Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I was recently admitted to read physics, and this is a question I was thinking. I've studied a lot of math and physics in my free time and have taken a few college classes while in school. I looked at the undergraduate physics handbook and it seems I know at least much of the first year material.

    Has anyone been in this situation before? Were you able to make some special arrangements; i.e. take an exam and, say, replace some first year papers for second year ones?

    It doesn't have to be in physics; mathematics and other hard sciences should be similar (i.e. subjects in which most of the learning is objective).

    Of course, maybe I don't know as much as I think I do and I should just study the standard syllabus. I just want to know if anyone has been in the situation before and how it was dealt with.

    As a sidenote, I'm from the US, where the undergraduate education is organized into "courses" lasting a semester. It's not uncommon for students to skip courses like introductory calculus, mechanics, electromagnetism, etc. I'm not sure how the equivalent would happen at Oxford where the whole degree is one "course".
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You are either a genius or an arrogant Richard.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You can't replace papers. I can try to attach a 1st year physics problem set if you haven't seen them already?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Sorry if I seem to be arrogant. I thought there had to be at least a few students each year who came in with knowledge from olympiad studying, other study, college courses, etc. that corresponded to a large part of the university course. I don't claim to a genius, I just did some extra studying while in school.

    Rydberg, if you can attach a 1st year problem that would be nice, thanks.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sphericalbessel)
    Sorry if I seem to be arrogant. I thought there had to be at least a few students each year who came in with knowledge from olympiad studying, other study, college courses, etc. that corresponded to a large part of the university course. I don't claim to a genius, I just did some extra studying while in school.

    Rydberg, if you can attach a 1st year problem that would be nice, thanks.
    Unfortunately the Oxford system is pretty rigid and you won't be able to skip courses, as each module will be examined at the end of your first year irrespective of when you do the learning for them.

    I know one guy doing Physics who actually is a genius and is breezing through the course. His solution of sorts was to do the problem sheets for the higher years just for fun. I suppose you could do the same if you didn't feel challenged by the 1st year stuff, though you won't get any official credit for it.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You can't skip courses and you can't swap in papers from the next year.

    However, talk to your college tutors when you arrive. If they agree with you that you are significantly ahead, you may get additional off-syllabus teaching. Or your tutorials could turn into 10 minutes on the regular work and 50 minutes on advanced material.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    qwertyuiop, thanks for the info and the suggestion. Since the Oxford course moves quite rapidly I don't think I'll be bored for long. Maybe in later years if I have extra time I can read some stuff not in the course like Jackson E&M.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Things used to be more flexible in this regard, with the amusing consequence that on one occasion the top chemist was only in second year. He still had to sit through third year, you understand, but he did finals a year early for fun...!

    (Original post by OxAnon)
    Or your tutorials could turn into 10 minutes on the regular work and 50 minutes on advanced material.
    I don't see how this would work in multiple-student science tutorials, where presumably the other tutees are going to be perfectly happy going through the syllabus material at a steady pace.

    An alternative solution is to work through the degree at the same rate as everybody else and just have an awful lot of free time. I know one person who was in a similar situation to you when he started and tried (unsuccessfully) to make alternative arrangements. Now he seems to spend half the time asleep and the other half doing extra-curricular stuff and yet he's very nearly top of his year.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sphericalbessel)
    Sorry if I seem to be arrogant. I thought there had to be at least a few students each year who came in with knowledge from olympiad studying, other study, college courses, etc. that corresponded to a large part of the university course. I don't claim to a genius, I just did some extra studying while in school.

    Rydberg, if you can attach a 1st year problem that would be nice, thanks.
    Attached is the 1st problem set from 1st year Classical Mechanics.
    Attached Images
  1. File Type: pdf mechanics-probs1_2014.pdf (68.1 KB, 195 views)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BJack)
    An alternative solution is to work through the degree at the same rate as everybody else and just have an awful lot of free time. I know one person who was in a similar situation to you when he started and tried (unsuccessfully) to make alternative arrangements. Now he seems to spend half the time asleep and the other half doing extra-curricular stuff and yet he's very nearly top of his year.
    Sounds interesting; I both envy yet feel sorry for that person!
    I don't think I am that far ahead, but if I find myself in a similar situation, I wonder if are there any other activities one can do to learn physics and build up his graduate school application. Perhaps extra projects (whether for credit or not). And can 2nd or 3rd years join a research group (probably as an assistant)? Although I suppose this depends on the professor, but are there university-wide policies on this?
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sphericalbessel)
    Sounds interesting; I both envy yet feel sorry for that person!
    I don't think I am that far ahead, but if I find myself in a similar situation, I wonder if are there any other activities one can do to learn physics and build up his graduate school application. Perhaps extra projects (whether for credit or not). And can 2nd or 3rd years join a research group (probably as an assistant)? Although I suppose this depends on the professor, but are there university-wide policies on this?
    I would imagine that you can join a research group over the (summer) vacation but definitely not during term time — that's the policy for chemistry, at least. If you choose the right group, you can even end up with a publishing credit for work done over your first summer vacation. For chemistry (apologies again for not knowing if the same applies to physics), you can reduce your regular lab hours by doing a research project over the summer; this can be a project within Oxford or at another university. There are bursaries available to cover costs associated with staying on over the summer.
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BJack)
    Things used to be more flexible in this regard, with the amusing consequence that on one occasion the top chemist was only in second year. He still had to sit through third year, you understand, but he did finals a year early for fun...!
    He sounds like the most annoying tutorial partner ever...

    OP, there are plenty of ways you can fill up free time in Oxford (though I would advocate still having some free time left!). One idea is that you could attend the lectures given by outside academics if you want to learn more in your subject. These are usually attended by research students but, in the Chemistry ones at least, they never check that you're not actually attached to a research group yet.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BJack)
    I would imagine that you can join a research group over the (summer) vacation but definitely not during term time — that's the policy for chemistry, at least. If you choose the right group, you can even end up with a publishing credit for work done over your first summer vacation. For chemistry (apologies again for not knowing if the same applies to physics), you can reduce your regular lab hours by doing a research project over the summer; this can be a project within Oxford or at another university. There are bursaries available to cover costs associated with staying on over the summer.
    I didn't know that undergraduates can get summer research positions as early as after the first year; I will definitely check that out if I go to Oxford.

    This is a bit off topic, but since you mentioned other universities, may I ask if you know anyone (from Oxford) who worked a summer at Cambridge? (Excuse my disloyalty; just Cambridge is a pretty nice place and I would have applied if they offered physics.)
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by KarlMarx72)
    You are either a genius or an arrogant Richard.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Richard ?

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AsandaLFC)
    Richard ?

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    ****??:holmes:
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sphericalbessel)
    This is a bit off topic, but since you mentioned other universities, may I ask if you know anyone (from Oxford) who worked a summer at Cambridge? (Excuse my disloyalty; just Cambridge is a pretty nice place and I would have applied if they offered physics.)
    No, I don't. I expect that you could if you asked the right potential supervisor, though.
 
 
 
Poll
Are you going to a festival?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.