The Student Room Group

Oxford History Students and Applicants

I'd be most grateful if a moderator could move this across to the courses section.

Hopefully this can be a thread for Oxford Historians past and present and applicants. Any questions about the course, the application process, day-to-day life as a student, then please fire away. General History love and/or banter is also welcome. :grin:


For applicants, a couple of links you might want to check out (if you haven't already done so):

History Faculty website

Current undergraduate section - more in-depth information about the papers on offer

Faculty information about the HAT (History Aptitude Test)

TSR Wiki article about History at Oxford

If there is any further information you'd like to see in the latter, suggestions are much appreciated.

Scroll to see replies

Reply 1
clichy
Hello, I am a student applying to Oxford to read History, and I have good enough GCSE and AS level grades to stand a chance that way, but the thing worring me is the HAT test.

It is mainly worrying me because I'm unsure of how they use it - is it factored in like the interviews and PS's, or used to cut out a certain amount of students regardless of academic performance at GCSE and A - level?

Any help/advice on how to tackle the test would be great, and also how/when to start preparing; should I already be?!

Thanks a lot


Hi - I've quoted you in here because hopefully the new Courses forum can be used to keep the main one a bit less cluttered.

From what I can gather, the HAT is primarily used to work out who will be called to interview. I wouldn't worry unduly about it, though, because if you've got excellent grades and similarly impressive submitted work then you can still be called for interview even if your HAT score isn't dazzling.

In terms of preparation, the paper is designed to test your natural analytical skills, things which you should have picked up in the course of your studies and wider reading. Take a look at the past papers on the Faculty website (the link is above) and familiarise yourself with the format, and then just go over whatever you've studied for AS/A2.

My HAT was awful and I still got in, so don't despair. It's actually quite enjoyable really, in a strange exam kind of way.
Reply 2
I understand, from talking to my tutors, that the HAT is used to cut out roughly the bottom quarter of applicants, regardless of GCSE/A-level performance - but I know a few people who thought theirs went terribly yet still got an interview, so there's no reason to stress too much.
Can you be rejected before the HAT?

I'm currently trying to find out if my college will let me sit it there but I'm slightly worried I'll get rejected before it and then look like an idiot.
Eric Arthur
Can you be rejected before the HAT?

I'm currently trying to find out if my college will let me sit it there but I'm slightly worried I'll get rejected before it and then look like an idiot.


No

All applicants will sit the HAT, and it is on the basis of the HAT and the UCAS application that they decide who to interview.
Andy the Anarchist
No

All applicants will sit the HAT, and it is on the basis of the HAT and the UCAS application that they decide who to interview.

Ah, good. Thank you. Getting it organised with my college is proving to be a nightmare though. But then, that's to be expected when I can't even get someone to write me a reference or mark an essay there. :frown:
Reply 6
Eric Arthur
Ah, good. Thank you. Getting it organised with my college is proving to be a nightmare though. But then, that's to be expected when I can't even get someone to write me a reference or mark an essay there. :frown:


Ouch! :sad: Sorry your college is being such a pain - it should be relatively straightforward for them to organise you sitting the HAT, as all the paperwork will be sorted out by Oxford. Persevere with the reference and essay marking, though.
Mook
Ouch! :sad: Sorry your college is being such a pain - it should be relatively straightforward for them to organise you sitting the HAT, as all the paperwork will be sorted out by Oxford. Persevere with the reference and essay marking, though.

It's because I'm an evening student and the people I need to do stuff for me are my teachers from history and politics last year and since I'm no longer in their class they don't really care. Evening class students also aren't offered any sort of UCAS help by the college either.

I don't even trust them to have a room set up with someone to supervise me taking the test, really.

A word of warning for anyone - Belfast Metropolitan College - avoid.

But then again, it's about the only place in Northern Ireland you can take A levels once you've left school.
How long is everyone's written work? I'm currently working on mine and it's only about 1300 words, given the limit is 2000 I'm scared that won't really be enough.
Anyone?

*hopes bumping at a time when plenty of people are online gets a response*
Reply 10
Mine was 1600, but seriously, you only have maybe a 20-minute interview on it, so don't worry about it - quality over quantity, etcetera. That said, creatively padding out an essay* is a useful skill at Oxford.

*there are limits, of course - "Did you 'slightly not do' very much of the reading this week, Rob?" is a very memorable tute quote.
Reply 11
rkd
Mine was 1600, but seriously, you only have maybe a 20-minute interview on it, so don't worry about it - quality over quantity, etcetera. That said, creatively padding out an essay* is a useful skill at Oxford.

*there are limits, of course - "Did you 'slightly not do' very much of the reading this week, Rob?" is a very memorable tute quote.


Can't really remember how long the essay I sent in was, but I don't think it was any more than 1500. As Rob says, it's quality not quantity that is important.

"Creatively padding out an essay" is essential, but my very first tutor got us to read out our essays in tutorials and would interrupt virtually every other sentence :sadnod: 'Creativity' got a rather hostile reception.
I've read that Carr is getting a bit 'tired' in personal statements - should I put it anyway? Or try and find something else to have read?
I've put about a couple of historians I have read on the Vietnam War, and I can't fit anything else in.
I really want to get my statement sent off within a few days, but I'm worried my reading won't sound impressive enough...
Reply 13
grumpygremlin
I've read that Carr is getting a bit 'tired' in personal statements - should I put it anyway? Or try and find something else to have read?
I've put about a couple of historians I have read on the Vietnam War, and I can't fit anything else in.
I really want to get my statement sent off within a few days, but I'm worried my reading won't sound impressive enough...

Congratulations, you've just bumped a thread which is nearly 4 years old... I'll move this for you, if you don't mind.:wink:
Reply 14
grumpygremlin
I've read that Carr is getting a bit 'tired' in personal statements - should I put it anyway? Or try and find something else to have read?
I've put about a couple of historians I have read on the Vietnam War, and I can't fit anything else in.
I really want to get my statement sent off within a few days, but I'm worried my reading won't sound impressive enough...


If you can, flick through Keith Jenkins' "Re-thinking History"; it's short and good. If not, don't worry; they don't admit or reject people based on whether they've dared to read Carr.
Reply 15
I only mentioned one author in my personal statement, and that was very briefly :dontknow:
Sorry hobnob, computers at school are rather useless, and make the layout here confusing enough that I didn't notice the date, or how to find other similar threads...
Thanks anyway guys, from what you've said I guess it'll be ok. I think I'll just send it off... :smile:
rkd
If you can, flick through Keith Jenkins' "Re-thinking History"; it's short and good. If not, don't worry; they don't admit or reject people based on whether they've dared to read Carr.


Ewww, postmodern history :no:
Reply 18
Andy the Anarchist
Ewww, postmodern history :no:


Just be grateful that you don't have to do Disciplines :sadnod: Each essay makes me die a little bit inside ...
I don't understand, if the thread is so old then why is the first post dated 6th September 09?

Quick Reply

Latest