The Oxford Scholastica Academy Challenges

Put your learning into action and challenge yourself on our Challenge day – race against the clock and compete in our unique Challenge experiences.

What is the Challenge?

The Challenge is a four-hour afternoon event that takes place on the first Friday of your two weeks with us. You will work in small groups within your class (or sometimes jointly with another class) to solve a problem or build something from scratch. The Challenge will give you an idea of what it is really like to pursue a career in your chosen field, as you’ll be working on real-life problems. You’ll also develop and practise the very skills you will use every day if you choose to go into that career.

I had an incredible time at the Young Doctors Academy. The lessons were very interesting and informative. Apart from the classroom, we also had many other opportunities to explore the medical world. The challenge at the hospital, where we met patients and took their medical history, was an amazing experience to familiarize with the doctor-patient relationship aspect of the profession.

Vera Mazeeva, USA

Our Learning Philosophy

Learn

Learn like you’ve never learnt at school before. Discover the key concepts, history and theory behind your subject in hands-on, interactive way. Through our classes and Masterclasses, our exceptional tutors will help you get a deeper understanding of your subject.

See

You’ll meet a Hero, a cutting-edge young professional who is working in your field. They will explain their own career path, as well as helping you think about yours. They’ll give you an insight into what a day in their life is like, and you’ll have the chance to ask them any questions you have.

Do

On your Challenge you’ll put all the theory you’ve learned into practice and apply your knowledge to a real life problem. It’s not the only practical activity you’ll do on your course – the course is full of opportunities to apply your skills – but for many of our students, it’s their highlight!

What Challenge will my course have?

The Discover Business and Discover Technology students work together to launch a rocket. The Discover Technology students are responsible for designing and building it, while the Discover Business students will write up and cost out a business plan. You will then decide on a Marketing pitch and present it to “Venture Capital investors”, who will decide whether or not to invest.

You will go up to Oxford’s famous John Radcliffe Hospital. Here, you’ll meet with a selection of real patients, and take their medical histories. For this, it’s important to be sensitive, caring and perceptive. You will then work in small groups to attempt to diagnose the patients, based on the information they have given you.

The Discover Business and Discover Technology students work together to launch a rocket. The Discover Technology students are responsible for designing and building it, while the Discover Business students will write up and cost out a business plan. You will then decide on a Marketing pitch and present it to “Venture Capital investors”, who will decide whether or not to invest.

The Discover Writing students work together to write, design and publish a magazine. The topics are completely up to you: in the past, students have written about the themes of ‘Youth’, ‘Discarded Materials’ and pop culture, to name a few! In this Challenge, it’s important to balance the creation of content with a design and publishing strategy that ties it all together.

An unforgettable moment was the launching of our rockets during the Discover Business and Discover Technology Challenge. Teams of three to four students were required to create a prototype toy rocket which would be launched and marketed to the “investors”. The marketing proved a challenge to all of us but regardless, we managed to persuade the investors.

Andie Ng-Yeo, Discover Technology, Switzerland

Our Business & Enterprise students team up with the Computer Science & Coding students. Together, you will decide on a business idea, which the Business & Enterprise students will develop into a pitch, including costings and a marketing plan. In the meantime, the Computer Science & Coding students will build a website or an app – whichever is most appropriate for the business. Finally, you will pitch your idea to “VC investors”, just like entrepreneurs on Dragons’ Den.

Our Computer Science & Coding students team up with the Business & Enterprise students. Together, you will decide on a business idea, which the Business & Enterprise students will develop into a pitch, including costings and a marketing plan. In the meantime, the Computer Science & Coding students will build a website or an app – whichever is most appropriate for the business. Finally, you will pitch your idea to “VC investors”, just like entrepreneurs on Dragons’ Den.

You’ll write, design and publish a magazine. The topics are completely up to you: in the past, students have written about the themes of ‘Youth’, ‘Discarded Materials’ and pop culture, to name a few! In this Challenge, it’s important to balance the creation of content with a design and publishing strategy that ties it all together.

Students on the Experience Debate & Public Speaking and Experience Politics, International Relations & Leadership Academies join forces to take part in a Model United Nations challenge. In this Challenge, you’ll be assigned to represent a country at random. You’ll then have to research that country’s interests, represent and defend them against other, conflicting interests, putting your skills of diplomacy and persuasion to the test.

You need to balance the real-life considerations of resources and cost against efficacy, as you race in teams to construct the best, strongest bridge, before the clock stops. You will also present your team’s strategy to the class, putting your public speaking and presentation skills to the test.

Students on the Experience Debate & Public Speaking and Experience Politics, International Relations & Leadership Academies join forces to take part in a Model United Nations challenge. In this Challenge, you’ll be assigned to represent a country at random. You’ll then have to research that country’s interests, represent and defend them against other, conflicting interests, putting your skills of diplomacy and persuasion to the test.

You will go to Oxford’s Crown Court and take part in a mock trial, building your case and attempting to persuade a jury of your peers!

You will go up to Oxford’s famous John Radcliffe Hospital. Here, you’ll meet with a selection of real patients, and take their medical histories. For this, it’s important to be sensitive, caring and perceptive. You will then work in small groups to attempt to diagnose the patients, based on the information they have given you.

You will start by making a hypothesis about an area of psychology that interests you. You will then test the hypothesis by designing and carrying out a psychological experiment in teams, usually based on a survey. Later, you’ll analyse your results, and write them up into a full scientific paper, which you’ll keep as evidence of your initiative and experience.

On the day of the Challenge, we created a literature magazine. At first, we couldn’t believe we had to design, write and lay out an entire magazine in only four hours! The theme we chose was discarded material. We were inspired by the fashion designers who reuse discarded material to give it a new life. We published submissions on this theme that included artworks, poetry and prose. It was probably the most skill-testing activity we did but when we put it together it was the greatest sense of accomplishment to think that we came together and organized something so thought out and well written.

Luciana Wessolossky, Creative Writing Academy, USA

You will tackle an external client’s problem by acting as Management Consultants for the day. Together, you will come up with creative solutions to the client’s problem, and then need to demonstrate your ingenuity and original thinking by presenting your proposed solution to them. This will be very useful experience when you apply for internships and jobs, as you’ll be able to show evidence of initiative to potential employers.

You will be tasked with a real-life problem by a local enterprise. In this Challenge, you’ll need to apply your engineering, mathematical, and logical abilities to a technical problem, and then pitch your idea for a solution to the client.

You will go to Oxford’s Crown Court and take part in a mock trial, building your case and attempting to persuade a jury of your peers!

You will go up to Oxford’s famous John Radcliffe Hospital. Here, you’ll meet with a selection of real patients, and take their medical histories. For this, it’s important to be sensitive, caring and perceptive. You will then work in small groups to attempt to diagnose the patients, based on the information they have given you.

The Law Preparation Challenge was to take part in a mock trial. For the mock trial, we visited the Crown Court in Oxford’s city centre, and performed the mock trial in the real courthouse. As a class, we were given a fictional case to read and revise, which we would argue in court. Roles were assigned randomly, and included the Judges, Witnesses, Defence & Opposition and the Accused.

It was great! To see the whole class bring out their inner lawyer, make powerful arguments and stay in character was amazing! Honestly, the Challenge has to be the best part of the whole course.

Looking back on the overall experience, it is something I will not forget! I just remember leaving that court room so full of joy, happiness and genuinely feeling proud of myself and my class. The Challenge helped me massively to narrow my options for what I want to do within Law in the future.

Angel Wanjiru, Law Preparation Academy, UK

What skills will I develop?

For all the Challenges, no matter which course you study with us, you’ll need to demonstrate the 21st-century skills (also known as ‘soft skills’) that will be important for you at University and in any future career. The Challenge is a compelling way to demonstrate to future employers that you have the skills, and the initiative, that they are looking for. The Challenge will require you to show skills in:

  • Collaboration: this is a must! You’ll work in small groups and be expected to work sensitively with each other, as well as dividing up the tasks in a way which includes everyone and plays to the different strengths of all the members of your team. Whether you’re a natural leader, or find it difficult to put yourself forward, you’ll have an important role to play in your team.
  • Critical thinking and reasoning: you’ll need to apply logic to understand the problem at hand.
  • Creativity: as a team, you’ll need to generate new ideas, and create a team strategy for the Challenge.
  • Communication: this is important for good teamwork, and will also form part of the Challenge. You may have to pitch your idea for a company, requiring public speaking skills, or you might use your written communication skills to put together a really great article for a magazine.

Your tutor, and others from our team, will be there to support and stretch you along the way, but it’s not called a Challenge for nothing: you’d be surprised how quickly four hours go by when you’re racing against the clock!

Case Study: App Building Challenge

Halfway through the two best weeks of my life, I, along with my fellow Enterprise students and passionate Computer Science students were faced with the traditional Scholastica Challenge. The Challenge was a thrilling and tense four hours, where we were challenged to market our very own company, “EcoRides”. This is a business which strives to create the most eco-friendly, practical and efficient method of transportation within Oxford, using bicycles. The process of creating a business in four hours was split up into seven groups: the Human Resources team, Finance team, Innovation team, Content team, Coding team, Marketing team and the ‘Final presentation team’ which I was placed in. Being the linking factor between all the 7 teams, at times it was difficult to manage everyone and to make sure that all the teams were cooperating and sharing important details with other groups.

However, fortunately, all the amazing groups were able to manage their workload and maintain a great deal of professional quality in all their work whilst collaborating with others. While presenting our pitch to the potential investors, I, along with my fellow CEO, Sahib Moorjani, were faced with some very tough and difficult questions from our investors. Thankfully, we were able to answer the majority of questions in a sensible manner. Even when I couldn’t answer a question, I knew I could rely on my Chief Marketing Officer, Morgane Bascle, to jump in for me and save the day. I particularly enjoyed the final part of the Challenge where I was able to pitch “EcoRides’” KeyNote to its investors. As its CEO, I was finally able to put my public speaking skills and love for presenting into use. The presentation gave me a special sense of what my future may look like, especially since I am looking to become a entrepreneur.

In my future I aim to become an entrepreneur with my own business. The Business & Enterprise course has shown me how I can accomplish my dream, by giving me further understanding of various topics such as business strategy, finance, game theory, business structure, marketing and management theory. I will look back on my Scholastica experience as a life-changing event in my life, where I was able to gain self independence, communication and collaboration skills.

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