The Student Room Group

Do Oxford want anything else?

Hello, I'm in Y12 and I want to take maths and computer science at Oxford. I know I've got a good portfolio but this post isn't a joke, I want to know if there might be anything else that would reasonably help.

I'm completely aware that no one is guarranteed/deserves a place at the university and honestly I wouldn't be massively upset if I didn't get in. Having said that however, I still obviously want to get a place and I don't think theres anything wrong with maximising my chances.

I don't have any olympiads as my college isn't the best and doesn't sign up for those things and I myself havent taken the initiative to do them independently. The following is very specific and identifiable so I may remove the post after a little while.

gcses: Maths 9, Further Maths 9, lit 9, lang 9, combined science 99, Spanish 9, computing 9, history 9, business L2D*, LIBF financial education A*

A-levels: maths, further maths, physics, spanish - predicted 4 A*, starting epq over summer.

extra curriculars: college president, college newspaper chief, oxnet, spanish speaking mentor, great and experienced public speaker, doing funded "research"/study on something partially related to my subject.

super curriculars: running programming course for our secondary school, running computing/engineering club for sixth form, 1 week work experience at Santander software department, summer research placement at Balfour Beaty, completed an online maths programme, completing cs50, completing NAND to tetris, reading "code a hidden language", completing "C - a modern approach", intermediate/high python - coding for six years and a portfolio website.

Again this isn't a joke, I was thinking about posting on reddit but I was sure student room would have better answers not to mention a higher chance of actual answers. Advice from university students or teachers (or anyone really) would be helpful, thank you.
Original post by Anonymous
Hello, I'm in Y12 and I want to take maths and computer science at Oxford. I know I've got a good portfolio but this post isn't a joke, I want to know if there might be anything else that would reasonably help.
I'm completely aware that no one is guarranteed/deserves a place at the university and honestly I wouldn't be massively upset if I didn't get in. Having said that however, I still obviously want to get a place and I don't think theres anything wrong with maximising my chances.
I don't have any olympiads as my college isn't the best and doesn't sign up for those things and I myself havent taken the initiative to do them independently. The following is very specific and identifiable so I may remove the post after a little while.
gcses: Maths 9, Further Maths 9, lit 9, lang 9, combined science 99, Spanish 9, computing 9, history 9, business L2D*, LIBF financial education A*
A-levels: maths, further maths, physics, spanish - predicted 4 A*, starting epq over summer.
extra curriculars: college president, college newspaper chief, oxnet, spanish speaking mentor, great and experienced public speaker, doing funded "research"/study on something partially related to my subject.
super curriculars: running programming course for our secondary school, running computing/engineering club for sixth form, 1 week work experience at Santander software department, summer research placement at Balfour Beaty, completed an online maths programme, completing cs50, completing NAND to tetris, reading "code a hidden language", completing "C - a modern approach", intermediate/high python - coding for six years and a portfolio website.
Again this isn't a joke, I was thinking about posting on reddit but I was sure student room would have better answers not to mention a higher chance of actual answers. Advice from university students or teachers (or anyone really) would be helpful, thank you.

You have a good profile. My suggestion is to focus on your grades and prepare for relevant admission tests.
Reply 2
Original post by Anonymous
Hello, I'm in Y12 and I want to take maths and computer science at Oxford. I know I've got a good portfolio but this post isn't a joke, I want to know if there might be anything else that would reasonably help.
I'm completely aware that no one is guarranteed/deserves a place at the university and honestly I wouldn't be massively upset if I didn't get in. Having said that however, I still obviously want to get a place and I don't think theres anything wrong with maximising my chances.
I don't have any olympiads as my college isn't the best and doesn't sign up for those things and I myself havent taken the initiative to do them independently. The following is very specific and identifiable so I may remove the post after a little while.
gcses: Maths 9, Further Maths 9, lit 9, lang 9, combined science 99, Spanish 9, computing 9, history 9, business L2D*, LIBF financial education A*
A-levels: maths, further maths, physics, spanish - predicted 4 A*, starting epq over summer.
extra curriculars: college president, college newspaper chief, oxnet, spanish speaking mentor, great and experienced public speaker, doing funded "research"/study on something partially related to my subject.
super curriculars: running programming course for our secondary school, running computing/engineering club for sixth form, 1 week work experience at Santander software department, summer research placement at Balfour Beaty, completed an online maths programme, completing cs50, completing NAND to tetris, reading "code a hidden language", completing "C - a modern approach", intermediate/high python - coding for six years and a portfolio website.
Again this isn't a joke, I was thinking about posting on reddit but I was sure student room would have better answers not to mention a higher chance of actual answers. Advice from university students or teachers (or anyone really) would be helpful, thank you.

oxbridge are fairly explicit that extra curriculum stuff is irrelevant for your personal statement. If it goes on for more than a line, its space wasted from your supercurriculum stuff. For the supercurriculars, it would be good to mention about algorithms, performance, scalability ... so make it less about I worked here / read programming books / ... and more about design etc. For the "competitons", there are things like advent of code (runs in dec, but previous ones are available) and theyre good for testing, scalability, ... You dont have to take the BIO competition to work through previous ones. Similarly for ukmt or ... On your PS, its less about saying I got 105//125 in year 12 but more about saying what you learnt, how it relates to other things / your programming, in other words how it sparks an interest.

I presume youre starting to work towards your mat?
Reply 3
Original post by mqb2766
oxbridge are fairly explicit that extra curriculum stuff is irrelevant for your personal statement. If it goes on for more than a line, its space wasted from your supercurriculum stuff. For the supercurriculars, it would be good to mention about algorithms, performance, scalability ... so make it less about I worked here / read programming books / ... and more about design etc. For the "competitons", there are things like advent of code (runs in dec, but previous ones are available) and theyre good for testing, scalability, ... You dont have to take the BIO competition to work through previous ones. Similarly for ukmt or ... On your PS, its less about saying I got 105//125 in year 12 but more about saying what you learnt, how it relates to other things / your programming, in other words how it sparks an interest.
I presume youre starting to work towards your mat?

yes thats right I did have some trouble incorporating things into my personal statement without just listing. I'm glad competitions aren't just seen at face value, I'll look into these and keep in mind what I could mention about them.

I've taken a quick look at what the mat is like before and at risk of eating my words later, currently I don't think its really that bad. obviously I'll be doing every past paper over summer but I'm not sure on what further preperations to take - though I am yet to really research this and will probably find things to do when I look.

I think I can quite confidently do well on it and in regards to what another comment mentioned I'm very confident on my grades. so long as my personal statement isn't instantly shredded im hopeful I can prove myself in the interviews and test - which is why I'm looking to reinforce the ps.
Reply 4
Original post by anonymous
yes thats right I did have some trouble incorporating things into my personal statement without just listing. I'm glad competitions aren't just seen at face value, I'll look into these and keep in mind what I could mention about them.
I've taken a quick look at what the mat is like before and at risk of eating my words later, currently I don't think its really that bad. obviously I'll be doing every past paper over summer but I'm not sure on what further preperations to take - though I am yet to really research this and will probably find things to do when I look.
I think I can quite confidently do well on it and in regards to what another comment mentioned I'm very confident on my grades. so long as my personal statement isn't instantly shredded im hopeful I can prove myself in the interviews and test - which is why I'm looking to reinforce the ps.

@vnayak could probably link to one of their posts they did about their PS in applying to cambridge/imperial this year. Cambridge have suggested supercurriculars as a pdf, so maybe google that as well. However, Id put more effort into preparing for mat/interview than trying to create some form of perfect PS. You want to hit your grades, have a good PS, but the mat and interview are more selective.

But Id not underestimate mat. If youve not really done any problem solving competitions like ukmt or looked at the livestream/step foundation, it may take a bit more time than you think to do harder questions in a timed test, but thats for you to find out.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 5
Original post by mqb2766
@vnayak could probably link to one of their posts they did about their PS in applying to cambridge/imperial this year. Cambridge have suggested supercurriculars as a pdf, so maybe google that as well. However, Id put more effort into preparing for mat/interview than trying to create some form of perfect PS. You want to hit your grades, have a good PS, but the mat and interview are more selective.
But Id not underestimate mat. If youve not really done any problem solving competitions like ukmt or looked at the livestream/step foundation, it may take a bit more time than you think to do harder questions in a timed test, but thats for you to find out.

ah I see, I'll definitely take a look at those posts and prioritise the examination, thanks.
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous
ah I see, I'll definitely take a look at those posts and prioritise the examination, thanks.

If you could tell me your username, I can PM you the stuff I've done, if that helps? I applied for CompSci at Cambridge, Imperial, Edinburgh, Manchester and Durham. Rejections from Cambridge (I only got half of my answers down on the answer sheet even though I had finished the whole test in the question paper, so my TMUA score was too low for interview, though I worked out that had I got all of my answers down on my answer sheet, I would've scored 7.2, which has a super high chance of securing interview. I scored 5.0 after the mishap which despite not writing down almost half of my answers, is decent and was literally on the interview threshold. I have a friend who scored 5.2 and secured an interview) and Durham (It's been super hard for them to differentiate between applicants this year because of so many people applying with top, top grades but by far, the major problem is no admissions test and the only thing that they have to go off is the personal statement) but offers everywhere else.

My offer for Imperial also includes a STEP requirement so any questions about that, lmk.
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous
yes thats right I did have some trouble incorporating things into my personal statement without just listing. I'm glad competitions aren't just seen at face value, I'll look into these and keep in mind what I could mention about them.
I've taken a quick look at what the mat is like before and at risk of eating my words later, currently I don't think its really that bad. obviously I'll be doing every past paper over summer but I'm not sure on what further preperations to take - though I am yet to really research this and will probably find things to do when I look.
I think I can quite confidently do well on it and in regards to what another comment mentioned I'm very confident on my grades. so long as my personal statement isn't instantly shredded im hopeful I can prove myself in the interviews and test - which is why I'm looking to reinforce the ps.

For the MAT, you will need at least a score of 75 to be in with any chance of getting an interview. I believe that the cut off for interview for CS this year was something like 80/100, which is insane! This number is going up every year as more and more people apply for CS and lemme tell you that getting into that territory isn't straightforward.

I like to think that I'm somewhat of a decent mathematician, if I may say so myself, and first time, no work done, I was scoring 65, which isn't too shabby but is nowhere near where it needs to be for interview. Oxford is also far more selective in terms of the numbers of interviews they give out, making the process of securing an interview even more competitive. I believe that they interview 45% of candidates? Maybe even less.

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