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    Hello,

    Just a few questions about Oxford so I would like to hear some opinions from anyone for any question asked - Sorry it's long!! :eek3: I have often read these forums for a while now but never got round to starting threads or replying..

    I am thinking about applying to Oxford and I am currently in year 12, in a state school. I would apply for Biological Sciences.

    My GCSE's were: A*A*AAAAAABBB. First question: I think they are probably below average for an Oxbridge student? :confused:

    I am currently studying 5 AS courses which are: Maths, Physics, Biology, Geography and Critical Thinking. I am predicted: Maths A, Physics B/A, Biology A, Geography A, Critical Thinking B. Hopefully meaning I will send up with AS results of AAAAB or at worst AAABB. I Would drop Geography and hopefully end up with AAA, excluding CT. Next Question: are these results good enough to secure an interview with a decent application sent too? I heard that originating from a state school with the same grades as someone from a public school affects your chances and that they even prefer people from state school because they may have worked slightly harder to have received the same results?

    With the new A*'s coming in place, will this affect Oxford's choice of students much? I will probably not get any A*'s so is that putting me at a disadvantage? (That was the third question!)

    Has anyone here taken an interview, especially for a tutor(s) in Biology - do they expect you to know knowledge above A2 level Biology? I am currently reading magazines like Biological Science Review to help with my keen interest in Ecology which would hopefully help my performance if I got an interview. I know it's early to be thinking about interviews, but if they expect a much wider breadth of knowledge than the average student then I better get reading! :p:

    I have also heard that Biology is not as competitive as other subjects at around a 4:1 applicantslaces ratio for the short-listed/interviewed or am I wrong in thinking this?

    Finally the last question! Would applying to a different college make a difference in securing a place at Oxford? Some colleges are more prestigious than others - perhaps meaning that applying to the not quite so prestigious colleges would help your chances?

    I know this is long - it's just a list of 'i-want-to-know' questions that have slowly compiled into my mind over quite a while now so I would really appreciate answers to any of the questions
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    Your GCSE's are slightly below what the usual Oxford student has, but there are some with a lot lower. GCSE's don't matter that much, you're still in the range that you don't have to do anything ridiculous to make up for it.
    Try getting those four A's for AS-level, from what I hear they care more about those then about GCSE's. Still, you'd have a shot at an interview. Things like this are pretty unpredictable, but with a strong PS and a good reference you have a shot. They do tend to be more lenient towards state school pupils, but don't count on that too much.
    Oxford has announced they'll wait and see what A*'s are actually worth before they start demanding them, if you apply in the next cycle you probably won't need them yet. Sure, having them in your prediction is always nice, but officially they don't care.
    I don't know the details for Biology, but usually they don't expect that much knowledge, but more the right way of thinking. Be sure you do know all the stuff from A-levels and if you feel like reading more, certainly do. Doing your extra reading in a specific area is good, definitly mention it in your PS, there's a chance they'll bring it up.
    Definitly not one of the most competetive subjects like Medecine or Law. Still, it's Oxford, so it'll never be easy.
    Officially, it doesn't matter, but that's crap. The pooling system is nice but far from perfect. If you're not 100% sure about yourself, don't apply to the superfamous colleges in the top five of the Norrington table, it doesn't really matter once you're there and the admissions is a lot harder. Don't become too insecure and apply to a college you don't like but is easy, try to find a balance between the two.
    Good luck applying, feel free to ask any more questions.
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    (Original post by Crazydavy)
    My GCSE's were: A*A*AAAAAABBB. First question: I think they are probably below average for an Oxbridge student? :confused:
    See my sig.

    I am currently studying 5 AS courses which are: Maths, Physics, Biology, Geography and Critical Thinking. I am predicted: Maths A, Physics B/A, Biology A, Geography A, Critical Thinking B. Hopefully meaning I will send up with AS results of AAAAB or at worst AAABB. I Would drop Geography and hopefully end up with AAA, excluding CT. Next Question: are these results good enough to secure an interview with a decent application sent too?
    Yes. Biology is sufficiently "undersubscribed" that they interview virtually everyone with AAA at AS level who doesn't have other things against them (e.g. a poor reference, a shocking PS etc)

    I heard that originating from a state school with the same grades as someone from a public school affects your chances and that they even prefer people from state school because they may have worked slightly harder to have received the same results?
    There is no "they". The decisions are made by real people - real tutors. Usually the one tutor at the college you apply to. That one tutor may prefer state schoolers, but equally they may be wise enough to know that "state school" covers a multitude of sins and that going there may or may not mean various things about you and your grades.

    With the new A*'s coming in place, will this affect Oxford's choice of students much? I will probably not get any A*'s so is that putting me at a disadvantage? (That was the third question!)
    Unlikely. Oxford don't want to use the A* til they've got some decent stats about who they accept vs who gets the A* and whether tutors can predict it. They're not going to de-shortlist people not predicted A*s because they've got no way of knowing whether that's a valid prediction.

    Has anyone here taken an interview, especially for a tutor(s) in Biology - do they expect you to know knowledge above A2 level Biology? I am currently reading magazines like Biological Science Review to help with my keen interest in Ecology which would hopefully help my performance if I got an interview. I know it's early to be thinking about interviews, but if they expect a much wider breadth of knowledge than the average student then I better get reading! :p:
    There's an entire thread about interviews for Bio in the last application cycle where I explain at length that the questions will be "think about this" rather than "do you know the answer to this". You'll be expected to have interests above and beyond the syllabus, obviously - you're trying to demonstrate that you're one of the most passionate and enthusiastic students out there!! But they won't expect any specific knowledge.

    I have also heard that Biology is not as competitive as other subjects at around a 4:1 applicantslaces ratio for the short-listed/interviewed or am I wrong in thinking this?
    That's right.

    Finally the last question! Would applying to a different college make a difference in securing a place at Oxford? Some colleges are more prestigious than others - perhaps meaning that applying to the not quite so prestigious colleges would help your chances?
    Nope. Biology applications are centralised. That means that the two colleges who interviewed you will provide their assessment. If they're oversubscribed then, having heard what they thought of you, any other college tutor is free to say "we'll have that one" (this is obviously a bit more proactive than the more widely used pooling system)
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    Thank to both elieshout and especially Bekaboo. I really appreciate your answers and you have both cleared a few things up for me!
 
 
 
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