Sinnoh
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Hi everyone. :wavey: What with open days this summer being cancelled, here's a kind of AMA thread for everyone considering Imperial.
I'm a first-year undergrad studying physics. I'll be happy to answer any questions about the uni in general, and of course about the physics course (which has just been restructured!)

This AMA uses a tag system! You can either ask a general question or tag in one of our fantastic volunteers (listed below) if you are looking for something more specific.
Sinnoh - First year, Physics
usycool1 - Current student, Medicine
bellelurette - Offer holder, Medicine
StarbucksLife14 - Offer holder, Medicine
Gunner772 - Offer holder, Medicine
edgyqueen - Offer holder, Medicine
Rasofema - Offer holder, Computer Science
---
This AMA is part of the 'Ask a University Student 2.0' initiative. If you want to find out more about other courses or universities, please check out the main list of threads:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6431108
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
Hi everyone. :wavey: What with open days this summer being cancelled, here's a kind of AMA thread for everyone considering Imperial.
I'm a first-year undergrad studying physics. I'll be happy to answer any questions about the uni in general, and of course about the physics course (which has just been restructured!)
So what was the general vibe about the course restructure ? Did it go smoothly or were there bits that seemed out of place ? Any weird timetable glitches or bits where part B should have followed A, but lectures from different modules got out of sync ?
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
So what was the general vibe about the course restructure ? Did it go smoothly or were there bits that seemed out of place ? Any weird timetable glitches or bits where part B should have followed A, but lectures from different modules got out of sync ?
I think the order of the lecture courses worked well enough, I still feel that moving Fourier to the second term of first year was a bit ambitious but we'll probably be glad for it when second year labs come around. It did happen once or twice that they forgot to timetable a lecture on the mobile app. One very slight issue: when we have one-off lectures from other people in the department they tend not to realise that we don't do quantum physics in year 1 anymore.

There's now a mechanics exam at the start of term 2, the content of which includes mechanics, vectors & matrices and the functions course, for 70% of the module. Given the current circumstances I'm very glad we had it then, but even ignoring that it probably is best to just get it out of the way sooner.

People are a bit divided over seminars, they're two hours once a week in LT2 with about 60 of us working in groups of 4 or 5. Sometimes they feel like just group problem sheet sessions which can be pretty boring, but sometimes they are quite useful, like the second one with Fourier analysis made us appreciate the topic a lot more. There was a mechanics test in the seminar at the start of the year that pissed everyone off because it was a timed test that came out of nowhere and the questions didn't seem at all proof-read. The median mark was 15 out of 50. Since the feedback they said they'd change it to make it less like a test and give people more time to do each question. It's worth very little anyway.
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jassowal
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Hi Sinnoh,

Thank you for doing this AMA. BTW, i follow your weekly physics blog and food blog with great interest. I have a few questions:

1) I am an international student considering applying to Imperial next year. My interest is Physics. How is the physics teaching? Are the experiments well conducted?

2) The fees for international students is HUGE, how does one reduce costs while living in London. What are average weekly accomodation rates after 1st year? Is is easy to find reasonable accomodation that one can share with friends?

3) Is it better to do the 3 year course and then apply for grad school elsewhere( US/ Oxbridge) or would you recommend doing the 4 year course?

4) What are the UG research opportunities like? Do most people avail them? Do most of them result in some publications?


Thank you for your help
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aan2608
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The medical departments are giving medical biosciences students during the first week. Do you know which model this is? Since I was planning to buy my own one. Thank you!
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
There was a mechanics test in the seminar at the start of the year that pissed everyone off because it was a timed test that came out of nowhere and the questions didn't seem at all proof-read. The median mark was 15 out of 50. Since the feedback they said they'd change it to make it less like a test and give people more time to do each question. It's worth very little anyway.
Thanks, some interesting things in there for the Dept to take on board. Re the "15/50 median", there has always been a tough assessment thrown in near the start of the course, it’s there for a very specific reason. Pretty much everyone on that course has been used to being 1st in their year group since pre GCSEs and acing every test they do. Some students need a bit of a reminder that now everyone else in the room has that same background, so the level of competition just went up, and that on average, well most people suddenly became average ! I definitely remember going through an “Oh S**t” moment myself as a student before I upped my game.
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HannahMT09
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Hi Sinnoh, I'm currently doing my A-Levels (I take Chemistry Biology and German) and I am very interested in studying Medicine at Imperial College. I have a few questions though!! I am not familiar with university life at all, so its nice that you are willing to answer some questions.

Firstly, how is the application process? I assume that I must admit my personal statement, are there any tips for writing it? Anything in particular that the uni are looking for? Would be very helpful!!

Secondly, I am slightly curious about living in the first year dorms. As I don't live in London - I am nervous about having to share living space, kitchen ect... with others. Do you know how many people share a kitchen in the dorms? Or if you can have the option to have a room with your own fridge or something to privately accommodate you? After first year, living in London? Do students move into a shared private flat together or do you move into the Uni's accomodation, I have read about Evelyn Gardens? Would you recommend this, or be able to tell me a bit more about it, how many people per apartment...ect?

Finally (sorry for all these questions) on the Uni's webpage it states that for medicine the entry A-Level grades are AAA, if I got AAB for example does this mean I wouldn't get in? Or are they flexible depending on the student?Thanks so much for answering my questions it really helps as I'm unsure of the whole experience!!
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by HannahMT09)
on the Uni's webpage it states that for medicine the entry A-Level grades are AAA, if I got AAB for example does this mean I wouldn't get in? Or are they flexible depending on the student
Medicine is a hyper competitve course I am afraid, AAA will most likely be the minimum and many students will be scoring higher than this. If you have a very specific reason for dropping a grade, e.g. poor performing school or a serious illness during A levels that might help, but will need some evidence behind it.

Re 2nd year accomodation, most people move out of College halls as there are not enough spaces otherwise for the new batch of freshers. Some 2nd years do get invited back to help with the social side of hall life, but you have to be seen to actively contribute for that to happen, and its typically only 5-10 people in a 100+ person hall.
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by jassowal)
Hi Sinnoh,

Thank you for doing this AMA. BTW, i follow your weekly physics blog and food blog with great interest. I have a few questions:

1) I am an international student considering applying to Imperial next year. My interest is Physics. How is the physics teaching? Are the experiments well conducted?

2) The fees for international students is HUGE, how does one reduce costs while living in London. What are average weekly accomodation rates after 1st year? Is is easy to find reasonable accomodation that one can share with friends?

3) Is it better to do the 3 year course and then apply for grad school elsewhere( US/ Oxbridge) or would you recommend doing the 4 year course?

4) What are the UG research opportunities like? Do most people avail them? Do most of them result in some publications?


Thank you for your help
1) Some lecturers are very good, some not. You do sometimes hear horror stories about lecturers (not at any particular uni) who just read off powerpoint slides and add nothing to them. So far that has not been the case. Academic tutorials are once every two weeks where you're in small groups with a lecturer, I find them very useful for getting to understand bits on the course that you're struggling on - if only we had them more often!
Labs seem to run smoothly enough, you've almost always got time to finish and take breaks. There's an introductory lab cycle where you learn how to make a proper lab book and get used to the much longer experiments you'll be doing. At A-level we might do the whole practical in a single 50-minute lesson, here the lab sessions are 4 hours at a time.

2) To reduce costs, cook for yourself as much as possible and try not to go to the pub too often if you do drink because it's especially expensive in London. I'm not the most frugal person and excluding accommodation I probably go through about £100 a week normally. I could cut that down quite a bit if I brought my own lunch into uni, prepared my meals in advance and drank a bit less. If you buy lunch at university it's usually somewhere around £5 depending on where you go.
Not sure about weekly costs for private accommodation afterwards, though - I live in London so I'll be staying home next year and commuting. People can and do find friends to share with, and it will be cheaper if you do share.

3) Entirely depends on whether you want to do a master's elsewhere. I'm only in 1st year so I have no opinion on the matter. You can switch from the BSc to the MSci course and vice versa up until I think the second term of third year, subject to conditions.

4) I don't think that many people do take part in UROPs as a proportion of the year - many people won't be in the country (but you can apply for summer accommodation at Woodward) and others might have internships happening. I would have potentially had one lined up for the summer but I think coronavirus has completely ****ed up that plan.
Usually with UROPs you have to actively go and ask a staff member if they're running any - only a few of them get actually advertised to the year and they'll probably be more oversubscribed as a result. It'll also depend on who you're with.
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by aan2608)
The medical departments are giving medical biosciences students during the first week. Do you know which model this is? Since I was planning to buy my own one. Thank you!
Hi I think you forgot to include a word between "students" and "during"
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aan2608
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
Hi I think you forgot to include a word between "students" and "during"
OMG I dont know how I missed that hahaha. I was talking about the iPad. Do you know which model this is? Thank you!
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by HannahMT09)
Hi Sinnoh, I'm currently doing my A-Levels (I take Chemistry Biology and German) and I am very interested in studying Medicine at Imperial College. I have a few questions though!! I am not familiar with university life at all, so its nice that you are willing to answer some questions.

Firstly, how is the application process? I assume that I must admit my personal statement, are there any tips for writing it? Anything in particular that the uni are looking for? Would be very helpful!!

Secondly, I am slightly curious about living in the first year dorms. As I don't live in London - I am nervous about having to share living space, kitchen ect... with others. Do you know how many people share a kitchen in the dorms? Or if you can have the option to have a room with your own fridge or something to privately accommodate you? After first year, living in London? Do students move into a shared private flat together or do you move into the Uni's accomodation, I have read about Evelyn Gardens? Would you recommend this, or be able to tell me a bit more about it, how many people per apartment...ect?

Finally (sorry for all these questions) on the Uni's webpage it states that for medicine the entry A-Level grades are AAA, if I got AAB for example does this mean I wouldn't get in? Or are they flexible depending on the student?Thanks so much for answering my questions it really helps as I'm unsure of the whole experience!!
I'm afraid I don't know much about the application process for medicine; it is very different to that of physics and for me the personal statement wasn't that important, but I know that's not so much the case for medicine. Probably the golden rule is that you can show your motivation for wanting to study it and show that you know what you're getting into.

First year halls - look forward to it! The number of people per kitchen will depend on which halls you're in. In Woodward it was 6 to 8 people per kitchen, in Southside and Eastside there are more people to a kitchen, but the kitchens are bigger over there too. I had enough storage space and got on pretty well with my flatmates.
You can't keep a fridge in your own room, in fact you can't keep any small kitchen appliances in your room at all. There are also no studio flats available in Imperial-owned halls so you will be sharing a kitchen. Try to use it as an opportunity to socialise, remember it'll be everyone else's first time too.
I don't know anyone who went to Evelyn Gardens, but my recommendation is that you do try to find friends to share with for second year onwards. There will be guidance given by the university on finding accommodation afterwards.

And finally yeah AAA is definitely their minimum. I think their usual offer that they give is actually A*AA, and Imperial being Imperial, and medicine being medicine, it's unlikely that you could still get in if you missed your offer barring exceptional mitigating circumstances.
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by aan2608)
OMG I dont know how I missed that hahaha. I was talking about the iPad. Do you know which model this is? Thank you!
Ah lol. No sorry I don't know, this is my first time hearing about it
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jassowal
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
1) Some lecturers are very good, some not. You do sometimes hear horror stories about lecturers (not at any particular uni) who just read off powerpoint slides and add nothing to them. So far that has not been the case. Academic tutorials are once every two weeks where you're in small groups with a lecturer, I find them very useful for getting to understand bits on the course that you're struggling on - if only we had them more often!
Labs seem to run smoothly enough, you've almost always got time to finish and take breaks. There's an introductory lab cycle where you learn how to make a proper lab book and get used to the much longer experiments you'll be doing. At A-level we might do the whole practical in a single 50-minute lesson, here the lab sessions are 4 hours at a time.

2) To reduce costs, cook for yourself as much as possible and try not to go to the pub too often if you do drink because it's especially expensive in London. I'm not the most frugal person and excluding accommodation I probably go through about £100 a week normally. I could cut that down quite a bit if I brought my own lunch into uni, prepared my meals in advance and drank a bit less. If you buy lunch at university it's usually somewhere around £5 depending on where you go.
Not sure about weekly costs for private accommodation afterwards, though - I live in London so I'll be staying home next year and commuting. People can and do find friends to share with, and it will be cheaper if you do share.

3) Entirely depends on whether you want to do a master's elsewhere. I'm only in 1st year so I have no opinion on the matter. You can switch from the BSc to the MSci course and vice versa up until I think the second term of third year, subject to conditions.

4) I don't think that many people do take part in UROPs as a proportion of the year - many people won't be in the country (but you can apply for summer accommodation at Woodward) and others might have internships happening. I would have potentially had one lined up for the summer but I think coronavirus has completely ****ed up that plan.
Usually with UROPs you have to actively go and ask a staff member if they're running any - only a few of them get actually advertised to the year and they'll probably be more oversubscribed as a result. It'll also depend on who you're with.
Thank you so much for your help and insights, Sinnoh.
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HannahMT09
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
I'm afraid I don't know much about the application process for medicine; it is very different to that of physics and for me the personal statement wasn't that important, but I know that's not so much the case for medicine. Probably the golden rule is that you can show your motivation for wanting to study it and show that you know what you're getting into.

First year halls - look forward to it! The number of people per kitchen will depend on which halls you're in. In Woodward it was 6 to 8 people per kitchen, in Southside and Eastside there are more people to a kitchen, but the kitchens are bigger over there too. I had enough storage space and got on pretty well with my flatmates.
You can't keep a fridge in your own room, in fact you can't keep any small kitchen appliances in your room at all. There are also no studio flats available in Imperial-owned halls so you will be sharing a kitchen. Try to use it as an opportunity to socialise, remember it'll be everyone else's first time too.
I don't know anyone who went to Evelyn Gardens, but my recommendation is that you do try to find friends to share with for second year onwards. There will be guidance given by the university on finding accommodation afterwards.

And finally yeah AAA is definitely their minimum. I think their usual offer that they give is actually A*AA, and Imperial being Imperial, and medicine being medicine, it's unlikely that you could still get in if you missed your offer barring exceptional mitigating circumstances.
Ah thank you so much!! Also just had a look at the different halls of residence which look really nice! Can you choose which one you go in, or does the uni put you together with people of the same kind of interest or course. Would be interesting also to know if these particular people in your dorm are the only friends you initially make, or are there any social events where students socialize more.. Obviously I am aware that I will meet people generally in the uni, from my classes or going to the gym....ect
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by HannahMT09)
Ah thank you so much!! Also just had a look at the different halls of residence which look really nice! Can you choose which one you go in, or does the uni put you together with people of the same kind of interest or course. Would be interesting also to know if these particular people in your dorm are the only friends you initially make, or are there any social events where students socialize more.. Obviously I am aware that I will meet people generally in the uni, from my classes or going to the gym....ect
So accommodation you apply for in late May/early June if Imperial is your firm choice, and August if they're your insurance. You can choose five preferences, but they are not ranked in any order. They aim to give everyone their preference but you are not guaranteed one of your five - the halls I ended up in I hadn't applied for, but in hindsight I'm glad I got them. You are not grouped according to course or sex or anything - it's effectively random as far as I know.
Most of my friends are both in my halls and in my course but that's probably due to lack of trying on my part. Still got a fairly sizeable group though.
There will be society events and social events for your course in addition to events in your hall at the start. Also group chats. I think societies are the easiest way to know people who aren't in your year.
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thedecorator33
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Do you know when the new White City campus is being opened?
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by thedecorator33)
Do you know when the new White City campus is being opened?
It's already open, just incomplete. I don't think any UG courses are taught there yet, though.
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thedecorator33
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What do you think about the campus? Tbh I'm deciding between Nottingham and Imperial and one of the things that puts me off Imperial is the campus. Also is the social life good there?
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by thedecorator33)
What do you think about the campus? Tbh I'm deciding between Nottingham and Imperial and one of the things that puts me off Imperial is the campus. Also is the social life good there?
It's handy having everything close by, not needing to go far at all for lunch or the library, but yes most of the campus itself is ugly as sin. At least if you want some green space there's Hyde Park very close by, and also Prince's Gardens and Queen's Lawn.
Social life is good. Depends on who you get to know, since some people are naturally going to be more outgoing than others. You'll have the time (I definitely have so far) and there are a lot of opportunities.
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