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Actual Personal Statements for UCAS and Oxford

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I decided to upload my statement stuff for the very ambitious people who want to go to Oxbridge etc. Even though I was rejected from Oxford after being invited for interview, my statement stuff indicates that its content is what they are looking for. I hope this helps my fellow IB'ers.

For those of you who may not know, Oxford has an additional application form. Here you should write why you want to attend Oxford in the large space at the bottom of the application. Also you should have a SEPARATE reference for Oxford from a different teacher than the one who wrote your UCAS Referee Statement.

You can see which schools I applied to and for which subjects so that the statements make sense. The reason I have both my referee statements is because I applied as an independent :blink:

I've uploaded your personal statement in the ps thread Mike :D so if anyone wants to check it out look for it there... we're adding more PSes so thought might as well put it there :)

Lc

Referee_Statement_blindpet.pdf

Oxford_Paragraph_blindpet.pdf

Oxford_Reference_blindpet.pdf

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Blindpet, how was the interview? What's your predicted? and you were going for the psychology-philosophy program, no?

The Oxford paragraph is shorter than I thought.

Edited by rue saint-denis

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Blindpet, how was the interview?

The interview was probably one of the scariest experiences ever. My first two were no problem at St. Anne's College, I just had to talk to the Philosophy Tutor about ethics, free will etc (cause i had written about them in my written work that you have to submit for certain subjects). In my first psychology one i had to discuss this study about IQ and older siblings. That was pretty brutal because EVERY argument I came up with they completely demolished with one sentence which forced me to reformulate and retort. That process went on for 10 minutes and to make the process scarier there were 2 tutors and the male was very 'aggressive', luckily the female tutor made her tutor in training heel :blink: after he had beaten me bloody with arguments.

TOK was a huge help, the way they conduct the interviews is to see how critically you think and even lateral thinking. No matter what you say they will argue the opposite and sound incredibly convincing. Then you retort and they prove you wrong again and again. They seemed to want to see how I could deduce new information from data or text that they gave me. The path from the original info to the answer they were seeking was like a zigzag which they would guide you through with their counterarguments, hoping that you would jump from one point to the end of the Z.

My second set of interviews was much much more intense which was pretty bad considering I felt fairly confident about the first set.

Again two tutors the Psychology and Philosophy tutors. Psychology tutor goes first:

He asks me, right on the spot, think of something that you find interesting and design a study to investigate it scientifically. I think "Holy ****." I end up coming up with something pretty stupid and then choose something else about memory recall in bilingualism. After I explain my design he asks "are there any limitations you can think of for your experiment?" Again I think, crap but I give him my fairly superficial evaluation of my study design that I thought of in about 30 seconds and he moves on the next question.

The Psych tutor then gives me a sheet of paper with several words on it. He wanted to test my lateral thinking, this is what it looked like. Mind you I'm incredibly anxious and was not prepared to do some linguistic exercise lol, but I was pretty confident since I'm pretty good with language. I actually was kind of a smartass cause I asked him if any of these exercises were culturally biased since he was clearly American :D

Find one word that links the three (You have to find one word that can be placed in front of or behind each word in order for it to make sense)

for example: Cane, Shop, Necklace (Candy)

Birthday, Line, Surprise

Breeze, Lion, Water

Lapse, Vivid, Elephant

I got the first two pretty quickly and I was stumped on the last one (which naturally I figured out as soon as I walked out of the room!) Afterwards he moves on to his next test. How many uses can you think of for a cardboard box? I ask, do I have any limitations, all tools at my disposal etc? Yes, he replies. I name off a bunch of standard crap that seriously lacked creativity, when I was done he asked "Are there any uses that nobody else would be able to think of?" Again I think ****, here I just named as many uses for this imaginary cardboard box and now he wants an original idea. My 'original idea was "shoes" - he didn't seem impressed but wrote it down nonetheless.

He then tells me to consider the last 3 types of thinking necessary for the last 3 exercises and prioritize them in order of importance for different situations, but he adds the skill and type of thinking necessary for studying for an exam.

The first situation was that I'm a lawyer. I ask him if I'm a defense attorney or a prosecutor, he told me I could choose. How nice of him. I didn't realize until afterwards that I had put studying for an exam as the least important type of thinking for each scenario he gave me. In hindsight I'm not sure that was a good idea. I honestly forgot the other situations he gave me but they were completely unrelated and impossible to answer. Oh, and when I chose the relative importance of the types of thinking I had to justify why I had done so - probably to see how I reason under surreal circumstances. He finally lets the Philosophy tutor have a crack at me.

The philosophy tutor asks me to distinguish between a thought and a feeling and cripples all of my arguments, when he finishes they ask me if I have any questions. I asked if they uploaded their lectures on the Oxford intranet for students to revise, they pretty much dismissed the idea as insignificant even though I had spoken with current Oxford Undergrads at the college and they thought it was a brilliant idea (it's no innovative idea, the USA has been doing it for years). I left and went to get a pint.

By the way, the food was terrible at both colleges I was interviewed at and people were generally socially abnormal and not aesthetically pleasing - but all very nice. It was a really cool experience and I highly recommend it to those who dare :)

rue-saint-denis - click my spoiler to see my predicted grades, the oxford paragraph is not long at all because they value concise prose :) I did apply for Psychology and Philosophy.

Edited by blindpet

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Thanks for answering. That sounds terrible, I'm surprised these interviews don't kill people. Ideas for a cardboard box?!

The first interview was the one with the passage, no?

and for designing a study scientifically, would money be a factor? You can use something with a fMRI, that's pretty solid.

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Thanks for answering. That sounds terrible, I'm surprised these interviews don't kill people. Ideas for a cardboard box?!

The first interview was the one with the passage, no?

and for designing a study scientifically, would money be a factor? You can use something with a fMRI, that's pretty solid.

The first interviewer had me read a short passage by David Hume whom I find incredibly boring to read. All I did was say that it was about ethics and how Hume posited the 'random' determinism and that he claimed reason was completely useless in justifying moral decisions.

Money wasn't a factor, nothing was a factor, the only limit was my imagination . My area I wanted to investigate was memory in 'true' bilinguals. True bilinguals are individuals who acquire two languages (i.e. my father spoke danish to me and my mother spoke english, so my proficiency is fairly equal in each). The prob with true bilinguals is, that both languages overlap in Broca's area (speech production) so testing memory recall in true bilinguals with fMRIs is difficult because the languages overlap :blink:

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Oxford has a separate application form??

where?? (omgosh>.<)

the interviews are freaking me out (if I even get shortlisted is another story altogether though)

just in case I've bought some books on making arguments, basic economics stuff, etc. (i've applied for PPE)

any other advice?

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Cambridge still has one, but I don't think Oxford has a separate application form any more (:

At least they didn't for the subject I applied for! It is possible that they have an application form for something if there isn't also an additional exam (like the ELAT, BMAT, LMAT etc.) in it... but you'd have to check that out. Nobody I knew wrote a separate application, unless they did it really secretly without me knowing -- and I know somebody who applied & got in for PPE! :D

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In case people are interested I add my personal statement for Cambridge, Durham, LSE, Warwick and KCL here:

History has for a long time had a special appeal for me, because it allows me to examine human experience in all its diversity. In my studies I wish to combine studies of political, social and intellectual history in order to form a multifaceted understanding.

While travelling widely in Europe and meeting people from different backgrounds, it has occurred to me that history and language are a strong basis for people in forming their identity. For this reason I believe it is vital for a historian to have the ability to understand many languages. Thus they form a large part of my education. Since I study Finnish and English at a level that involves rigorous reading and writing, my analytical skills in them are very strong. I am also fluent in French and Swedish and took a course in Latin at Helsinki Summer University. For me studying history means being able to acquire information, to assemble and compare pieces of evidence, analyze them and form an interpretation. This gives me great pleasure; for I enjoy the fact that while I rely on sources compiled by others I get to form and justify my own opinion. History obliges me to be aware of my own background, my pre-formed views and prejudices. For me this sort of self-examination is important in helping me to understand myself and others.

Of the history texts I have read, E. H. Carr's What is history? and Richard J. Evans' In defence of history have struck me with their sharp intellectual analysis of history as a subject. They have enhanced my awareness of the nature of history as a discipline and of the way a historian works. Their debate on the causation of history has particularly developed my ability to see history as a multilayered subject, where analyzing the causes and effects of different phenomena lays the foundation stone for research. In my school studies I have been particularly engaged in the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War. Exploring the social, political, economic and ideological developments that led to the installation of Soviet regime fascinates me. In the Spanish Civil War I am especially interested in studying its international nature and the role foreign countries played in it.

I enjoy challenges and expanding my academic horizons. While I strive for the best in grades, it is even more important for me to gain new insights and awareness in everything I do. For me education is not an end in itself, but a means to reaching more detailed understanding of the world and to playing an individual in it. I am a tutor in my school, helping both elementary-school and high-school students settle in to the school and introducing them to the challenges they might face in their studies. Providing help and insight was a very rewarding for me, but it also made me consider what was difficult for me and whether others would face the same or different difficulties. The British higher educational system appeals to me because of its long tradition of academic excellence. Furthermore, the emphasis on individual work and writing combined with discussions attracts me as a fruitful method of studying. After completing my International Baccalaureate I intend to take a gap year in order to complete my obligatory military service. While I am keen to start my university studies, I welcome this chance to see how I fit into a completely different environment with new challenges.

History is an ever-changing subject. All history is open to new interpretations and analysis and I want to be part of this process. The process of doing research for my extended essay, the subject being Trotsky's role in the Russian Revolution, has been greatly enjoyable. I plan to continue studying history to doctoral level and I am greatly looking forward to the challenges and fulfilment which lie ahead.

You can see from my signature what kind of offers I got etc.

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For those of you who may not know, Oxford has an additional application form. Here you should write why you want to attend Oxford in the large space at the bottom of the application. Also you should have a SEPARATE reference for Oxford from a different teacher than the one who wrote your UCAS Referee Statement.

can you edit this please? the additional application form is no more required for Oxford. Cambridge still does, though. but for some courses at Oxford we might be required to sit certain tests or submit a written work.

and, how can we submit two different reference letters? there's only one form in UCAS :/

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can you edit this please? the additional application form is no more required for Oxford. Cambridge still does, though. but for some courses at Oxford we might be required to sit certain tests or submit a written work.

Done, the second reference you had to send directly to them, I wonder why they cut this part out. Oh well :)

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