Once you’ve worked out which Social Science you want to study (or if you need help deciding what area interests you the most), there are lots of good online resources for helping you read up about different topics within the subject. The first port of call is to read your course description so you know what is covered and what you should be reading – it is very important to be sure you will enjoy your course. All Oxbridge Social Science courses are rigorous and may require strong numeracy skills so you need to be sure that your interest is strong enough to get you through it. It is a great idea to get the first year reading list and choose a range of books from there – that way you can see what type of topics you will be covering in your first year. Some courses have their reading lists available online but if not, contact the Faculty and they will be able to send it to you.
Social Science students may not have studied the main subjects in their course – if you feel there are gaps in your knowledge then the BBC website is actually a really good source. It covers all current affairs issues in simple, easy to follow language and is wonderful if you feel your understanding of recent events is a little weak. The BBC website also does country profiles so if your understanding of big issues such as what’s happening in Syria or Libya, that should be your go to website.
For students studying Economics/E&M/EEM/PPE/Land Ec (any subject with economics in it!) if you have not studied it at A-Level, the Edexcel revision guides are a great way to quickly and easily increase your knowledge. At interview, you will be expected to have some theoretical knowledge and the revision guides are simple and short. For learning/revising theoretical information, student websites such as Tutor2u are good for short, bite-sized pages on A-level courses.
All Social Science students will be expected to be able to read and analyse from a wide range of sources in order to come to their own opinions and form critical arguments. In order to ensure you have a wide range of viewpoints to form your own opinions, make sure you read different newspapers. This does NOT include the Metro/Sun/Daily Mail/Mirror etc. Make sure you regularly read a range of newspapers (maybe a different one 3 or 4 times a week) – obvious examples would be The Times/Guardian/Telegraph/Economist etc.
These days, reading and preparing for your course are made particularly easy by the availability of online resources. Many Universities hold lectures by special speakers that are open to anyone who wants to register and attend. If you are not keen on reading too much, these lectures are a great alternative/addition – you might even be able to tie up a lecture by the author of a book you have read to get further insights. Alternatively, lots of these lectures are available online on youtube or on the websites of different Universities so check them out and you’ll be able to add it to your personal statement and utilitse it in your interview.
The good thing about reading from now is that you will have a bank of knowledge to draw on for your Personal Statement and interview. If you read now you can work out your areas of interest and focus on developing those when you prepare for December.