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Thoughts from a recent Oxford Physics Graduate; Ask me anything!

Hi all,

I have used student room a lot when I was applying, so as I've recently graduated I thought I'd give back to the community. happy to chat to students applying to university and help people out!

A bit about me:

I studied MPhys at Oxford from 2018-2022, and definitely struggled throughout the course as it was difficult. I managed to get a decent grade at the end and I have throughly enjoyed the last four years of my life. I'm currently working in London. I understand university application season is a stressful one and I had loads of thoughts and questions so happy to chat.

A few thoughts:
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-In terms of Oxford Physics its ALL about a good PAT score that gets you over the line and then being able to talk physics intelligently at interview.

-I believe that college choice DOES matter

-A very underrated quality that people neglect during interviews is being likeable.

-Definitely prioritise yourself over the next few months. Put in all the hard work now so you don't leave any regrets behind. I was pretty mediocre at school but managed to pull it back in from yr12 onwards. Uni choices have a big impact on the people you meet and the jobs you will work at after. (don't take this too seriously tho)

-Oxbridge admissions has a lot of luck and is not fair. Kids at schools like westminster and eton have dedicated tutors who specifically guide them through every step of the process. The help these kids is ridiculous. That being said, if you work hard you should trust the tutor to see your raw ability and passion over just a well polished student who talks out of his a**.

-Don't be disheartned if you don't pass the PAT. there's still a lot of variables and just because you dont pass doesn't mean you weren't good enough. I passed the PAT by one mark so I know on any other day it could've been a very different story.

-Don't see your friends as competitors, but as a partner. There are so many places at university, and trust that the tide will bring us ALL up together. If you foster a high performing relationship with a friend where you both have high standards and want to learn, this is the type of friend that you will have for life as well as improve you.
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I wrote the stuff above quite quickly so some parts might be ill explained or not make sense. anyways; if anyone has any questions please fire away...
(edited 1 year ago)
Hey everyone,

Thanks to some people for sending me PMs, but unfortunately I do not yet have access to reply to PMs so can we continue our conversations on this thread until I have enough status?
Reply 2
How did you know Physics was for you and you were interested in it? As I have OCD it makes me question my interest and if I like something. I want to gauge what I like.
Reply 3
What was your final year project on?
What sort of opportunities do you think is unique to undergrad Oxford Physics, not just tutorials and well known stuff
I mean like did you help mark any BPhO papers, or mentored in COMPOS, or did research in a niche topic that few other unis would have offered, or something? How were your experiences if you’ve done any?
Reply 5
what job or sector are you in now? was your degree or specific modules relevant?
What's your favourite colour?
What was your favourite module?
Original post by YEezzy
How did you know Physics was for you and you were interested in it? As I have OCD it makes me question my interest and if I like something. I want to gauge what I like.


great question! to be honest it is hard to gauge what subject is perfect for you. I applied for physics as I found it the most interesting to study at school and I felt that it suited by skillset. For example, I liked history a lot but I'm dyslexic and my essay writing isn't great so I didn't choose it. My advice is to pick something that you can envision yourself doing for 3/4 years and try to see how your subject will help you on a career choice after uni. I knew I probably wasn't going to become a physicist so I made sure I chose a subject that transfers well into other jobs.
Original post by Sinnoh
What was your final year project on?


I did my final year project in the area of geophysical fluid dynamics. It mainly involved simulating vortices in python and reading a lot of previous research reports. I also did a project in third year (which you can choose to do)
Original post by Tc_33
What sort of opportunities do you think is unique to undergrad Oxford Physics, not just tutorials and well known stuff
I mean like did you help mark any BPhO papers, or mentored in COMPOS, or did research in a niche topic that few other unis would have offered, or something? How were your experiences if you’ve done any?


In almost all respects, in terms of the actual physics education oxford is no different to any other uni. If anything, oxford professors have a reputation for under explaining in lectures and often give less teaching and guidance on many topics. All the unique stuff really comes from Oxford itself.

stuff like college environment - perks like access to sports teams, grants, generous perks , and a more intimate environment
tutoring - oxford students can make a lot of money from tutoring. students can make up to about 60 pounds helping students with alevels and applying.
jobs and internships - oxford careers department is very lacking compared to LSE and bath where you get opportunities for placements, but the reputation still helps a lot in terms of the job search.
amazing people - imo this is the main unique feature. Everyone loves their subject and is super committed so I deffo learnt most from the people around me.
Original post by mctec
what job or sector are you in now? was your degree or specific modules relevant?


I'm currently in Consulting; the degree is not relevant at all. Only thing I would mention is that consulting is a very fluffy industry so they tend to overcompensate by looking for the best uni brands in terms of their intake. Therefore Oxford definitely helped in that sense.
Original post by CatInTheCorner
What's your favourite colour?

Blue
Original post by flaurie
What was your favourite module?


My favourite module was a third year module called atomic physics. I loved it because throughout the year we investigated the different atomic modules over the years. I love that everything we learned fit into a story which made learning about it very interesting and natural! A lot of times it really feels that we are learning just random bits and bobs of information!
Please could you expand on ‘college choice does matter’?
Do most Physics graduates end up working in non-physics fields? I feel the same way - I don't think I'll be a physicist post uni, even if it is interesting. I just feel a PhD or going into research would turn the interest into disdain. Though this is my assumption.

Thanks!

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