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    Hi there - would like to ask about how you spent the summer before entry to the Physics undergraduate degree.

    Also, what is the best way I could prepare for the course?

    Thank you
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    (Original post by iish)
    Hi there - would like to ask about how you spent the summer before entry to the Physics undergraduate degree.

    Also, what is the best way I could prepare for the course?

    Thank you
    Hi I've just finished my first year of Physics so hopefully I can be helpful - feel free to ask if you have any other questions!

    1. RELAX. Have some fun - this is the last time in a long while that you'll get any really properly free holiday time (until next summer, in fact). See your friends, recover from whatever exams you might have been sitting, go places, do whatever you want. Don't overwork yourself before you even get there or you'll burn out. You might want to get a job/continue working if you already have one and earn some money.

    2. You'll be contacted by your college/tutors etc. shortly after A level results day (what exactly you get depends on your college). This will include your vacation work to be handed in during Freshers' week most likely. Don't worry about this until then, you'll have a month and a half to do it still which is plenty of time! Mostly for physics everyone gets the same thing - tutors might change things a bit and there are a couple of versions, but essentially it's half maths, half physics, based on things you should already have covered - mostly a level recap/getting you back into things so you haven't totally forgotten how to do maths by the time you start doing actual work. You'll also be sent a link to the online bridging course for science subjects, so you can look over the relevant areas and see if anything needs brushing up a bit.

    3. In the first term, the courses are (as far as I can remember, and assuming they haven't switched anything around): calculus, vectors & matrices, complex numbers and ordinary differential equations (ODEs), geometric optics, the first third of mechanics, special relativity and circuit theory.

    Calculus, mechanics + complex nos and ODEs are all relatively straightforward courses with strong basis in A level material currently (especially if you've done the relevant further maths units for complex nos and ODEs). Vectors and Matrices is one of the harder things you come across in first year because the lecturer goes very fast and into an amount of detail that you don't actually need for the exam (although it does appear in problem sheets, since he also writes them), and you should take it seriously from the beginning - and it's worth being familiar with further maths vectors and matrices here (lines and planes in 3D, inverses of 3x3 matrices etc), but again - don't worry about work for at least the first half of your holiday!

    (Personally, I did pretty much nothing for physics except the set work over the holidays and some of the online bridging stuff.)
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    (Original post by Lau14)
    Hi I've just finished my first year of Physics so hopefully I can be helpful - feel free to ask if you have any other questions!

    1. RELAX. Have some fun - this is the last time in a long while that you'll get any really properly free holiday time (until next summer, in fact). See your friends, recover from whatever exams you might have been sitting, go places, do whatever you want. Don't overwork yourself before you even get there or you'll burn out. You might want to get a job/continue working if you already have one and earn some money.

    2. You'll be contacted by your college/tutors etc. shortly after A level results day (what exactly you get depends on your college). This will include your vacation work to be handed in during Freshers' week most likely. Don't worry about this until then, you'll have a month and a half to do it still which is plenty of time! Mostly for physics everyone gets the same thing - tutors might change things a bit and there are a couple of versions, but essentially it's half maths, half physics, based on things you should already have covered - mostly a level recap/getting you back into things so you haven't totally forgotten how to do maths by the time you start doing actual work. You'll also be sent a link to the online bridging course for science subjects, so you can look over the relevant areas and see if anything needs brushing up a bit.

    3. In the first term, the courses are (as far as I can remember, and assuming they haven't switched anything around): calculus, vectors & matrices, complex numbers and ordinary differential equations (ODEs), geometric optics, the first third of mechanics, special relativity and circuit theory.

    Calculus, mechanics + complex nos and ODEs are all relatively straightforward courses with strong basis in A level material currently (especially if you've done the relevant further maths units for complex nos and ODEs). Vectors and Matrices is one of the harder things you come across in first year because the lecturer goes very fast and into an amount of detail that you don't actually need for the exam (although it does appear in problem sheets, since he also writes them), and you should take it seriously from the beginning - and it's worth being familiar with further maths vectors and matrices here (lines and planes in 3D, inverses of 3x3 matrices etc), but again - don't worry about work for at least the first half of your holiday!

    (Personally, I did pretty much nothing for physics except the set work over the holidays and some of the online bridging stuff.)
    I can't thank you enough! How have you found your first year?
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    (Original post by iish)
    I can't thank you enough! How have you found your first year?
    No problem, glad I can be helpful Mostly very good and very busy (I'm definitely enjoying finally having a rest now)! You meet loads of people (everyone is usually pretty nice) - joining a society/doing a sport or something is a good way to meet people across different year groups/subjects/colleges + have some fun non work things to do every week. Work is hard and there's generally quite a lot of it, but it is manageable. Overall I've really enjoyed it! What college do you have an offer from?
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    Would it be a good idea/useful to do a bit of programming during the holidays to practice?
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    (Original post by charlesisbozo)
    Would it be a good idea/useful to do a bit of programming during the holidays to practice?
    Up to you really... There isn't a huge amount of computing stuff in the first year (and I'm pretty terrible at it). We use matlab for the three computing projects (two in the first term, one in the second) - as far as I remember the first is mostly learning the basics, the second is supposedly applying them, and the third you get a choice of around six which are all simple physical models (e.g. rocket to the moon, projectiles). I'd say if it's something that interests you, go for it, otherwise maybe just deal with it when you get to it.

    In labs you use RStudio - honestly this probably isn't worth looking at before you go, 90% of the time you just use it to plot a straight line graph and extract basic information like the mean/gradient/errors and there's a convenient cheat sheet on the labs website which tells you how to do all this stuff. The other 10% there are explicit instructions in the lab script or you're given some code to run.
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    (Original post by iish)
    Hi there - would like to ask about how you spent the summer before entry to the Physics undergraduate degree.

    Also, what is the best way I could prepare for the course?

    Thank you
    Hi iish,

    well done on getting into Oxford!

    You might like to read our blog on student life as a Physics Oxford students.
    It will givee you an insight on what's to come, but after all your hard work this year, relax, get well rested before starting in October.

    Enjoy your summer!

    UniAdmissions
 
 
 
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