Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Hi all,

    this Friday I have an interview for a taught master's course at Oxford in Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science. To prepare, I have made sure that I can:

    1. Talk about my dissertation.
    2. Talk about things I mentioned on my application.
    3. Got an idea of what the interviewers research.

    I'm doing my Mathematics undergraduate, and although I've been doing well, I'm scared that they will ask me questions about things I haven't seen on my course but that they would expect an undergraduate from a 'top ten' university to know.

    So I'd like to ask
    - do you think they'll ask many questions about things I would be expected to know but haven't seen on my course, or will they more likely ask about my dissertation and things I've mentioned on my application (papers I've read, a summer school, interest in the field)?
    - does anyone have any general interview advice?

    Thanks in advance
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lupacante)
    Hi all,

    this Friday I have an interview for a taught master's course at Oxford in Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science. To prepare, I have made sure that I can:

    1. Talk about my dissertation.
    2. Talk about things I mentioned on my application.
    3. Got an idea of what the interviewers research.

    I'm doing my Mathematics undergraduate at Brunel, and although I've been doing well, I'm scared that they will ask me questions about things I haven't seen on my course but that they would expect an undergraduate from a 'top ten' university to know.

    So I'd like to ask
    - do you think they'll ask many questions about things I would be expected to know but haven't seen on my course, or will they more likely ask about my dissertation and things I've mentioned on my application (papers I've read, a summer school, interest in the field)?
    - does anyone have any general interview advice?

    Thanks in advance
    Last year I had an interview for the same course (though for an international student it was not until the very end of the admissions process). They inquired after my knowledge of the 'other field' (CS in your case) and tested my knowledge of my own field (maths in your case). They seemed to be not as interested in the actual answers as in how one responds to such questions. That was the main part of the interview. We also spoke about some things in my application.

    Good luck!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zefiros)
    Last year I had an interview for the same course (though for an international student it was not until the very end of the admissions process). They inquired after my knowledge of the 'other field' (CS in your case) and tested my knowledge of my own field (maths in your case). They seemed to be not as interested in the actual answers as in how one responds to such questions. That was the main part of the interview. We also spoke about some things in my application.

    Good luck!
    Wow, thanks for your reply! So did you come from a computer science background?

    If I can't answer questions about my course (maths) because they have asked about things that weren't part of my curriculum but that are part of their undergrad curriculum, do you think that would negatively influence me or would they be ok with that?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lupacante)
    Wow, thanks for your reply! So did you come from a computer science background?

    If I can't answer questions about my course (maths) because they have asked about things that weren't part of my curriculum but that are part of their undergrad curriculum, do you think that would negatively influence me or would they be ok with that?
    Yeah, my undergrad was predominantly computer science.

    In my case they first asked whether I had covered some material, and only then they would ask specific questions. So, I don't think you have to worry about being unable to answer their questions. Obviously, not having covered enough would be a problem. In my case I was asked whether I had covered algebra. I hadn't officially but had done some research project for which algebra was a preliminary, so I was able to demonstrate my knowledge in another way.

    Also, not all maths is relevant for MFoCS. In particular, algebra, topology and logic are relevant. As long as you have studied those fields to some extend, it doesn't matter if you don't know anything about partial differential equations.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Ah ok. Well, I have seen some algebra, topology and logic during my course, I'm just scared that it won't be as much as they expect. Pretty scared to be honest.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I too have my interview this friday for the same course! I'm so nervous, best of luck Lupacante!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by PhenolphthaleinX)
    I too have my interview this friday for the same course! I'm so nervous, best of luck Lupacante!
    Wow! Best of luck to you too! I keep having terrible dreams about it, such as that I turn up and I realize I'm still in my pijamas!

    Zefiros - did they ask much about your dissertation, or was the main focus the courses you had taken?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lupacante)
    Wow! Best of luck to you too! I keep having terrible dreams about it, such as that I turn up and I realize I'm still in my pijamas!

    Zefiros - did they ask much about your dissertation, or was the main focus the courses you had taken?
    They didn't ask about my dissertation at all. They only acknowledged its existence after I mentioned it.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zefiros)
    They didn't ask about my dissertation at all. They only acknowledged its existence after I mentioned it.
    Holy guacamole. That's what I had prepared best on. My chances of passing are between 0 and a very small epsilon.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lupacante)
    Holy guacamole. That's what I had prepared best on. My chances of passing are between 0 and a very small epsilon.
    They might ask you about yours. I had only just started on my research when I submitted my application, so it was not a huge part of my personal statement.

    It might be completely different for you anyway. I am an international student, and only got an interview when they were finalising admissions (as is usual for international applicants to MFoCS). I understand that (all) UK applicants get an interview earlier in the process.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lupacante)
    Holy guacamole. That's what I had prepared best on. My chances of passing are between 0 and a very small epsilon.
    Hi, I'm in the same position as Zefiros, but a UK student (though I have no idea if it's that different).

    In my case the only maths they asked me was on my dissertation. By pure luck I had just given my dissertation oral presentation, so I just kept talking until they asked me to stop, and that seemed to impress them sufficiently. It is partly down to luck, but take every opportunity to talk about the things you know, and you may be able to avoid talking about things you don't know.

    Good luck, anyway!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Octohedral)
    Hi, I'm in the same position as Zefiros, but a UK student (though I have no idea if it's that different).

    In my case the only maths they asked me was on my dissertation. By pure luck I had just given my dissertation oral presentation, so I just kept talking until they asked me to stop, and that seemed to impress them sufficiently. It is partly down to luck, but take every opportunity to talk about the things you know, and you may be able to avoid talking about things you don't know.

    Good luck, anyway!
    Ok, this gives me some comfort. I too have just had to give a presentation on my disso, so I'm well-prepared for that.

    I'll just spend the rest of the week going over thing I've learned and things I've independently studied, and hopefully I'll be fine.

    Thanks for your reply
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Are you being interviewed in the new maths institute? If so then it's an amazing building with Penrose paving outside ...
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Are you being interviewed in the new maths institute? If so then it's an amazing building with Penrose paving outside ...
    I'm being interviewed in the department of computer science.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    anyone got any idea how long the interview is gonna be? coming from a maths background will I be expected to be able to code?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    For my interview the plan was max. 30 minutes. It turned out to be 15 minutes and 10 minutes random (barely related) talk. You are not expected to have any coding experience.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zefiros)
    For my interview the plan was max. 30 minutes. It turned out to be 15 minutes and 10 minutes random (barely related) talk. You are not expected to have any coding experience.
    awesome thanks! anyway are you taking the course at the moment? how are you finding it? do you enjoy the course?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by PhenolphthaleinX)
    awesome thanks! anyway are you taking the course at the moment? how are you finding it? do you enjoy the course?
    Yeah, I am. It's a great course. So many awesome options that it is hard to decide which ones to take.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I was absolutely terrible, they asked me to prove a really simple statement from my dissertation but I was so nervous I couldn't think straight so wasn't able to do it.

    On my journey home, I thought about it again and did it in 2 seconds. Really frustrating, highly disappointed with myself.

    PhenolphthaleinX, how did you find it?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lupacante)
    I was absolutely terrible, they asked me to prove a really simple statement from my dissertation but I was so nervous I couldn't think straight so wasn't able to do it.

    On my journey home, I thought about it again and did it in 2 seconds. Really frustrating, highly disappointed with myself.

    PhenolphthaleinX, how did you find it?
    Too bad that it did not go as planned, but not all is lost. I had a very similar experience last year and was admitted anyway.
 
 
 
Poll
Do you agree with the PM's proposal to cut tuition fees for some courses?

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.