How to prepare for a Biochemistry interview at Oxford Watch

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I've received an interview at Oxford for Biochemistry and I'm just wondering If anyone has any tips on preparing for interview.

I haven't had any practice, no mock interview or anything like that so I am really unsure on what to expect.

Thanks very much
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Johnshopkinser
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applied to biological sciences and have no idea how to prepare atm... reading textbooks might help...

heard uk interviews were always so academic... unlike american ones.
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http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...ew_videos.html
Second one down, Biochemistry interview for Oxford.

whehsapg.org.uk/documents/OxbridgeApplicationsInterviewQue stions.doc
Sample questions.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...ews/index.html

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki...dge_Interviews

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6054700.stm


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lif...cle5083301.ece
20 tips from the Times.

Hope this helps
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Thanks very much
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biolegend
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(Original post by There will be Particles)
I've received an interview at Oxford for Biochemistry and I'm just wondering If anyone has any tips on preparing for interview.

I haven't had any practice, no mock interview or anything like that so I am really unsure on what to expect.

Thanks very much
Firstly I can say that general questions ‘Why do you want to study at Oxford?’ or ‘Why do you want to study Chemistry?’ are often not asked. Ok there might be some exceptions but I can say that on most cases, there will not be such questions. We go straight into the academic questions.

However, the first question often tends to be easy, doable ones like A-Level standard even AS standard, IB standard. The examples I’ll be giving will have to be biochemistry based because I studied biochemistry myself. But if I give you an example, my first interview’s first question was to draw an amino acid. That’s quite a simple one, biology AS level. There was a whiteboard next to where I was sitting and I was just asked to stand up and draw it out. We started with this easy question and then started building up some difficulty to what I feel was university first year level. Just to give you an idea, after ‘draw amino acid’ question, the next question was to draw a peptide bond by drawing another amino acid and joining them up. Then the trick question was the one after. It asked me what is the most electronegative atom in this peptide? Thinking now, it is not as tricky as it was in the interview. But in that time because I was under pressure, I was very nervous, this question really tricked me. Obviously it’s oxygen but I was trying to find whether it is nitrogen or oxygen. But yeah I chose oxygen correctly. And towards the end, towards the more difficult end questions, (I will just give you an example), the question I got was “If a codon has 4 bases instead of 3, how would this change the structure of tRNA?” Definitely something you don’t study in A-Levels and something that most biochemistry applicants will not have immediate answers to.

But hey, now days you can find a good wealth of past interview questions by googling. Do make sure you are solid with all the biology and chemistry topics covered at school before the interview. I discourage trying to prepare for the really hard end questions and neglecting the simple AS/A2 level stuff.

There are several ways you can prepare for interviews. But I will leave what I think is the most effective for subjects like Biochemistry. Not everyone is good at orally explaining concepts (Including myself). What I used to do is I drew up a long list of chemistry topics like 'DNA replication', 'nucleophiles', 'cloning', randomly pick out one topic and practice explaining out loud for 1-2 minutes.
Name:  제목 없음-1.jpg
Views: 1272
Size:  115.6 KB

The mission was not to say 'uhm' or stop in the middle of the explanation to think of what to say next. This was to deliver more logical and coherent oral answers in the interviews. I've done this for a month, not necessarily everyday but good 8 topics a week. Hope this helped!
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brendan.
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(Original post by There will be Particles)
I've received an interview at Oxford for Biochemistry and I'm just wondering If anyone has any tips on preparing for interview.

I haven't had any practice, no mock interview or anything like that so I am really unsure on what to expect.

Thanks very much
To add to the above, my impressions from talking to friends is that the interview topics at each college can vary quite a bit in biochemistry. Know the core stuff from Biology and Chemistry that you've learnt to date, perhaps look up other things that you think or know will be important in a biochemistry degree that you might not have covered yet. In the interview itself, don't be afraid to say the 'wrong' thing or admit that you don't know the 'correct' answer. You will be asked questions that are beyond A-Level that you either haven't thought about or have never met before, however, tutors are also looking for how you approach problems that you have not prepared for. Explain your thinking, even if you're not 100% certain. The interviews are very similar to tutorials, so the tutors are partly looking to see whether you will benefit from this teaching type. Above all, try and not let nerves get to you too much. Remember that everybody is nervous even if they don't appear to show it.

If you have any other questions, I've just graduated from Biochem so can try to help out. Saying that, even now I'm not quite sure how I managed to receive an offer. I was sure that the interviews didn't go very well!

Edit: Also, see the Biochem thread on here. I can't remember if it's that useful, but it's not too long anyway. http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1366790

Edit #2: Never mind. Didn't realise this was a really old thread!
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malaikaxx
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(Original post by There will be Particles)
I've received an interview at Oxford for Biochemistry and I'm just wondering If anyone has any tips on preparing for interview.

I haven't had any practice, no mock interview or anything like that so I am really unsure on what to expect.

Thanks very much

what did you getin your GCSEs???
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Noodlzzz
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This thread is 5 years old...
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brendan.
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Oh. Awkward...
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123PC
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(Original post by biolegend)
Firstly I can say that general questions ‘Why do you want to study at Oxford?’ or ‘Why do you want to study Chemistry?’ are often not asked. Ok there might be some exceptions but I can say that on most cases, there will not be such questions. We go straight into the academic questions.

However, the first question often tends to be easy, doable ones like A-Level standard even AS standard, IB standard. The examples I’ll be giving will have to be biochemistry based because I studied biochemistry myself. But if I give you an example, my first interview’s first question was to draw an amino acid. That’s quite a simple one, biology AS level. There was a whiteboard next to where I was sitting and I was just asked to stand up and draw it out. We started with this easy question and then started building up some difficulty to what I feel was university first year level. Just to give you an idea, after ‘draw amino acid’ question, the next question was to draw a peptide bond by drawing another amino acid and joining them up. Then the trick question was the one after. It asked me what is the most electronegative atom in this peptide? Thinking now, it is not as tricky as it was in the interview. But in that time because I was under pressure, I was very nervous, this question really tricked me. Obviously it’s oxygen but I was trying to find whether it is nitrogen or oxygen. But yeah I chose oxygen correctly. And towards the end, towards the more difficult end questions, (I will just give you an example), the question I got was “If a codon has 4 bases instead of 3, how would this change the structure of tRNA?” Definitely something you don’t study in A-Levels and something that most biochemistry applicants will not have immediate answers to.

But hey, now days you can find a good wealth of past interview questions by googling. Do make sure you are solid with all the biology and chemistry topics covered at school before the interview. I discourage trying to prepare for the really hard end questions and neglecting the simple AS/A2 level stuff.

There are several ways you can prepare for interviews. But I will leave what I think is the most effective for subjects like Biochemistry. Not everyone is good at orally explaining concepts (Including myself). What I used to do is I drew up a long list of chemistry topics like 'DNA replication', 'nucleophiles', 'cloning', randomly pick out one topic and practice explaining out loud for 1-2 minutes.
Name:  제목 없음-1.jpg
Views: 1272
Size:  115.6 KB

The mission was not to say 'uhm' or stop in the middle of the explanation to think of what to say next. This was to deliver more logical and coherent oral answers in the interviews. I've done this for a month, not necessarily everyday but good 8 topics a week. Hope this helped!
What was the answer to the RNA and codon question?
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AngryRedhead
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(Original post by 123PC)
What was the answer to the RNA and codon question?
6 year old thread....
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(Original post by AngryRedhead)
6 year old thread....
Whoops...!
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Hey guys, I'm applying this October too. I hope everything is going well for you. I got one little question. For my ASs I was doing Maths, Chem, Bio and Economics, however I dropped economics a couple of months before the exam and they still forced me to sit an exam. I got AAA and D in economics, will this D have a significant effect on my application, considering that I picked up Eng Lit and now doing two years in one? Predicted: A*A*AA. Thanks!
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(Original post by JellyfishThunder)
Hey guys, I'm applying this October too. I hope everything is going well for you. I got one little question. For my ASs I was doing Maths, Chem, Bio and Economics, however I dropped economics a couple of months before the exam and they still forced me to sit an exam. I got AAA and D in economics, will this D have a significant effect on my application, considering that I picked up Eng Lit and now doing two years in one? Predicted: A*A*AA. Thanks!
No, that's not going to have a significant effect on your application. Your grades in all relevant subjects are good, and your predictions exceed the course requirements, so there's really no reason to be concerned.
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(Original post by TheMadScientist)
No, that's not going to have a significant effect on your application. Your grades in all relevant subjects are good, and your predictions exceed the course requirements, so there's really no reason to be concerned.
Thanks for your reply! Do you think a person with A*A*A predicted is much more likely to get an offer than a A*AA candidate?


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(Original post by JellyfishThunder)
Thanks for your reply! Do you think a person with A*A*A predicted is much more likely to get an offer than a A*AA candidate?


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As long as you're predicted to at least meet the A*AA requirement, anything extra isn't going to affect your application much. A*A*A candidates may be more likely to receive offers than A*AA (for actual grades the 2013 success rates were 30.3% and 21.9% respectively), but this is mainly because A*A*A candidates are stronger applicants in general. Unsurprisingly, factors which contribute to interview success are also likely to lead to A Level success.
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(Original post by TheMadScientist)
As long as you're predicted to at least meet the A*AA requirement, anything extra isn't going to affect your application much. A*A*A candidates may be more likely to receive offers than A*AA (for actual grades the 2013 success rates were 30.3% and 21.9% respectively), but this is mainly because A*A*A candidates are stronger applicants in general. Unsurprisingly, factors which contribute to interview success are also likely to lead to A Level success.
May I ask where you got those success rates from? Thanks
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(Original post by biologybuddy)
May I ask where you got those success rates from? Thanks
Sure, here you go:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

The first table on page 26 has success rates.
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