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Christ Church takes 6-8 students each year altogether for Mathematics, Mathematics & Philsophy, or Mathematics & Statistics; there isn't a fixed quota for the individual courses. We don't cover degrees involving Computation. All the information you need to complete your application can be found on the Christ Church website and the Mathematics departmental website. There is also a facebook group dedicated to admissions at Christ Church, available here.
A word about our admissions process
A vast amount of nonsense is written about the Oxbridge admissions process. Any university that has more applicants than places to offer must clearly make a selection, and Oxford is no exception. We operate within a carefully designed agreed framework which is as fair and transparent as we can make it. Quite simply, we aim to offer places to the applicants who we think have the greatest potential to do well on our course, which offers an excellent but undoubtedly demanding training in Mathematics. We won't select on any other basis.
Nobody finds university level Mathematics easy. After all, many of the ideas and techniques we study have taken hundreds of years to develop! It takes a combination of intuition, imagination, technical ability and sheer persistence to do well in Mathematics, and these are the qualities we look for. We consider your record to date, detailed on your UCAS form, as well as what we can find out about your potential though our own test and interviews.
It is very important to remember that we are looking for what you can do, not what you can't! Our applicants come from a great variety of backgrounds and we try to assess their potential is by seeing what they are able to do in both familiar and unfamiliar situations, and giving them the opportunity to show their abilities. This doesn't mean that we won't ask hard questions, but it does mean that we'll ask fair ones: it would be pointless for us to do otherwise.
The admissions process is in two stages: an aptitude test, open to all candidates, followed by interviews for shortlisted candidates.
The written test
The written test is sat in schools and test centres in the autumn of each year. A sample can be seen on the Mathematics departmental website. The questions assume a level of mathematical training broadly equivalent to the core A-level modules C1 and C2 (a syllabus is on the website). Some parts of the questions test technical facility; others test for imagination and ingenuity faced with an unfamiliar problem.
We cannot interview all applicants in the time available, so we shortlist a proportion (still much larger than the number of places available). We use the information from the test (the total score, and how it is made up) together with all the details of your UCAS test and information about school background.
Shortlisted applicants are asked to come to Oxford for interviews by at least two colleges (there are separate arrangements for some overseas candidates). The precise format of the interviews varies from college to
college. At Christ Church, all shortlisted applicants have two interviews in Christ Church, as well as the second-college interview(s). Our interviews last for about 25 minutes, and are largely mathematical in nature. We may ask you to tell us about an area of mathematics you have studied; we may look in detail at a point of technique, or curve sketching; we may ask you `puzzle' type questions; we may give you a mathematical definition and ask you to work out some of its consequences. As stated above, we are trying to see how you think when you do Mathematics, and we may ask you to work at the board and to talk us through your thought processes.
After the interviews
After all the interviews, the individual colleges prepare a list of the applicants they think are worth a place. Then, all the colleges acting together draw up a list of offers to be made, and these offers are sent out by college Admissions Offices. There is a very efficient and effective system for transferring applications between colleges so that if your first choice college is oversubscribed but you are definitely worth a place, one can be found at another college.
What preparation can I do?
We very much don't want applicants to feel they need special training for our admissions. The main thing is that you do mathematics, lots of it, and that you find it interesting. We advise you to do lots of problems, on and near your syllabus, so that you really understand the mathematics you are learning. This doesn't mean you shouldn't also read any of the excellent and interesting books about famous mathematical subjects such as Fermat's Last Theorem, but although these books are fascinating and inspirational, the maths they cover is pretty difficult. After all, even in Oxford only a handful of people properly understand Andrew Wiles's proof!
If you are interested in finding out about our current students, and their opinions on life at Christ Church, there are three profiles that you can read by clicking here.
Updated: Wednesday 12th May 2010 9:39