Oxcentric - YouTube channel threadWatch
My first video is about personal statements and my top 10 tips. I really hope this will come in useful to some of the Year 12's starting to write their personal statements soon! If you like what you see, please like and subscribe!
TOP 10 PERSONAL STATEMENT TIPS VIDEO: https://youtu.be/snxAqKXqeYk
COVID-19 RESPONSE: https://youtu.be/1PVn9xpHro0
Last week saw the debut of my occasional off-topic series, Misc. Nerdery, the first being a foray into the band My Chemical Romance.
MCR TOP 10: https://youtu.be/ZH3CS7WotMY
There's nothing you stopping you mentioning the "Very Short Introduction" series if you *really* want. Mentioning it in passing as the beginning of an exploration of your subject would be valid, though arguably the characters could be better used (imo). The reason I advised against it was the ones I've read (engineering, philosophy) are a great recap and introduction - as they should be - but are not particularly detailed. In an academic personal statement, being specific and detailed is definitely a perk; the Very Short Introduction series are probably not ideal for this. As I probably said in the video, if you see a certain topic in the Very Shrt Introduction book that piques your interest, doing more research online or reading more literature can help you to find more specifics to discuss which will definitely look better. Additionally, I think it's there's an element of perception on the part of an academic, as the title itself states that this isn't the same level of thorough investigation of a topic that you might get in a different book. Again, I still think they're a fab series, but I think they may lack the academic "clout" to explicitly mention in a statement.
That's my personal take on the issue, hope that clarifies!
Also, I just wanted to ask, how many books would you recommend I read/mention? I've read 4 and mentioned in my personal statement detailed things I found interesting for each one already. With a month till school starts, would you recommend I read another book or direct my time to other ways of strengthening my application? I know this is a pretty subjective question but I'd love to hear what you think.
Thank you again!
On a more general note, how many books to read is an interesting question that a lot of people have. It's quite hard to make any generalisations on what is the best number of books to talk about since it's incredibly variable and subjective. Personally, I'd always try to mention at least one book in passing (or some other reading), even for the most practical Oxbridge subjects, just to demonstrate you have those skills. Similarly, there must be a maximum where you mention so many books it becomes impossible to evaluate what you learned in any depth. I'd probably guess that lies around 7-10, if your personal statement was basically *all* books? I'd find it very interesting to do some data analysis on the subject, though it'd require a lot of personal statements.
I'm applying for the Human Sciences and yes I do need to sit an admissions test- the TSA and I've been doing past papers for I think 2 months now... fingers crossed it goes well!
I just have one more question, now having been accepted and going to Oxford in a few weeks, if you could say something to your past self during those months of applying, waiting for decisions etc, what advice would you now retrospectively give yourself or someone in that situation?
Kind of random but I'd love to hear what an Oxford offer holder would say!! Thanks
The Oxford application process is very unpredictable and I believe every year there will be some people who lose out on pure bad luck, maybe due to just getting the wrong questions at interview or their GCSEs being a grade worse than someone else's. However, in the run up to results day, I felt I could not have done any more work or feasibly expected myself to do any better than I did in the interviews and such. That brings me to the second reassurance - "if not me, then who?". Basically, if you've prepared all you can and performed to the best of your ability in each element, then the admissions tutors will see this and hopefully reflect it in their response. I seriously believe that it's not the most "naturally talented" people that succeed, it's those willing to work hard and improve.
Last thing, a genuine piece of advice this time! "Any time you spend worrying you could spend studying". Nervousness is natural when it comes to something important to you, as applying to university probably will be. However, if stress is impacting you to the point where it's affecting your work and wider life, then you have to take a step back and think that it's not a helpful mechanism. Studying is a distraction from this, but also helps alleviate the stress as you're bolstering your odds of success with each hour you spend improving your skills.
(For the record, this isn't an endorsement of just working as many hours as humanly possible and missing out because of it. Working smart is important too, but generally I feel I and my peers usually err on the side of too little work than too much.)
That got quite wordy, but that's what I would probably have told myself!
Best of luck at Oxford this September!
In other news, I've now uploaded two videos relating to the Oxford PAT. The first covers my tips and tricks, and the second explores 5 examples to showcase how to approach the questions you get in the exam. These videos were quite laborious to make, but I hope they will be a useful resource! If you're taking the PAT, I'd also recommend this chapter in my How To Get An Oxford Engineering offer, which does cover similar content in a written form and a little more detail.
PAT TIPS VIDEO: https://youtu.be/TIfusf50d_g
PAT QUESTIONS VIDEO: https://youtu.be/HpvZb4Tc2Fs
How To... PAT chapter: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6459250