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    I'm over halfway through with year 12 and have only recently discovered an interest chemistry and realised that I would like to study chemistry further. But because I only recently found this out I feel like I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as I haven't done anything particularly interesting or related to chemistry before that would sound pretty good and convincing in my personal statement...

    I know that I should invest some time in reading around the subject but I have no clue what to read. I asked my chemistry teacher and he said it would be good to read magazines... but which ones? He also gave me a massive list of books but a lot of them were actually just general science and history of science books. I recently just read "Stuff Matters" which was quite good and easy to understand. I was wondering if there are any good chemistry that would help broaden my understanding and at the same time be worth mentioning in my application but without confusing me too much with what I learn now (if that makes sense, lol). I specifically like organic chemistry (but all chemistry is wonderful so i don't really mind!)


    And because I only discovered my recent interest in chemistry (i wanted to do medicine initially), what else should I do to stand out? If it helps, I am thinking of applying to Nottingham, Imperial/Durham, and possibly Oxford just as an attempt (although I probably don't have much of a chance)
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    I like "Advanced Chemistry" books 1&2 by Philip Matthews. Old school chemistry text book from 1992. It is A-level difficulty, but covers loads of content that is no longer on most specifications, e.g. radioactivity and the aldol condensation. 1p + delivery from Amazon - surely worth a punt.

    For more difficult content, I like chemistry3 by Burrows, Holman, Parsons, Pilling & Price. A fair bit pricier, mind.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Advanced-Che...nced+chemistry
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Advanced-Che...CHK8B8BK8D3B97
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chemistry%C2...rds=chemistry3
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    This sounds very similar to what happened to me! Books aren't all THAT important when it comes to your personal statement, I mentioned 3 or 4 in mine but didn't take up very many words at all. I wasn't asked about books in any of my interviews (including Imperial). As far as the books I mentioned go: 'Periodic Tales', 'Oxygen' by Nick Lane (not really a chemistry book but I used that as a way to talk about the relationship between biology and chemistry, which linked nicely to a summer placement I did on enzymes), 'Why Chemical Reactions Happen' - now this is one is interesting but I wouldn't recommend it. I think most people mention it but I doubt they actually read it (it's rather complicated apart from a few chapters). So really read anything that interests you - type in organic chemistry books into google/amazon or even go to your nearest bookstore and look at their popular science section. 'What If?' by Randall Munroe is a really great science book (not a chemistry book though) even if you don't mention it in your statement it's a nice read.

    As far as magazines go, the obvious one is New Scientist. You've also got the Chemistry World magazine - and you can read many articles on their website (which is what I did). Chemistry world also do podcasts - Chemistry In Its Element which are really interesting. I actually got asked about an article I mentioned so you know...

    The best way to show interest, when it comes to chemistry and your personal statement, is to find a few topics or mechanisms or whatever that go beyond A Level and interest you a lot. I watched lectures (if you just type Organic Chemistry Lecture into YouTube you'll find lots - MIT and UCI are the best ones imo) on quantum chemistry, the Molecular Orbital Theory, energy etc. In my personal statement, after my introduction, I mentioned that physical chemistry interests me most and this formed the basis of most of my interviews!

    Don't worry about not reading 'enough' or not reading the 'right stuff' or not having any work experience. If you show that you're passionate (but don't say that you are) about chemistry and go beyond the A Level stuff to find out more, then you should be fine. If you have any other questions then feel free to ask! Good luck
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    You could try this book? It's pretty short and it sounds like it could be interesting http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chemistry-Ve.../dp/0199683972 I haven't read it yet but I enjoyed the one in this series about maths! Good luck with your a levels!
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    (Original post by victoria98)
    Don't worry about not reading 'enough' or not reading the 'right stuff' or not having any work experience. If you show that you're passionate (but don't say that you are) about chemistry and go beyond the A Level stuff to find out more, then you should be fine. If you have any other questions then feel free to ask! Good luck

    If you don't mind me asking which universities did you apply for and what grades did you get for AS levels? AND Thank you so much, it was a big help!!!
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    (Original post by haes)
    If you don't mind me asking which universities did you apply for and what grades did you get for AS levels? AND Thank you so much, it was a big help!!!
    No problem I applied to UCL, Imperial, Southampton, Durham and Cambridge. I was pooled then rejected from Cambridge and got offers from the other four.

    As far as AS results go, I got 4As in biology, chemistry, maths and physics (and carried them all on to A2).

    Good luck
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    (Original post by victoria98)
    Don't worry about not reading 'enough' or not reading the 'right stuff' or not having any work experience. If you show that you're passionate (but don't say that you are) about chemistry and go beyond the A Level stuff to find out more, then you should be fine. If you have any other questions then feel free to ask! Good luck
    Hello! It's been a while since I made this thread and now that it's actually time for me to write my personal statement, I'd like to ask how you incorporated all of these things into yours? Did you have a separate paragraph(s) for all of this? I'm having a bit of trouble structuring and preventing listing. I'm sorry for all the questions after four months!
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    (Original post by haes)
    Hello! It's been a while since I made this thread and now that it's actually time for me to write my personal statement, I'd like to ask how you incorporated all of these things into yours? Did you have a separate paragraph(s) for all of this? I'm having a bit of trouble structuring and preventing listing. I'm sorry for all the questions after four months!
    I didn't have separate paragraphs, I tried to link everything together as much as possible. For example, the first paragraph after my introduction started with 'I find physical chemistry the most interesting....' after this I mentioned a topic that is taught at A Level that then led me to look into a different topic that is definitely not taught at A Level and how I watched university lectures to find out more about it.

    You don't have to go into any kind of detail with books. Again, I used them as a way to talk about other things e.g. I said that a book has expanded my knowledge of organic chemistry and then linked this to a school trip on analytical techniques. As I said, I mentioned four books in my personal statement and this only took up 61 words, titles included (I mentioned one book in my second paragraph, two in the first sentence of the next and one more at the end of the same paragraph). Remember that you're not writing a book review, if you've read a book but it adds absolutely to your personal statement then don't mention it (even if you really enjoyed it).

    Show your interest by talking about topics that you find fascinating, don't just say that you find *insert topic* fascinating, say WHY you do - industrial applications?, possible field of work? If you have any idea about what you might want to do after your degree then mention that. I mentioned an article about some kind of new method of biodiesel production and linked that to maybe someday working in a lab environment and contributing to such research.

    Personal statements are not easy to write and you'll probably end up going through many drafts until you're happy with it. My head of year made me re-do my introduction at least 5 times because it was never 'shiny' and original enough. I started off with a list of all the things that I wanted to mention and then worked on each separately whenever I felt inspired :P. Mine only had about 2 shortish sentences that were about something other than chemistry, so don't feel like you have to do volunteering or Duke of Edinburgh or whatever. There are loads of example personal statements available that helped me massively when I lacked motivation. Just make sure you don't subconsciously copy any Good luck!
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    (Original post by haes)
    I'm over halfway through with year 12 and have only recently discovered an interest chemistry and realised that I would like to study chemistry further. But because I only recently found this out I feel like I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as I haven't done anything particularly interesting or related to chemistry before that would sound pretty good and convincing in my personal statement...

    I know that I should invest some time in reading around the subject but I have no clue what to read. I asked my chemistry teacher and he said it would be good to read magazines... but which ones? He also gave me a massive list of books but a lot of them were actually just general science and history of science books. I recently just read "Stuff Matters" which was quite good and easy to understand. I was wondering if there are any good chemistry that would help broaden my understanding and at the same time be worth mentioning in my application but without confusing me too much with what I learn now (if that makes sense, lol). I specifically like organic chemistry (but all chemistry is wonderful so i don't really mind!)


    And because I only discovered my recent interest in chemistry (i wanted to do medicine initially), what else should I do to stand out? If it helps, I am thinking of applying to Nottingham, Imperial/Durham, and possibly Oxford just as an attempt (although I probably don't have much of a chance)
    I would say try get experience with chemical companies in your area or ready Why Chemical Reactions Happen
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    (Original post by victoria98)
    I didn't have separate paragraphs, I tried to link everything together as much as possible. For example, the first paragraph after my introduction started with 'I find physical chemistry the most interesting....' after this I mentioned a topic that is taught at A Level that then led me to look into a different topic that is definitely not taught at A Level and how I watched university lectures to find out more about it.

    You don't have to go into any kind of detail with books. Again, I used them as a way to talk about other things e.g. I said that a book has expanded my knowledge of organic chemistry and then linked this to a school trip on analytical techniques. As I said, I mentioned four books in my personal statement and this only took up 61 words, titles included (I mentioned one book in my second paragraph, two in the first sentence of the next and one more at the end of the same paragraph). Remember that you're not writing a book review, if you've read a book but it adds absolutely to your personal statement then don't mention it (even if you really enjoyed it).

    Show your interest by talking about topics that you find fascinating, don't just say that you find *insert topic* fascinating, say WHY you do - industrial applications?, possible field of work? If you have any idea about what you might want to do after your degree then mention that. I mentioned an article about some kind of new method of biodiesel production and linked that to maybe someday working in a lab environment and contributing to such research.

    Personal statements are not easy to write and you'll probably end up going through many drafts until you're happy with it. My head of year made me re-do my introduction at least 5 times because it was never 'shiny' and original enough. I started off with a list of all the things that I wanted to mention and then worked on each separately whenever I felt inspired :P. Mine only had about 2 shortish sentences that were about something other than chemistry, so don't feel like you have to do volunteering or Duke of Edinburgh or whatever. There are loads of example personal statements available that helped me massively when I lacked motivation. Just make sure you don't subconsciously copy any Good luck!
    Thank you very much! My biggest problem at the moment is avoiding subconscious copying and making my sentences sound more interesting and original. I still don't really have an idea of how to write the introduction but I guess I'll wait until I get to school and see what my teachers say or look around for some inspiration.
    BTW which uni did you choose in the end and why?
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    (Original post by haes)
    I'm over halfway through with year 12 and have only recently discovered an interest chemistry and realised that I would like to study chemistry further. But because I only recently found this out I feel like I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as I haven't done anything particularly interesting or related to chemistry before that would sound pretty good and convincing in my personal statement...

    I know that I should invest some time in reading around the subject but I have no clue what to read. I asked my chemistry teacher and he said it would be good to read magazines... but which ones? He also gave me a massive list of books but a lot of them were actually just general science and history of science books. I recently just read "Stuff Matters" which was quite good and easy to understand. I was wondering if there are any good chemistry that would help broaden my understanding and at the same time be worth mentioning in my application but without confusing me too much with what I learn now (if that makes sense, lol). I specifically like organic chemistry (but all chemistry is wonderful so i don't really mind!)


    And because I only discovered my recent interest in chemistry (i wanted to do medicine initially), what else should I do to stand out? If it helps, I am thinking of applying to Nottingham, Imperial/Durham, and possibly Oxford just as an attempt (although I probably don't have much of a chance)
    Chemistry3 is a good book which is somewhere between A Level difficulty and Undergraduate.

    Chemistry World is a good magazine by the RSC, and has an app where you can download issues for free.

    As others have said, Why Chemical Reactions Happen is a decent text, if you really like organic chemistry the book you will eventually need is probably Clayden's.
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    (Original post by haes)
    Thank you very much! My biggest problem at the moment is avoiding subconscious copying and making my sentences sound more interesting and original. I still don't really have an idea of how to write the introduction but I guess I'll wait until I get to school and see what my teachers say or look around for some inspiration.
    BTW which uni did you choose in the end and why?
    I had that issue too! Yeah, I left my introduction until the very end - it was probably the most difficult part to actually write. Funnily enough, my head of sixth form ended up loving my least favourite introduction (I still can't read it, it doesn't even sound like me!).

    Well I never really liked Southampton and only applied just in case and regretted it (but the offer was nice, AAB, and so is the course). I didn't end up liking UCL when I attended my interview (I went to an open day and liked it... which is why I applied) so even though the offer was AAA and As are pretty easy to get overall with an A at AS, I declined the offer.

    I ended up putting Imperial (A*A*A in chemistry, maths and physics respectively) as my firm and Durham (A*AA in whatever order - with at least AA in chemistry and maths) as my insurance, which I felt was risky because I didn't even visit Durham, and had a pretty hard time revising so I wasn't so sure about getting A*s, but I really didn't want to go to UCL. I chose Imperial because I really liked it before my interview and then even more when I actually had my interview - I enjoyed the interview itself which is really weird, especially considering that I have social anxiety.
    I ended up missing the offer (as I suspected)- got A*A*AA in maths, biology, chemistry and physics but I still got in which was very surprising! What unis are you considering?
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    (Original post by victoria98)
    I had that issue too! Yeah, I left my introduction until the very end - it was probably the most difficult part to actually write. Funnily enough, my head of sixth form ended up loving my least favourite introduction (I still can't read it, it doesn't even sound like me!).

    Well I never really liked Southampton and only applied just in case and regretted it (but the offer was nice, AAB, and so is the course). I didn't end up liking UCL when I attended my interview (I went to an open day and liked it... which is why I applied) so even though the offer was AAA and As are pretty easy to get overall with an A at AS, I declined the offer.

    I ended up putting Imperial (A*A*A in chemistry, maths and physics respectively) as my firm and Durham (A*AA in whatever order - with at least AA in chemistry and maths) as my insurance, which I felt was risky because I didn't even visit Durham, and had a pretty hard time revising so I wasn't so sure about getting A*s, but I really didn't want to go to UCL. I chose Imperial because I really liked it before my interview and then even more when I actually had my interview - I enjoyed the interview itself which is really weird, especially considering that I have social anxiety.
    I ended up missing the offer (as I suspected)- got A*A*AA in maths, biology, chemistry and physics but I still got in which was very surprising! What unis are you considering?
    Oh my god! Congratulations!!!
    Actually I've been considering Imperial for a while but noticed that student satisfaction scores are very low, do you have any idea why? I'm planning to visit the open day this month to see. I've heard that most of the offers given out this year were A*A*A and i'm not really sure if I'm gonna be able to get that even if I'm predicted it What was the interview like? I also have social anxiety so I guess that's my main topic of interest.

    Other than that I'm not really sure yet. I was thinking about UCL too but now I'm not so sure after what you said, haha. I liked Nottingham and plan on applying to Birmingham too (since I live here) and maybe York since my friend say a lot of great things about it. But out of these four there aren't any that I like enough to pick as my insurance so I'm really not sure ;_;
 
 
 
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