Darth Caedus
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Introduction 😁

Hello everyone! I’ve been studying for the past 5 years at a non-selective state school (a good but by no means perfect school). I achieved 6 nines, 4 eights, and 1 A* (Maths itself) at GCSE. I took Maths and Further Maths a little early, achieving A*s in both, and am predicted A*s in my other subjects - Physics, Chemistry and History. I have an offer from Mansfield College to study Mathematics starting in 2020, conditional on achieving 1 A in my 3 other subjects. (Btw, my early A-Levels are definitely the exception rather than the rule for offer holders - 3 at the normal time is perfectly fine!)

Why Mathematics?

This question isn’t the easiest to put into words, but I’ll try! Most people think of mathematics as just another subject, or a subsidiary for the sciences, but it isn’t - there’s something far more deep and profound about the subject than any other. For me, the permanence of Maths is appealing - theories aren’t subject to change over time like the sciences, or opinion like the humanities; instead, a proof means we’ve established truth forever, which to me feels amazing. The elegance and logicality of Maths makes it incredibly compelling. The subject also provides huge amounts of options - almost any career remains open to a maths graduate, because the skills we develop are universally applicable. (Shameless attempt to make sure everyone does Maths over.)

From about Year 10 onwards, I had planned to study Maths at Uni, but I had a wobble in Year 12 - I was enjoying Physics and Chemistry A-Levels more than I expected, so considered them, and my interest in politics led me to consider PPE.In the end, going to the open days and listening to the sample lectures there, as well as some public lectures at a local Uni, eventually made up my mind. I was going for Maths.

Key advice: Go with your heart! I dithered for a while over which subject to go for, but in the end I was probably always going to go with Maths. But don’t be afraid of taking a while to think about which course to do - the most important part of your application is putting across the passion and enthusiasm for your subject, which is why it’s crucial you make the right choice.

Why Oxford?

My school didn’t really participate in any of the outreach programmes that Oxbridge or any other universities run - the only time I had been to Oxford before open days in year 12 was on shopping trips! I first started to consider applying to one of the top universities after my GCSEs, which were better than I had expected, and upon going to the open day absolutely fell in love with Oxford - the ancient colleges and the shiny new maths buildings, the beautiful corridors and the ridiculous numbers of books in the elegant libraries. From then on, I was fairly certain I wanted to go to Oxford - I visited Cambridge, along with various other universities, but none of them measured up to seeing Oxford. I planned to apply to UNIQ, but unfortunately there’s a bit in the fine print which says you can’t apply if you have 2 or more A-Levels already - however, I still got a good idea of the place and the kind of community from just talking with students while at the open days!

As well as the absolute beauty of the place, Oxford also offered advantages nowhere else has - the tutorial system, where the world’s greatest academics in your field will literally have a chat to you about your own work: and the excellent structure of the Maths degree, with good opportunities for flexibility and optional modules while also gaining a good grounding in the essentials of undergraduate maths. I also preferred the idea of doing any assessments before the interview (looking at you, STEP), so the admissions process was more to my liking than some other universities; and finally, Oxford is about an hour and a half away from my home town, giving some independence whilst not feeling desperately far away.

Key advice: Apply to Oxford! More seriously, make sure you visit a couple of times before you apply, and talk to students who are have or are studying there. They have already been through the same application process you’re going to be experiencing, and I found it really reassuring to hear about all of the other things that Oxford has - the societies, socialisation, and other activities that sometimes people think are beneath Oxford people, that made me feel more like Oxford was for me. They’re all human! Going to visit the university might also be just the inspiration you need to get those As on your AS Levels or do well in the MAT.

Inspirations

I was lucky - pretty much all of my teachers since I can remember have been fairly good, and those that weren’t mostly taught me things I didn’t like anyway, like RE. My Maths teacher in years 5-8 was highly instrumental in really sparking my interest in Maths, but my A-Level Maths teacher and Uni coordinator were mainly responsible for suggesting I have a go at Oxbridge, and having supportive teachers really made the difference for me! My maths teachers were happy to help with any MAT practice questions I had, my physics teachers were willing to let most lessons dissolve into a long chat about physics that was nothing to do with the exams, and my history teachers let me argue points every other minute, all incredibly useful to develop confidence in my understanding. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them all.

Key advice: Teachers can be fantastic at helping you work out what to apply for and where, and can be fabulous at helping motivate you to be the best you can. If you have good teachers - great! If your teachers aren’t particularly good, there’s still plenty of people to discuss applying with - family and friends could give you advice and inspiration, and there’s always plenty of us on TSR to help.

Resources

Books:
- Ian Stewart: 17 Equations that Changed the World - a lot of fun, and good introduction to some of the historical background of mathematical discoveries as well as the maths itself.
- Eugenia Chang: Beyond Infinity - I’ve always found the idea of multiple infinities fascinating, and this book was really good at explaining Cantor’s ideas and the theories after him clearly and understandably.
- Lara Alcock: How to study for a Mathematics Degree - an entertaining read which gave me much more of an idea of the reality of undergraduate maths and its contrasts with A-Level studies.
- Martin Gould and Edward Hurst: Bridging the Gap to University Mathematics - a good recap of some of A-Level Further Maths, and a solid introduction to some of the ideas underpinning analysis and continuity.
- Thomas Körner: Calculus for the Ambitious - a challenging but interesting exploration of early analysis.
- Ian Stewart (a rather good Maths writer) again: Concepts of Modern Mathematics - a lengthy but fascinating tome, covering introductions to most areas of first year undergraduate maths.
- Marcus du Sautoy: The music of the Primes - a good history of Maths’ most enigmatic characters, the primes themselves.
- Simon Singh: Fermat’s Last Theorem - probably mentioned by every Maths applicant, but still an entertaining book on the longest unsolved problem in known history.

Most of the books I mentioned weren’t on my personal statement, and none of them helped on the MAT or were discussed at interview, but what they did was make me more enthusiastic about the subject, and that really does shine through. The tutors are looking for people who are deeply interested in the subject, and reading can give you the extra edge you need.

Non-Maths book:
- Matthew Carmody: Getting into Oxford and Cambridge, 2020 edition - this was actually really useful! The profiles of each of the colleges was really useful, especially for a state school kid who didn’t really know the difference, and the interview guidance was useful as well. Most of it is probably similar to free resources on the internet, but I found having it all together really useful.

Lectures:
- I went to 4 or 5 popular maths lectures at my most local university, Birmingham. These were very interesting, although the maths in them wasn’t actually that difficult, but I also found that attending some for the other subjects I was considering helped me realise that Maths was where my greater interests lay, and I would recommend going along to your local university’s lectures.
- Taking some notes can be very helpful, in case you want to write about them later on!

Competitions:
- I did the UKMT challenges from about Year 5 onwards - they can be very good to practice problem solving, and don’t worry if you don’t get anywhere!

Residential:
- As mentioned earlier, I couldn’t do UNIQ, and I made the mistake of deciding not to apply anywhere else, but all the people I know who did it say it was really helpful, so it’s worth applying! Any other residential would be really helpful as well - they all give you a good flavour of uni life and application processes.

Volunteering:
- Ran a STEM Club through most of Sixth Form - actually a surprising amount of fun, and really good for my explanation skills, which helped me quite a bit at the interview process! A good idea if you’re worried you don’t have any super-curricular activities.
- Helped younger students with their Maths, particularly those who were hovering just below passes at GCSE - again, helped my explanation skills and also my patience!
- Work Experience - kind of up to you. I didn’t do any, as I thought it would be better to spend the summer getting up to date with my planned reading, but equally lots of people find it really helpful for their applications, and it can be invaluable in securing work after graduating.

Other resources:
- Online courses - Various websites, such as coursera.org, offer online courses which extend A-Level Maths & Further Maths a bit further, and could well be a good use of your time during lockdown! I did an introductory course to undergraduate probability, which was good and about the right level, and an introductory course to complex analysis, which was extremely challenging but also quite entertaining!
- Wikipedia - no, I’m not joking! From the Gamma Function to Happy Primes, Wikipedia has a vast repository of mathematical knowledge, and although I didn’t understand at least half of it, there’s plenty on there that will help enhance your knowledge.
- Graph drawers - my favourite is desmos.com, but there’s plenty out there. A lot of the questions on the MAT and interview questions focus on curve sketching, so just playing around with these websites can be good for working out how different functions are affected by changes!
- Friends and family - one of the qualities that interviewers are most looking for is that you are able to discuss your ideas and explain them well. Probably the best way to try and integrate this skill is to take problems - A-Level, MAT, STEP or whatever - and talk them through with people you know. This process is easier if they understand maths, but even talking to people who don’t at all can be helpful; even talking through questions to my math-blind parents helped me get my thoughts together and get used to explaining my reasoning.

Why Brasenose / Mansfield?

I’m one of the 30% - I got an offer from a college other than the one I originally applied to! I applied to Brasenose because I fell in love with it when I first went to Oxford - it was the first college I visited, and it was incredibly beautiful, but felt more welcoming than the vast colleges like Christ Church and Magdalen. Only later did I find out that it had one of the highest rates of applicants in the University, but this doesn’t make a lot of difference - as with me, they will give people who they want an offer, regardless of which college they originally applied to.

After my interviews, I felt that my two external interviews at Mansfield had gone much better than either of my two interviews at Brasenose or my sole interview at Christ Church, so once I had gotten over my initial euphoria at an offer, I wasn’t surprised to find it was Mansfield! To be honest, I was quite pleased - Mansfield is incredibly beautiful as well, and is a smaller and more tight-knit community, as well as almost entirely non-selective state school, which probably suits me more!

Key advice: Do some research, and try and visit as many colleges as you can! I didn’t know Mansfield existed until I was told I had an interview there, but if I had been there on the open day and known about its high state school intake, I might well have applied there! Most of the famous colleges are in the centre, but there’s plenty of other colleges with lots of advantages besides the most well-known ones.

Personal Statement

My personal statement was quite strong, I felt, but for Mathematics it isn’t very important for your application at all. Most of my personal statement was devoted to discussing bits of mathematics I particularly like - complex numbers were a big focus, as was calculus, and I also gave what was effectively a list of super-curricular activities I had done. There are 4 other universities reading it, so I included a little bit on extracurricular activities and such, but I reasoned that almost all of a Maths personal statement should probably be Maths focused.

Key advice: Mainly, make sure it’s your personal statement. It doesn’t matter what other people write in theirs, or what the internet Maths example personal statements say - your personal statement should put across who you are, and what you think Maths is about, not anyone else’s opinions. However, as it doesn’t seem to be a huge part of the application process for Maths, don’t prioritise it - once you’re happy, don’t worry, because MAT and interview prep will make much more of a difference to your application.

The MAT

Prepare, prepare, prepare! Seriously though, the MAT is an important part of your application. The main factors for interview decisions are GCSEs and the MAT, so a strong MAT can make up for any shortfall in GCSEs, and plays a decent part in the eventual offer decisions as well, so you want to do as well as you can. There’s plenty of MAT prep and problem solving practice courses out there - personally, I used the STEP support programme at https://maths.org/step/ which follows the same sort of questions, and then in the summer after Year 12 I started full practice papers. I found the MAT prep a lot of fun - the MAT is actual maths, full of lots of interesting problems and functions to pull apart, and I tended to score reasonably well on the practice papers, usually getting somewhere in the region of 70/100.

In the actual exam, things went reasonably well - I was really happy with the multiple choice section and questions 2 and 5, but struggled with questions 3 and 4. In any case I felt like I still had a fair chance at getting an interview, as I thought I got somewhere around 60ish/100, although I stupidly didn’t really start interview prep at all until I got the interview!

When they sent out the MAT scores after the admissions process was finished, I was fairly unsurprised to find out I got 64/100 - comfortably above the average for all applicants, 44.9/100, but only just above the average for interviewed applicants, 63.6/100, and a little below the average for successful applicants, 69.6/100. In other words - the MAT matters a lot, but isn’t the only factor in the decision, and getting a high MAT score doesn’t guarantee an offer, nor does getting a low score preclude it!

Key advice: All of the previous years’ past papers, marking guides, and feedback are available here: https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-her...dmissions-test. Doing the past papers really is essential for the MAT - the problems are unlike anything you’ll likely have met before, although they are vaguely similar to UKMT in that they require problem solving skills and flexibility. Don’t worry about timed conditions at first - focusing on getting a grip on the question style and should be the priority, and then more quick answering will come later. Furthermore, don’t expect to be able to answer every question - the questions are designed to test and challenge you, and you certainly don’t need full marks! Make sure you know everything on the AS-Level spec (plus the A2 topics they can ask on) - everything in the MAT has to be approachable using just that knowledge, so if you get stuck, just think it through as carefully as you can, because you can do it.

The Interviews

Preparation tips:
- Do mock interviews. Definitely. They make a really big difference. I had two - one with my headteacher, which people often say is a good idea - for most people it probably is, but unfortunately my headteacher is also my physics teacher, so I knew him quite well and it didn’t really put me on edge enough. I had another one with a Maths teacher who I didn’t really know, however, which was really useful - the experience of having to explain my mathematical ideas under pressure was really useful. Almost anyone can do it, although a mathematically inclined person can be helpful.
- Have a think about general topics. It’s unlikely you’ll be asked general questions such as why do you want to study the course, or about things mentioned in your personal statement, but if you are then you should be able to give a convincing answer. Know your personal statement reasonably well, and make sure you could at least briefly discuss all the things mentioned in it.
- Be familiar with the Maths spec. By the interview process, you won’t have covered everything yet, but be on top of what you have, and think about ways to extend and consider ideas beyond it. Again, past MAT and STEP questions can help with this - talk through your solutions to past paper questions with people you know, simulating the interview process.
- If you don’t know how to do something, it might be worth talking through your thoughts - if you’re on the right lines, the tutors might well appreciate the ideas even if they’re not quite right, and if you’re not talking, you’re not showing them your potential!
- But, don’t waffle on for absolutely no reason - there’s nothing wrong with taking a few minutes to gather your thoughts or look at a problem from a different angle, and you can ask for help, though doing this often isn’t a good idea, and they might not provide any!

The interviews were definitely much more nerve wracking than I was expecting, but they were also enjoyable, in a strange way! They were nothing like I had expected - I assumed I would spend most of the process either in interviews, doing tests or such, or in my room revising; as it turned out, I spent most of my time either wandering around Oxford, chatting to the other applicants, or playing MarioKart on the JCR Wii! I had a bit of a horror show in my first interview, getting really stuck and confused, but my second interview went really well, which was good for my nerves, and the last 3 all went reasonably well. I felt I had a chance at an offer, but even if I hadn’t got one, the experience itself was invaluable - staying for three days in the world’s best university (yes, it is, Cambridge people) and having individual discussions with some of the world’s mathematical experts was a wonderful privilege.

Decisions

The period from the end of the interviews to the 14th January was rather tense. I spent a ridiculous amount of time scrolling through various admissions reports, reading anecdotes of current and former students, and generally fretting. A lot. As the day got closer, I bored most of my friends senseless with various admissions statistics (“Look at this! In 2018, successful applicants had a MAT score of 72.9 - I’ve got no chance!”) I also bored my teachers with interview anecdotes and did a lot of out loud worrying.

On Decision Day, I went into school as normal, and was waiting in the library with a couple of my friends who had applied to Oxbridge (all were rejected 🙁), and compulsively refreshed from 9.00 until my offer came through Track, about an hour later. I then ran around the school shouting “Yes” for a bit, then phoned my parents and other relatives, and then strolled around the school looking insufferably cheerful for the rest of the day.

In the future

Then came Coronavirus, which is apparently a bit of a problem. I’m not terribly worried about getting the grades - I only need 1 more A - but nobody’s really heard anything about how admissions will work given the grading system, particularly as Oxford do give out more offers than they have places (for Maths they gave out 206 offers for about 180 places). However, for now, I’m trying not to consider that, and I think they’ll find a way round it anyway! Regardless, I’m still ecstatic I got the offer, and I occasionally feel the need to check Track or my email to make sure the it’s still there 🤔. Moreover, I’m firmly looking forward to going to uni in October (though it may be virtual) and I hope you all feel like applying to Oxford for Maths!

Post results day update:

Following results day, I was awarded 3 A*s in my remaining 3 A-Level subjects, and have had my place confirmed by the university! I'm looking forward to going to Oxford in late September / October, and am very eager to begin studying at undergraduate level 😊

I also don't think I mentioned anywhere in the rest of the thread - I have Asperger's Syndrome, and the university's disability advisory service has been fantastic so far, putting together a support plan for me. Don't be put off applying if you have a disability - the uni is extremely welcoming to those applying with disabilities, and their support seems excellent!

Thank you to everyone who's offered advice or asked questions on this thread, and hopefully see some of you in a couple of years!
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SkyRunner61
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How come you ended up taking both Maths and FM early?
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Darth Caedus
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There we go, Oxford Mum! Hope that’s helpful, and if anyone else has any questions, happy to respond!
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by SkyRunner61)
How come you ended up taking both Maths and FM early?
Kind of a long story! Apparently, I always had an affinity for numbers as a small child, and when I got to school my teachers noticed I was extremely strong at maths, and started me off on work a couple of years more advanced than everyone else’s. From then on, I worked about 3 years ahead of everyone else, culminating in doing my GCSE in Year 8, then Maths A-Level in Year 10, and finally Further Maths A-Level in Year 12. But that’s definitely not something people have to do to get into Oxford - it definitely makes me the outlier, and in fact, the Oxford Maths Institute website says they don’t recommend people do A-Levels early unless they’re absolutely confident of achieving the top grade! Hope that helps.
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Oxford Mum
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Oh, Darth Caedus , what a wonderful chapter! And this from someone who struggled to get a grade C (scraped pass) at O level!

A few points I took away from this chapter:

You came from a non selective state school. More and more chapters show the offer holders coming from this background, and this absolutely thrills me. If you are clever, and keen enough on your subject, there is absolutely no reason on earth why you shouldn't apply. You are living proof of this, OP!

You mention Mansfield College here.

https://www.mansfield.ox.ac.uk/

This is an important shout out. Mansfield is very state school friendly. I once saw an article that said at one stage, over 90% of students were from the state sector. Yes, it is a beautiful college. I can vouch for that because it is the only Oxford college I have actually stayed in overnight. The cooked breakfasts are excellent, by the way! Both my sons were very keen, but then we found out Mansfield didn't offer their subjects (German and Medicine). If you are a state school pupil and Mansfield offers your course, why not check them out?

You are also very similar to the other chapter writers in this respect... you are in love with your subject. You speak of maths' "elegance" and "logicality" and point out how when something is proven, it is the "established truth forever". I'll bet you see that as beautiful, and even I can appreciate that!

As you say, studying at Oxford is not about "prestige" or even whether you are clever enough to get in. The tutors have spotted your potential and enthusiasm. Let this be a heads-up for all those who start a thread about Oxbridge saying "I am predicted A*AA at A level - can I get in?"

You say you don't need more than 3 A levels to get into Oxford - correct.
You say you don't need to take your maths A levels early - that is correct too.

Although this is impressive, potential applicants do not be intimidated by OP's achievements. Given the right drive and attitude, you can still get in with 3 A levels and taking your A levels in year 13. Thanks for being reassuring about this, OP.

You had an inspirational teacher, too, plus an encouraging uni admissions teacher. Again, this is a common trait amongst offer holders. Praise be to teachers who stop behind after lessons to answer the unusual questions that are teeming round your brain. If you do not have such a teacher, maybe someone else could help. And if not, TSR and, if it's not too difficult a question, I would be more than happy to help.

I agree that it's important to choose the right subject that really "grabs" you. You mentioned a list of possible subjects. My younger son wanted, at various times, to be a vet (made several trips to Cambridge for this!), pilot, and lawyer. But he never forgot the day St John Ambulance came to his primary school and did a first aid demonstration. I guess that memory stuck.

Plus you have looked carefully at the course, and loved the modules. This, and this alone, is the very best way to choose your course.

Here is some very important news for those who intend to apply to Oxford for Maths. There is an OXFORD MATHS VIRTUAL OPEN DAY on Saturday 2nd May. Please click on the link below

https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-her...tudy/open-days

If you are interested in maths at Oxford, I would strongly urge you to take a look at this.

I also see how you have helped pupils further down the school who are struggling with their maths. Not only does this show how helpful you are, as you say it cements your own subject knowledge. My own son did a peer educator course at St John Ambulance and got his first aid certificate. Not only did he teach younger SJA cadets about medicine, he also set up a first aid group at school for the first years. It was the best attended club in school. This approach is, therefore, highly recommended.

As OP says, practise, practise the MAT! I cannot over emphasise the importance of that test.

Also you state that the maths interview is about solving interesting problems. A maths student at Trinity College, Cambridge once told me many apply for maths because they have minds like computers (calculating difficult sums instantly) and think this will get them in, but are weak at the problem solving aspect.

Finally, you tell your readers to apply to Oxford! What a star you are, and an inspiration to us all.
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Oxford Mum
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Further resources:

Oxford sample maths interview questions:

https://sites.google.com/site/oxbrid...ns/mathematics

https://www.oxfordinterviewquestions...s/mathematics/

(with recommended books, too!)

https://www.thatoxfordgirl.com/post/...aths-interview

http://apply.oxfordsu.org/courses/maths/interviews/

Oxford maths interview youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8pwgscp_sk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O28NPwyDlm8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR_--MJhmzQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqKScpnP2Jc
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Hello OP! I'm thrilled that you've gotten in to study what you love! I'm a current second year mathematician at Corpus (also a non-selective state student who got into a college other than the one she applied for), but I have friends who did their Maths degree at Mansfield, and they loved it. I have a friend who is finishing up his third year there, I'm not entirely sure if he is staying on for the fourth. It has a very lovely auditorium (Whosoc had been holding their new episode viewings there.) It's not a very traditional looking college, but it is very well situated (not to far from the Andrew Wiles Building), and I think very pretty.

If you have any questions regarding your future course, don't hesitate to send me a PM! I'll be able to help you regarding Department centric things. Or if you're a fan of Doctor Who, do say!
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advocatingheriot
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Thank you Oxford Mum Darth Caedus
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Darth Caedus do they tell you your MAT score before the interview?
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Thank you to both the OP and oxford mom for pointing out valuable resources and tips!
A very interesting and valuable read (from a current Y12 student maybe applying for maths at oxford this year!)

Where else did you apply? Other than the prestige, were there any other distinguishing factors that made you pick oxford over any other high ranking uni?

Thank you for the time you put into writing your post!
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vicvic38
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(Original post by advocatingheriot)
Darth Caedus do they tell you your MAT score before the interview?
Not them, but no. You have to email about it after interview, and they send the scores out to your school sometime in April with admissions feedback. I wouldn't worry too much about the actual score, because (and people can correct me if I'm wrong) they only tend to be used for initial interview screening, not for final decisions. This was good for me as I got like 46 or 48? If this is the case then it is likely because some schools are much better at teaching the sorts of problem solving skills necessary for the test (you can tell what end my school was on) so as not to disadvantage pupils from schools that aren't good at it.
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vicvic38
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(Original post by laurawatt)
Thank you to both the OP and oxford mom for pointing out valuable resources and tips!
A very interesting and valuable read (from a current Y12 student maybe applying for maths at oxford this year!)

Where else did you apply? Other than the prestige, were there any other distinguishing factors that made you pick oxford over any other high ranking uni?

Thank you for the time you put into writing your post!
Second year Oxford mathmo here, if you have any questions for someone whose in my position, feel free to ask!
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(Original post by Darth Caedus)
Kind of a long story! Apparently, I always had an affinity for numbers as a small child, and when I got to school my teachers noticed I was extremely strong at maths, and started me off on work a couple of years more advanced than everyone else’s. From then on, I worked about 3 years ahead of everyone else, culminating in doing my GCSE in Year 8, then Maths A-Level in Year 10, and finally Further Maths A-Level in Year 12. But that’s definitely not something people have to do to get into Oxford - it definitely makes me the outlier, and in fact, the Oxford Maths Institute website says they don’t recommend people do A-Levels early unless they’re absolutely confident of achieving the top grade! Hope that helps.
All the advice by Maths education experts [ACME} is not to accelerate so why did your school encourage you to do A levels early? There's SO much great mathematics which is accessible but outside the school syllabus that I'm not sure your experience is useful for most students. What maths are you doing now?

I'm surprised not to see more 'interesting' maths books like the UKMT resources, Rob Eastaway books ... did you read anything like these?

What was it about Oxford's maths course that meant you preferred it to Cambridge's?
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Cannot see any book recommendations - can you check this link please?
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(Original post by vicvic38)
Not them, but no. You have to email about it after interview, and they send the scores out to your school sometime in April with admissions feedback. I wouldn't worry too much about the actual score, because (and people can correct me if I'm wrong) they only tend to be used for initial interview screening, not for final decisions. This was good for me as I got like 46 or 48? If this is the case then it is likely because some schools are much better at teaching the sorts of problem solving skills necessary for the test (you can tell what end my school was on) so as not to disadvantage pupils from schools that aren't good at it.
I think MAT scores were sent out automatically this year (in January).
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Oh, Darth Caedus , what a wonderful chapter! And this from someone who struggled to get a grade C (scraped pass) at O level!

A few points I took away from this chapter:

You came from a non selective state school. More and more chapters show the offer holders coming from this background, and this absolutely thrills me. If you are clever, and keen enough on your subject, there is absolutely no reason on earth why you shouldn't apply. You are living proof of this, OP!

You mention Mansfield College here.

https://www.mansfield.ox.ac.uk/

This is an important shout out. Mansfield is very state school friendly. I once saw an article that said at one stage, over 90% of students were from the state sector. Yes, it is a beautiful college. I can vouch for that because it is the only Oxford college I have actually stayed in overnight. The cooked breakfasts are excellent, by the way! Both my sons were very keen, but then we found out Mansfield didn't offer their subjects (German and Medicine). If you are a state school pupil and Mansfield offers your course, why not check them out?

You are also very similar to the other chapter writers in this respect... you are in love with your subject. You speak of maths' "elegance" and "logicality" and point out how when something is proven, it is the "established truth forever". I'll bet you see that as beautiful, and even I can appreciate that!

As you say, studying at Oxford is not about "prestige" or even whether you are clever enough to get in. The tutors have spotted your potential and enthusiasm. Let this be a heads-up for all those who start a thread about Oxbridge saying "I am predicted A*AA at A level - can I get in?"

You say you don't need more than 3 A levels to get into Oxford - correct.
You say you don't need to take your maths A levels early - that is correct too.

Although this is impressive, potential applicants do not be intimidated by OP's achievements. Given the right drive and attitude, you can still get in with 3 A levels and taking your A levels in year 13. Thanks for being reassuring about this, OP.

You had an inspirational teacher, too, plus an encouraging uni admissions teacher. Again, this is a common trait amongst offer holders. Praise be to teachers who stop behind after lessons to answer the unusual questions that are teeming round your brain. If you do not have such a teacher, maybe someone else could help. And if not, TSR and, if it's not too difficult a question, I would be more than happy to help.

I agree that it's important to choose the right subject that really "grabs" you. You mentioned a list of possible subjects. My younger son wanted, at various times, to be a vet (made several trips to Cambridge for this!), pilot, and lawyer. But he never forgot the day St John Ambulance came to his primary school and did a first aid demonstration. I guess that memory stuck.

Plus you have looked carefully at the course, and loved the modules. This, and this alone, is the very best way to choose your course.

Here is some very important news for those who intend to apply to Oxford for Maths. There is an OXFORD MATHS VIRTUAL OPEN DAY on Saturday 2nd May. Please click on the link below

https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-her...tudy/open-days

If you are interested in maths at Oxford, I would strongly urge you to take a look at this.

I also see how you have helped pupils further down the school who are struggling with their maths. Not only does this show how helpful you are, as you say it cements your own subject knowledge. My own son did a peer educator course at St John Ambulance and got his first aid certificate. Not only did he teach younger SJA cadets about medicine, he also set up a first aid group at school for the first years. It was the best attended club in school. This approach is, therefore, highly recommended.

As OP says, practise, practise the MAT! I cannot over emphasise the importance of that test.

Also you state that the maths interview is about solving interesting problems. A maths student at Trinity College, Cambridge once told me many apply for maths because they have minds like computers (calculating difficult sums instantly) and think this will get them in, but are weak at the problem solving aspect.

Finally, you tell your readers to apply to Oxford! What a star you are, and an inspiration to us all.
Thank you very much! It was a real pleasure to write this chapter!
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by vicvic38)
Hello OP! I'm thrilled that you've gotten in to study what you love! I'm a current second year mathematician at Corpus (also a non-selective state student who got into a college other than the one she applied for), but I have friends who did their Maths degree at Mansfield, and they loved it. I have a friend who is finishing up his third year there, I'm not entirely sure if he is staying on for the fourth. It has a very lovely auditorium (Whosoc had been holding their new episode viewings there.) It's not a very traditional looking college, but it is very well situated (not to far from the Andrew Wiles Building), and I think very pretty.

If you have any questions regarding your future course, don't hesitate to send me a PM! I'll be able to help you regarding Department centric things. Or if you're a fan of Doctor Who, do say!
Thank you very much! And yes, I am a Doctor Who fan!
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username402722
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Rachel Riley not an inspiration?
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by advocatingheriot)
Darth Caedus do they tell you your MAT score before the interview?
No, although they do publish sample solutions so you can often get a rough idea of how you did! This year, they sent out the MAT scores automatically a little while after Decision Day, so it did make the process of waiting for the interview invites more stressful, but also meant that people weren’t disheartened if their MAT score was below the averages.
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