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AS grades for PPE at Oxford

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    Hi everyone
    I'm a Year 12 student and the summer exams are coming(urgh!) I'm 100% sure that I want to do PPE at Oxford, I feel like it's the only reasonable uni where I could do this degree. Having spent the last 2 weeks in bed (I was ILL, not lazy , I feel like I've messed up my revision and I'm freaking out cause I feel like I could end up with a B in my history exam
    I know that next year I could do 4 subjects and get an A in my A2, but I'm worried that if I mess up this exam, that will be it, finito, bye bye Oxford dream...
    Do you think it's possible to get into Oxford with a B at AS? I know i could shine in my PS with all the stuff I read and wrote around those three topics, and how I do MUN and stuff like that.
    Do you think there is ANY chance at all ???
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    (Original post by alex95)
    Hi everyone
    I'm a Year 12 student and the summer exams are coming(urgh!) I'm 100% sure that I want to do PPE at Oxford, I feel like it's the only reasonable uni where I could do this degree. Having spent the last 2 weeks in bed (I was ILL, not lazy , I feel like I've messed up my revision and I'm freaking out cause I feel like I could end up with a B in my history exam
    I know that next year I could do 4 subjects and get an A in my A2, but I'm worried that if I mess up this exam, that will be it, finito, bye bye Oxford dream...
    Do you think it's possible to get into Oxford with a B at AS? I know i could shine in my PS with all the stuff I read and wrote around those three topics, and how I do MUN and stuff like that.
    Do you think there is ANY chance at all ???
    Hi! The short answer is you will still be considered for Oxford if you have three As and a B at AS.

    The long answer is that it is best to see an Oxford application as a series of parts. Those parts are your GCSE results, your AS results, your A2 predictions, your admissions test, and your interview.

    Firstly GCSEs - what are your grades? The more A*s the better but I have an offer and I only have two A*, although I recognise that's a relatively small number. AS results - grades matter but what also matters is the subjects you get them in. What are your AS subjects? Two of the suggested subjects for PPE are History and Maths. Do you do Maths AS as well as History? What is your prediction?

    A2 predictions - it will be helpful, but not a ticket to an offer, to be predicted as well as you can. Now come the two most important parts. It is absolutely crucial that you get as strong a mark as possible in your admissions test, which for PPE will be the Thinking Skills Assessment. http://www.admissionstests.cambridge.../adt/tsaoxford < Check it out online and read over some past papers. There is no certain figure but most subjects will reject the lowest-scoring candidates right away, offer interviews to the highest scorers, and consider those in the middle for the remaining interview places. Then comes the interview. How to perform well in interview is not the topic of this post but the point is that the better your interview performance, the less your grades will matter.

    Dropping down in one of these areas can be compensated by success in the others. I've heard stories of people who have performed well at interview getting in with what seems like extremely low grades for an Oxford applicant, while there are others with predictions of 5 A* at A Level who are rejected. Who knows if these stories are true, but the reason they have this extended process is to give you lots and lots of chances to show how good you are.

    TLDR - try your best in all aspects of your application, but if you slip slightly in one, you're still in with a chance.

    Hope I helped
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    (Original post by alex95)
    Hi everyone
    I'm a Year 12 student and the summer exams are coming(urgh!) I'm 100% sure that I want to do PPE at Oxford, I feel like it's the only reasonable uni where I could do this degree. Having spent the last 2 weeks in bed (I was ILL, not lazy , I feel like I've messed up my revision and I'm freaking out cause I feel like I could end up with a B in my history exam
    I know that next year I could do 4 subjects and get an A in my A2, but I'm worried that if I mess up this exam, that will be it, finito, bye bye Oxford dream...
    Do you think it's possible to get into Oxford with a B at AS? I know i could shine in my PS with all the stuff I read and wrote around those three topics, and how I do MUN and stuff like that.
    Do you think there is ANY chance at all ???
    Yeah, somewhere like Warwick or Durham would be pretty catastrophic...

    If you get mitigating circumstances (ie. doctor's note) Oxford should take account of it and put more emphasis on your GCSEs, PS, admissions test etc.
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    By 'catastrophic', do you mean the admissions process or what i said about 'Oxford being the only reasonable uni for doing PPE'?
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    (Original post by alex95)
    By 'catastrophic', do you mean the admissions process or what i said about 'Oxford being the only reasonable uni for doing PPE'?
    Oxford being the only reasonable uni for PPE and, thus, that it wouldn't be catastrophic to study it at another top uni such as the other two.

    In 2011 the success rate for PPE was 14.8% (source: http://www.ox.ac.uk/about_the_univer...s/courses.html ), a lot of those in the remaining 85% were probably excellent candidates. I'm not saying you won't be one of the 14.8%, you have as good a chance as anyone else maybe even a better one if you're an exceptional candidate, but by believing that it's the only 'reasonable' place to study PPE you could be setting yourself up for a crushing disappointment.

    Yes, Oxford's PPE course is exceptionally storied and has produced more illustrious graduates than you can count, but that doesn't make it the only reasonable uni at which to study the subject.

    EDIT: I'm not saying OP won't get into Oxford, evidence seems to suggest AAAB won't hinder him in getting in so long as he performs well in other aspects of his application (of which there are plenty as Oxford has a very good system for getting as full a view of a candidate as possible). I'm just saying pinning all your hopes on a course that's so competitive and with so many brilliant students applying, and that other to 10 unis aren't any good for the course, could be setting yourself up for a grave dissappointment.
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    If I were you I wouldn't get your heart set on one uni, one course. There are lots of great unis and great courses, especially for the sort of people interested in PPE. The trouble is, if you totally commit to the idea of one thing, and then it doesn't work out, then you're likely to take it badly. It's good to aim high, but just try to accept that you may have to compromise at some stage.

    On a brighter note, I wasn't at all optimistic about getting four As last year but I managed it somehow. You'll probably do better than you think, just work as hard as you can but try to keep things in perspective as well. If you don't get straight As, it's not the end of the world. A guy at my college got an offer from Oxford (Maths & Phil) with AABB at AS, and there are loads of great opportunities for people who get those sorts of grades. So just relax and try your best.
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    It's definitely possible to get into Oxford for PPE with a B in AS History! I got into Oxford for PPE with a C in AS Philosophy.
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    I am applying to PPE at Oxford with AABB in my AS levels... So it is fair to say I am panicking as much as you are! Reading through your post there are a few things I would like to comment on:

    1) remember AS levels are not everything, there are so many other elements to a good application:
    -GCSEs
    -Personal Statement
    -Reference
    -Predicted Grades
    -TSA scores
    -Interviews
    Loads of people will have stellar exam results who may not even get in.

    2) I am personally trying to make myself think that if I don't get into Oxford for PPE then it's not the end of the world for several reasons
    -Oxford admissions knows its stuff, if they don't choose you, you probably would have hated Oxford and found it far too pressurizing
    - There ARE loads and loads of other GREAT UNIVERSITIES that offer PPE; look at Warwick, Exeter, Manchester, Royal Holloway, Durham, York... These are all fantastic places

    There is always a chance... AAAB is a fantastic set of results when compared to the rest of the country. So it's worth a try, the worst they can say is no and then at least you know you tried!

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Updated: October 24, 2013
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