Studying in Secondary School & University Applications

My name is Charles Yin. I’m currently studying in Year 13 at YCIS Beijing. I love physics and mathematics, but am also interested in politics (especially of the US) and technology.

What are your goals for this school year?

Really my only aim this school year is to get the score required by Oxford for admission in my IB exams. Truth be told, at this point it is less about learning about a subject and more about maximizing exam performance. In my view, nearly everything can wait until after my last exam in May.

After graduation, what major and future career would you like to pursue, and why?


After graduation, I will study physics at university. In terms of future career, I would love to be doing research in theoretical physics. It’s something that I’ve genuinely been interested in ever since I was in kindergarten. I found physics not just rigorous and challenging, but also fun. It describes in a very logical way everything in the universe, from atoms to stars to galaxies, and it’s this which I find very appealing.

 You have been offered placement to Oxford University How would you describe the application process?

The application process is very much focused around the subject in question – physics. It was by no means straight forwards. While most universities for courses other than medicine simply base their decision upon the personal statement and predicted grades submitted by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system, Oxford requires an additional test (the Physics Aptitude Test) and an interview. The physics-centric process was certainly a pleasant surprise to me. Also surprising was the number of interviews, with three interviews lasting half an hour long, which was more than I expected. However, I was helped along in the process by the university guidance counselor Mr. Jordan, both in writing my personal statement, taking out the irrelevant sections, and helping me prepare for my interviews. Also of great assistance was Ms. Robertson and Mr. Dawson, who helped with editing my personal statement to ensure that it was clear, concise and grammatically correct.

Why did you choose Oxford over other universities?


The UCAS system allows for application to a maximum of five universities. Other than Oxford, I also chose the University of Durham, the University of Nottingham, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Edinburgh. Of these, Oxford has the best teaching facilities, a very ideal location, and very good access to modern cutting edge research, which helps me in continuing into academia.

What challenges do you think you will face going forward into tertiary studies?

Perhaps the most important challenge is firstly being able to learn and manage time on my own, and secondly being able to articulate my own ideas clearly without someone helping to edit and revise my work. In both cases, YCIS Beijing has helped me in meeting these challenges. It has provided opportunities for me to teach myself certain content and yet still have teachers to support me should I need help in understanding certain points. The small class size facilitates discussion, where we discuss the material we have learned. It also makes direct interaction between my teacher and I more frequent and the support I receive more personalized.

Throughout your academic career you have received various awardsand recognition for your achievements. What advice would you give to your fellow students who might be struggling with their studies?

The most important thing in my opinion is to study something that you enjoy. Don’t choose a subject because it’s taught by a humorous or relaxed teacher, but rather because you love the subject. That way, it is easier to motivate yourself. Avoid forcing yourself to choose subjects which you dislike. That being said, there are times when you are forced by requirements to take subjects which you might find boring or difficult. In these circumstances, you just have to bear it and do your best. In class, it is important to engage with the teacher, and not do work from other classes, even if you find the material boring, repetitive, etc.

YCIS Beijing will be holding a special seminar to help Parents and Secondary School Students find the best fit University for them on Thursday, April 20, 2016. For more information please click here. For more student blogs written by our wonderful students please follow the link.

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