Tony – Engineering Science
What do you like best about your course?
Engineering at Oxford is one very broad subject. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to specialise in, so a general course was the best decision for me at the time. I’ve ended up liking maths, which is something I never thought would have happened before I started! I think the course really shines through when you do the lab work prepared for you; it’s very tailored to the subjects you are learning about. The labs are also fantastically well done so the theory is very evident when you complete the lab and everything fits together a bit better after you get to see it in a ‘real’ setting.
How is your subject taught at Oxford?
On average we have about eight or nine lectures per week (two every day with the exception of Wednesday) and then labs on Thursday or Friday. In first year we had labs once a week and on that day, for example on a Friday, we would have a full day with lectures from 9:00am till 11:00am and then labs from 11:00am till 5:00pm, including an hour for lunch.
The main work you have to complete is problem sheets. There is one problem sheet for a tutorial and it will cover four lectures. In a week you would usually have two tutorials, and these will typically be alongside the lectures for the topic. Problem sheets are a good way to go over anything you didn’t understand with your tutors. Alongside this will be labs, which are a great way to show how the theory you have learnt can be applied to real life. For example in first year we learnt about resonance and how radio signals can be transmitted and received, and this led to us building a fully working radio from the component parts of resistors, capacitors, etc.
What advice would you give potential applicants interested in studying your subject?
I think the most important quality tutors are looking for is how well you would do in a tutorial setting. It goes without saying that you should have a passion for the subject. It is by no means an easy degree, so you will need that motivation to help you through the work. Once you get to the interview stage the tutors are looking at how you respond to information and how you engage with the questions they are asking. Don’t focus too much on getting everything right but focus on showing that you can learn quickly. I would also read a little bit around the subject; whilst the books I read didn’t help me specifically with Oxford, the maths in it kept me sharp and I ended up answering all of the questions in an interview at another university correctly.
Why did you choose St Edmund Hall?
I chose Teddy Hall because it was a very central location and the people I’d met from here were all fantastic. There is a great ‘Hall spirit’ and in first year everyone lives really close together so you bond immensely well with your year. It’s a very sporty college and there is a lot of scope for being involved with sports, even on a college level.
What is life like as a student here?
Life as a Teddy Hall student is very eclectic. There are lots of people who can have a great social life, play sport or music, and also get very good grades. If you are less efficient with your time, like me, then you are going to have to prioritise certain things. However, there are so many things going on in College that require little commitment, so don’t stress – there will always be a niche of people who love the same things as you.
What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in at Oxford?
I have done a lot of work with OUSU RAG (Oxford University Student Union’s Raise And Give) which is the charity fundraising branch of the student union, and I was also the College Charities’ Officer for the undergraduates last year. I’ve really enjoyed helping out with RAG and found it so rewarding. I’ve helped with various fundraisers, from blind dates to barbecues, and I also organised the annual RAG Ball in November. If you want to continue doing something, or if you want to start doing something, or if you want to do nothing but study, it will all be here for you at this university.