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Mike Baxter, Assists the ACs in the North West

A state-funded school approached the AMSP to ask for interview support for nine students aspiring to enter some of the country’s top flight universities. I was asked whether I would be interested in helping out and, after swift liaison with the KS5 Coordinator, was working with the students within two days. They were applying for a range of subject including all three sciences, engineering, psychology and, of course, mathematics.

This situation highlighted two key strengths of the AMSP: the ability to respond both quickly and effectively to local needs, and the means to draw upon the wide experience and skills amongst the team.

Using their personal statements, I started with some general questions before asking more challenging questions gathered over a number of years from actual student experiences. These varied from sketching y = x2 and y = x4 to differentiation from first principles and its applications. The subject specific questions were particularly thought provoking and touched on subjects such as:

  • What happens to the water level if you drop a rock over the side of a boat?
  • What happens to the water level when an ice-cube melts…and why are melting icebergs a problem?
  • Which force makes a car move forwards?
  • How many hydrogen atoms are in this bottle of water?

It was a pleasure working with these individuals and seeing their personalities shine through under the scrutiny. They all had constructive feedback and, hopefully, will enter the interview room with renewed confidence and increased success. The process was well received and an annual return has already been discussed.

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