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- Interactive Interview Exercise Manual ‘What should I expect at my Oxbridge interview?’ ‘How will I feel?’For any student applying to Oxford or... Read more >
- MAT overview If you’re applying for Maths or Computer Science at Oxford you will need to sit the Maths Admissions Test, or ‘MAT’.... Read more >
- ELAT overview If you’re applying for English, or its joint schools, you will probably need to sit the English Literature... Read more >
- July’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to happen this past month. Read more >
- June’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to happen this past month. Read more >
- The Differences Between Similar Courses At Oxford and Cambridge For some applicants, deciding between applying to Oxford or Cambridge might be a very simple one – if... Read more >
- April’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to happen this past month. Read more >
- US University Applications: How Decisions Are Made Article contributed by: Dr Jon Tabbert, US university admissions educational consultant. While it is difficult to generalise about the... Read more >
- Mathematics Reading List Studying Mathematics at university requires a different approach to studying Mathematics at school.Successful applicants for Mathematics are able... Read more >
- Philosophy Reading List If you are interested in Philosophy, there are several options available at Oxford and Cambridge. Philosophy as a sole... Read more >
- Experimental Psychology & Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) Reading List If you are interested in Psychology, Oxford offers the Psychology (Experimental) course, while Cambridge offers Psychological and Behavioural... Read more >
- History of Art Reading List History of Art at Oxford and Cambridge allows you to study art as an academic pursuit, rather than... Read more >
- History Reading Lists The main challenge in the step up from school to university for History is the quantity of reading,... Read more >
- Human Social and Political Science (HSPS) Reading List If you are applying for HSPS at Cambridge, it is important to have an interest across the course... Read more >
- English Language and Literature Reading List If you're applying for English, have a look at our top picks to ensure you escape the En Read more >
- Law Reading List Cambridge Law and Oxford Law reading lists and recommended reading. Read more >
- Music Reading List Applying for Music at Cambridge or Oxford requires a range of different skills. Successful applicants are not only outstanding... Read more >
- March’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to happen this past month. Read more >
- 5 Easy Ways To Support Your Son Or Daughter Before Their Oxbridge Interviews The weeks before the Oxford and Cambridge interviews are a nerve-wracking time, not only for applicants but for... Read more >
- The Most Competitive Subjects At Oxbridge (And How To Choose Wisely) Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the world, so competition will always be fierce. This... Read more >
- February’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to happen this past month. Read more >
- For Your Reference: Admissions Test Factfiles The majority of Oxford courses, and an increasing number of Cambridge courses, now require applicants to sit an... Read more >
- January’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to happen this past month. Read more >
- 20 Real-Life Oxford and Cambridge Interview Questions The Oxford and Cambridge interviews are notorious for having academically challenging and rigorous questions. To demystify the process,... Read more >
- 30 Real-Life Oxford and Cambridge Interview Questions The Oxford and Cambridge interviews are notorious for having academically challenging and rigorous questions. To demystify the process,... Read more >
- Statistics: 2015 Annual Survey Want to find out what your chances are of getting into Oxford or Cambridge? Every year we survey hundreds... Read more >
- What Results Do You Need In Your Exams? At the heart of every Oxbridge offer is an excellent academic record. To make it easier to understand... Read more >
- What You Need To Know About A Level Reforms The A Level system that has been in place since 2000 will shortly be coming to an end.... Read more >
- Taking a Gap Year There are a number of advantages to taking a gap year, which often come across during interviews. Read our... Read more >
- Application Calendar Making an application to Oxford or Cambridge can seem like a complex process. Unlike most other UK universities,... Read more >
- Funding Your Oxbridge Degree Many people are under the impression that it is more expensive to study at Oxford or Cambridge than other... Read more >
- Oxford and Cambridge Access Schemes Oxford and Cambridge aim to offer places to the best students with the highest level of academic potential... Read more >
- Download a Physics Personal Statement “Over the past few years I have become gradually more fascinated with the way the world works, how... Read more >
- Oxford and Cambridge International Grade Requirements If you’re applying to Cambridge or Oxford but you’ve not studied a traditionally accepted British syllabus, getting your head... Read more >
- Choosing The Right A-Levels Picking subjects at A level can be a difficult decision in any circumstances. These decisions are made more... Read more >
- Cambridge’s Supplementary Application Questionnaire After you have submitted your UCAS application to apply to Cambridge, you will be notified of an additional... Read more >
- International Application Calendar Keeping on top of the various deadlines and decisions when applying to Oxford and Cambridge can be a... Read more >
- Medicine, Maths, and Economics Puzzles We asked three of our top Medicine, Maths, and Economics tutors to send us questions they often... Read more >
- COPA & International Deadlines Most deadlines are the same for all those applying to Oxford and Cambridge. However, there are some different... Read more >
- Download a Biology Personal Statement “Assisting with the post mortem of a dairy cow during a placement at a Veterinary Centre was a... Read more >
- Outside reading: the key to a good application When it comes to writing your personal statement and preparing for your interview, the biggest worry many people... Read more >
- LNAT ‘So you want to go to Oxbridge’ Answers If you have been reading our book ‘So you want to go to Oxbridge? Tell me about a... Read more >
- University Admissions Tests: How Would You Reply? Here we have a few questions and answers to sample admissions test questions from the TSA Oxford, TSA... Read more >
- Personal Statement Workbook Download A personal statement is a unique document which is all about you. It is an important part of... Read more >
- The Architecture of an Education: what are colleges all about? Explaining the difference between Oxford and Cambridge colleges and the universities themselves Read more >
- Information on choosing a course at Oxford or Cambridge “Perhaps it is because Oxbridge encourages more ‘traditional’ A Level subjects that gives the impression that its own... Read more >
- Maths Puzzle: The Age of Census A census-taker knocks on a door, and asks the woman inside how many children she has and how... Read more >
- TSA Cambridge Example Questions and Answers If you have completed the TSA Cambridge course report and are looking for the answers then you have come... Read more >
- Is a “Religious Morality” rational? One of our Oxbridge graduate tutors, Emma, looks into the question of morality and religion to see whether... Read more >
- Maths Puzzle: a game of chess We asked one of our top Maths Oxbridge tutors for a puzzle he often challenges his students with.... Read more >
- Economics & Logic Puzzle: ticket touts We asked top Economics blogger Resham Kotecha to challenge us with a puzzle she often gives her students... Read more >
- Science Puzzle: experimenting with mice… We asked our Medicine graduate Jennifer to tell us a problem she often challenges the students she tutors... Read more >
- Course By Course Fact Sheet This helpful guide sets out by course what grades you need to get into Oxford or Cambridge, how many... Read more >
- The OA School’s Magazine: Issue 1 Last year, Oxbridge Applications launched its first ever Schools’ Magazine, packed full of university admissions news and resources... Read more >
- Download a Philosophy Personal Statement “Philosophy of the mind is my particular interest, especially the mind-body problem. I am attracted to the Dualist... Read more >
- Download a History & English Personal Statement “Evidently reading is a major passion and Graham Greene has become a particular favourite. His characters and the... Read more >
- Download an English Personal Statement “My background as a student at a European School, including yearly extended exchanges abroad, as well as my... Read more >
- Download an Economics Personal Statement 2 “Beyond this essential interest in the subject, I find that the range of skills employed to understand Economics... Read more >
- Download an Economics Personal Statement “I have a keen interest in current affairs but have recently been inspired by the deeper level of... Read more >
- Download a Law Personal Statement 2 “I have read The Origins of the Second World War by AJP Taylor and Kershaw’s Hitler… Through the... Read more >
- Download a Law Personal Statement “Participating in a Citizenship Foundation Mock Trial Competition during Year 8 initiated my interest in the law. It... Read more >
- Download a Medicine Personal Statement 2 “Further work experience has highlighted some of the demands and challenges of practising Medicine. Earlier this year, I was... Read more >
- Download a Medicine Personal Statement Read our sample Medicine personal statement for application tips. Read more >
- UKCAT mini mock paper & answers If you are applying for Medicine or Dentistry, many of the top UK universities will require you to... Read more >
- Classics and Arch & Anth Reading Lists If you’re applying for Classics, or for Archaeology and Anthropology, you’ll need to cover a range of topics... Read more >
- Geography and Earth Sciences Reading Lists Whether you’re looking at Geography, Earth Sciences (Geology), or Land Economy, you’ll need to read up on a... Read more >
- Modern Languages and Linguistics Reading Lists Applying for languages? It’s always difficult to narrow down what to read – whether on translation and linguistics... Read more >
- Oxbridge: the global impact Concerning UK university admissions, UCAS have released some interesting stats. They show university applications are soaring, but also,... Read more >
- The Great Collection of Past Oxbridge Interview Questions The great thing about an Oxbridge interview is that it lets you think about the subject you love... Read more >
- Admissions Tests: our tips as featured in the Independent Last year, the Independent asked us to provide some simple guidance for those taking admissions tests for Oxford... Read more >
- Your free E-book… “So You Want To Go To Oxbridge? Tell me about a banana…” If you are applying to Oxford or Cambridge, there are many somewhat daunting questions you may be asking... Read more >
- Social and Political Sciences Reading List We’ve brought together a wide-ranging bibliography to help those applying for Politics, Philosophy and Economics – whether as... Read more >
- Physical, Mathematical & Chemical Sciences Reading Lists If you’re applying for Physics, Natural Sciences (P), Maths, Computer Science, Chemistry, Materials Science or Engineering then reading outside... Read more >
- Medical & Biological Sciences Reading Lists Medicine and the whole range of Biological Sciences are highly competitive. To make sure you stand out from... Read more >
- How is the BMAT marked? The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is marked significantly differently from other Admissions Tests.To be successful in the BMAT... Read more >
- Are my grades good enough for Oxbridge? Grades are an area of much misunderstanding when it comes to Oxbridge. Many students ask themselves; “What grades... Read more >
"Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant, a great adventure with a purpose," wrote Michael Palin.
From global warming, to the impact of economic change on communities, geography can be a fascinating subject to study. But first, would-be geographers have to impress admissions tutors in an application.
In a personal statement for geography, tutors look for enthusiasm for the subject, experience and things that demonstrate you are a well-rounded person. There are some important things to include, and some equally important things to avoid.
What to include
Interests: Explain why you are interested in studying the course. "We want to know why on earth you want to do geography," says Peter Mackie, professor of human geography at Cardiff University.
"We're happy for students to express a specialist interest at this stage. You could say 'I'm interested in the Arab spring movement', or 'I'm interested in sustainability and climate change'. A better student can draw on interests outside of the classroom."
Experience: Next, admissions tutors want to hear about your experience. "You've told us about your interest, now we want you to prove it," says Mackie. "Show us the evidence."
"It could be a field trip, a holiday, or something you've seen in the local paper. If you've arranged geography seminars in school, or volunteered with Oxfam, let us know."
Personal qualities: Some tutors are particularly keen to see that you have compassion and empathy. "Students must show empathy with different people, places and environments," says Phil Barker, from Lancaster University's environment centre. "Things like volunteering can be good to talk about."
Other interests: In addition to your course-related experience, admissions tutors want to hear about your other interests. "We want people to be well rounded because all of our graduates go on to do diverse things," says Lucie Bilsbrough, admissions officer at the University of Leeds.
"So if you do ballet or you work at Mcdonalds, let us know. Because that can show that you're good at time management and that you have a life outside of geography."
Personality: It's also good to have an idea of what you want to gain from the course. "Say what you want to do once you leave university, even if you don't know in any detail," says Bilsbrough. "Because it looks good if you have an idea."
This can help to show tutors your personality. "I always advise applicants to try and find their own voice," says Bilsbrough. "Because you see a lot of applications that are very generic."
Communication: Basic grammar and spelling are expected. "The ability to communicate, both written and verbally, is important," says Mackie. "So students could talk about debating societies or a presentation they've given. You have to show you're willing to read and to work hard."
What to avoid doing
Lack of research: What should you avoid in a personal statement? First of all, make sure you apply for the right course. "We sometimes get people who have clearly applied for the wrong thing," says Barker.
"There are students who apply saying 'I'm really interested in a career in geo-physics'. And they've applied for a geography degree. Sometimes things with superficially similar names confuse people, so it's very important to do your research."
Forcing things together: Don't try and connect unrelated experiences to geography. "Some students try to tie unrelated experiences, such as working in Topshop or football coaching, to geography in very strange, weird and wonderful ways," says Mackie.
Lack of depth: It's best not to simply describe what you've done, but to evaluate and explain things. "People tend to be quite descriptive," says Barker. "You should try to be more evaluative to get depth into the statement."
Complicated: Don't try and tackle too many complicated ideas in not enough detail. "Sometimes we get people who try and write a lot about academic literature," says Barker. "But it's hard to do that well with a short amount of words, so it might not be right for the personal statement."
Too brief: But at the same time, make sure you use the space you've got. "Some applicants keep it very short," says Bilsbrough. "That makes you think, do you really want to do this and are you really committed?"
• If you have any questions about the course or application process, then get in touch with someone in the admissions team at the university you're applying for. "Sometimes people are shy about asking for help but it is our job to help them," says Bilsbrough, "so get in touch at any time."