LUMINA

A FREE COURSE FOR
YEAR 12 STUDENTS
CONSIDERING OXBRIDGE

Harrow School,
02 - 04 July 2018

 

LATEST NEWS

DEC 15 2017

News
Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences

Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences

The Oxford and Cambridge student conferences are held at seven venues across the UK throughout March. There are eight conferences in total (the one in Surrey runs twice) and each promises "to provide up-to-date information on the application and admissions procedure" as well as "an insight into student life". Like Lumina, they're completely free and aimed at Year 12 students. Alongside formal presentations on topics such as course choices, student finance and interviews, admissions tutors, academic staff and current undergraduates will be available to share their insider info on both institutions. Those considering Lumina might be interested in the Surrey ones, which take place at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 March from 9am to 3.30pm. A member of staff at your school must make your booking, so speak to your Head of Sixth Form or equivalent if you think you might be interested. You'll need an e-ticket to attend.

Visit www.oxfordandcambridgeoutreach.co.uk/student-conference/introduction for more information, including some videos of last year's events.

DEC 14 2017

News
UNIQ Summer Schools

UNIQ Summer Schools

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

UNIQ is a free residential summer school programme for year 12 students in UK state schools and colleges.

The programme is aimed at students who have done well in their GCSEs, with preference given to applicants from low socio-economic backgrounds and/or from areas with low progression to higher education. For full details and to register your interest, please see the UNIQ website.

OCT 31 2017

News
UNIV Study Days

UNIV Study Days

Univ Study Days

Dates for 2018 will be on the website this Autumn.

Please check details via the college website

OCT 02 2017

News
Student's Perspective of Life at Oxford

Student's Perspective of Life at Oxford

Want to read a student's personal perspective of life at Oxford?

Well, why not take a look at a blog written by Kate Tuohy who has just completed her English Literature and Language degree. The blog is filled with current information on personal statements, entrance exams and interviews.She has also created an Instagram page thatoxfordgirl under 'Matilda Rose'.

Please visit by clicking here

JUL 10 2017

News
Lumina 2017 round-up

Lumina 2017 round-up

Lumina 2017 took place during the week 3 - 7 July, inducting 190 students into the process of Oxbridge applications.

Speakers over the week included Dr Michael Sutherland, Corpus Christi, Cambridge and Dr Sandra Campbell, St John's College, Oxford.

The students thoroughly enjoyed trips to both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, as well as learning the details of UCAS applications and interview techniques.

Current undergraduates supported the course as Lumina staff members, advising future Oxbridge students of the application process and giving their thoughts on university life, courses and of their own experiences.

Please click here for 'Applying to Oxford or Cambridge', click here for 'Plan of Medic Specific Workshop', click here for 'Why Choose Cambridge' and click here for 'Humanities at Oxford and Cambridge'

 

JUN 27 2017

News
Life at Oxbridge

Life at Oxbridge

More personal thoughts on the undergraduates life at Oxford and Cambridge:

The colleges themselves are impressive to look around. A lot of them have beautiful grounds you can walk through, such as Magdalen deer parks and Christchurch meadows. The university parks are also a nice place to visit - during term time there will often be Quidditch training taking place here, which is amusing to watch. Another outdoor place worth visiting is the Botanic gardens - these are one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world, containing thousands of different plants. There's a river running along one side of the gardens, which you can punt down on a sunny day. 

Cambridge is a vibrant place at all times of the year. Whether you're interested in broadening your cultural understanding by wandering around the impressive-looking Fitzwilliam Museum, hitting up the clubs on a night out, or simply by relaxing on a walk along Grantchester Meadows away from the city centre, there is something for everyone. Each term there are dozens and dozens of student theatre and/or film productions to go and see (or get involved with), hundreds of talks on topics as varied as space travel, the power of the press, and baking, and opportunities to get involved with sport at every level – people swear by ultimate Frisbee just as much as the famous rowing!

JUN 20 2017

News
Oxbridge Life

Oxbridge Life

Things to do in Oxford and Cambridge according to our student helpers.

Oxford is a beautiful city, regardless of the university's status and it is a wonderful place to live and study in. As an old city, you can see buildings everywhere you look that date back hundreds of years, the history of which is fascinating. The many parks are great to visit, whether that be Christchurch Meadow with the Thames running throug it or University Parks, home of many university sports fields, which have played host to international level sport in the past. Punting is a truly Oxbridge pastime, and in either city it is a terrific way to spend an afternoon punting (or better, being punted!) down the Thames, Cherwell or the Cam and admiring the stunning scenery.

The best part of Cambridge, for me, is the formal dinners. You really know you're at Cambridge when you attend a formal dinner, with good wine and food (it's pretty cheap too), gowns and listening to someone read a Latin prayer nobody understands. After the dinner, we often end up in Cindies, everyone's favourite Cambridge club. It's not the best club (you had better like Disney theme tunes), but it's definitely the most fun. We end the night at the Van of Life for food. We may walk or punt down to Grantchester on the river. Here, there is a choice of either the famous outside tearoom or one of the pubs for lunch. Cambridge certainly is more historical than most other universities, and whilst there isn't the best nightlife, it's where I've made some of my best friends, and where I've had some of the best experiences and funniest nights out in my life.

JUN 15 2017

News
Information Evening 2017

Information Evening 2017

Information Evening

Wow! Thank you to everyone who came along to the Lumina Information Evening last night, what a turnout! We hope you found the event useful and informative.

For anyone who was unable to attend the event and those who wish to check any detail they may have missed, please click here for the powerpoint presentation.

We look forward to welcoming all registered students to the Lumina Course starting Monday 3rd July

JUN 13 2017

News
Cambridge College Profiles S-Z

Cambridge College Profiles S-Z

And not to forget Cambridge:

St Catharine’s: Affectionately known as Catz and very near the centre of Cambridge. Has friendly rivalries with Queens’ and Robinson and is the only college with its own hockey astroturf. Famous alumni include Jeremy Paxman, Ian McKellen and Ben Miller. It has the oldest literary society in Cambridge and almost became part of King’s  College in the late 19th century.

St John’s: Christ’s College’s big brother – both have the same founder, but St John’s has eleven courts, the most of any Oxbridge college. It’s the second wealthiest college after Trinity so travel and research grants are accessible. Its entrance is located near the centre of town, but it stretches all the way out to the west of Cambridge. It has a strong sporting history and extensive playing fields. Among its alumni are several of those intimately involved in the abolition of the slave trade such as William Wilberforce and Thomas Gisborne. More recent alumni include Cecil Beaton and Douglas Adams. It also has a world famous choir.

Selwyn: Often thought of as one of the friendliest colleges it has some lovely gardens and very beautiful old buildings too. Like Robinson, it’s out to the west so slightly out of the way, but right beside the Sidgwick site for many Arts faculties. Alumni include comedians Clive Anderson and Hugh Laurie, and author Robert Harris. While most colleges have a May Ball (a black tie ball at the end of the year), Selwyn has an annual Winter Ball – the Selwyn Snowball.

Sidney Sussex: Very centrally located and directly opposite Sainsbury’s, it is a smaller college with about 350 undergraduates. Former members include Oliver Cromwell (whose head is buried under the chapel), playwright Alan Bennett and Countdown presenter Carol Vorderman. It has a large amount of garden space despite its small size, but being so central means lots of encounters with tourists and shoppers.

Trinity: One of the largest and most famous Oxbridge colleges. Trinity alumni have won more than a third of the total number of Nobel Prizes won by Cambridge graduates. The alumni themselves include Isaac Newton, six British prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and many more. It’s situated beside St John’s , has some fantastic green spaces and is home to the famous Wren library. Being the largest college, you may not get to know everyone as easily as some of the others, but it does have the most famous May Ball - ranked as the world’s third best party, according to Vanity Fair.

Trinity Hall: A small college with a great location near the centre of Cambridge. With a historic reputation in Law, it’s generally an academically strong college. Stephen Hawking, journalist Andrew Marr and actress Rachel Weisz are all alumni. Some of the cheapest accommodation in Cambridge and one of the best mixes of students. It can be mistaken for its larger more famous neighbour.

JUN 13 2017

News
Oxford College Profiles S-Z

Oxford College Profiles S-Z

Now for the last of our college profiles for Oxford:

St Anne’s: The college is adjacent to the University Parks, the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and the University Science Area, and is a five-minute walk from the city centre. St Anne’s is modern, open and committed to opportunity, and keen to reach out to students from around the world, involving all students in college life. (Helen Fielding, Novelist and Sister Wendy Beckett)

St Catherine’s: St Catherine's College offers a wide range of subjects with a roughly even split between science and arts. The college is proud of its place at the forefront of innovation, academic research and contemporary culture, and counts ten Nobel Prize winners amongst its current and former members. Low, modern buildings and restful, open spaces give the college a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. (Benazir Bhutto and Matthew Pinsent)

St Edmund: The college has a long tradition in drama, music, the arts and journalism. A strong artistic community is built around the John Oldham Drama Society, vibrant and expanding musical activities led by the recently appointed Director of Music, and termly creative writing workshops coordinated by tutors in English. (Terry Jones, Emma Kennedy)

St Hilda’s: At St Hilda’s students relax in the tranquil beauty of the college’s riverside site, with easy access to the centre of town, the University Sports Complex, and the lively culture of East Oxford. Founded in 1893 as a women’s college, St Hilda’s is now a mixed college with both men and women Fellows and students, both graduate and undergraduate. (Bettany Hughes and Zeinab Badawi)

St Hugh’s: St Hugh’s College is situated about ten minutes’ walk from the city centre among spacious and beautiful gardens. Known for its friendly and informal atmosphere, St Hugh's welcomes a diverse community from all over the world. (Theresa May and Ruth Lawrence)

St John’s: Attracting students from a wide range of backgrounds, St John's College enjoys a lively, stimulating and supportive atmosphere. The college is centrally located and very close to the Bodleian and Taylor Institution libraries, the Mathematics Institute and the Science Area. (Tony Blair and Kingsley Amis)

St Peter’s: St Peter’s occupies a compact site in the centre of Oxford, within a few minutes’ walk of the Bodleian Library and close to many University departments. The college is an inclusive, tolerant and open academic community which values the considerable contribution made by all its members. (Hugh Dancy, Ken Loach)

Somerville: A relaxed and friendly college, Somerville is free of religious affiliation, with students coming from many different cultural backgrounds. Somerville has recently enjoyed success on University Challenge disproportionate to the college's size. It is also one of the only Oxbridge colleges where students (as opposed to just fellows) can walk on the grass! (Margaret Thatcher and Vera Brittain)

Trinity: Trinity College is located within the heart of the City of Oxford. Its spacious site, with exceptionally beautiful gardens and buildings, provides an ideal setting for academic success. The college is well-equipped for music, with a sound-proofed practice room and pianos. The college has very active choral and orchestral groups who give regular performances. (Norris McWhirter and Anthony Crossland)

University: Endowed in 1249, University College has a claim to be Oxford’s oldest college. It combines academic excellence with an atmosphere that is friendly, relaxed and welcoming. The college's students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and from over 35 different countries. Distinguished alumni include Presidents Bill Clinton (USA) and Festus Mogae (Botswana), Prime Ministers Clement Attlee (UK), Bob Hawke (Australia) and Kofe Abrefa Busia (Ghana), Stephen Hawking (physicist) Shelley (poet) and Roz Savage, the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

 

JUN 05 2017

News
Cambridge University Colleges

Cambridge University Colleges

And now for our reviews on Cambridge Colleges from Magdalene to Robinson:

Magdalene: Pronounced ‘mawdlin’, its most famous alumnus is Samuel Pepys. One of the smallest Cambridge colleges. Offers an atmospheric candlelit ‘formal hall’ (formal meal) every evening and was the last all male Oxbridge college to admit women. It’s not far from the centre of town and only 5 minutes from Sainsbury’s.

Murray Edwards: A female only college formerly known as New Hall. Founded in the 1950s. It has a relaxed atmosphere and is home to the largest collection of women’s art in Europe. It’s also known for good pastoral support, sports grounds on site and you’ll get fit cycling up the hill to it. Alumni include actress Tilda Swinton and TV host Claudia Winkleman.

Newnham: Another female only college located opposite the Sidgwick site where most of the Arts faculties are. Attractive buildings and surroundings with a good drama studio and society. Accommodation is provided on-site for all years of study and alumni include actress Emma Thompson, Pulitzer Prize Winner Silvia Plath, MP Diane Abbott and presenter Clare Balding. Has the second longest continuous indoor corridor in Europe.

Pembroke: The third oldest college and one of the larger. In 2013 and 2014, it was ranked as the second most academic college in Cambridge. Has a famous dramatic society – the Pembroke Players – with alumni such as comedian Eric Idle (Monty Python), author Clive James and Bill Oddie. Offers college-owned accommodation for all three or four years of undergraduate study and is right in the middle of Cambidge. Its bowling green is reputed to be the oldest in continual use in Europe.

Peterhouse: The oldest college and one of the smallest. Lots of tradition and very atmospheric. Centrally located but slightly off the beaten track so convenient but with good privacy. In the late 20th century, acquired a Conservative association, with Michael Howard and Michael Portillo both being alumni, along with Colin Greenwood of Radiohead.

Queens’: Home to the famous Mathematical Bridge, it spans the River on the west side of Cambridge. One of the oldest and largest colleges in Cambridge, with much iconic architecture as well as the more modern Cripps Court. It’s known for being one of the more relaxed and open colleges, although not even fellows may walk on the grass. Stephen Fry went here.

Robinson: A modern college near to the University Library to the north-west of the centre. Known for its inter-year socialising and recent prowess in hockey. Notable alumni include Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, comedian Robert Webb and TV presenter Konnie Huq. It’s slightly out of town so a little on the quiet side.

JUN 05 2017

News
Colleges of Oxford

Colleges of Oxford

Moving on through our Oxford Colleges, we now list them from Magdalen to Queen's:

Magdalen: Magdalen College (pronounced “mawd-lin”) was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete. Its world-famous choir sings from the top of Magdalen Tower each May Day morning at 6am. The college has surprisingly large grounds for its position within Oxford city centre, including The Grove, home to a heard of fallow deer. Notable alumini include Erwin Schrödinger, Oscar Wilde and Ivor Novello. 

Mansfield: The college was orginally founded in Birmingham as Spring Hill College in 1838, but moved to Oxford to become Mansfield College in 1886. There are regular student drama productions and Mansfield is generally considered to be one of the most active colleges for student journalism at Oxford. The college has a lively music community, with concerts held throughout the academic year. Previous attendees include Chris Bryant, Labour MP, and Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group.

Merton: Merton College, the first fully self-governing College in the University, was founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton, sometime Chancellor of England and later Bishop of Rochester. Mob Quad, its construction started in 1288, is claimed to be the oldest quadrangle of any Oxford or Cambridge college. JRR Tolkien held the post of Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, and other notable alumni include TS Eliot and Andrew Wiles. Merton has often ranked in one of the top three positions in the Norrington Table (annual ranking of colleges according to undergraduate degree results), making it the most academically successful college of the last twenty years.

New College: Despite its misleading name, New College was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, about 200 years after the University came into existence. It is one of the largest, most famous and architecturally striking colleges, with beautiful gardens, and a variety of modern and old buildings. It is well renowned for its Chapel and world-famous choir. Alumni include Hugh Grant, Tony Benn, and Rick Stein. Its cloisters will be familiar to fans of Harry Potter as they feature in the fourth movie in the franchise. 

Oriel: The college has beautiful historic buildings dating from the 14th to the 20th Century. It is centrally located, only minutes away from the Bodleian library, with the lodge quietly situated just off Oxford's High Street. There is very good mixed chapel choir and an active music society who arrange termly concerts. The calendar of events also features performances by music and choral scholars and visiting musicians. Notable alumini are Eric Foner, American Historian, and John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough.

Pembroke: Pembroke was founded in 1624 by King James I of England/VI of Scotland. It was named after William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlain and then Chancellor of the University. It is a warm, inclusive and welcoming community, conveniently located in a peaceful setting in the centre of Oxford, and graduates play a significant role in the college's activities. Notable attendees were Michael Heseltine and Oz Clarke, TV Presenter.

The Queen’s College: It was originally founded by Robert de Eglesfield in 1341, a chaplain in the household of Queen Philippa, who named it in her honour.  Queen’s is centrally situated on the High Street, and is distinguished by its predominantly neoclassical architecture, which includes buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. The College has possibly the finest college library in Oxford, a magnificent hall and impressive chapel. Previous students include Rowan Atkinson and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

 

 

JUN 02 2017

News
Admissions Tests: Know Your Stuff

Admissions Tests: Know Your Stuff

Know your BMAT from your ELAT, your ILAT and your MLAT? If not - don’t worry: read on to find out what these mysterious acronyms could mean for you…

When assessing a candidate’s suitability, some Oxbridge courses use admissions tests to supplement their UCAS form and interview – more so Oxford (though don’t forget that Cambridge looks more closely at the UMS scores from your AS modules). Oxford admissions tests include the Classics Admissions Test (CAT), required for Classics and courses that include Classics; the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT), required for English and courses that include English; the History Aptitude Test (HAT), required for History and courses that include History; the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT); the Oriental Languages Admissions Test (OLAT); and the Philosophy Test. In the scientific disciplines, there is the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT), the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) and the BMAT. Oxford also have a Thinking Skills Assessment test which is required for a range of subjects. Go here to find out more about Oxford’s admissions tests.

At Cambridge, different colleges take difference approaches: their Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), for example, which evaluates critical thinking and problem solving, may be used in applications for Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, History, Human Social and Political Sciences, Land Economy, Natural Sciences, and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, but this is not always the case. Other notable Cambridge admissions tests include the BMAT, which is required by all applicants wishing to study Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; the Cambridge Law Test, which is required by most colleges for Law applicants; and Sixth Term Examinations Papers (STEP) in Mathematics, which are used as part of almost all conditional offers for Mathematics, Computer Science with Mathematics, and Mathematics with Physics (and requested by some colleges for subjects such as Computer Science, Economics, Engineering and Natural Sciences). Go here to find out more about Cambridge’s admissions tests.

When considering your course, it’s worth exploring the links in this post so that you know what might be involved. The Admissions Testing Service’s  website is also very helpful in finding out more information.

MAY 30 2017

News
Oxford Colleges

Oxford Colleges

As with our reviews on Cambridge Colleges here follows our reviews on Oxford Colleges from Exeter College to Lincoln College.

Exeter:

located on Turl Street in the centre of Oxford, Exeter College was originally founded in 1314 by Devon-born Walter de StapeldonBishop of Exeter. As one of the smaller Oxford Colleges, Exeter has a reputation for having a close-knit student body. Exeter College is the real life basis for the fictional Jordan College in Philip Pullman's novel trilogy His Dark Materials. Other famous alumni include J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Burton and Alan Bennett.

Hertford:

Hertford College is situated directly opposite the main gate to the Bodleian Library, and is known for its iconic bridge, the Bridge of Sighs. Hertford was the first college to go completely co-educational in 1974. It has one of the most active music societies of any Oxford college. Notable alumni include Fiona Bruce, Evelyn Waugh and William Tyndale.

Jesus:

Founded in 1571 by Elizabeth I, Jesus College is located in the centre of Oxford and educates around 475 students. Jesus College was founded at the request of a Welshman, (Dr Hugh Price, Treasurer of St David's Cathedral) and continues to maintain strong links with Wales. Alumni include T.E Lawrence and former Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Keble:

Keble is one of the larger colleges of the University of Oxford, and was built in 1879 in a controversial red brick. A healthy rivalry between St John's and Keble remains to this day, having been started by the founding of a secret society that required the removal of a brick from Keble for admittance, the hope being that the college would be completely demolished. Alumni include Imran Khan and Ed Balls.

Lady Margaret Hall:

The beautiful Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) was the first women's college in Oxford and opened in 1879. It is named after Lady Margaret Beaufort, who founded the Tudor dynasty and was a famous patron of scholar and learning. LMH has seen many influential women pass through its doors: the former Prime Minister of Pakistan; Benazir Bhutto, the 1st woman President of the British Medical Association; Dame Josephine Barnes, and former Director General of M15; Baroness Manningham-Buller.

Lincoln:

Lincoln College, situated on Turl Street, was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, then Bishop of Lincoln. It is the ninth oldest of Oxford University's colleges and one of the best preserved of the medieval colleges. Their undergraduate community may be the smallest, but any Lincolnite will lay strong claims to them being the friendliest as a result. Notable alumni include John RadcliffeJohn le Carré, and Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

MAY 30 2017

News
Cambridge Colleges

Cambridge Colleges

Following on in our College profiles, please find short reviews on Girton College to King's.

Girton College: The furthest college out of town, so a 10 to 15 minute cycle in the mornings is to be expected. Great library and an indoor heated swimming pool among its extensive sports facilities. Has something of a reputation for maintaining student equality and a strong community feel.

Gonville and Caius: Usually referred to simply as Caius (said ‘keys’). The fourth oldest and one of the wealthiest colleges. Its alumni include no fewer than 13 Nobel Laureates and Stephen Hawking is one of the fellows. Very central and has a good boat club, if you like rowing.

Homerton: Rated as the friendliest Cambridge college in 2005, it originally admitted largely Education Studies students. Now its intake covers most subjects and its alumni include Nick Hancock (former presenter of Room 101 and They Think It’s All Over). Located near the train station, so good for trips home.

Jesus: One of the wealthiest and most spacious colleges, it has one of the oldest college buildings in use in Cambridge. It’s not far from the river (so great for rowing, if you’re into that) and is one of the few colleges to allow you to walk on its lawns. Notable choirs and, we’re told, free washing machines. Alumni include the author Nick Hornby and the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

King’s: Near the centre of town and with one of the most iconic chapels in the world, which is more the size of a cathedral. Known as a diverse college, it has one of the highest ratios of fellows to students with debate much encouraged. Alumni include Alan Turing, Salman Rushdie and John Maynard Keynes. It often has one of the highest proportions of maintained school acceptances of the Cambridge colleges.

MAY 26 2017

News
Need a Book to Read this Half-Term?

Need a Book to Read this Half-Term?

Finding yourself at a loss about what to read this half-term? How about Richard Holmes’s discipline-crossing The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science?

Have you always thought that poets and scientists were at the opposite end of the spectrum? Well, rewind 200 years, and you’ll find that their work was actually very closely linked. Richard Holmes explores how political and economic changes in Europe led to a broad Romantic movement, which produced more than just literature, music and art, but resulted in the birth of modern science as we know it.  Learn how the word ‘scientist’ appears for the first time in 1834, replacing the previous designation of ‘natural philosopher’. Discover the scientific passions of Humphrey Davy, Joseph Banks and William Herschel amongst others, and consider how writers and artists responded to this shifting intellectual landscape. It’s guaranteed to cover some aspect of your chosen course. So, dip into the past this half-term, in order to better understand our present.

APR 28 2017

News
Good Exam Technique

Good Exam Technique

As you work through your final preparation for your AS exams and sit the papers themselves, it is really important to make sure that you are in the best possible shape mentally and physically to give the best account of yourself on the day. During study leave, when you don’t have the formal structure of lessons to divide up your time for you, think carefully about how you manage your time – you may want to make a written plan in advance. Everyone works better at different times – think about what works best for you. Will you work more productively in the mornings? Or are you at your best in the evenings? Whatever you decide, make a schedule and then stick to it.

Look after yourself – the exam period is a stressful one and it is more important than ever to get enough sleep, to eat properly, stay hydrated and create opportunities to relax and let off steam. Include these things in your schedule – three proper meals per day, regular intake of water, at least eight hours’ sleep per night and daily opportunities to give your brain something to think about other than exams for a little while. Fresh air and exercise are essential to staying relaxed and refreshed and maintaining a sense of perspective at stressful times.

On the day of the exam itself, plan to arrive in plenty of time so that you are not feeling rushed or flustered. Make sure you have eaten beforehand and that you have water with you. Ensure you have the equipment you need – pen and backup pen, pencil, highlighters, calculator, etc.. Make sure you know how much time you have available for the paper and plan your time allocation for each section, so that you don’t find yourself with too much to do at the end. Take time to read through the paper and make sure you understand exactly what you have to do for each question – it is all too easy to make assumptions about the question and end up not answering it fully. Where you have to undertake more extended writing, take time to write a brief plan – this will help you keep your writing relevant to the question set and avoid you forgetting any key points you want to include. Build time into your planning for checking your answers carefully at the end – this will mean you spot any careless errors you may have inadvertently made while working and will allow you to leave the exam knowing you have planned carefully, worked meticulously and given of your best.

Good luck!

APR 17 2017

News
Oxford Colleges - Balliol to Corpus Christi

Oxford Colleges - Balliol to Corpus Christi

Balliol: Situated on Broad Street in the centre of Oxford, Balliol is the oldest Oxford College that has existed continuously on one site - it celebrated its 750th anniversary in 2013. Notable alumni include three former prime ministers, five Nobel laureates, and political economist Adam Smith.

Brasenose: Founded in 1509, its name is believed to derive from the name of a brass or bronze knocker that adorned the hall's door. The college faces the west side of Radcliffe Square opposite the Radcliffe Camera in the centre of Oxford. The rowing club of the college and is believed to be one of the oldest boat clubs in the world. Famous alumni include Prime Minister David Cameron, William Webb Ellis (also unsurprisingly the founding member of Brasenose College RFC), and Michael Palin.

Christ Church: One of the largest Oxford colleges, the iconic Christ Church college was founded in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey, and houses around 430 undergraduates, a world famous Cathedral Choir, and its own Picture Gallery. Parts of the college have been used in filming the Harry Potter films and The Golden Compass. Christ Church has produced thirteen British prime ministers.

Corpus Christi: Founded in 1517, the college is also noted for the pillar sundial in the main quadrangle, known as the Pelican Sundial. Students at Corpus, or Corpuscles as they are sometimes known, are part of one of the smallest Oxford colleges. Alumni include Ed and David Miliband.

APR 14 2017

News
Oxbridge Colleges: Location, Location, Location?

Oxbridge Colleges: Location, Location, Location?

Choosing the right college at Oxbridge can be a huge task. Over the coming weeks, we’ll give a quick overview of their characteristics, starting this week with Cambridge Colleges Christ's to Fitzwilliam. Nothing beats a visit though, which is why Lumina students visit both Oxford and Cambridge open days as part of the course. Reviews are reviewer’s own.

Christ’s: Centrally located and one of only five colleges to have its own swimming pool. The lawn of the first court is famously round, though New Court with its ‘typewriter’ building is an acquired taste. With alumni including Darwin, Milton & Ali G, it has a reputation for its academic performance – and possibly the best porters in Cambridge.

Churchill: Named after Britain’s great wartime leader, it’s a modern college with something of a reputation for Science and Engineering. Out of the centre of town, it’s well located for the Physics, Mathematics and Veterinary Science departments. Large on-site sports facilities with gym, four squash courts and five tennis courts.

Clare: The second-oldest surviving college but also a progressive one, being among the first to admit women. Has a well-known music society and a famous choir, as well as popular entertainments. Alumni include Sir David Attenborough and James Watson, one of the discoverers of the double helix structure of DNA. A very popular choice with applicants.

Corpus Christi: Very centrally located and with a new library, but one of the smallest of the Cambridge colleges; home to the iconic Chronophage (or Time Eater) clock, which faces out onto the street. Some say it’s haunted by a number of 17th-century ghosts. 

Darwin: For graduate students only.

Downing: A reasonably central 19th-century college with a number of Science departments nearby, as well as plenty of restaurants. Alumni include John Cleese, Thandie Newton and Michael Winner, but it also has a strong legal and medical tradition. Just half a minute from Parker’s Piece, regarded as the birthplace of the modern rules of football.

Emmanuel: Affectionately known as Emma and famous for its ducks, it has a college shop and an enviable laundry service. Alumni include John Harvard, a founder of Harvard College in the US and Graham Chapman of Monty Python fame. The self-catering cooking facilities are a bit limited, however.

Fitzwilliam: Fitz for short, its friendly atmosphere translates to its surroundings – unlike many other colleges, you can walk on (some of) the grass. Located opposite the Fitzwilliam museum, it’s slightly out of the centre of town to the north-west. Joseph Stiglitz, the Chief Economist of the World Bank from 1997-2000 and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics, went here.

 

APR 10 2017

News
Game of Two Halves: The Differences Between Oxford and Cambridge

Game of Two Halves: The Differences Between Oxford and Cambridge

Oxford and Cambridge have a great deal in common, but UCAS only allows you to apply for one of the two. Struggling to make a decision? Here are some factors you may want to consider.

Both are collegiate universities, meaning that they are made up of a collection of colleges, and both have teaching in small groups outside of lectures – at Oxford, these are called tutorials while at Cambridge, they’re supervisions.

Both, of course, are world-leading universities, both in terms of teaching and research, and their degrees are ranked highly by employers. There are many league tables that will tell you how good each is, based on a number of different metrics. According to the latest table of the top 100 world universities by reputation (published by Times Higher Education), Cambridge is second to Harvard, with Oxford third.

Oxford and Cambridge offer different degree courses. Broadly speaking, Oxford has more choice, more specialisation, and quite a large number of joint honours programmes, where you study two subjects side-by-side. On the other hand, Cambridge’s programmes tend to be broader in scope to start with, but let you narrow your field of study over time. At Oxford, you can study pure sciences, for example, while at Cambridge, you study for a degree in Natural Science where you take three sciences and Mathematics in the first year and specialise further from there. Similarly, Oxford has no fewer than six different courses involving History, while Cambridge has just the one.

Both universities are strong in all subjects, although there is a common myth about Cambridge having the edge in sciences, while Oxford leads in the humanities. Cambridge does tend to rank slightly higher in the sciences, and Oxford in the humanities, although both universities stress that there is really no significant difference between them in either. The subject you are going to study should be your primary consideration, so it is worth researching your options carefully to see which course will suit you best.

In terms of location, both are near to London (about 50 miles away), with Cambridge to the North East and Oxford to the North West. Oxford is technically a city and, as such, is generally considered to be a bit livelier. Cambridge is technically a town and is often thought to be a bit prettier. In fact, both are reasonably small places to live and are easy to navigate on foot or more popularly by bicycle.

MAR 31 2017

News
The College System: What it Means and How it’s Relevant

The College System: What it Means and How it’s Relevant

A collegiate university is one that is composed of colleges, and there are actually more of them in the UK than you might think. As well as Oxford and Cambridge, Durham University, for example is college-based in the same sort of way, and the University of London is constituted of 18 colleges, although these operate mostly as independent universities within the University of London. In the cases of Oxford and Cambridge, the colleges are residential institutions which also have significant academic functions within the universities themselves.

Cambridge has 31 colleges, three of which admit women only (Newnham, Lucy Cavendish and Murray Edwards – previously known as New Hall) and two of which (Darwin and Clare Hall) admit only postgraduate students. Four colleges (Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund’s and Wolfson) only admit students who are over 21 when they begin their degree course. Oxford, on the other hand, has 38 colleges as well as six ‘Permanent Private Halls’, which are akin to colleges associated with particular Christian denominations. All the Oxford colleges admit men and women, while seven are for graduate students only (Green Templeton, Kellogg, Linacre, Nuffield, St Antony’s, St Cross and Wolfson). One college, Harris Manchester, and three of the Permanent Private Halls (Blackfriars, St Stephen’s House and Wycliffe Hall) only admit students over the age of 21. One of the Permanent Private Halls (St Benet’s) only admits men.

Choosing a college when applying can seem like a daunting task, and it is an important one. After all, if you are successful you’ll be spending three or four years of your life there. Indeed, much of your student life will centre around your college and it should come to feel like a home from home. Bearing this in mind, it’s a good idea to choose a college that you like the feel of. Most obviously there’s a wide range of styles in terms of their age and architecture: some of the colleges date from more than 800 years ago, while others were founded in the late 20th century. You will start to get a feel for what a particular college might be like by looking at their website, but in the end there’s no substitute to paying a visit. They do have differing characters and you’ll probably get a feeling about one, one way or the other. Some informal reputations include the students of King’s College Cambridge holding left-wing political views, while Robinson & Churchill Colleges may be more environmentally friendly than others. At Oxford, Christ Church is often considered one of the grandest colleges, while Oriel is generally seen as strong in sports and Trinity may have the best food. In fact, many of these colleges have rivalries going back hundreds of years. Of course, the different colleges vary widely in size (both physically and in terms of numbers of members), and you should consider what sort of size you are comfortable with.

You will probably live in your college for a significant portion of time (anything from one to four years) and make most of your immediate friends there. Your college will also be where you do much of your academic work. Most have their own libraries and you are likely to find yourself frequenting them outside lectures. The lectures themselves usually take place within the academic departments of the university, but the rest of your learning will be centred around your college. The colleges organise the all important supervisions/tutorials that set Oxbridge apart from most other universities. This is where small group teaching occurs and where you will go through tough problem set sin the sciences or debate tricky topics in the humanities. Bear in mind, however, that colleges are not required to admit students in all subjects. You can find full details of these idiosyncracies online (e.g. here for Oxford), so be sure to check them out before you apply.

The bottom line is that Oxford and Cambridge want you to have the best chance of getting in, no matter which college you apply to. Cambridge summarise it well when they say ‘Don’t agonise over choosing a College. They have many more similarities than differences and students quickly settle in and really enjoy their College, wherever they end up.’ If you’re really stuck, you can make an ‘open’ application and accept the allocation made by a computer programme, but half the fun is in looking around so get stuck in.

MAR 21 2017

News
Year 11 Information Evening

Year 11 Information Evening

Wow! What a Success.

 Thank you to everyone who attended last night’s Information Evening for Year 11 students.

 We had approximately 200 attendees and hope that students, parents and teachers all found it beneficial and of interest too.

 For your perusal, please click here for the presentation.

MAR 15 2017

News
Easter Holiday Revision Advice

Easter Holiday Revision Advice

Forget the chocolate eggs for a minute, the Easter holidays are the most important time for revision for your AS exams. That mountain of notes you made throughout the year probably looks pretty daunting right now, and to tackle them you’re going to have to break it down into more sizeable chunks. The first step is to make yourself a quick revision plan for the break: don’t spend hours making it colour coded and aesthetically beautiful -  a simple grid will do. You should aim to balance your time evenly across all subjects, though this is a good opportunity to work out which areas in which subjects are causing you the most difficulty. Hopefully by now, you will know what revision techniques work for you. Rewriting all your notes from the year is unlikely to be helpful  for anyone; instead, you should be looking to summarise and condense information, ready to be processed in the exam format. Completing answers in timed conditions is vital. Your teachers should have given you some past papers to tackle, and if they haven’t, then look on the website of the exam boards to download some. If you are unable or unwilling to devote a whole hour to writing an essay or completing a paper, doing a detailed plan and writing one paragraph, perhaps the conclusion, is a very effective way of revising. Allow yourself breaks and exercise, and remember that the morning is likely to be the best time to revise. Finally, turn that computer and mobile phone off – they’re not going to be in the exam with you!

MAR 13 2017

News
Happy Mothers’ Day? Oxbridge Students have Two Mums to Remember

Happy Mothers’ Day? Oxbridge Students have Two Mums to Remember

It’s definitely not advisable to forget Mother’s Day when you are off at university, and you may in fact have more than one person to thank for looking after you! Colleges invest a lot in pastoral care for their students, and one common method is by assigning students ‘college parents’. You may have a mother, a father, or even a whole extended family over multiple generations. Simply put, they are potential mentors to help you through your first few weeks away from home, reassure you when you are doing your first bit of tutorial work, and tell you what not to do if you want to stay on the good side of your tutor! Most new students will never have lived away from home before, and it can be a daunting prospect. Knowing that there are people around to look out for you can really help. Many colleges will also have staff members that are responsible for looking out for the welfare of the undergraduate members. There are also undergraduates who represent their peers within the college as a whole – the elected welfare representatives are often chosen as particularly approachable and understanding people who will be available to help out wary first years, even if it is only with tea, biscuits and a chance to chat. So even if your mum is only available at the end of the phone, there are lots of people right on your college doorstep who will help you out whenever you need it.

MAR 09 2017

News
Who to follow online?

Who to follow online?

Want to get some ideas for what to look out for or who to follow online? Why not consider some of these?

If you’re into Philosophy, reasoning and logic why not follow Professor Timothy Williamson, @TetralogueBook https://twitter.com/tetraloguebook, the Wykeham Professor of Logic at New College, Oxford. More into the internet and life online? Associate Professor Mark Graham at the Oxford Internet Institute, @geoplace https://twitter.com/geoplace  could be one to look to. If it’s sustainable energy & environmental solutions that motivates you take a look at David Mackay’s feed - @davidjcmackay https://twitter.com/davidjcmackay - he’s Regius Professor of Engineering in Cambridge University’s Engineering Department, was Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, and is the author of Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air. On the other hand if History is more your thing, try @HistorianBenj https://twitter.com/historianbenj, the online presence of Dr Benjamin Thompson, Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at Somerville College, Oxford, or if you are a linguist why not take a look at the Twitter feed of Cambridge’s Modern and Mediaeval Languages department @MML_Cambridge https://twitter.com/MML_Cambridge?

On the more practical side, if you want to look further into the Oxbridge application process, consider these. Are you a potential Oxbridge applicant, teacher or parent? If so, this page is for you, offering topical advice, links and updates on Oxbridge preparation  http://epallis.blogspot.co.uk/ , and the author can be found on twitter too @oxbridgentrance https://twitter.com/oxbridgentrance. Or for subject-specific advice on applying to Oxford and Cambridge from Oxbridge graduates there’s @ApplytoOxbridge https://twitter.com/applytooxbridge. While you’re at it, discover what it’s really like to study at Cambridge through these student blogs, profiles, short films and more: http://www.becambridge.com/. Of course there are also the Universities themselves in a number of guises, for example: University of Cambridge Admissions & Undergraduate Study @BeCambridge https://twitter.com/becambridge, news and Events from the University of Cambridge @Cambridge_Uni https://twitter.com/cambridge_uni, the official twitter account for the University of Oxford @UniofOxford https://twitter.com/uniofoxford , and many more. For more general information about the university landscape and updates on the application process, follow Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive of UCAS @MaryCurnockCook https://twitter.com/marycurnockcook

Take a look at the links to find out more and see where the interest takes you!

FEB 09 2017

News
Are you stuck for ideas about wider reading this half-term?

Are you stuck for ideas about wider reading this half-term?

Then look no further than Andrea Wulf’s fascinating study The Invention of Nature . Wulf introduces a now forgotten hero of science: Alexander von Humboldt.  Arguably one of the most famous men of the eighteenth century, we initially meet our hero clambering to the top of a South American volcano and follow him through fascinating journeys involving electric eels and paddling through the unchartered Orinoco. Humboldt is the father of the modern ecological movement, recognising the interconnectedness of the natural world and predicting man-made climate change.  Wulf brings Humboldt’s remarkable achievements to life and reveals his lasting impact on modern scientific thought.