# Oxford PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) Students and Applicants

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*Drum roll* It's 1. Can you tell me why?
I was thinking about a similar problem, i would do it by process of elimination, the number can only be 50 or less. Then I get stuck... I presume that you keep eliminating numbers by halving them until you get 1...

Another good one is 100 people in a room, if everybody shakes hands once,how many hand shakes in total?

Jack.K
JohnKennedy
I was thinking about a similar problem, i would do it by process of elimination, the number can only be 50 or less. Then I get stuck... I presume that you keep eliminating numbers by halving them until you get 1...

Another good one is 100 people in a room, if everybody shakes hands once,how many hand shakes in total?

Jack.K

Now you've ruined it for spider58. Yes, you can't choose a number over 50, but then neither can your opponent, so therefore you can't choose a number over 25 and neither will your opponent e.t.c.

Your problem is much less fun.
Why don't previous applicants post interview questions, some of them are good fun.

Teebs maybe you'll like this one better: This one is not for PPE at oxford, but was an MIT economics question they asked undergraduates:

Five men crash-land their airplane on a deserted island in. On their first day they gather as many coconuts as they can find into one big pile. They decide that, since it is getting dark, they will wait until the next day to divide the coconuts.

That night each man took a turn watching for rescue searchers while the others slept. The first watcher got bored so he decided to divide the coconuts into five equal piles. When he did this, he found he had one remaining coconut. He gave this coconut to a monkey, took one of the piles, and hid it for himself. Then he jumbled up the four other piles into one big pile again.

Each of the five men ended up doing exactly the same thing. They each divided the coconuts into five equal piles and had one extra coconut left over, which they gave to the monkey. They each took one of the five piles and hid those coconuts. They each came back and jumbled up the remaining four piles into one big pile.

What is the smallest number of coconuts there could have been in the original pile?

Good luck with that one it took me a while before i figured it out.

Jack.K
JohnKennedy

What is the smallest number of coconuts there could have been in the original pile?

Good luck with that one it took me a while before i figured it out.

Jack.K

I can't seem to get an answer since, when dividing by 5 into heaps, which should leave 1 coconut left, it leaves an inadequate 80ish% (which don't leave x+1 after dividing next time) left after 1:st person has taken one of the piles. So when person 2 divides the piles, it's not an "even number" or, one coconut left to give to the monkey.

As you have to divide the 4 heaps (total) - 1 for monkey, how could that leave a dividable value leaving 1 coconut left a second, a third, a fourth and fifth time?

How did you go about to do this?!
I can't find the official information for writing the personal statement for Econ and Management on their webpages. Does anyone find it?
bennycy
I can't find the official information for writing the personal statement for Econ and Management on their webpages. Does anyone find it?

But a good starting point might be to look at the course's official "selection criteria", and to use your PS to explain how you match them.

DtS
Thanks Teebs.

Ok, next question for which I am hoping for guidance with answering

Three men are lined up from a village, one of them is murderer. The leaders offer you a choice, pick one to shoot or do
nothing and allow another villager to shoot all three &#8211; what would you do?

And whilst we are at it, i may as well add this to the list;
A person with £50,000 is rich. A person with n pounds is rich and a person with n-1 pounds is also rich. So a person with £1 is rich. Falsify one of these statements.

Cheers
There isn't any official advice given by the uni on the website(s). "Official" (or as official as it can get!) advice comes from things like the open days, Access events and Sutton Trust summer schools
Spider58
Three men are lined up from a village, one of them is a murderer. The leaders offer you a choice, pick one to shoot or do
nothing and allow another villager to shoot all three &#8211; what would you do?

I would ask the leaders to expose one of the three men who is not a murderer, after I have made my initial choice. Then, I would choose the other remaining person and shoot him in the face. That gives me a 66.67% probability to have killed the murderer without really knowing who the murderer was.

Or - alternatively - I would shoot the leaders. Or shoot myself for dramatic effect.

I find this one much more challenging:

On the average, how many times must a dice be thrown until one gets a 6?
Krautsalat

On the average, how many times must a dice be thrown until one gets a 6?

Considering that each of the six sides has an equal chance to land with a particular one side up - I would argue that the chance would be about 1/6.
You could possibly argue that it could take more throws if you were really going for that specific particular side, but it could also take less - So I think the balance gets back to the amount of sides.
Spider58
Three men are lined up from a village, one of them is murderer. The leaders offer you a choice, pick one to shoot or do
nothing and allow another villager to shoot all three &#8211; what would you do?

I think that, learning that one of them would be a murder would not impact my actions. I would not see me doing right by killing a murder.
By letting all three die, to make sure I kill a murderer, would feel terribly wrong. Would I dare to pull the trigger on my own?
How would I even be sure that they would not kill the rest right after I had done so, standing there with blood on my hands. There's so many gray areas here so I don't think I could put words to how exactly I would act.

Spider58

And whilst we are at it, i may as well add this to the list;
A person with £50,000 is rich. A person with n pounds is rich and a person with n-1 pounds is also rich. So a person with £1 is rich. Falsify one of these statements.

Cheers

Then the lowest possibility of n (for someone to be rich) is
n - 1 =
then n =
Both a person with n and n-1 are rich.

I'm not sure I understand the question however. What do you exactly mean by falsify?
Mike_P
Considering that each of the six sides has an equal chance to land with a particular one side up - I would argue that the chance would be about 1/6.
You could possibly argue that it could take more throws if you were really going for that specific particular side, but it could also take less - So I think the balance gets back to the amount of sides.

Exactly, the answer seems obvious and 6 is the average number of trials it takes until one gets a 6 or 5 or 4... I am sure, they wouldn't ask for a mathematical proof

From where he stands, one step towards the cliff would send the drunken man over the edge. He takes random steps, either towards or away from the cliff. At any step his probability of taking a step away is 2/3, of a step towards the cliff 1/3. What is his chance of escaping the cliff?
Krautsalat, are you Swedish too?

I see you added another tricky one, let me look at it.

Here's also one:

Four guys headed out in the desert Guy A, Guy B, Guy C and Guy D.
They came out into the desert at night and slept.
In the morning, guy D was found dead.
It turns out that, Guy C had mixed a lethal liquid in a bottle which was found there.
Guy B put that bottle among their other bottles with drinking water.
Guy A was the one who took the bottle and gave it to guy D.

Who is responsible for guy D's death?
surely its guy A no as he had the intention of killing one of his fellow 'guys'

sorry i don't do PPE (or am applying), just found this interesting
Inter-Company
surely its guy A no as he had the intention of killing one of his fellow 'guys'

sorry i don't do PPE (or am applying), just found this interesting

I guess, if his intention indeed was to kill .
And would that intent alone enough to say he was responsible for guy D's death?

I don't do PPE either . Guess I'm hoping to however.
Are you studying?
Mike_P
Krautsalat, are you Swedish too?

I see you added another tricky one, let me look at it.

Here's also one:

Four guys headed out in the desert Guy A, Guy B, Guy C and Guy D.
They came out into the desert at night and slept.
In the morning, guy D was found dead.
It turns out that, Guy C had mixed a lethal liquid in a bottle which was found there.
Guy B put that bottle among their other bottles with drinking water.
Guy A was the one who took the bottle and gave it to guy D.

Who is responsible for guy D's death?

Yes, technically I'm Swedish.

A gave D the bottle that would kill him, however, we cannot be sure that he did this on purpose. Did he know that the bottle contained poison? Arguing from what we know, we have to admit: He probably didn't.

B probably put the bottle amongst the others, as he must have assumed that it contained water.

C is responsible for D's death, because he did not tell his "friends" what he had mixed in the bottle. He acted irresponsibly. Intention does not play into this question at all. It's only "Awkward Behaviour vs. Common Behaviour", if you ask me.
Krautsalat

From where he stands, one step towards the cliff would send the drunken man over the edge. He takes random steps, either towards or away from the cliff. At any step his probability of taking a step away is 2/3, of a step towards the cliff 1/3. What is his chance of escaping the cliff?

The chance is 2/3 that he steps back, and 1/6 that he steps forward two times in a row, pushing the drunken man as well as falling down himself.

So, he would have a 66% percent to step back, and 33% to step forward.
The chance that he would fall down would be 16.5%. However, this would, with time depart even more, I would believe.
So if he has survived after, say 100 steps, which chances are on hise side that he would, he would probably have stepped back 60 steps and forward about 20. If he would be able to escape, I would say yes, because he would in average go backwards more than forward.
The drunken man would also probably survive - He would have a 66% probability to survive when the man would take his first step. And, if he had taken a further step back he would have a 75% chance to survive and so on.
RxB
oh ffs, if you're not interested in PPE don't apply for it. I don't believe that you can be interested enough to do it if you don't want to apply for it anywhere else. If you're applying on the prestige, good luck, I guess, I wouldn't hold any hope out.

WHAT ABOUT IF IM JUST INTERESTED IN 2 OF THE 3 I .NOT SURE FOR PHILOSOPHY ATM