How would you prepare for an exam at Oxford University?
Exams at Oxford are well known to be very difficult, and cover a lot of matter. Because of this it is very important to start on time. And then I mean really on time, preferably months before the exam. Don't work too hard during these days, all you want now is to prime your brain. Set yourself a couple of goals. In the beginning these goals may be easy. Just read a page each day, then two pages, then more. This is just to get you started and into a flow. Study every day, but don't feel guilty if you didn't study for long enough during the first weeks. When the exam comes closer I like to switch to the "Pomodoro Technique". At this point the workload becomes higher, so you have to take regular breaks. The standard Pomodoro scheme is 25 minutes of studying, then a 5 minute break. After 4 times of doing this you take a longer break. During this time I usually just try to read as much as I can. For my exams it was very important to remember as many details as possible. I like to write these out on a very big sheet of paper. This way you can rehearse these extra important parts. Now it is very important to just keep going. It may be tough, especially the last few days, where you'll be studying almost all day. But in the end you will make it!
What is the most important for our survival as a human?
As humans are made up of billions of small cells, you could argue that for a human to survive, these cells must survive. Humans are remarkably resistant to changing circumstances. We can live in very cold or very hot environments. We can swim in a very salty sea, or walk through a dry desert. Our cells however are very sensitive to changes in their environment. A small change in the amount of salt in our blood would cause our cells to swell and burst. Therefore the most important for our survival is a process called homeostasis (derived from a Greek word containing the 2 words homo (the same) and stasis (staying). Homeostasis is the process of "staying the same" or keeping constant circumstances and is essential for survival. A lot of the energy we consume is used to make sure homeostasis never stops. A short period without homeostasis, as arises when the heart stops beating, can rapidly cause death of cells, and eventually the person made out of these cells.
What is statistical significance and what does a P-value mean?
Statistics is all about likelihood. Statistical significance simply means that the obtained results are unlikely if there is no difference between the two groups that were tested. Now you may ask; how unlikely? This is were the P-value comes in. The P-value is arbitrarily set. Usually in science the P-value is set to 0.05 (or 5%). This means, that if the change of getting these results when there is actually no difference is lower than 0.05 (5%) we will say there is a "statistically significant" difference. I we would set the P-value to 0.1 (10%), we would say the same if the chance to get these results without an actual difference is 0.1 (10%). For these reasons it is very important in statistics to be able to calculate the chance of something happening if there is no effect. Most formulas in statistics have as a goal to calculate this.