The Student Room Group

oxford biology!

Hello! I was wondering if there was anyone who got an offer to study / are studying Biology at Oxford? Do you have any tips on preparation to do as a Year 12 Student?
Son was at Oxford for Biology.He read all around his subject.Went to public lectures in London.Actually spent time outdoors actually observing nature so watching bird behaviour on way to school for example.Helped out at school science club.He got a free place at a summer school at Cambridge so look out for those at both unis.Unique is the big one at Oxford.His knowledge went beyond A level .He also did some work experience at a nature reserve preparing moth traps and helping with things like pond dipping and identification.
Lastly we practised thinking out loud for about 3 months.If you watch Oxford interviews on YouTube you will see why this is so important.It is not natural to have to explain how you are working things out as you go along .I would just land things like a plant bulb or a banana or a picture of an insect in front of him and question him on it.I know very little about biology but you just have to ask open questions.So about the bulb for instance.What can you tell me about this?Answer.What makes you think that?answer Could there be another explanation you can think of.What are the advantages/ disadvantages of plants using bulbs to over winter.His answers might have been wrong but he did learn to articulate his thoughts clearly which he said was vital at interview.
Original post by Alina...
Hello! I was wondering if there was anyone who got an offer to study / are studying Biology at Oxford? Do you have any tips on preparation to do as a Year 12 Student?

I’m an Oxford chemistry offer holder, though I expect the following will still be relevant.

The biology olympiad may be worth giving a shot. If you get any award, it will look good on your personal statement.

A quote from the Oxford website:

“Tutors are looking for an enthusiasm for biology and potential to study it at university. Interviews are not designed to test factual knowledge, instead, they show an applicant’s ability to think and to understand the biological knowledge they have accrued up to that time. Be prepared to talk about particular aspects of biology that you find personally interesting. The process is rigorous but sympathetic. Applicants may be asked to examine and comment on biological objects, or to interpret a written passage or a simple set of data, provided during the interview.”

Ask for practice interviews to be arranged by your sixth form if you can. I would also very strongly advise that you work collaboratively with your classmates in biology (especially the lower ability ones) and try explaining biological concepts to them to help them understand these ideas better. It may help you become a more confident speaker and it should give you more practice with communicating ideas effectively in preparation for the interviews.

Read around the subject and find relevant news - especially if areas of particular interest are discussed and you feel you can bring it up in an interview. If you come across as especially interested by the research, it may make you a stronger candidate if you decide to apply for the MBio option rather than the 3-year bachelor’s course.
Original post by TypicalNerd
I’m an Oxford chemistry offer holder, though I expect the following will still be relevant.

The biology olympiad may be worth giving a shot. If you get any award, it will look good on your personal statement.

A quote from the Oxford website:

“Tutors are looking for an enthusiasm for biology and potential to study it at university. Interviews are not designed to test factual knowledge, instead, they show an applicant’s ability to think and to understand the biological knowledge they have accrued up to that time. Be prepared to talk about particular aspects of biology that you find personally interesting. The process is rigorous but sympathetic. Applicants may be asked to examine and comment on biological objects, or to interpret a written passage or a simple set of data, provided during the interview.”

Ask for practice interviews to be arranged by your sixth form if you can. I would also very strongly advise that you work collaboratively with your classmates in biology (especially the lower ability ones) and try explaining biological concepts to them to help them understand these ideas better. It may help you become a more confident speaker and it should give you more practice with communicating ideas effectively in preparation for the interviews.

Read around the subject and find relevant news - especially if areas of particular interest are discussed and you feel you can bring it up in an interview. If you come across as especially interested by the research, it may make you a stronger candidate if you decide to apply for the MBio option rather than the 3-year bachelor’s course.

Spot on;
Original post by Scotney
Son was at Oxford for Biology.He read all around his subject.Went to public lectures in London.Actually spent time outdoors actually observing nature so watching bird behaviour on way to school for example.Helped out at school science club.He got a free place at a summer school at Cambridge so look out for those at both unis.Unique is the big one at Oxford.His knowledge went beyond A level .He also did some work experience at a nature reserve preparing moth traps and helping with things like pond dipping and identification.
Lastly we practised thinking out loud for about 3 months.If you watch Oxford interviews on YouTube you will see why this is so important.It is not natural to have to explain how you are working things out as you go along .I would just land things like a plant bulb or a banana or a picture of an insect in front of him and question him on it.I know very little about biology but you just have to ask open questions.So about the bulb for instance.What can you tell me about this?Answer.What makes you think that?answer Could there be another explanation you can think of.What are the advantages/ disadvantages of plants using bulbs to over winter.His answers might have been wrong but he did learn to articulate his thoughts clearly which he said was vital at interview.


Excellent summary of precisely what sort of things you should do if you want to get into Oxford full stop.
Original post by TypicalNerd
Excellent summary of precisely what sort of things you should do if you want to get into Oxford full stop.


I think we have covered it between us!:five:

Quick Reply

Latest