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    I am going to apply to Oxford to read Earth Sciences (the 4 year MSci) but I am completely in the dark about what goes on in the interview. Has anyone here been through the interview for Earth Sciences and could shed some light upon what it involves? Alls I have heard is that I will be asked to identify a sample of some sort.

    Also, what other things would enhance an applicant's chance? Do extra-curricular activities (sport etc.) really help as much as is popularly believed?
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    (Original post by Stevie_G)
    I am going to apply to Oxford to read Earth Sciences (the 4 year MSci) but I am completely in the dark about what goes on in the interview. Has anyone here been through the interview for Earth Sciences and could shed some light upon what it involves? Alls I have heard is that I will be asked to identify a sample of some sort.

    Also, what other things would enhance an applicant's chance? Do extra-curricular activities (sport etc.) really help as much as is popularly believed?
    Hi I'm a post-grad in the Earth Sciences department. Although I didn't actually have an interview for Earth Sciences as an undergrad I'm now in my 4th year in the depoartment and you get to know what goes on.

    As you're no doubt aware, the Earth Sciences department is pretty small at Oxford, only admitting about 30 undergrads each year. There's usually something like 70 applicants although this can vary greatly (over 100 one year, 40 odd about 2 years later). Because of the relatively low number of applicants they're able to really do a thorough interview. Everyone gets interveiwed at least twice. You will firstly be interviewed by the tutor(s) at your first choice college. Dependant on who this is this will either be at the college or in the department. Then on the 2nd day you'll be interviewed at a departmental level. The idea of this is to make sure that the 30 people who get in are the 30 best people - there's a lot of moving people from their 1st choice college to other colleges if you're good enough (e.g. I think in the current 1st year there are 7 people who had Worcester as their 1st choice college - Worcester only has 4 places but 3 others were offered places at other colleges). As a result I wouldn't place any emphasis on the applicationslace ratios for different colleges.

    As for the interviews themselves, they will depend on what you've done at A-level and the subject area of the tutor involved. Candidates come with a wide variety of different A-levels, some will have done geology, others Maths, Physics & Chemistry etc. Obviously the expectations will be very different. You may well be given a rock and asked to describe it, but what they're looking for from someone who's done no Geology before will be very differnt to someone who's done and A-level in it. What the tutors are trying to do is make you think and see how you think. Dependanyt on who they are they may hand you a fossilized fish and ask you to describe it and then make some conclusions about it or the may ask you how do we know the centre of the earth is hot or they may ask you what chemical properties would you want a mineral to have if it was to be used to stroe nuclear waste. It's not what you say but how you reach the answer that is important - they will usually try to give you something you've got no experience of and walk you through it to see how quickly you pick up things and then extend them.

    Hope this helps, if there's anything more I can help with then let me know.
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    Hiya, I applied and got in this year (post a-level so un-conditional) good thorough reply above so I wont add much, but the geology department was fab! All the tutors were really nice and I'm looking forward to October.

    Feel free to pm me with any specific questions though
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    Also here is my profile on the 'oxbridge profiles' site http://oa.waveflex.com/profiles/prof_disp.asp?id=592

    Also Sarco's is there in the index, they should have interview experiences and suchlike.

    Re extra curricular activities, they were never mentioned in my interview, but I think probably look good on the application form, however I really doubt they would make the difference between getting in or not.
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    (Original post by Sazzle)
    Hiya, I applied and got in this year (post a-level so un-conditional) good thorough reply above so I wont add much, but the geology department was fab! All the tutors were really nice and I'm looking forward to October.

    Feel free to pm me with any specific questions though
    No doubt I'll see you in October. Have a good Summer, if you've got any questions about the department or St. Annes then let me know....
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    Will do - thanks!! Really can't wait until Oct. I hope I'm not going to be disappointed?!
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    I don't quite understand the Earth Science department at Oxford. I went on an open day about a year ago and I spoke to the tutor at St Edmund Hall. He asked me what I was currently studying (which at the time was chemistry, geography, physics and geology), when I'd said what I was doing he said "So, no maths then?".
    I did tell him that I'd been doing geology since GCSE, but he didn't seem to care at all. All he was interested in was maths, and to be honest I do not want to do a maths degree, so that's why I haven't applied.
    There was someone else there who said they were doing chemistry, biology and maths (no geology or even geography) and he was absolutely fine because they mentioned maths.

    Ah well...
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    (Original post by raagyone)
    I don't quite understand the Earth Science department at Oxford. I went on an open day about a year ago and I spoke to the tutor at St Edmund Hall. He asked me what I was currently studying (which at the time was chemistry, geography, physics and geology), when I'd said what I was doing he said "So, no maths then?".
    I did tell him that I'd been doing geology since GCSE, but he didn't seem to care at all. All he was interested in was maths, and to be honest I do not want to do a maths degree, so that's why I haven't applied.
    There was someone else there who said they were doing chemistry, biology and maths (no geology or even geography) and he was absolutely fine because they mentioned maths.

    Ah well...
    The reason for that is the department has moved away from traditional geology into geophysics /geochemistry etc. Obviously there is still a large part of the course that is Geology related but there's at least an equivalent amount that is based firmly in applied physics and chemistry. To do these parts you need some maths beyond A-level. Some people arrive with an A-level in Maths and find this extra maths problematic, others breeze through it. A few arrive with no maths A-level and they have to do a lot of catching up to get to a required standard. Maths, Physics and Chemistry are the 3 most important A levels probably in that order. Geology would come in 4th. Geography and or Biology 5th. Having Further Maths would be very useful. You have to remember that the Earth science course at Oxford (as you'll find at most places) assumes no previous geology teaching so is set up to teach you the basics - the fact that you already know the basics just means you should have more time available to do other stuff (like catching up on maths).

    The area that most students struggle with in 1st year is Maths - I think everyone who's doing resits in October is resitting the maths paper (and a couple are resitting other papers as well). If you haven't got an A-level in maths then its more likely you'll struggle with this portion of the course. The department here is very open to people with different combinations of A-levels but you have to remember Earth Sciences at university is very very different to geology at A-level.
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    Ok, I understand now. I just seemed a bit wierd at the time.
    Most places I was interviewed were pleased that I had been doing geology since GCSE...the guy I talked to didn't seem impressed in the slightest.
 
 
 
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