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Engineering Preparation Ages 16-18

Oxford Summer School 2020
Also in Cambridge | St Andrews |

An Engineering summer course designed to introduce students aged 16-18 to the discipline of Engineering and help them apply to Engineering courses at UK universities. Residential in Oxford.

2 weeks | Available July - August 2020

  • Live, dine and study in colleges of the University of Oxford
  • Expert tutoring from ORA's faculty
  • Study the fundamental elements of a range of Engineering disciplines
  • Talks and debates with world-class guest speakers
  • A truly international environment - over 150 nationalities in 2019
  • Inspirational cultural programme

Course Summary

Future-facing and intellectually challenging, Engineering is an exciting and rewarding discipline. This summer Engineering course aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of Engineering and give them a taste of the wide range of options they have when studying Engineering at university. Students will examine the challenges facing the modern engineer and explore some of the major unsolved problems that contemporary Engineering faces.

This course uses an applied approach, designed to give students as much opportunity as possible to stretch their academic skills, test out their understanding of theoretical concepts through practical tasks and university level problem-solving methods, and to explore different branches of engineering. They will be encouraged to consider engineering as a multi-disciplinary subject, drawing on scientific theory and mathematics to understand and develop technical solutions.

What to expect from the Engineering Preparation course

This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the real-life issues and challenges faced by modern engineers, putting students in a better position to give intelligent answers to questions they might be asked in future job interviews, as well as providing a head-start in understanding what students might be up against in a future career.

Students will have the opportunity to explore what degrees are on offer from different university engineering departments and understand how courses differ. The course will help students to narrow down their options to a particular branch of engineering that they are most interested in studying, and will assist them in finding out which universities offer a course you think would best suit them. They will work on their university application, and Oxford Royale’s excellent teaching staff will be on hand to assist with aspects of their application such as personal statements and interview techniques.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • Explored calculus, applied fluid mechanics and dynamic modelling
  • A head start towards a successful University application and admissions interview
  • Learned how to use vital software and apply this knowledge in conjunction with essential engineering concepts to solve problems
  • Learned how to use software such as GNU Octave
  • Gained fundamental problem-solving skills that they can use across the disciplines of engineering, finance, the sciences and mathematics
  • Explored the core principles of engineering, including thermodynamics and how to apply these principles to key engineering systems
  • Participated in a robot competition using LEGO Mindstorms sets

Topics Covered

Students will explore calculus, applied fluid mechanics and dynamic modelling. They will learn how to use vital software and apply this knowledge in conjunction with essential engineering concepts to solve problems. By learning to use software such as GNU Octave, students will gain fundamental problem-solving skills that they can use across the discipline of engineering and other disciplines like finance, the sciences, and mathematics.

Also students will delve further into the core principles of engineering; their academic ability will be stretched as they explore advanced applied thermodynamics and how to apply these principles to key engineering systems. Students will have the chance to showcase and test their understanding of the material as they will present technical content to the class and be questioned on it. To round up the course, students will participate in a robotics competition! Using LEGO Mindstorms sets, they will build their own custom programmable robot and race them against each other. The competition aims to give students an appreciation for everyday challenges of engineering, and is part of their continuing assessment and general feedback given throughout the programme.

The table below gives an indication of the subject areas that will be covered in each day’s lecture and seminar. Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, please note that topics and timings may be subject to change.

Day Week 1 (Scroll right for week 2) Week 2
Monday Lesson 1: Introduction to the course
Lesson 2: Calculus 1
Lesson 3: Calculus 1
Lesson 14: PAT mock (optional)
Lesson 15: Feedback workshop and modelling experiment
Lesson 16: Presentations
Tuesday Lesson 4: Calculus 2
Lesson 5: Calculus 2
Lesson 17: Introduction to stress analysis
Lesson 18: Introduction to stress analysis
Wednesday Lesson 6: University applications and practical tips
Lesson 7: Personal statement: writing and practice
Lesson 8: Interview techniques and mock interview practice
Lesson 19: Applied thermal dynamics (advanced)
Lesson 20: Applied thermal dynamics (advanced)
Lesson 21: Applied thermal dynamics (advanced)
Thursday Lesson 9: Introduction to applied fluid mechanics
Lesson 10: Introduction to applied fluid mechanics
Lesson 22: Robotics workshop
Lesson 23: Robotics workshop
Lesson 24: Robotics workshop
Friday Lesson 11: Dynamic modelling coursework
Lesson 12: Dynamic modelling coursework
Lesson 13: Dynamic modelling coursework
Lesson 25: Robotics workshop
Lesson 26: Robotics competition and course summary

Take this course if...

Take this course if you would like to explore Engineering as a career, if you would like to experience life as an Engineering student in a top university, and if you want to prepare for university Engineering interviews.

Welcome to the City of Oxford - your home this summer

ORA Experience

Oxford is a city like no other, combining startlingly beautiful architecture with a buzzing, modern city centre, with superb shopping, restaurants, cafés and more. With the colleges of Oxford University at its heart, some almost 800 years old, it is a city steeped in history and academia.

Students on Oxford Royale's Oxford summer courses will have the chance to live, dine and study in this stunning city, exploring all of its major sites and discovering its hidden secrets. Through both organised trips to key landmarks and free time in the evenings, students will become acquainted with all that Oxford has to offer.

As students walk the cobbled streets and gaze up at the spires, gargoyles and honey-coloured stone buildings, they will be walking in the footsteps of some of the most influential figures in history, including prime ministers, presidents, Nobel prize-winning scientists, authors and more.

Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?

Useful information for students & parents


Students will be accommodated in comfortable single or twin rooms depending on their allocated college - please contact our admissions team if you would like more information. Twin rooms are strictly between students of the same gender, and males/females are separated by corridor and/or staircase. Accommodation is the standard accommodation for university undergraduates who study at the university, so students are able to get a flavour for what being an undergraduate at the university might be like. Bathrooms are typically shared between students of the same gender, though in some cases en-suite facilities are available.

Pastoral care & student welfare

The programme is overseen by the Programme Director, who implements the day-to-day running of the programme. The Director is assisted by a team of Counsellors who very often are current members of the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge. The Counsellors ensure that students are looked after pastorally, culturally and socially during their programme. Students are able to talk informally and frankly to the Counsellors in order to raise concerns or to discuss university applications. Each campus has members of residential staff who live in the college throughout the programme and are able to assist students at any time of the day or night.

Eligibility & pre-requisites

Students on this course:

  • Must conform to our age policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Admissions Team on [email protected] and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Admissions Team for more detailed information.

Our Teaching Faculty

At Oxford Royale Academy we are committed to providing our students with the most qualified and high-calibre teaching faculty available. All Oxford Royale Academy teachers are passionate about their subjects, and are looking forward to passing their knowledge on to their students this summer! For full details of last summer’s teaching faculty, please click here.

Guest Lectures & Debates

At ORA, we go the extra mile to enhance the study abroad experience of our students. As part of this, every year our dedicated Events Team organises a series of fascinating guest lectures. Guest speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds and specialisms, including the worlds of online media, television and academia. Our students also have the opportunity to watch and participate in a number of debates, which take place on campus. These range from formal Panel Debates, involving teaching faculty and other staff, to informal discussions about current “hot topics” led by Counsellors.

Coach Excursions

The United Kingdom has a rich cultural heritage, and a course with Oxford Royale Academy is the perfect way for a young learner to explore this. All ORA courses include at least one coach excursion to places of historical and social significance in the UK.

Extra-curricular Activities

At ORA, we never forget that our students are on holiday! Included with every ORA course is an extra-curricular timetable, carefully designed by our dedicated Events Team to ensure our students have fun, make friends and get the most out of their time with us.

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Information about how to travel to and from an ORA summer course.

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Details of transfers between ORA and Heathrow Airport.

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Find out more FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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Who is the Engineering Preparation course for?

As the name suggests, the Engineering Preparation course is a summer programme for aspiring engineers. Those embarking on this interesting course are typically ambitious students aged between sixteen and eighteen, who aim to study engineering at university before embarking on a career in engineering or a related field. Your idols will probably include such illustrious figures as Isambard Kingdom Brunel or George and Robert Stephenson, and you may see yourself one day following in their footsteps. If you’re beguiled by bridges, curious about construction or fascinated by physics, engineering could be just the course for you, and this Oxford Royale Academy summer course will help you learn how to take the next step towards pursuing this multi-disciplinary subject.

Although the course is mainly geared towards those who already know that they want to study engineering at university, it is also suitable for those who are considering engineering as one of a number of possible university and/or career options. You’ll need to have more than a passing interest in engineering to get the most from this stimulating course, but the academic study part of the programme may prove useful background knowledge to those studying A-levels in related areas, such as physics, mathematics or chemistry. Knowledge of engineering illuminates some of the practical applications of these scientific subjects, which can sometimes seem hard to relate to real life.

How will the Engineering Preparation course help me achieve my ambitions?

We’ve structured the Engineering Preparation course with the express intention of making it as useful as possible to those applying to study engineering at university. Engineering is a competitive subject, so anything you can do to boost your chances of a successful application will be of enormous benefit. Below, we’ve outlined some of the major benefits of coming to study the Engineering Preparation course at Oxford Royale Academy.

Finding the right university course for you – as part of the time you spend on the Engineering Preparation course, you’ll have the opportunity to explore what degrees are on offer from different university engineering departments and understand how courses differ. We’ll help you to narrow down your options to a particular branch of engineering that you’re most interested in studying, and we’ll assist you in finding out which universities offer a course you think would best suit you. The course also has a more long-term outlook, as you’ll learn about what career options are possible with different engineering degrees. You’ll leave with a much clearer picture of how you see your pursuit of engineering unfolding.

Practical help with your university application – you’ll also have the chance to work on your university application, and we’ll be on hand to assist you with aspects of your application such as your personal statement and interview technique. The personal statement is the aspect of the UCAS form that most seems to daunt prospective university students, but we’ll help demystify the process and offer useful tips on how to impress the admissions tutors who’ll be reading yours. What’s more, you’ll take some practice admissions tests and take part in class discussions that will teach you what engineering admissions tutors are looking for when they look at your application.

Developing ‘people’ skills – so-called ‘people skills’ are essential for those wanting to become an engineer. That’s because engineers are often in charge of what’s happening on a site – for example building a bridge, digging a tunnel or laying down a road – and those working on the project will be coming to you for advice and instructions. Developing your awareness as early as possible of the importance of good communication, strong leadership, effective management and teamwork will stand you in good stead for achieving your engineering ambitions. Through attending the Engineering Preparation summer programme, you’ll find that you’re working on your people skills all the time just by being surrounded by other talented students, working in groups with them and articulating your opinions.

Understanding the challenges faced by engineers – this course is designed to give you a deeper understanding of the real-life issues and challenges faced by modern engineers in their day-to-day jobs. This is of use to you now because it puts you in a better position to give intelligent answers to questions you might be asked at interview, as well as giving you a headstart in understanding what you might be up against in your future career. It also gives you interesting material to discuss in your personal statement that will demonstrate your knowledge of what engineering really involves, showing that you’re switched on and that you’ve thought in depth about the subject for which you’re applying.

Why attend the Engineering Preparation course now?

If you’re aged between sixteen and eighteen and about to submit an application to university, now is the right time to attend the Engineering Preparation course because it will give you the pointers you need for preparing a strong application. It’s worth attending the course in the summer before you’re due to submit your application, so that what you’ve learned is still fresh in your mind and you’re already prepared for writing your personal statement and attending interviews. What’s more, most students find that attending this course is an inspiring experience that helps spur them on to work even harder at their A-levels and achieve the success they’re aiming for.

This course will also be a useful experience to include on your CV. Even if you’re only applying for a Saturday job, your attendance on this course demonstrates that you’re someone who’s self-motivated, and who takes responsibility for your own education and career – desirable qualities for an employer, who’ll be looking for someone intelligent upon whom they can rely.

Engineering Preparation Programme for Ages 16-18 is residential in the following venues:

(If your course takes place in more than one campus in the same city and you would like to know more about which location you will be allocated, please call our admissions team)

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