On Saturday 18th May 2019, we were delighted to welcome 61 Year 12 students from state schools across the UK.
The day began with a talk about Oxford admissions given by Alexander Lawrence from the college’s Access and Outreach team. Afterwards, Mathematics tutors Dr David Seifert and Dr Tom Crawford discussed the MAT test, which is an important part of the application process for candidates wishing to study Mathematics and joint schools at Oxford. After going over a few questions from the 2018 MAT paper, the tutors demonstrated what an admissions interview in Mathematics might be like by working through a typical interview question with a brave volunteer. The consensus appeared to be that it wasn’t nearly as scary as people had imagined!
After lunch in the college’s main dining hall, the afternoon was filled with academic taster sessions, a tour of St John’s College, and a tour of the wonderful Andrew Wiles building, home to Oxford’s Mathematical Institute. Dr David Seifert’s session on “Graph theory and the game of Hex” explored some fundamental ideas in graph theory and showed how they can be used to prove surprising facts about colourings of triangles and that there can be no draws in the game of Hex. Dr Tom Crawford’s session on “Maths vs. Sport” was an interactive take on the various ways one can think mathematically about penalty kicks, marathons and other areas of sport. Both sessions were very popular with the participants.
Before heading home, the participants had the opportunity, over tea and cake, to talk to current St John’s undergraduates and tutors and ask further questions about studying Mathematics at Oxford.
Many thanks to everyone involved for making the Maths Study Day such an informative, engaging and enjoyable event.
What the participants thought:
- “I particularly benefited from the taster seminars as they provided a greater breadth to my mathematical knowledge, as well as more ways to approach problems.”
- “I definitely know more about what to put in my personal statement, such as my passion for the subject and an actual record of my further study.”
- “I especially benefited from the mock interview as it gave me greater confidence in myself.”