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Studying physics at Oxford

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Hey guys I'm studying IB (year 1) now in Denmark. I am considering to apply to Oxford physics (Merton College) next year, and my higher level subjects are Math HL, Physics HL, Chemistry HL. It says that A-level Further maths would be good; but IB's can't take this? And my school doesn't offer (IB FM HL, which according to my teacher only 70 people take in the world). Would I be at a disadvantage for physics simply because I do not have the possibility of studying FM? What if I make up for the relevant parts of the syllabus that is not covered in Math HL? Besides, I study physics RATHER intensely in my spare time...

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Mechanics and differential equations (unless you take the calculus option) are two major things that aren't covered in HL maths, the other differences likely aren't large enough to make much of a difference. I'd definitely ask your teacher about doing the calculus option, self-studying a bit of mechanics would probably be useful to.

From an application standpoint however, you won't be disadvantaged. Universities do understand that these topics simply aren't covered in the IB, so it's not an issue at all. Self-teaching some aspects would definitely help for when you start uni though, since I'd presume they would only briefly go over such topics at the beginning of the course. Do also remember that even for an A-level applicant, FM is only recommended, not required.

There is one thing however, Oxford requires you to take the PAT when you apply. Looking at the syllabus here, they do ask about mechanics, which would likely be more complex questions compared to HL physics with a lot more maths involved. For that, it'll probably be worth doing some additional practice, though you'll probably need to do that for the other areas anyways. I'm not too familiar with the test myself, but I'd presume they have written the test so non A-level applications (IB especially) won't be disadvantaged in any way.

Edited by ctrls
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Mechanics and differential equations (unless you take the calculus option) are two major things that aren't covered in HL maths, the other differences likely aren't large enough to make much of a difference. I'd definitely ask your teacher about doing the calculus option, self-studying a bit of mechanics would probably be useful to.

From an application standpoint however, you won't be disadvantaged. Universities do understand that these topics simply aren't covered in the IB, so it's not an issue at all. Self-teaching some aspects would definitely help for when you start uni though, since I'd presume they would only briefly go over such topics at the beginning of the course. Do also remember that even for an A-level applicant, FM is only recommended, not required.

There is one thing however, Oxford requires you to take the PAT when you apply. Looking at the syllabus here, they do ask about mechanics, which would likely be more complex questions compared to HL physics with a lot more maths involved. For that, it'll probably be worth doing some additional practice, though you'll probably need to do that for the other areas anyways. I'm not too familiar with the test myself, but I'd presume they have written the test so non A-level applications (IB especially) won't be disadvantaged in any way.

Ok thank you. So application wise Oxford will look at me completely neutrally compared to A-level students, subject wise?

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Mechanics and differential equations (unless you take the calculus option) are two major things that aren't covered in HL maths, the other differences likely aren't large enough to make much of a difference. I'd definitely ask your teacher about doing the calculus option, self-studying a bit of mechanics would probably be useful to.

From an application standpoint however, you won't be disadvantaged. Universities do understand that these topics simply aren't covered in the IB, so it's not an issue at all. Self-teaching some aspects would definitely help for when you start uni though, since I'd presume they would only briefly go over such topics at the beginning of the course. Do also remember that even for an A-level applicant, FM is only recommended, not required.

There is one thing however, Oxford requires you to take the PAT when you apply. Looking at the syllabus here, they do ask about mechanics, which would likely be more complex questions compared to HL physics with a lot more maths involved. For that, it'll probably be worth doing some additional practice, though you'll probably need to do that for the other areas anyways. I'm not too familiar with the test myself, but I'd presume they have written the test so non A-level applications (IB especially) won't be disadvantaged in any way.

Ok thank you. So application wise Oxford will look at me completely neutrally compared to A-level students, subject wise?

Email them, that's the easiest way. Further Maths is offered only by a handful of schools, so I doubt they will reject you based on it, but just ask, no hurt in that.

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I've applied to Oxford for Physics this year, and have to take the PAT test next wednesday. As far as I know, they are looking for physics "aptitude" and potential, not necessarily knowledge. So if you can demonstrate that you have mastered the IB Physics syllabus, and that you can grasp unfamiliar concepts on the PAT test or at interview, then you have a good chance of getting an offer. I was originally going to apply to Merton as well, but I decided that Wadham was better for me (if I end up going at all!). Merton is lovely though.

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