No. of books to mention in PS Watch

studentbug
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#1
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So i've been doing some further reading and plan do continue with this during the summer but I have a question.

How many books should I mention in my PS? There this balancing that is a bit hard. Too few books = missing to prove your passion for the subject. Too many = incoherency, giving wrong impressions, not having enough space to discuss the books you have mentioned.

I understand that its different for different subjects, i.e english students have to mention more (I would imagine) - but how about say, economics?
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epitome
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It's not about quantity, it's about what you've got out of them. So, perhaps talk about ideas and theories and your actual interest in Economics (or whatever), and then use books to demonstrate/explore these ideas in your PS. And yes, this IS possible in just a few sentences.

The number of books is irrelevant. Reading 1 well is far, far better than reading 10 uselessly.

That is to say: There is no definite answer. Don't let anyone tell you there is.
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Eragon452
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I applied for anthropology and named about 3 unrelated books eg Bill Bryson.
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coldfish
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Though of course the correct answer is 6.35.
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Zoedotdot
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I didn't include any because I wanted flexibility at interview to talk about books that I'd read recently and thoroughly rather than the ones I'd read in September. I'm not sure it's exactly a requirement to include books in your PS...
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FadeToBlackout
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None whatsoever. You can demonstrate a passion for the subject through things other than just listing a bibliography.
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generalebriety
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I mentioned two.
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kiss_me_now9
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I didn't read any books or put any down in my PS - I know that my friend who's applied for a Cambridge language degree put about the German poetry she'd read.

ETA - Damnit, should've looked first. Anyway, the anecdote above may be somewhat useful?
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beccadimambro
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I named none, I had no idea how to write a PS. I was interviewed to study History of Art, and my PS rambled on about how much I loved Maths for a paragraph.

Therefore, not naming any does not disprove your passion for the subject .
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Tut.exe
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lol, i'd imagine you putting 5 books on your PS and when you go to the interview, they ask you about all 5 thoroughly.
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The West Wing
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I mentioned like a dozen and wasn't asked about any of them :hmmm:
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studentbug
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(Original post by coldfish)
Though of course the correct answer is 6.35.
Silly, how can one mention a 35th of a book!
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Rudrax
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I mentioned 2 and they weren't raised at the interview. Reading books is an oppotional extra, not a demand.
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Greatleysteg
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(Original post by studentbug)
Silly, how can one mention a 35th of a book!
It's not one thirty-fifth of a book - it's three and a half tenths, or just over a third... :rolleyes: :p:

OP, I didn't apply to Cambridge, but I did Oxford, and I didn't mention any books; I preferred to just mention that I'd perused the works of Camus, Sartre and Queneau in French, and Kafka, Goethe and Brecht in German (which was tiwsting the truth a little, but not a lie.)
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OllyThePhilosopher
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(Original post by studentbug)
Silly, how can one mention a 35th of a book!
That is such poor maths.
To the OP, I will put 2 maximum.
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wiio
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however many you put, don't mention that you had to ask online about it.
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Excalibur
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#17
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I only mentioned one book pretty briefly, and I wasn't asked about it at my interview. (I was asked about it at my UCL interview though!) Mention as many as you'd feel comfortable talking about and don't spread yourself too thin.
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secretmessages
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I didn't mention any. However I can't stress this enough - do not claim that you've read books that you haven't, unless you're likely to read them before any potential interviews. I'd say one or two perhaps, but remember your personal statement is about you, not all about the books you've read.
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Galatea
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(Original post by Rudrax)
Reading books is an oppotional extra, not a demand
Depends on the subject really - it's all very well people saying reading is not a necessity, but in subjects like Philosophy, Theology, English, Poltics etc if you haven't read any books, I'd think it pretty unlikely you'll be offered a place; wider reading is obviously expected, and in the personal statement, you're expected to demonstrate how you've more fully explored your subject.

While obviously there's no exact number, how many books largely depends on the books you most want to mention and discuss at interview; you must have a few 'favourites'. For the subjects metnioned above, something around the half dozen mark would probably be more than sufficient, for science subjects obviously less than that. I think I mentioned something like 4/5 in mine, a couple of them we did discuss at interview in some depth.
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thefish_uk
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I mentioned two, and gave each a sentence to say what I'd gotten out of reading each one. At interview we briefly discussed the issues raised in the books I'd read.
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