Ask @AskOUMSSA:

What about admission to the course PPE?

The official Oxford website for PPE (https://www.ppe.ox.ac.uk/applying-for-ppe) states that "History and Mathematics are useful backgrounds, but are not essential". I would refer you to the official course statistics (https://www.ppe.ox.ac.uk/course-information) if you want a detailed breakdown of how many successful applicants did not take Maths at A-Level.
Overall, H2 Maths is not a must to get in! Although it would be good to demonstrate some mathematical aptitude in your personal statement or interview, to make up for not having taken it.

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+1 answer in: “Will students without A LEVEL maths(H2) be at a disadvantage during the application process or throught the duration of the course”

What is PPE like?Is there a lot of Maths?How competitive is it to get in?

The is some Math involved in various aspect of the course. Such as basic calculus used in introductory economics.
The competitiveness varies across the years. But that should not stop you from applying as I believe many of us who are currently studying in Oxford still think we got in by chance:)

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Do I apply to Oxford with my predicted grades from BT2/Prelims? Or can I apply with my A Level results?

It depends on your circumstances. If you want to matriculate next year, you would have to get your JC to provide the University with your predicted grade because Oxford's application deadline is before the release of your A level results (assuming you are in JC2 this year). However, if you have your final A levels result when you are submitting your application, you would need to use your A levels result.

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How is the Norwegian Air direct flight from Sg to London, in terms of reliability, service, etc.?

Hi there,
I personally have not flew with Norwegian but I have heard good things about it. However, I think it is important to note that Norwegian lands in Gatwick not heathrow which means that it will take slightly longer to reach oxford. Additionally, you might want to check that the baggage allowance that they provide is sufficient for your needs.
Hope that helps:)

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How will the admissions results be sent to us?

on the day of release, the college will probably email you (since we’re international students)! some may send an email and a hard copy letter which will take more time to arrive. my college actually sent me *only* a letter, but i emailed them after not receiving anything for almost the whole day, and they emailed me a scan of the letter the next day!
it’s best to check your email throughout the day (remember that the uk is 8 hours behind singapore now), and contact the college at the end of the day if you don’t receive anything by then. all the best! :)

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what's the experience like if you fly to oxford for your interviews?

You'll get to stay in the college you're interviewing at for free for the duration of the interviews, and meals will be provided. When you arrive, you'll check into your room, and be able to check when your interviews are - usually posted on a noticeboard at the entrance or in the JCR (the common room for undergraduates). It's up to you whether or not you want to stay in and prepare, but the current students at the college usually organise activities in the evenings just for everyone to get to know each other better and relieve some stress! After interviewing at your college, you may be asked to stick around for interviews at other colleges - details of these will be posted on the same noticeboards, or you may be allowed to leave. Hence, the duration of your stay and even number of interviews you'll have is not fixed!

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Is it feasible to sit in on lectures for another course while studying at Oxford, and thus be able to substantially learn material from this other course? (For example, an engineering student sitting in for physics lessons)

difficult for science subjects - lectures tend to take place in the morning and are compulsory, so you’d end up missing core content on your own subject if you ran to another faculty’s lectures. there may be some overlap in places but not likely. you could get notes from friends, but the timetable is designed for you to be immersed in your own course.

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Is it possible to officially take up a subject (e.g. engineering science), while at the same time also go for the lectures, procure notes and study for another subject (e.g. computer science)? Do the timetables allow?

technically, you can, but it’s harder to do so for science subjects since lectures are compulsory and tend to all take place in the morning - plus practicals can take away half a day. it may be easier for humanities students since lectures aren’t compulsory and there are fewer contact hours. schedules aside though, each subject is meant to be equally challenging and time-consuming, so timetables are designed for you to focus on one (your own) subject. you’ll also have to ask friends to get notes for you if you want to “study” another subject on the side. it’s certainly possible with plenty of planning and effort, but certainly not recommended as each course is very rigorous on its own.

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Hi, sorry if this has been asked before. What are the most popular methods of paying university fees to colleges among SGeans? What is the most convenient method?

it's most probably a bank transfer to the college! some even brought cheques to pass to the college office directly :)
if you're a scholar, the college will bill your scholarship provider directly after you give them the details.

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how does doing your laundry work in oxford?

all college accommodation buildings will have a laundry room with washers and dryers. payment depends on your college - some use laundry tokens you buy, others a stored value laundry card you can top up, and in some others you tap your Bod card and they'll charge the laundry fees to your battels (a termly bill from the college for your expenses on accommodation, college food etc). you'll have to buy your own laundry detergent. if you want to dry-clean formal wear or things like jackets, there are a few dry cleaners around town too!

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Do Singaporeans generally do really well in exams? Is there a lot of pressure?

it's hard to answer this question definitively since we have a diverse singaporean community studying a large variety of subjects. but in general, the vast majority are fine academically (not failing, not floundering, and doing reasonably well). for most of us our concern is doing the best we can and not so much worrying about failing out (not very common across the uni). it's not so much a question of nationality, but that we generally choose to work hard, and support each other in various ways during the academic year. naturally work is stressful and difficult, but how intense you want your experience to be is really up to you, and you can choose to take it really seriously or not care very much. so it does depend on the individual, and where your priorities are!

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how feasible is it to cook your own meals almost every day? is it common at oxford?

it really depends on whether your college accommodation has cooking facilities, and whether or not you'll have to compete with many others to use them. people tend not to cook everyday because college hall food is easy to get and relatively affordable, and cooking can be very time-consuming/tiring especially when there's a lot of work to be done, plus there are many places to eat out. cooking is more common for people who live out of college!

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What happens if we fall sick in Oxford? Is there a clinic, and how do we get medicine? Is it expensive?

If it's something not life-threatening, like a flu, the normal course of action is to see your college nurse, who may then refer you to a GP who can prescribe medicine if needed. Each college tends to have an assigned GP office, so if your college nurse isn't in, you can give them a ring and arrange a slot. Walk-ins aren't processed as fast as in SG, so it definitely helps to call before you go down. If there's an emergency or something that requires immediate action, however, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington can see to your needs. The NHS provision there means that we don't have to pay to see the GP, and only have to pay for medicines if prescribed any.
Boots on Cornmarket Street has a good pharmacy section and staff who can help you get medicine, whether a prescription, or more common over-the-counter medicines like Panadol. They do vaccinations as well if you need anything extra. Your college nurse can also answer any queries you may have about your health in general.

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where do people travel during the vacations? is it expensive?

Most frequently Europe because of proximity, and pretty much every single major country there, be it Western or Eastern or Southern Europe, and Scandinavian countries. Not as common is the US, but its relative accessibility (compared to flying from SG) also makes it worth checking out.
How expensive your travels are depends on your taste, but travelling can be really affordable if you're willing to fly budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet - they have many routes and fares can be super affordable, especially if you fly early in the mornings/late at night! Renting an Airbnb and splitting with friends, or staying in a hostel, can also cut costs by a lot. It all depends on how you travel, but it's possible to do so on a budget with some resourcefulness and good planning. Seniors who have travelled extensively may have some good advice if you're looking for specific information on bookings/a particular country, so don't be afraid to ask around!

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do most singaporeans head back home during the holidays? what are the most common reasons for not doing so?

More people head home over the winter vacation in Dec than over the Easter break, although some also choose to stay on for the whole academic year. Some choose to stay on for internships in London, or in more cases, travel around Europe, which can be really affordable and convenient. The nice weather in the spring also makes it a great time to travel in general! (less so in winter, but definitely still feasible.) Depending on your college, however, they may or may not let you keep your room over the whole vacation, so that can also influence people's movement/whereabouts over the vac.
Pretty much everyone leaves for home over the summer, when we get a 3 month plus break to spend time with family or work in Singapore. Otherwise, how often you choose to go home during the academic year is up to you - some go back every single time, some go back once in either winter or spring, and some stay on for the whole nine months. It's really up to you, and what you envision doing during your breaks :)

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What's a recommended packing list for clothes?

It's good to have a good range of long trousers, tops, and a mix of warm clothes (e.g. sweater, windbreaker, jacket) to layer depending on the temperatures.
You'll also need the components of the sub fusc (academic dress) - while the gown and mortar board are bought in Oxford, you'll need the staples, like a suit for guys (check the Oxford website for a guide on this). It's also good to have some more formal clothes (smart casual and black tie) in case you go for formal dinners or balls.
If you're not coming home at all during the year, it'll also be useful to have lighter jackets and summer clothes for the hotter months when people start wearing shorts and T-shirts.

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What happens during orientation week? Is it somewhat similar to the ones held in Singapore schools?

It's pretty different in that it's not as game-heavy. The Brits aren't actually big on orientation games, so the week will be filled with useful talks about your college and subject, library inductions, chances to mingle with your college mates, dinners with your college family and subject mates, and meetings with your tutors to say hi. There are clubbing events at night but these are usually optional. Admin matters like setting up wifi, getting your Bod card (the Oxford ID card) and registration will also be sorted out!

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Hi I know this has been asked before, but am still confused - so can we still bring and use rice cookers "secretly"? Otherwise, what are alternatives, because I really need my rice! I'll be at St John's :)

Yes it's possible! It's pretty useful to have one since UK rice just isn't the same (i.e. not as nice haha). But whether or not you'll have to hide it depends on your college - the JCR handbook or college guide tends to have explicit rules on their use in each college - so if your college is strict, you'll probably need an opaque bag/box to store it in the recesses of your cupboard. I'm not sure about John's specifically, but all in all, owning one isn't an issue :)

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What usually happens at the freshers' chalet?

The chalet is filled with both exciting and chill activities that will get you acquainted with fellow freshers and some seniors! We'll split you all into smaller orientation groups (OGs), with whom you'll be spending the most time, on activities such as games and meals! There'll also be ample free and easy time to mingle generally and make friends :) more details coming soon, so keep a lookout in the freshers' FB group!

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What are some good societies to join at Oxford?

There are so many societies (really, an unbelievable number) that none of them can really be ranked as "good" - it all depends on what you're interested in! Sports at every level of proficiency, music groups, special interest groups (e.g. Pokemon Society) and charity groups are abundant. You can check them out at the Freshers' Fair, where pretty much every university club will have a booth and sign-up sheets. Of course, you can always join OUMSSA officially and attend our events, for a start :)

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