The Student Room Group

Is there enough time to prepare an oxbridge PS?

The "why??" part is a long long tumultuous story but is this possible? Academically I'm fine but other than books I've read and a job I've got nothing else to write about.
Reply 1
What subject are you applying for?
Reply 2
Original post by CAG575
What subject are you applying for?


Physics. I might go for the jan deadline but a part of me wants to try.
Reply 3
If the reading is physics related then you are fine. Unless the job is physics related it is less important. Remember when mentioning what you’ve read, don’t just list it, for each book/ article give an opinion or reflection or say what impact it had on you. If you have entered the PAT and feel you will do well in that then go for it. The PAT will hold more weight than the personal statement. Good luck
Yes. Just write it.

A number of admissions tutors from Cambridge and Oxford have previously stated in official print media interviews that the PS is often a relatively lower weighting part of the application because they have no way to be sure it is in fact the applicant's own work. So while they'll review it, the impression I got is that it's usually not make or break as long as it's actually complete, relevant to the subject, and not riddled with basic errors.

Just write about what it is that makes you want to study physics and what you've done to explore that interest outside of the curriculum and you're more than fine.
Reply 5
Original post by CAG575
If the reading is physics related then you are fine. Unless the job is physics related it is less important. Remember when mentioning what you’ve read, don’t just list it, for each book/ article give an opinion or reflection or say what impact it had on you. If you have entered the PAT and feel you will do well in that then go for it. The PAT will hold more weight than the personal statement. Good luck


Original post by artful_lounger
Yes. Just write it.

A number of admissions tutors from Cambridge and Oxford have previously stated in official print media interviews that the PS is often a relatively lower weighting part of the application because they have no way to be sure it is in fact the applicant's own work. So while they'll review it, the impression I got is that it's usually not make or break as long as it's actually complete, relevant to the subject, and not riddled with basic errors.

Just write about what it is that makes you want to study physics and what you've done to explore that interest outside of the curriculum and you're more than fine.

Thank you so much!

I wonder how they differentiate students enough then? Even if they use the PAT significantly, would they be testing for aptitude and how you tackle problems in the interview to make their overall decision?
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous
Physics. I might go for the jan deadline but a part of me wants to try.


Go for it. For Cambridge Natural Sciences, you only have until tomorrow though to register for the NSAA admin test. Don't know about Oxford.

29 September 2023
Deadline to register for the BMAT admission test, if you want to study Medicine.
Deadline to register for the ENGAA admission test, if you want to study Engineering.
Deadline to register for the NSAA admission test, if you want to study Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Natural Sciences, or Veterinary Medicine.
Deadline to register for the TMUA admission test, if you want to study Computer Science or Economics.
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you so much!

I wonder how they differentiate students enough then? Even if they use the PAT significantly, would they be testing for aptitude and how you tackle problems in the interview to make their overall decision?


Well they have a lot of information - A-level subjects and predicted grades, GCSE results, both of which they will have contextualised, PAT results, the interview itself is probably a major factor.

Also I am pretty sure a lot of student's personal statements are kind of a bit generic and same-y anyway for a lot of subjects so not really a major differentiating point anyway. Pretty sure like 70% of students applying to maths talk about that Fermat's Last Theorem book in their PS which is not enormously illuminating to admissions tutors I expect!
Reply 8
Absolutely agree. Grades, admissions test and interviews are so much more important than personal statement. You don’t want to stand out and do a bad personal statement and you may well get asked about stuff from your personal statement at interview so it needs to be true and your work. Most people applying will have excellent grades and predicted grades. What tutors are looking for is firstly are you good enough academically and secondly would you suit Oxford/ are you passionate about the subject/ would they want to be your tutor? The admissions test generally tests the first, interview largely tests the second. So admissions test and interview are the key factors. Don’t stress about your personal statement , give opinions and reflections on your reading, demonstrate your passion and get it in! The deadline for registering for the PAT is tomorrow ( 29th September) so still time. Statistically only 28% of applicants for Oxford physics get interviewed and this is largely decided by the PAT, which is a really difficult exam. Once you have an interview there are approximately 2-3 candidates interviewed for every place so there is everything to play for. The only way to give yourself a chance of getting in is to give it a go. No reason why you shouldnt be one of the 11% that get an offer. Go for it.
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by artful_lounger
Yes. Just write it.

A number of admissions tutors from Cambridge and Oxford have previously stated in official print media interviews that the PS is often a relatively lower weighting part of the application because they have no way to be sure it is in fact the applicant's own work. So while they'll review it, the impression I got is that it's usually not make or break as long as it's actually complete, relevant to the subject, and not riddled with basic errors.

Just write about what it is that makes you want to study physics and what you've done to explore that interest outside of the curriculum and you're more than fine.

Yeah I think this is really important. There's an entire industry emerging around "optimising" applications and personal statements for Oxbridge. Many people essentially have their PS ghostwritten by an expert, and the difference in quality between schools is significant. Although there's a good chance they'll mention it in your interview (if you get one), it's unlikely it will have a big difference in the outcome of your application.

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