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Why did YOU choose Oxford or Cambridge over the other?

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    (Original post by X)
    Oxford stil operate their own entrance exam for maths (and joint schools) though don't they?
    Yeah, I have a copy of a past paper and I could do every single question on it without hesitation (and I've only done three quarters of maths A-level). They're just funny looking A-level questions / common sense. :confused: STEP papers are entirely different - the best I've ever done on a STEP paper was three whole questions and two half questions in about 6 hours.
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    Three fairly mundane reasons I picked Cambridge over Oxford, putting aside the fact that Cambridge had been drilled into me since I was about 5:

    Cambridge is better known for my course (Computer Science);
    I prefer the atmosphere of the city, the Oxford colleges are lovely but the city has too many cars and feels like a crappy version of London;
    I live right next to the M11 link road, which makes it a lot easier to get to Cambridge!
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    (Original post by cielo)
    I'm genuinely curious as to what reasons you give for why you applied to Oxford over Cambridge and vice versa.


    Temporary psychosis I imagine.
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    For me, to apply to Oxford just felt like an excuse for not applying to Cambridge.

    Which is another way of saying: I just knew that Cambridge was where I wanted to do my degree. I guess that's because I'm a scientist, and Cambridge just felt more routed in scientific prestige.
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    I had my heart set on Cambridge.
    Then saw the reality of SPS after realising that I didn't want to study history.
    Went on an Oxford open day, and didn't really like it.
    Found out about PPE, and fell in love with the course.
    Went to Cambridge again, and suddenly it didn't seem as amazing.
    Went to Oxford again, fell in love with it.

    And that was that! After finding out about PPE, Cambridge wasn't as amazing any more. It was wierd :confused:
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    Partly because I wanted the city with more countryside close by.

    But mostly because I liked the pale blue of the Cam website - it seemed friendly and welcoming - to the dark blue of the Oxford site which was more standoffish looking. And the website just wasn't as good.

    But yeah, the colour.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Yeah, I have a copy of a past paper and I could do every single question on it without hesitation (and I've only done three quarters of maths A-level). They're just funny looking A-level questions / common sense. :confused: STEP papers are entirely different - the best I've ever done on a STEP paper was three whole questions and two half questions in about 6 hours.

    Well you take STEP 7 months after the Oxford test, and most people spend months and months preparing for it. Having said that, I can't really dispute on the whole Cambridge is better for maths - I almost applied for it, and if I had done it would definitely have been to Trinity, Cambridge, without a doubt.
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    well my cousin is at cambridge... n i kinda didn't want to cramp his style :p: .. but no seriously, i loved the city of oxford and i had heard more about it that cambridge, i dont reali kno why. Although i have to admit i didn't apply thinking i might actually get in so my college choice was more flicking through the prospectus and stopping randomly ...:p:
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Well you take STEP 7 months after the Oxford test, and most people spend months and months preparing for it. Having said that, I can't really dispute on the whole Cambridge is better for maths - I almost applied for it, and if I had done it would definitely have been to Trinity, Cambridge, without a doubt.
    You mean Oxford train their students to do STEP papers and then let them at it, whereas Cambridge select on the basis of who can do them before arriving and who can't? So Cambridge is about 10 months ahead of Oxford? :p:
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    You mean Oxford train their students to do STEP papers and then let them at it, whereas Cambridge select on the basis of who can do them before arriving and who can't? So Cambridge is about 10 months ahead of Oxford? :p:
    Either I am having a sense-of-humour failure or you seem to have misunderstood Kizer's post - Oxford students don't sit STEP, and they sit their entrance paper earlier than the STEP papers, therefore having less time to prepare. That said, Cambridge is universally regarded as being better for Maths - just look at where the Maths Olympiad winners go every year, or count the number of Fields medallists (equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Maths) on the Cambridge faculty.

    (P.S. I'm not a mathmo. Don't know why I'm getting involved really - must be bored!)
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    You mean Oxford train their students to do STEP papers and then let them at it, whereas Cambridge select on the basis of who can do them before arriving and who can't? So Cambridge is about 10 months ahead of Oxford? :p:
    Umm.. I don't really think that follows from what I said! If Cambridge set its entrance exam much earlier, like Oxford does, it would be less hard.. kind of what I meant.

    But again I really do accept on the whole the best mathematicians in the country go to Cambridge.
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    (Original post by sTe\/o)
    Either I am having a sense-of-humour failure or you seem to have misunderstood Kizer's post
    Neither, I'm just being dumb and have forgotten how to read. Sorry.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Umm.. I don't really think that follows from what I said! If Cambridge set its entrance exam much earlier, like Oxford does, it would be less hard.. kind of what I meant.
    ...but even so, having done C1-3 and just finished my ASs, I should not really be able to do an Oxford entrance exam now.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Neither, I'm just being dumb and have forgotten how to read. Sorry.
    Well, it's late.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    ...but even so, having done C1-3 and just finished my ASs, I should not really be able to do an Oxford entrance exam now.

    Actually Oxford say that the material needed for the exam is C1, C2 and C3, so yes you should be able to! And if you can do it well, congratulations, you might be good enough for Oxford, depending on your interview :p:
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Actually Oxford say that the material needed for the exam is C1, C2 and C3, so yes you should be able to! And if you can do it well, congratulations, you might be good enough for Oxford, depending on your interview :p:
    Makes me wonder how Oxford has such a good reputation. :confused: I'm not that good at maths.
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    Well I was actually being serious in a way about the interview - if the exam is easy in a particular year, the interview will become more important to compensate.
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    I really loved Oxford from the first time I started thinking about Oxbridge, and the History & Politics course was absolutely perfect. But then thought that I shouldn't be irrational and visited Cambridge and considered their courses. Oxford obviously won by miles. Firstly because I had my heart set on History & Politics, not the single History that Cambridge offer, and secondly cos Oxford's just amazing! Better night life, more of a city feel, further from home.
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    who told you that oxford generally give people aab-abb offers for maths? That's rubbish- none of the oxford mathsmos from my school (8) or any of the TSR mathsmos got AAB offers for oxford; poor dom had to get AAAAB.

    Good for you if you can do the oxford entrance paper without any problems- i assume you're exhaggerating, but even so, the example papers on the website are all a lot easier than the real ones generally are, having seen about 10 years worth, collected by my school. I expect they put up easier examples so as not to deter good applicants who may lack confidence.

    I'm not debating that cambridge is the better place for maths, and it does indeed have more stringent entry requirements, however, you're wrong to assume that getting into oxford is easy, or that it's easier to get into than warwick; many people are rejected by oxford but accepted by warwick. Warwick only require STEP/AEA if you aren't doing further maths, btw.

    As for cambridge being 3000X the city oxford is- have you actually been there yet????
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    Oxford - because Cambridge doesn't do Maths/Phil and I didn't like it much.

    Hey! Its no use insulting us poor Oxford mathmos. Its not our fault we don't have a brand new maths department that looks like Tellytubby land...

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Updated: July 11, 2014
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