels (AABB or better) and excellent predicted A-levels (AAA or better). Your UCAS form is a chance to show that despite similar grades to the other applicants you've got that little extra creative spark that will make you more interesting to teach than the other 3 people fighting for your place.
- 4. Show you've got some specific interests - If you're recently been reading about the Spanish Civil War or Animal Rights, mention it (If you have a strong belief in animal rights, I would be try to come across interested and not belligerent - most staff in Oxford are very tired of Animal Rights Activism).
- 5. If you want to mention your extra-curricular activities, try and link in core skills that you have, or are, gaining from it e.g. "Since starting rock climbing in 2004, I've developed a strong team spirit".
How do I set out my Personal Statement? There is no right way of setting out a personal statement, however I suggest something similar to the following
- PARAGRAPH 1: A general introduction on why you want to study PPE
- PARAGRAPH 2-4: A few sentences for each explaining why you want to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics respectively. Try to include some specifics such as books that you've read, activities that have contributed to your interest (internships, travels, competitions).
The above should cover about 2/3 of your personal statement
- PARAGRAPH 5-6: One or two paragraphs covering your extracurricular activities - make sure you include any links between these activities and PPE if there is any.
- Paragraph 7: A final summary saying why you want to apply, and what you hope to achieve, as well as how you believe you are well suited to the course.
Do's and Don't of Personal Statements
- Do mention specific books you've read and enjoyed - try to make them something more interesting and different than "The Prince", "On Liberty", "Social Contract"
- Don't re-use "big" words. If you "thoroughly enjoyed" one thing, then be "particularly interested" in a second thing, and "fascinated" by a third.
- Do use very good English and grammar - a tutor doesn't want someone who is going to produce essays each week with silly grammar mistakes.
- Don't use contractions - some tutors seem to get very irritated with words like "can't", "don't", "isn't", "wouldn't" etc.
- Do show your understanding of the links between the three disciplines
- Don't just focus on one specific discipline of PPE - the Philosophy tutor who might read your PS doesn't want an entire essay on exactly why Politics is the only thing for you.
- Do mention your opinion/belief regarding things you mention being interested in
- Don't copy any part of your personal statement from the internet - UCAS have ways of checking this.
Firstly, here is what Oxford say about interviews: http://www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/interviews/
You'll be down in your college for 2-3 days for interview, so have a little fun and don't work too hard (or better still don't work).
Your interview time will consist of: - Welcoming Talk - Interviews - Interviews at other colleges (maybe)
You may also have a small class with some undergraduates on a topic like game theory to give you a taster of Oxford.
The welcoming talk needs no further explanation so let's move to the next section.
This is what they say about interviews: http://www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/interviews/
Know what's on your course: http://www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/courses/ppec.shtml - course structure
Many people were asked about what they thought was on your course, and it doesn't reflect to well on you if you don't know. You don't need to know much about the individual topics, but know what topics are in the FIRST YEAR!
Anything that is on your personal statement - know well!
Some interviewers will not talk to you about personal statement things because they want to test you with new ideas. Others will want to make sure you really know what you said you knew and will ask you on your personal statement. It looks very bad if you say you read something and haven't! Read your personal statement before you go in.
Get some practise interviews - from teachers, family friends in academia, or current/graduated PPE students - there are plenty of us around willing to help (I've done several phone interviews for people).
Politics: Read the paper, have a loose idea of what some of the more important words mean (make sure you could answer "What is Democracy/Politics/Oppresion/Tyranny ... etc?" ). A magazine/journal like New Statesman could also be helpful. You should know basic facts such as Leaders of the major economies (G8), the members of the EU and Euro, and a basic understanding of the British parliamentary system (all of this can be got from wikipedia); because of the breadth of even introductory politics, decent starter books are difficult, however:
- Jonathan Wolff - An Introduction to Political Philosophy (2006) - Does what it says on the tin in easy understandable English.
- Machiavelli - The Prince (1532) - This easy-to-read short book gives an introduction to international relations (At least the Realist point of view) by one of the most famous political thinkers.
- John Stuart Mill - Utilitarianism (1863) - This relatively short book is probably the most famous text on the theory of Utilitarianism. Unlike some political philosophy this is a relatively readable book.
Philosophy: Know some of the broad idea's of who said what. They won't mark you down for not knowing, but knowing a little helps. A quick flick through a basic "intro to philosophy book" wouldn't harm your chances.
- Bertrand Russell - The Problems of Philosophy (1912) - A decent introduction by one of the 20th Centuries's greatest philosophers. A focus on Epistemology (theory of knowledge)
- Thomas Nagel - What Does it All Mean? (2004) - Another very good introduction to basic philosophy
- Simon Blackburn - Think (1999) - An introduction into some major philosophical questions from God to justice
Economics: READ THE PAPER (broadsheet equivalent), buy that weeks "economist" magazine, or better yet, read the Economist regularly. They will almost certainly ask you about a current or recent issue, so have some understanding of issues such as globalisation, the environment among a host of others. The three books below all gives basic introductions to economics based in the world around us (rather than a ground-up theory book)
- Steven Lansburg - The Armchair Economist (2005)
- Tim Harford - The Undercover Economist (2007)
- Stephen Levitt - Freakonomics (2007)
Also, some blogs to read:
Going to the Interview and How to Dress
ARRIVE ON TIME
BE ALERT AND AWAKE (no big booze up the night before)
How to dress:
"The best rule to follow is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Casual clothes are fine. Most tutors will not dress up for you, so it is not necessary to dress formally. Remember that you are not being assessed on your clothes or haircut! On the other hand, it is inadvisable to look deliberately scruffy; it is hardly an indication of your commitment to the whole process."
Wear what you feel comfortable in, I'd guess over half the people in pembroke DIDN'T wear a suit, but chose to go for an informal attire. I personally wore jeans and a zippy jumper. Football Kit is NOT advised .... keep it reasonable. The advantage of casual clothes is it can make the interview feel slightly less like an interrogation and more like a discussion to see if you are the right person for your subject in the college.
Some people like to relax with a pint before interviews, this is nto always a bad idea and can calm nerves, but i wouldn't buy any more than a pint (and leave an hour before drinking and talking) whatever you think your tolerance is! I might also mention that Hobgoblin ale is one of the best ales in the country. Remember - dont' drink too much! A century of vodka shots is not only likely to mess up your interview, but may also kill you (unless you're russian).
Politics: You may talk about Current Issues, Political Theory or Course Structure. Try and show a little interest, try and move the conversation forward.
- - Why don't modern democracies go to war with one another?
- - What do you think of egalitarianism, are there any flaws in it?
- - Why do we vote?
Philosophy: You may be asked on Philosophical Theory, you are unlikely to be be asked on particular philosophers unless you wrote about them in your personal statement. If you don't understand the questions *- ASK! Also in philosophy you can ask your tutors rhetorical questions if it helps you answer.
- - A girl has a very painful disease that doesn't allow her to enjoy life. Her parents had known about that before she was born and decided to have her anyway. As a teenager she sues her parents saying that it would have been better if she had never been born. As the judge, what would you do?
- - Three men are lined up from a village, one of them is a murderer. The leaders offer you choice, pick one to shoot or do nothing and allow another villager to shoot all three - what do you do?
- - Are knowledge and belief the same?
- - Do morals come from God? Would you torch a bag of kittens if God told you to?
Economics: You will probably be asked about a current issue, answer intelligently. You may also be asked a maths problem, think before answering.
- - There is a game with two players, You may guess numbers between 1-100. The object is to guess half the opponents number. What do you guess?
- - What happens to wages in a country when it opens up to international trade?
- - How can health insurers attract low risk customers if they know they're low risk?
- - Would you be better to invest in a jewellery shop or a pawn shop?
General Interview Advice:
- 1. Think before you speak, stop, have a minute of silence to yourself before replying .... obviously don't wait this long every question, but do think, stop for a few seconds before any question.
- 2. If you don't understand the question, ask them to clarify it for you.
- 3. They may ask you unanswerable questions, especially in moral philosophy or political theory. There may be no right answer, you can say your not sure yourself what answer you'd give.
- 4. Move the conversation along, if you see a link up with another topic, then talk about it. Still ensure you answer the original question.
- 5. Don't be arrogant. The interviewers aren't there to decide if you're clever enough, they are there to decide whether they would like to teach you. No-one wants to teach a know-it-all
- 6. Give longer answers, quick, concise answers are great for the test, but will prolong the feel of the interview. They want a conversation which flows and has direction and they can only do that if you give them opportunities to ask linked questions. At the same time make sure your not just waffling on about nothing.
- 7. Remember that the interviewer is trying to help get the best out of you.
Don't worry. If you feel your interview went badly it often means they just grilled you harder, and can often help your chances of getting a place over someone who found their interview easy but wasn't really grilled. Every person who got in for PPE at Pembroke (my college) in 2003 interviews, thought they'd messed up the interview. Anyone who said their interview went very well failed to get in.. Don't feel to hard done .... if the interview went badly then you have an excuse to go down the pub (not that you need an excuse), if it went well then you also have an excuse (this should read "After interview - Go down pub").
Some colleges will allow you the chance of re-doing your interview if you felt it went badly. I advise you against it, i very nearly did, as did many others because we all felt our interviews went badly, and we all got in. I know one person who did redo her interview and failed to get in. Unless you were actually so ill that you couldn't speak at the time i would advise you against it!
If your interview went well, don't go around saying how easy it was. Many people will feel their interview went very badly and the last thing they want to hear about was how well one individual did!
"There was an interview where the interviewer asked the student to surprise him, the student set the table on fire and got in!" "A friend of a friend had an interview and when he got in the interviewer had his back to the student and they conducted the interview like that, and he got in!" "My mother's best friend's imaginary friend bob's cousin, had an interview where he set a banana on the table, had the interview and when the interviewer asked him about the banana he said "now you'll remember me"!
These are urban myths, they will not happen, the interviewers are there to make your life easy, they want your full potential and they'll only get it in a normal interview.
Disclaimer and Final Notes
All writings in these posts about PPE are my opinion, following any advice will not guarentee you will get into Oxford and I do not hold myself liable for anything written.. Basically you follow my advice at your own risk.
Tom Holder - Pembroke Colege - PPE
PPE 1st Year Reading List
CORE TEXTBOOKS - BUY ONE OR BOTH OF THE TOP TWO
- Varian, H. (2006), Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach, 7/e, Norton
- Katz, M. and Rosen, H. (2005), Microeconomics (European Edition), McGraw-Hill
- Bernheim, D. and Whinston, M. (2008), Microeconomics, McGraw Hill
FOR THOSE WITHOUT PRIOR MICROECONOMIC KNOWLEDGE
- Begg, D., Fischer, S. and Dornbusch, R. (2005), Economics, 8/e, McGraw-Hill
- Lipsey, R. and Chrystal, K. (2007), Principles of Economics, 11/e, Oxford University Press
CORE TEXTBOOKS - I SUGGEST PURCHASING MANKIW
- Mankiw, G. and Taylor, M. (2007), Macroeconomics (European Edition), Worth
- Blanchard, O. (2008), Macroeconomics, 5/e, Prentice Hall (more advanced)
- Miles, D. and Scott, A. (2004), Macroeconomics, 2/e, McGraw Hill (more advanced)
SOME EXTRA MATERIAL TO SUPPLEMENT THE ABOVE READING
- Abel & Bernanke, Macroeconomics, 2nd edn, Addison Wesley, 1995
- Barro and Grilli, European Macroeconomics, Macmillan, 1994
- Blanchard, Macroeconomics, Prentice Hall, 1997
- De Long, Macroeconomics, Wiley, 2002
- Dornbusch, Fischer & Startz, Macroeconomics, 7th edn, McGraw Hill, 1997
- Miles & Scott, Macroeconomics, McGraw Hill, 2002
- Stiglitz, Economics, 2nd edn, Norton 1997
- Sachs & Larrain, Macroeconomics in the Global Economy, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993
CORE MATHS TEXT
- Maths Workbook - available as 10 pdf files, unofrtunately only to those in Oxford (ask me nicely and i'll send them)
SUPPLEMENTARY MATHS BOOKS FOR THOSE WITHOUT FULL A-LEVEL
- Anthony, M. & N. Biggs (1996), Mathematics for Economics and Finance. Cambridge University Press.
- Jacques, I. (1999), Mathematics for Economics and Business, 3rd ed. Addison Wesley Longman.
- Adams, C., Hass, J. and Thompson, A., (1998), How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide, W. H. Freeman & Co.
- Huttenmueller, R. (2007), Business Calculus Demystified, McGraw Hill
- Huettenmueller, R. (2002), Algebra Demystified, McGraw Hill
1. General Philosophy
COMPLETE READING LIST http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/readi...Philosophy.pdf
BRIEF SUMMARY OF SOME IMPORTANT BOOKS: - Sven Bernecker and Fred Dretske (eds.) Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology (OUP 2000) (Covers Knowledge, Scepticism, Perception) - Michael Huemer (ed.) Epistemology: Contemporary Readings (Routledge 2002) (Covers Knowledge, Scepticism, Induction) - R. Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (trans. J. Cottingham), Meditation I-VI (Covers Scepticism, Mind and Body) - A. J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge (Covers Knowledge, Perception ) - D. Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, sects. IV-V (Covers Induction) - J. Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chapter viii & xxvii (Covers Primary & Secondary Qualities, Free Will, Personal Identity)
2. Moral Philosophy (Mill)
COMPLETE READING LIST [urlhttp://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/reading_lists/mods_prelims/2000_Mill_(Moral_Philosophy).pdf[/url]
BRIEF SUMMARY OF SOME IMPORTANT BOOKS:
- Mill, J.S. Utilitarianism ed Crisp, R. (OUP, 1998) (first published 1861; 4th and final edition published 1871) (BUY THIS BOOK)
- Crisp, R. Mill on Utilitarianism (Routledge, 1997) - Berger, F. Happiness, Justice and Freedom (Univ. California Press, 1984) - Smart, J.J.C. & Williams, B. Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1973)
'COMPLETE' READING LIST http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/readi...003_Logic.html
WHAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO KNOW - The Logic Manual, Volker Halbach. Currently only available on weblearn to current students or to be bought in the Philosophy Faculty. You can get a first in Prelims with a good knowledge of this.
http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/teaching/ug/reading_lists/ (too many books to write - but you can access the above link from anywhere)
My Personal Statement
For the past four years I have developed a strong interest in philosophy and politics and greatly enjoyed debates on these topics. Upon studying economics in the sixth form I found it to be a fascinating topic, especially since it complemented many of the political issues I had been interested in, such as the economic problems facing Nazi Germany for much of the inter-war period. Politics has been a hobby outside school for the past few years. I have spent much time debating politics with friends and I find myself continually re-evaluating my own views, especially with regards to political theory. I am especially interested in the politics of Germany during the Nazi era. On that particular topic I have found ‘Rise and fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer to be of particular interest. I find Hitler’s use of effective propaganda, especially with regards to the indoctrination of the Hitler youth truly incredible, as well as how it relates to modern propaganda techniques suggested by Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent. During my time doing Economics I have found many aspects of the course that interest me, such as the debate on whether or not Britain should join the Euro, and I personally agree with Gordon Brown that in economic terms, joining the Euro is a bad idea at present, however at the same time I believe that as a political decision, joining the Euro would be beneficial, both to Britain and the rest of Europe. I believe the decision to commit Britain’s control over interest rates to a European body is dangerous at a time when Britain is relatively thriving when compared to Germany, who are trying to struggle out of a recession. I believe Philosophy is one of the fundamental components of political theory. Political Philosophy will ask such questions as, “Are certain Political theories better adapted to human nature than others”. This comes down the question of human nature and ideas such as nature vs. nurture as to whether man’s behaviour is primarily dependent on ones genes, and hence biological ancestry, or is affected throughout ones life by the actions of others around them, especially during childhood when most people are most impressionable. My Economics was also furthered by my participation in the Young Enterprise competition. I was Marketing Director and learnt the importance of good communication skills both within the company and to clients. I also took the Young Enterprise exam and managed to attain a Distinction. Within the Perse School I have attained both music and drama colours, the latter being for doing sound for various school drama events. I enjoy sports, especially racket sports like squash and badminton. I have a strong love of music, both listening and playing. I have played the drums for 7 years and am presently working towards my Grade 8 drums. I play in the school Wind Band and Swing Band as well in my own band, Xeoro, and I hope that I will be able to further myself during my university years by actively participating in the Musical activities the University has to offer. The balance of schoolwork, musical activities and keeping a social life while still keeping time to pursue other hobbies has meant that I learnt to cope with a busy lifestyle. I believe this will help me cope with the hard work needed to succeed in university life and that in doing this course I can combine and further enhance my interests in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.