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Oxbridge and SQA qualifications

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    I am currently in 4th year in Scotland and hoping to apply to Oxford in 2012 to do either History or History and Politics.

    I would like to ask how far do they look into your qualifications? Do they look at bands? (e.g. A band 1, A band 2)

    Also do they look at S4 grades for Intermediate 2 or Standard Grade (I do all Int 2s in place of SGs)? How much of a weighting do these grades/bands have?

    All responses will be appreciated; however, responses from Scottish applicants to and students of Oxbridge will be particularly valued.
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    I'll be applying to Oxbridge next year, as far as I'm aware, they do look at bands or at least the maths professor who gave a talk on applying to Oxford/Cambridge in the Oxbridge conference said that they do. They will look at Int2/Standard Grade results since they do ask for some grades at that level however I doubt that they will put too much weight on it when considering your application as long as you got the grades they asked for
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    (Original post by duggs95)
    I am currently in 4th year in Scotland and hoping to apply to Oxford in 2012 to do either History or History and Politics.

    I would like to ask how far do they look into your qualifications? Do they look at bands? (e.g. A band 1, A band 2)

    Also do they look at S4 grades for Intermediate 2 or Standard Grade (I do all Int 2s in place of SGs)? How much of a weighting do these grades/bands have?

    All responses will be appreciated; however, responses from Scottish applicants to and students of Oxbridge will be particularly valued.
    4 people from my year are applying next year. They all went to some oxbridge day in Edinbugrh where they found out all the sort of stuff you asked. To have a realistic chance of getting an interview, 90%+ is really expected in your highers. As for Int 2's and SG's, you'll pretty much have to get more A's/1's than you do B's/2's. Remember you don't get in because of highers(generally) in english unis, especially oxbridge. You'll need to do a minimum of three advanced highers, and if you do go through the entire interview process, you'll probably need to get 3A's at advanced higher. But to sum up your question, yes, bands do matter in this case.
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    The above's essentially correct. Cambridge specifically ask for your bands on a supplemental questionnaire, Oxford don't do this but universities seem to get your bands somewhere along the line anyway (since, for example, my conditional was set on bands at Advanced Higher) so it's probably worth operating on the basis that they both use them.

    They will look at your Intermediate results, but they have a much lower weighting than your performance at Higher, predictions for Advanced Higher and interview (in roughly that order).
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    It seems to me that with Oxford, getting the offer is the biggest battle of the whole application process for Scottish students. Following being made an offer, it's likely to be AAB at Advanced Higher, which really is quite nice considering it's one of the world's best universities.

    Cambridge is by no means easy to get an offer for, but even once you've been made an offer it will almost certainly be AAA at AH (or CC if you're rather smart and applied to Christ's :P) and I think since they have introduced the A*AA offer there will be more and more offers being made to Scottish students which specify bands. I believe Pembroke have made this common policy this year and I suspect other colleges may follow.

    You do have to specify your Higher bands for Cambridge, but not for Oxford. I get the impression that Oxford put a lot of emphasis on interview (hence why you go down for near enough a week), and if your interview performance is good then they consider that to compensate for the odd grade slip.

    Best of luck with your application when it comes around!
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    Part of the reason you're down for so long for interview at Oxford over Cambridge is that their pooling system (where you may receive an offer from a college other than the one to which you applied) takes place there and then, rather than ours after the first set of offers have been made.
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    Thank you all for your replies.
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    I should mention, they're more interested in your Higher bands.
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    (Original post by TheUnbeliever)
    I should mention, they're more interested in your Higher bands.
    This is very true. In fact, the SAQ doesn't even require you to declare your fourth year bands. Get the head down next year! :P
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    (Original post by jackwka)
    4 people from my year are applying next year. They all went to some oxbridge day in Edinbugrh where they found out all the sort of stuff you asked. To have a realistic chance of getting an interview, 90%+ is really expected in your highers. As for Int 2's and SG's, you'll pretty much have to get more A's/1's than you do B's/2's. Remember you don't get in because of highers(generally) in english unis, especially oxbridge. You'll need to do a minimum of three advanced highers, and if you do go through the entire interview process, you'll probably need to get 3A's at advanced higher. But to sum up your question, yes, bands do matter in this case.
    I'm fairly sure Oxford doesn't ask for bands/percentage marks, and that Cambridge does. You definitely DO NOT need 90%+ in your highers (I think I got that in like one higher).

    At the Oxbridge application things I went to a couple of years ago they told us that you needed AAAAA or AAAAB in your 5th year Highers. Also, you DON'T need 3AHs. They're quite aware of the fact that AHs are more challenging in ways A-levels (the lack of AHs offered, lack of teaching material, general apathy from schools catering to the unconditional offer system from scottish unis etc). Anyway, I only did 2 AHs (& my offer was for AAa). Not sure what sort of SGs they want, but presumably as many 1s as you can muster.

    The general impression I get is that Camb is more interested in your precise grades than Ox (eg Camb asks for A* at A-Level, as well as mark %/bands). However, Ox filters out more applicants before interview than Camb, so you've got more of a chance to actually get to the interviewers if you've got worse results at Camb.

    Also, 4th year's a bit early... I think I only found out that "Oxbridge" wasn't an actual place the year I applied...
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    Still fairly sure 2 AH is the minimum, to be honest. Cambridge will only accept it in exceptional circumstances, but I think Oxford are more open. I think.
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    It varies by college at Cambridge, at least. For example, I strongly suspect that Trinity (who seem to now be opting for A1 A1 A offers) will reject you.
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    (Original post by TheUnbeliever)
    It varies by college at Cambridge, at least. For example, I strongly suspect that Trinity (who seem to now be opting for A1 A1 A offers) will reject you.
    I would imagine somewhere like King's would be more sympathetic towards people being unable to take more AHs. Not to stereotype colleges or anything...:P
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    If you want to maximise your chances of getting in to Cambridge you should be aiming for Band Ones in your Highers. If you can't get five Band Ones, then at the very least you should be aiming for Band Ones in the three subjects most relevant to the course that you are applying for.

    Increasingly Cambridge colleges are now asking for Band Ones in Advanced Highers. This year Trinity, Queens, Pembroke, Churchill and possibly others made offers of A1, A1, A2 at Advanced Higher to Scottish applicants. Churchill state on their website that A1, A1, A2 is now their standard offer.

    If you are considering applying to Cambridge you should check with the college that you are interested in applying to what their standard entry requirements are for Scottish applicants.
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    I know you can't really stereotype colleges, but does anyone have any suspicions about the Cambridge colleges that might not be asking for A1s? Slightly more lenient ones?
    I'm doing 5 Highers this year and I think I might manage maybe 2 A1s, hopefully the rest just As. There's nooo way I can get 3 A1s at AH tho D:
    I was thinking Emmanuel or Trinity before, but now I don't know

    I'm wanting to do Geography btw
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    (Original post by catrinaribena)
    I know you can't really stereotype colleges, but does anyone have any suspicions about the Cambridge colleges that might not be asking for A1s? Slightly more lenient ones?
    I'm doing 5 Highers this year and I think I might manage maybe 2 A1s, hopefully the rest just As. There's nooo way I can get 3 A1s at AH tho D:
    I was thinking Emmanuel or Trinity before, but now I don't know

    I'm wanting to do Geography btw
    I reckon Trinity will be one of the first to give out A1 offers. It's really really difficult to say though. The majority of colleges, this year, have given out standard AAA offers, so unless there is a drastic change next year I don't think it will make too much difference. Steer clear of Pembroke, Churchill and Trinity is you don't want one of the new tricky offers, I would say. But it's really difficult to play the system like that - you just have to wait and see. I've got friends who have offers from Catz, St John's, Catz, Jesus, Sidney, Churchill and Clare, and they're all AAA.

    Don't worry too much about it.
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    Trinity started giving A1 offers in the 2009 cycle, and repeated this in 2010. I'd expect them to continue.
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    My dream is to do PPE at Oxford. I'm doing 5 highers and 1 AH next year but I guess this means I have to stay for S6 and do a couple more Advanced Highers? =( I am in the funny situation where I have parents totally against applying (although the headteacher is very keen on the idea... I go to a school in the western isles with about 250 pupils and I reckon its just his ego talking) However, I really do want to go. Just I cba with another 2 years on this island. They wouldnt take me on the basis of 1 AH and 5 Hs would they? I need to start planning (and start saving) =L
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    (Original post by candide)
    I guess this means I have to stay for S6 and do a couple more Advanced Highers?
    Yes.

    They wouldnt take me on the basis of 1 AH and 5 Hs would they?
    Almost certainly not.
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    (Original post by jackwka)
    To have a realistic chance of getting an interview, 90%+ is really expected in your highers.
    Please tell me this is not true (especially for Higher English!) :eek3:

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Updated: May 23, 2010
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