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William Murphy

Interviewer

Academic interests...

Mathematics: I am currently undertaking a PhD in Pure Maths at City, University of London. From September 2017 I taught Maths at Rugby School. Here I taught all age ranges, Edexcel A level and Cambridge Pre-U, A level Further Maths, and worked with the Maths and Computer Science Oxbridge entry program – giving mock interviews and helping with personal statements. I ran a weekly critical thinking session for the Cambridge TSA tests, and even gave a lecture entitled The Secrets of Cryptography! In 2015/2016 I taught the Thai mathematics syllabus to students aged 15 to 18 , as part of an extra program whereby students are taught the core subjects in English. This was at Thabo school on the North-Eastern border of Thailand – a popular local government school with over 3000 students. I also taught English as a Foreign Language to classes from ages 13 to 18.


What I wish I'd known before my Oxbridge interviews...

Finding the right balance between jumping in / getting hands on with the problems and taking pause to collect your thoughts is not easy. In the mock interviews I have given, I always encourage the students to speak their mind as much as possible and not be afraid of getting stuck or "awkward" silences - this is unavoidable - the interviewer will be pushing you as far as they can - if you don't get stuck then the interviewer hasn't done a good job! The main aim for a mathematics interview is not to get to the final solution, rather for the interviewer to observe and understand your thought process, methods of logical deduction and ability to reason critically.


Extra-curricular interests...

I love to travel and explore – outside of living in Thailand for a year I have moved around large parts of India and South-East Asia. I found the difference in the structure of teaching very interesting in Thailand, and in particular I was always impressed by the advanced topics that were taught even at their equivalent to GCSEs. I am a keen cyclist and an amateur runner – by the end of 2019 I will have completed my third half-marathon. I also enjoy photography, in particular landscapes – I have combined all these passions into a collection of the photos of the natural beauty found whilst cycling around Asia I have a passion for music and have completed my Grade 8 ABRSM in violin and piano. This passion now manifests itself digitally, as I keep and curate a collection of monthly playlists – every month since 2010!


Previous interviewing and tutoring experience

Whilst teaching at Rugby School I was asked to help give the Oxbridge Maths and Computer Science interviews. I have also worked on two "exchange" days whereby students from visiting schools would come to Rugby to practice interviews. I began tutoring Maths during my BSc at Bristol, initially to friends and via word of mouth, for ages 11 through to 18. I often delivered tuition in person, cycling or driving as required, although sometimes via Skype, and was also part of a volunteer tutor program for a local girls’ school in Bristol. Since then I have delivered personal tuition to a number of students for reasons including 11+ and 13+ entry, university entry and even for a pilot’s licence exam!