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Shall I try and apply for Oxford Chemistry? Watch

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    Hey,

    Got my AS results today, I'm fairly pleased:

    I take Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics. For Further Maths, we do the whole A-level maths in the first year and then the whole A-level further maths in the second year, with the opportunity for A-level maths retakes in year 13 if needed.

    In A2 Maths I got 500 UMS, an A overall.
    In Chemistry I got an A.
    In Physics I got a B.

    I have my heart set on studying Chemistry at university. I've looked at entry requirements for top UK universities and it seems to be A*AA or AAA they're looking for, which I think, with hard work next year I can achieve.
    I was also thinking of Oxford. My teacher suggested I should take a look at it, although I don't know if I'm good enough. What do you guys think? I want to aim as high as possible, but I don't know if my B in Physics will let me down for Chemistry or not.

    In my GCSE's I got 6A*'s 3A's and 3B's.
    And my maths module marks were:
    C1 - 88 A
    C2 - 93 A
    C3 - 90 A*
    C4 - 76 B
    M1 - 82 A
    S1 - 71 B
    I'm definitely going to retake C4 to try and get 90+ for the A* on it as well.

    Thanks for all your advice guys.

    I hope everyone else who got results today also did well
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    (Original post by Turtlebunny)
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    I don't think there would be any harm in applying. It's really impossible to gauge your chances of getting into Oxford because that will depend on how you score in the TSA and at interview but it should be possible, assuming you're predicted the A*A*A entry requirement. Your grades are good enough to give you a very good chance at other universities so you can afford to take a gamble with Oxford.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I don't think there would be any harm in applying. It's really impossible to gauge your chances of getting into Oxford because that will depend on how you score in the TSA and at interview but it should be possible, assuming you're predicted the A*A*A entry requirement. Your grades are good enough to give you a very good chance at other universities so you can afford to take a gamble with Oxford.
    I know I'm going to get the A*A*A prediction, my teachers are most likely going to predict A*A*AA.
    Thanks for your advice though, I think I'll give it a shot as one of my 5.
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    The guy who was in the same group as me for Part II got a B in AS level Chemistry and still got an offer. He had done some lab research (somehow!) either after GCSEs or AS levels, so that probably made up for it. So yes, it's worth a shot. Maybe resit C3 too, just in case you need a bit of a buffer if C4 ends up in the high 80's. Just a thought.
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    (Original post by Jeykayem)
    The guy who was in the same group as me for Part II got a B in AS level Chemistry and still got an offer. He had done some lab research (somehow!) either after GCSEs or AS levels, so that probably made up for it. So yes, it's worth a shot. Maybe resit C3 too, just in case you need a bit of a buffer if C4 ends up in the high 80's. Just a thought.
    Ive done a lot this year that may help out my application. I've participated in the satro team maths challenge, did the UKMT and got a bronze, got a silver in cambridge chemistry challenge, participated in the RSC schools analyst competition so got some good lab worn in there, also went and did a masterclass at Cambridge. Also havs some other things that might look good like a grade 6 piano and third place in the McLaren engineering challenge. Did the chemistry olympiad a year early but just missed out on an award.

    I'm not sure, I've done as much as I can haha

    Ive done some further reading and have just started the classic 'Why chemical reactions happen' by Keeler and Wothers.
    Would you recommend anyrhing i could read?

    Im definetly going to retake C4, but as you suggested I could retake c3 too, as they xache in your best mark anyway.

    Any other tips/advice for Oxford you could give based on what I've said
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    Hey there! I was in quite a similar boat to you last year; I took maths, further maths, chemistry and biology and had 7A*s, 4As and an A in additional maths at GCSE. I got AA in chem and bio AS, and 557 UMS in A2 maths, equivalent to an A with C3 and C4 both at 89 UMS each. I'd say definitely try out for Oxford, I mean it worked out for me as overall I got A*A*A*A and A* EPQ (after retaking C3 and 4, and the A in bio), and I'll be studying chemistry at St Catz in a month's time!

    What was most valuable before preparing to apply, for me anyway, was reading in depth about certain topics in chemistry via a few books in my school's library, as much of what I read had come up in my interview as I had mentioned it in my personal statement. To be specific, I had read parts of 'A guidebook to mechanism in organic chemistry' by Sykes on frontier molecular orbital theory, cyclisation reactions and the woodward-hoffmann rules. In addition to that I also did read the classic 'Why Chemical reactions happen' by Keeler + Wothers as you had already mentioned and some general reading on physical chemistry, mostly on ionisation energies and things such as the Rydberg constant and Lyman (and other) series

    Good luck on the application and feel free to ask any more questions
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    (Original post by AsianMetalhead)
    Hey there! I was in quite a similar boat to you last year; I took maths, further maths, chemistry and biology and had 7A*s, 4As and an A in additional maths at GCSE. I got AA in chem and bio AS, and 557 UMS in A2 maths, equivalent to an A with C3 and C4 both at 89 UMS each. I'd say definitely try out for Oxford, I mean it worked out for me as overall I got A*A*A*A and A* EPQ (after retaking C3 and 4, and the A in bio), and I'll be studying chemistry at St Catz in a month's time!

    What was most valuable before preparing to apply, for me anyway, was reading in depth about certain topics in chemistry via a few books in my school's library, as much of what I read had come up in my interview as I had mentioned it in my personal statement. To be specific, I had read parts of 'A guidebook to mechanism in organic chemistry' by Sykes on frontier molecular orbital theory, cyclisation reactions and the woodward-hoffmann rules. In addition to that I also did read the classic 'Why Chemical reactions happen' by Keeler + Wothers as you had already mentioned and some general reading on physical chemistry, mostly on ionisation energies and things such as the Rydberg constant and Lyman (and other) series

    Good luck on the application and feel free to ask any more questions
    Thanks for this

    Also well done and good luck with the degree!

    Couple of questions though,
    Would you recommend I also retake C3 for the buffer or shall I just focus on C4?
    And in your personal statememt did you just breifly mention the extra reading you did or did you include your interests and specifics from those topics that they then asked you about at interview?
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    (Original post by Turtlebunny)
    Thanks for this

    Also well done and good luck with the degree!

    Couple of questions though,
    Would you recommend I also retake C3 for the buffer or shall I just focus on C4?
    And in your personal statememt did you just breifly mention the extra reading you did or did you include your interests and specifics from those topics that they then asked you about at interview?
    Thank you! If you're doing further maths, then I would say that your maths ability would've sharpened up enough in this year so that it would be very unlikely that you wouldn't get 90UMS+ in C4, so taking C3 again would be redundant. However, I would also argue that with minimal work, you'll be able to do exceedingly better at C3 anyway, so overall I think it shouldn't matter whether or not you take both again, but personally I would retake both for redundancy's sake (ending up with 100 UMS in both C3 and C4 was a nice little bonus for me as well )

    As for the personal statement, I explicitly stated stuff on:
    - Ring closing reactions involving internal nucleophiles
    - Frontier molecular orbital theory
    - The Diels-Alder reaction
    - Charge transfer complexes, eg. ferrocene
    - The effect of steric hindrance on antibiotic resistance (as part of my EPQ)
    And the two books I already mentioned I read this stuff on.

    At interview, they had asked me all of the aforementioned stuff and to expand on some of it, eg. the sine wave pattern in the molecular orbitals of butadiene as an expansion of FMO theory, or an example mechanism on ring closing involving internal nucleophiles and how to catalyse such a reaction. They expect you to fully know everything you've written and to solve problems involving it, and it takes a lot of hard graft.
    On the plus side, I can explain the Woodward-Hoffmann rules for cycloaddition reactions down to a pin now, almost anyway
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    (Original post by AsianMetalhead)
    Thank you! If you're doing further maths, then I would say that your maths ability would've sharpened up enough in this year so that it would be very unlikely that you wouldn't get 90UMS+ in C4, so taking C3 again would be redundant. However, I would also argue that with minimal work, you'll be able to do exceedingly better at C3 anyway, so overall I think it shouldn't matter whether or not you take both again, but personally I would retake both for redundancy's sake (ending up with 100 UMS in both C3 and C4 was a nice little bonus for me as well )

    As for the personal statement, I explicitly stated stuff on:
    - Ring closing reactions involving internal nucleophiles
    - Frontier molecular orbital theory
    - The Diels-Alder reaction
    - Charge transfer complexes, eg. ferrocene
    - The effect of steric hindrance on antibiotic resistance (as part of my EPQ)
    And the two books I already mentioned I read this stuff on.

    At interview, they had asked me all of the aforementioned stuff and to expand on some of it, eg. the sine wave pattern in the molecular orbitals of butadiene as an expansion of FMO theory, or an example mechanism on ring closing involving internal nucleophiles and how to catalyse such a reaction. They expect you to fully know everything you've written and to solve problems involving it, and it takes a lot of hard graft.
    On the plus side, I can explain the Woodward-Hoffmann rules for cycloaddition reactions down to a pin now, almost anyway
    Im generally interested in Physical Chemistry although I'm still quite unsure about what to specifically talk about. I think I might mention how, since first being introduced to the Bohr model of the atom, I've done some further reading on radial probabilities, molecular orbital theory , and some more

    Im thinking of doing some research into organic mechanisms beyond AS and A-level as well, although I havent started this yet

    Also going to talk about analytical chemistry and the experiments I performed at the schools analysts' competition
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    (Original post by AsianMetalhead)
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    I've sent off my application to Oxford!

    Thank you for your help

    How is Oxford and St Catz btw?!
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    Hey there! Sorry I didn't reply the first time, I might have missed it or been too busy
    Hope your application goes well! And you don't have to thank me at all

    Oxford is an amazing place filled with amazing people, and aside from that, chemistry here is a demanding, but very enjoyable course! Over this week (being week 1), I've found myself studying and working from 11am-6pm everyday, 11pm being after two lectures, so demanding indeed! However, I've learned more in the past few days than I have through all the prep I did for my Oxford interviews!

    St Catz is a vibrant college, being situated on the edge of town means that we tend to socialise with our own folk, and there are many opportunities for outings and the like, unfortunately I haven't had too much spare time to devote to social matters, but still fit in an hour of pool a night and maybe a night out in town weekly/fortnightly. The large student population means that it's difficult to keep track of everyone, but given time to settle in, everything should be fine! Lectures are situated very conveniently at only a 10 min walk (optionally 15 mins through a park!), though everything is so close in Oxford that location doesn't really matter too much!
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    (Original post by AsianMetalhead)
    Hey there! Sorry I didn't reply the first time, I might have missed it or been too busy
    Hope your application goes well! And you don't have to thank me at all

    Oxford is an amazing place filled with amazing people, and aside from that, chemistry here is a demanding, but very enjoyable course! Over this week (being week 1), I've found myself studying and working from 11am-6pm everyday, 11pm being after two lectures, so demanding indeed! However, I've learned more in the past few days than I have through all the prep I did for my Oxford interviews!

    St Catz is a vibrant college, being situated on the edge of town means that we tend to socialise with our own folk, and there are many opportunities for outings and the like, unfortunately I haven't had too much spare time to devote to social matters, but still fit in an hour of pool a night and maybe a night out in town weekly/fortnightly. The large student population means that it's difficult to keep track of everyone, but given time to settle in, everything should be fine! Lectures are situated very conveniently at only a 10 min walk (optionally 15 mins through a park!), though everything is so close in Oxford that location doesn't really matter too much!
    I had my interviews earlier on this week, so now it's just a painful wait. I'd be surprised if I got an offer, but still I tried my best.
    My first two interviews at Teddy Hall were alright - the thing is when I made mistakes or didn't get an answer immediately it was more of an academic dicussion between me and the tutors. On Wednesday, 9/15 of us had third interviews (no idea what this means), and mine was at Queen's college. This third interview was Diabolical - he asked me to sketch a graph that was pretty tough and also some inorganic orbitals stuff. I found the interview much much more challenging, really don't think I did well in that one.
    They didn't care less about my personal statement though! Not one question at all!
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    (Original post by AsianMetalhead)
    As for the personal statement, I explicitly stated stuff on:
    - Ring closing reactions involving internal nucleophiles
    - Frontier molecular orbital theory
    - The Diels-Alder reaction
    - Charge transfer complexes, eg. ferrocene
    - The effect of steric hindrance on antibiotic resistance (as part of my EPQ)
    And the two books I already mentioned I read this stuff on.

    At interview, they had asked me all of the aforementioned stuff and to expand on some of it, eg. the sine wave pattern in the molecular orbitals of butadiene as an expansion of FMO theory, or an example mechanism on ring closing involving internal nucleophiles and how to catalyse such a reaction.
    I'm good at chemistry to the point where I can breeze through even the hardest AS/A2 paper (plus most C3L6/olympiad type questions) without difficulty, but I have no clue what any of those things are. Is it generally expected that Oxford applicants learn and understand university-level concepts before they go to university? At my Cambridge interview for NatSci, they seemed much more interested in asking problems which could be solved by applying knowledge gained in studying AS-level chemistry.
 
 
 
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