HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#1
I’m going to be applying for the experimental psychology course at oxford as my first choice (50 places), but it’ll be deferred (making it even more competitive). I was wondering if anyone had any advice.

I’m doing a psychology related EPQ and entering 2 or 3 different psychology competitions, I’ve got work experience with childcare spanning around 4 years and I’m trying to get a job in an olds people’s home currently. Also trying to get into summer school but for a variety of reasons the only one I can apply to has 20 spaces, which means there’s a good chance I won’t get it (disadvantaged students will obviously get priority).
0
reply
Mona123456
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#2
Report 6 months ago
#2
(Original post by HarveyCB)
I’m going to be applying for the experimental psychology course at oxford as my first choice (50 places), but it’ll be deferred (making it even more competitive). I was wondering if anyone had any advice.

I’m doing a psychology related EPQ and entering 2 or 3 different psychology competitions, I’ve got work experience with childcare spanning around 4 years and I’m trying to get a job in an olds people’s home currently. Also trying to get into summer school but for a variety of reasons the only one I can apply to has 20 spaces, which means there’s a good chance I won’t get it (disadvantaged students will obviously get priority).
One really important thing is to smash the TSA. If you click on my profile and look at my past posts, one person asked me about tips for the TSA and I wrote a super detailed reply so definitely check that out. For Oxford, it almost goes without saying that you’ll have great GCSEs and A Level predictions (make sure you work really hard to aim to exceed the entry requirements).

I also saw a video on YouTube (I think it was called something like ‘Why your personal statement might get rejected (by Oxford and *list of other Unis*)’ and it emphasised that Oxford’s course is quite specific in terms of the type of psychology and choice of modules. So make sure you do detailed research into the course and structure, and that it fully suits your interests, and then ensure you only mention things in your personal statement that are specific to Oxford’s course and not just psychology in general. I would expect that for psychology it may also be helpful to show your general scientific and mathematical skills as they will be transferable, so maybe have a go at UKMT challenges or a CREST award if you can (depending on how maths/science related Oxford’s course is though - do check this first).

Hope this helps and good luck!
2
reply
HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#3
(Original post by Mona123456)
One really important thing is to smash the TSA. If you click on my profile and look at my past posts, one person asked me about tips for the TSA and I wrote a super detailed reply so definitely check that out. For Oxford, it almost goes without saying that you’ll have great GCSEs and A Level predictions (make sure you work really hard to aim to exceed the entry requirements).

I also saw a video on YouTube (I think it was called something like ‘Why your personal statement might get rejected (by Oxford and *list of other Unis*)’ and it emphasised that Oxford’s course is quite specific in terms of the type of psychology and choice of modules. So make sure you do detailed research into the course and structure, and that it fully suits your interests, and then ensure you only mention things in your personal statement that are specific to Oxford’s course and not just psychology in general. I would expect that for psychology it may also be helpful to show your general scientific and mathematical skills as they will be transferable, so maybe have a go at UKMT challenges or a CREST award if you can (depending on how maths/science related Oxford’s course is though - do check this first).

Hope this helps and good luck!
Thank you so much! I can’t find your post about the TSA, would you be able to send me a link?
0
reply
Mona123456
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#4
Report 6 months ago
#4
(Original post by HarveyCB)
Thank you so much! I can’t find your post about the TSA, would you be able to send me a link?
You’re welcome. I’ve copied and pasted the post below - my advice was based on my experience/prep for E&M. However, for EP I believe there is a bit of a lower cutoff point so you don’t by any means need to do as much as I did. Still, I’d advise trying to do your best as a stronger score can boost your application. Hope you find it helpful and let me know if you have any other questions.

Post:

The TSA is incredibly important as E&M is so competitive, so I started preparation earlier rather than later. I began light prep in October 2018 and sat the TSA in October 2019. However, for about 6-9 months I just did *very* light prep - I bought two books (one I think was from the Oxbridge Admissions company - not linked to Oxford though - and the other was ‘So You Think You Can Think’) and met roughly once every one or two weeks to go through a few critical thinking questions from these books with a teacher and do some practice TSA essays (as the only essay subject I take is economics). For a good month or two, these meetings were literally my teacher and I trying to understand what critical thinking was and what the question types were!

Then, from roughly February onwards, I did past papers (usually like half a paper per week) and went through questions I got wrong with a teacher. I did a mix of TSA papers and a few BMAT section 1 papers (but would skip the science/long data questions). I wouldn’t time these, or if I did it was just to see if I was getting quicker - I wasn’t strict with it and usually ran over time.

From Summer onwards, I then did full timed papers (to begin with around one every other week, but eventually one a week by September). Once I got back to school, I met once a week with a teacher to go through critical thinking questions that I got wrong (and the essays), and once a week with a different teacher to go through problem solving questions that I got wrong.

The week before, I also made notes (a bit like essay plans?) on key topics that I thought might come up (none of them did, but it was interesting learning about them anyway and still worth doing). Additionally, I repeated one past paper to compare my score and see my progression (just for a bit of a confidence boost really!). For the whole year I also kept up with current affairs, but that goes without saying really - definitely make sure you do!

It sounds like a lot haha but my school is very small and doesn’t often send people to Oxbridge, so I was pretty proactive in preparing early and politely asking my teachers for meetings to help me and go through things. It was also on-and-off prep as I took gaps and sometimes I was away, sometimes the teacher was away etc so don’t feel you need to literally do something every single week - I definitely didn’t! You do need to put time in to get used to the question styles and timings though (in the real thing I unfortunately ran out of time slightly and guessed about 3 questions, but to begin with I would run out of time without answering 10 or so questions, so practice helps!).

Good luck! It is quite enjoyable as the questions themselves are really interesting, but it’s just the timing that makes the whole thing stressful! Still, it is worth taking it seriously and trying your best, as it is a crucial factor in getting an interview.
2
reply
HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#5
(Original post by Mona123456)
You’re welcome. I’ve copied and pasted the post below - my advice was based on my experience/prep for E&M. However, for EP I believe there is a bit of a lower cutoff point so you don’t by any means need to do as much as I did. Still, I’d advise trying to do your best as a stronger score can boost your application. Hope you find it helpful and let me know if you have any other questions.

Post:

The TSA is incredibly important as E&M is so competitive, so I started preparation earlier rather than later. I began light prep in October 2018 and sat the TSA in October 2019. However, for about 6-9 months I just did *very* light prep - I bought two books (one I think was from the Oxbridge Admissions company - not linked to Oxford though - and the other was ‘So You Think You Can Think’) and met roughly once every one or two weeks to go through a few critical thinking questions from these books with a teacher and do some practice TSA essays (as the only essay subject I take is economics). For a good month or two, these meetings were literally my teacher and I trying to understand what critical thinking was and what the question types were!

Then, from roughly February onwards, I did past papers (usually like half a paper per week) and went through questions I got wrong with a teacher. I did a mix of TSA papers and a few BMAT section 1 papers (but would skip the science/long data questions). I wouldn’t time these, or if I did it was just to see if I was getting quicker - I wasn’t strict with it and usually ran over time.

From Summer onwards, I then did full timed papers (to begin with around one every other week, but eventually one a week by September). Once I got back to school, I met once a week with a teacher to go through critical thinking questions that I got wrong (and the essays), and once a week with a different teacher to go through problem solving questions that I got wrong.

The week before, I also made notes (a bit like essay plans?) on key topics that I thought might come up (none of them did, but it was interesting learning about them anyway and still worth doing). Additionally, I repeated one past paper to compare my score and see my progression (just for a bit of a confidence boost really!). For the whole year I also kept up with current affairs, but that goes without saying really - definitely make sure you do!

It sounds like a lot haha but my school is very small and doesn’t often send people to Oxbridge, so I was pretty proactive in preparing early and politely asking my teachers for meetings to help me and go through things. It was also on-and-off prep as I took gaps and sometimes I was away, sometimes the teacher was away etc so don’t feel you need to literally do something every single week - I definitely didn’t! You do need to put time in to get used to the question styles and timings though (in the real thing I unfortunately ran out of time slightly and guessed about 3 questions, but to begin with I would run out of time without answering 10 or so questions, so practice helps!).

Good luck! It is quite enjoyable as the questions themselves are really interesting, but it’s just the timing that makes the whole thing stressful! Still, it is worth taking it seriously and trying your best, as it is a crucial factor in getting an interview.
Thank youuuu! Ill give it a go
0
reply
Mona123456
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#6
Report 6 months ago
#6
(Original post by HarveyCB)
Thank youuuu! Ill give it a go
Good luck. If you’re in Year 12 you still have plenty of time to prepare so don’t worry about getting through all the past papers immediately, but yep, getting to grips with the TSA is very important so do make sure to leave enough time for that.
0
reply
eaaa
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#7
Report 5 months ago
#7
(Original post by HarveyCB)
I’m going to be applying for the experimental psychology course at oxford as my first choice (50 places), but it’ll be deferred (making it even more competitive). I was wondering if anyone had any advice.

I’m doing a psychology related EPQ and entering 2 or 3 different psychology competitions, I’ve got work experience with childcare spanning around 4 years and I’m trying to get a job in an olds people’s home currently. Also trying to get into summer school but for a variety of reasons the only one I can apply to has 20 spaces, which means there’s a good chance I won’t get it (disadvantaged students will obviously get priority).
Hi!

I just got an offer for EP. You sound like you're already doing quite a lot, the EPQ is a really good idea as it shows you know how to research and that you're interested in the subject to the extent that you want to do it as a research project. They asked me about mine in one of my interviews. I would suggest reading 1-2 books that you find really interesting in psychology, try not to choose any of the cliche books like The Man who Mistook his Wife For a Hat as that can be quite repetitive. I would work on making a really academic personal statement (i didn't include any extracurriculars unless I was linking them to psychology) and try to link psychology to all your A-levels and to all the things you are mentioning in your PS. I took quite a neuroscientific route with my PS which I think directly applied to the EP syllabus. I applied for UNIQ to do psychology and didn't get into that so whether you get into the summer school or not will not really give any indication of your true success. Going to a lecture would also be a good idea.
For the TSA, like previously said, do lots of practice. For the critical thinking section, I would say make sure you know all the different types of questions and ways best to answer them. To do that I used the specification (https://www.admissionstesting.org/im...cification.pdf) and completed papers and tried to work out my weakest points. I find that its hard to improve your problem solving if you struggle with it but critical thinking is much easier to improve on so work on making that really good. EP is not as competitive as E and M or PPE so you don't need a super high score (i think the average last year was mid-60s), but it would be beneficial. For interview practice, it would be useful to practice talking about academia and not letting your nerves get in the way of your intelligence. But I think your passion for the subject is the most important. I'd also say that there's really no reason to start prep too early, I started my PS and TSA prep in august. Just chill for now and it should make for an even stronger application.
4
reply
HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 2 weeks ago
#8
(Original post by eaaa)
Hi!

I just got an offer for EP. You sound like you're already doing quite a lot, the EPQ is a really good idea as it shows you know how to research and that you're interested in the subject to the extent that you want to do it as a research project. They asked me about mine in one of my interviews. I would suggest reading 1-2 books that you find really interesting in psychology, try not to choose any of the cliche books like The Man who Mistook his Wife For a Hat as that can be quite repetitive. I would work on making a really academic personal statement (i didn't include any extracurriculars unless I was linking them to psychology) and try to link psychology to all your A-levels and to all the things you are mentioning in your PS. I took quite a neuroscientific route with my PS which I think directly applied to the EP syllabus. I applied for UNIQ to do psychology and didn't get into that so whether you get into the summer school or not will not really give any indication of your true success. Going to a lecture would also be a good idea.
For the TSA, like previously said, do lots of practice. For the critical thinking section, I would say make sure you know all the different types of questions and ways best to answer them. To do that I used the specification (https://www.admissionstesting.org/im...cification.pdf) and completed papers and tried to work out my weakest points. I find that its hard to improve your problem solving if you struggle with it but critical thinking is much easier to improve on so work on making that really good. EP is not as competitive as E and M or PPE so you don't need a super high score (i think the average last year was mid-60s), but it would be beneficial. For interview practice, it would be useful to practice talking about academia and not letting your nerves get in the way of your intelligence. But I think your passion for the subject is the most important. I'd also say that there's really no reason to start prep too early, I started my PS and TSA prep in august. Just chill for now and it should make for an even stronger application.
Ahhh this was from so long ago! Well done on getting an offer, that’s amazing! I hope it all goes well for you!

Thank you for all the advice, I’ve been panicking so much in lockdown over what I can do lol. A lot of the advice I’ve been getting from my school is pretty generic uni advice, while my psychology teacher actively discouraged me from a competition because she thought it was too competitive. It’s nice to hear from someone who kinda is the ideal standard???? If that makes sense???? Again, thank you so much!!!
Last edited by HarveyCB; 2 weeks ago
0
reply
Oxford Mum
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#9
Report 2 weeks ago
#9
(Original post by HarveyCB)
Ahhh this was from so long ago! Well done on getting an offer, that’s amazing! I hope it all goes well for you!

Thank you for all the advice, I’ve been panicking so much in lockdown over what I can do lol. A lot of the advice I’ve been getting from my school is pretty generic uni advice, while my psychology teacher actively discouraged me from a competition because she thought it was too competitive. It’s nice to hear from someone who kinda is the ideal standard???? If that makes sense???? Again, thank you so much!!!
Hi there Harvey!

Please find below a link to the Oxford Demystified chapter for Experimental Psychology. It is written by an offer holder for your subject. also two more helpful offer holders chimed in with their perspective as well. If you have a question about the course, I am sure they will be happy to answer it.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6437414

Your teacher is a bit of a strange one, discouraging you for entering a competition! Why not? If it's an essay competition, yes, it's competitive, but that is not the point at all. Yes, there is little chance of winning (in fact, I only know one person who has!) but it gives you important practice crafting essays, researching etc. My younger son (medicine) entered an essay competition and wasn't placed, but so what? He still got an offer from Oxford. Your teacher should be encouraging you to aim high. Believe in yourself, and you may just surprise yourself with an offer!
0
reply
HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 2 weeks ago
#10
(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Hi there Harvey!

Please find below a link to the Oxford Demystified chapter for Experimental Psychology. It is written by an offer holder for your subject. also two more helpful offer holders chimed in with their perspective as well. If you have a question about the course, I am sure they will be happy to answer it.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6437414

Your teacher is a bit of a strange one, discouraging you for entering a competition! Why not? If it's an essay competition, yes, it's competitive, but that is not the point at all. Yes, there is little chance of winning (in fact, I only know one person who has!) but it gives you important practice crafting essays, researching etc. My younger son (medicine) entered an essay competition and wasn't placed, but so what? He still got an offer from Oxford. Your teacher should be encouraging you to aim high. Believe in yourself, and you may just surprise yourself with an offer!
Ooo thank you, that’s really helpful!

I ended up placing quite high, which was a nice little haha to her—obviously not the best part of winning lol, but it was fun to send her the email. I think she thought I would stress myself out too much (which I did), with a very high chance of no reward, so I kind of get it?
1
reply
Oxford Mum
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#11
Report 2 weeks ago
#11
But I have made it my life’s work to encourage people to enter for stuff on here.

When younger son was 14 I urged him to enter a competition called teentech. He ended up winning a considerable cash prize and afternoon tea with prince Andrew in Buckingham palace
1
reply
HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#12
Report Thread starter 2 weeks ago
#12
So, here’s an update! I’ve decided on Wadham college, because it seems pretty chill and the facilities are what I wanted in a college. In terms of competitions: one of them I didn’t end up entering because my school didn’t manage to enter (which I was only told when I sent my work to my teacher to be looked over before I submitted it, I’m not bitter, I swear), and the other I came first place! Im going to enter the John Locke one next week, but I don’t have high hopes because I’m not particularly invested in my argument, as I didn’t find any of the questions that interesting, and it very much comes across in my writing.

I’ve started a folder essentially including all my research into the colleges and advice for applications, and a few pages detailing my super curriculars so I can easily find them when I start writing my personal statement. I’ve got a little mind map going where I’ve been brainstorming ideas on how various things link together and to the course, so I have a bit more of a basis if any of it comes up in interviews (lets hope I get there).

I’ve done one MOOC on the impact of COVID on mental health, and I’ll be starting two over the summer, one run by York university which is an introduction to cognitive psychology, and the other is on critical thinking to help with the TSA.

As always, please feel free to give me advice! Right now I’m on the personal statement phase of preparation, so any tips and tricks are welcome! And if anyone has ideas for work experience that I could somehow do during lockdown, I’d really appreciate it, because I’m stumped.
0
reply
Oxford Mum
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#13
Report 2 weeks ago
#13
Wow, you’re really organised aren’t you? And getting first place in a competition, that’s really, really good. No need to feel bitter about the missed opportunity with the other one.

Work experience: nobody can do that, so let’s chill on that one.
0
reply
Oxford Mum
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#14
Report 2 weeks ago
#14
In fact, whilst I'm at it, you might benefit from reading my book, Oxford Demystfied

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6100480

There are lots of handy hints on applying to Oxford, including many quotes from tutors, saying what they are looking for.
0
reply
HarveyCB
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 2 weeks ago
#15
(Original post by Oxford Mum)
In fact, whilst I'm at it, you might benefit from reading my book, Oxford Demystfied

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6100480

There are lots of handy hints on applying to Oxford, including many quotes from tutors, saying what they are looking for.
Oh wow, thank you! I didn’t realise you had a whole book on this!
1
reply
Oxford Mum
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#16
Report 2 weeks ago
#16
Harvey, thanks to the Oxbridge offer holders on tsr, I have a wonderful book, and they keep on helping me by sending extra chapters and speaking to prospective applicants such as yourself.
0
reply
vix.xvi
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#17
Report 2 weeks ago
#17
(Original post by Mona123456)
You’re welcome. I’ve copied and pasted the post below - my advice was based on my experience/prep for E&M. However, for EP I believe there is a bit of a lower cutoff point so you don’t by any means need to do as much as I did. Still, I’d advise trying to do your best as a stronger score can boost your application. Hope you find it helpful and let me know if you have any other questions.

Post:

The TSA is incredibly important as E&M is so competitive, so I started preparation earlier rather than later. I began light prep in October 2018 and sat the TSA in October 2019. However, for about 6-9 months I just did *very* light prep - I bought two books (one I think was from the Oxbridge Admissions company - not linked to Oxford though - and the other was ‘So You Think You Can Think’) and met roughly once every one or two weeks to go through a few critical thinking questions from these books with a teacher and do some practice TSA essays (as the only essay subject I take is economics). For a good month or two, these meetings were literally my teacher and I trying to understand what critical thinking was and what the question types were!

Then, from roughly February onwards, I did past papers (usually like half a paper per week) and went through questions I got wrong with a teacher. I did a mix of TSA papers and a few BMAT section 1 papers (but would skip the science/long data questions). I wouldn’t time these, or if I did it was just to see if I was getting quicker - I wasn’t strict with it and usually ran over time.

From Summer onwards, I then did full timed papers (to begin with around one every other week, but eventually one a week by September). Once I got back to school, I met once a week with a teacher to go through critical thinking questions that I got wrong (and the essays), and once a week with a different teacher to go through problem solving questions that I got wrong.

The week before, I also made notes (a bit like essay plans?) on key topics that I thought might come up (none of them did, but it was interesting learning about them anyway and still worth doing). Additionally, I repeated one past paper to compare my score and see my progression (just for a bit of a confidence boost really!). For the whole year I also kept up with current affairs, but that goes without saying really - definitely make sure you do!

It sounds like a lot haha but my school is very small and doesn’t often send people to Oxbridge, so I was pretty proactive in preparing early and politely asking my teachers for meetings to help me and go through things. It was also on-and-off prep as I took gaps and sometimes I was away, sometimes the teacher was away etc so don’t feel you need to literally do something every single week - I definitely didn’t! You do need to put time in to get used to the question styles and timings though (in the real thing I unfortunately ran out of time slightly and guessed about 3 questions, but to begin with I would run out of time without answering 10 or so questions, so practice helps!).

Good luck! It is quite enjoyable as the questions themselves are really interesting, but it’s just the timing that makes the whole thing stressful! Still, it is worth taking it seriously and trying your best, as it is a crucial factor in getting an interview.
thank youuu! If you dont mind me asking, did u get in?
0
reply
vix.xvi
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#18
Report 2 weeks ago
#18
(Original post by HarveyCB)
I’ve done one MOOC .... the other is on critical thinking to help with the TSA.
do you mind me asking what course you're doing? I'm interested in doing one too to help with TSA. Thanks
0
reply
vix.xvi
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#19
Report 2 weeks ago
#19
(Original post by Mona123456)
- I bought two books (one I think was from the Oxbridge Admissions company - not linked to Oxford though - and the other was ‘So You Think You Can Think’) and met roughly once every one or
also,would you recommend buying those books?
0
reply
Mona123456
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#20
Report 2 weeks ago
#20
(Original post by vix.xvi)
also,would you recommend buying those books?
Hi there.

Regarding your first question - I am currently an offer holder.

Regarding your second question - I found the books helpful (particularly So You Think You Can Think?) as I didn’t take English/History or a subject that regularly used the critical thinking skills the TSA tests, but the books are by no means essential. The best thing to do is do the past papers, ideally most of them in timed conditions. If you can get a book and want to, great, but otherwise it isn’t the end of the world at all and there are plenty of free resources that are useful too, like the free BMAT section 1 guide and the TSA and BMAT past papers.

Best of luck
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

How are you feeling ahead of results day?

Very Confident (33)
8.05%
Confident (55)
13.41%
Indifferent (58)
14.15%
Unsure (104)
25.37%
Worried (160)
39.02%

Watched Threads

View All