On Wednesday 18th May St John’s hosted an in-person study day for non-selective state school pupils across the UK

Our Study Days offer high-achieving Year 12 pupils at non-selective state schools an opportunity to experience higher level study in their chosen subject. Participants at our study days attend talks and workshops led by tutors, find out more about the course at Oxford and what tutors are looking for, and meet current St John’s students. You can find out more about our Study Days here.

The day kicked off with a welcome talk and an introduction to studying Chemistry at Oxford from Dr Martin Galpin, Deputy Director of Studies in Chemistry at Oxford, looking at the course structure, the application process and the teaching methods pupils could expect if they studied here. Then came one of the highlights of the day, an OxBOX chemistry session, which challenged participants to use their chemistry knowledge to solve a series of practical and theoretical problems and crack the code to open a mystery box. The session was run and supported by the Chemistry department, and proved a hit with the study day participants!


After lunch, pupils were able to take part in two Academic Taster Sessions to give them an idea of what studying Chemistry at Oxford would be like, delivered by Dr Josef Boronski, Junior Research Fellow in Chemistry at St John’s, and Bethany Shire, a DPhil Candidate in Organic Chemistry. This was followed by a tour of College with current students and a Q&A with St John’s tutors, Professor Angela Russell and Bruno Marinic, and current students. Finally, pupils had the opportunity for an informal chat with students and tutors with refreshments before heading home.


We received some wonderful feedback from the participants, with 100% of respondents either strongly agreeing or agreeing that they learned a lot from the academic sessions and that the welcome talk and College tour was valuable and enjoyable. Other feedback included:

  • “I really enjoyed the Q&A panel. It was really insightful to hear from previous applicants and the interviewers themselves.”
  • “I really enjoyed the OxBox Chemistry challenge, it required a lot of chemical intuition, problem-solving opportunities and thinking outside the box (literally!).”
  • “My favourite part of the day was the tour around St John’s College as it was very informative and helped me to understand the different buildings and facilities that made up the college.”
  • “My favourite part of the day was the academic taster sessions as they gave a true insight into the depth that the chemistry course goes into.”
  • “The OxBox Challenge was very enjoyable - it not only allowed us to expand and apply our chemistry knowledge but also helped us meet like-minded people and develop our teamwork skills”

Thank you to everyone involved in making the Chemistry Study Day such a success!