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The Idiot's Guide to Getting into Oxbridge watch

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    I don't know if I believe the whole "75%" dealie though. If you have an excellent student, there's only so much a teacher can write in a reference, and hopefully the student has already talked about their actually achievements in the personal statement, so I'm sure quite a lot of teacher references come out looking pretty similar. Ditto with personal statements, theres only so much you can *safely* do (without resulting to the example of the "dole" etc.) The problem with that is that some may find it interesting/brilliant, but there's always the off chance of causing a good deal of offence and hence not being offered a place. So surely they'd HAVE to resort to interview just to tell the real from the fake.
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    (Original post by lucerna)
    I don't know if I believe the whole "75%" dealie though. If you have an excellent student, there's only so much a teacher can write in a reference, and hopefully the student has already talked about their actually achievements in the personal statement, so I'm sure quite a lot of teacher references come out looking pretty similar. Ditto with personal statements, theres only so much you can *safely* do (without resulting to the example of the "dole" etc.) The problem with that is that some may find it interesting/brilliant, but there's always the off chance of causing a good deal of offence and hence not being offered a place. So surely they'd HAVE to resort to interview just to tell the real from the fake.
    i agree. read my post b4. most tutors at skools talk a load of rubbish/lie/make out the student better than he is for obvious reasons, wo i doubt oxbridge r gonna care about that.

    its the interview - they make their own opinion, and considering that oxbridge interviewers think they r god, they will always think that they know best.

    and one thing - raw intelligence? yes, but only if it is backed up with hard work

    there are a few really clever people who dont work hard enough and get decent mildly good grades - but will oxbridge wnat these considering that first class degrees are what tehy want at the end of a students time at oxbridge?

    oxbridge want people with all the qualities. i mean all.
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    What's all this about first class degrees? Getting a first is incredibly hard but especially so at oxbridge. I agree that indivdual colleges want to recruit the best candidates that they can academically, but obviously not everyone they take is going to get a first and they know this. The majority of people will get 2:1s and 2:2s. Even amongst people who get 5 As at A Level there is a remarkable amount of variation.

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    (Original post by hildabeast)
    What's all this about first class degrees? Getting a first is incredibly hard but especially so at oxbridge. I agree that indivdual colleges want to recruit the best candidates that they can academically, but obviously not everyone they take is going to get a first and they know this. The majority of people will get 2:1s and 2:2s. Even amongst people who get 5 As at A Level there is a remarkable amount of variation.

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    U KNOW MY POINT
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    (Original post by lucerna)
    If you have an excellent student, there's only so much a teacher can write in a reference, and hopefully the student has already talked about their actually achievements in the personal statement, so I'm sure quite a lot of teacher references come out looking pretty similar.
    I think generally references are more about personal qualities than achievements, e.g. honest, caring - hence the need for them to be written by somebody who knows you. So with the personal statement they probably give a more rounded picture to the interviewer.
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    (Original post by scum)
    Take it from an Oxford student and someone who's been very involved with the interview process. Oxbridge candidates are judged on two criteria and two criteria alone. The tutors let you in if:

    1. You are intelligent.
    2. They think they would enjoy teaching you.

    Point no. 1 is the most important. The intelligence required is not the intelligence of the "i got 10 a stars and 5 a's at a-level" kind; it is a raw, base intelligence rather than a booksmart, swotty, revise-a-lot cleverness. They want people with a spark in them, innate brilliance

    Point number two is less important, but still incredibly useful. At the end of the day the same tutors will be in close personal supervision of you for at least a year; they want to be able to enjoy your company.

    The only reason that point 2 is outweighed by point 1 is the "******** factor". That is someone who more than fulfils the criterion for intelligence set above, but carries with it an inflated ego and an arrogant, stuck up personality. Having had numerous conversations with tutors regarding candidates, the scenario they most fear is when the said ******** is being considered. 90% of the time they feel that the superb intellect of the above mentioned a-hole is enough to merit a place.
    i would agree with that 100%, i don't think i've heard it expressed better than that actually. people listen to this, it is the 100%, undiluted truth!

    It is also worth bearing in mind that the tutors already have about 75% of their intake selected before the interviews actually take place, and use them as a kind of "tidying-up" exercise to quality-check.
    ermm i would have to disagree with that, i don't know about your experiences but that sounds like a load of crap based on mine. if that were true then oxford would be full of public school boys have spent years writing then re-writing their Personal Statements and have collected baskets of A*'s as though they were boy scout badges! (despite what the media try and portray this is rubbish)

    To hammer home the point, in my interviews, I told one tutor not to sleep that night as I was planning to shoot him as he lay, and turned up to another interview drunk, after less than 3 hours sleep. In my entrance exam i wrote about s&m fetishists.
    ermm..ok

    P.S. im on oxford student and was really involved in the interviewing process at merton this year.
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    If it were true that 75% of successful candidtaes are selected before interview would tutors really bother interviewing at all. Its an incredible stressful experience for them and an extremely expensive method of selection. I just don't think they would go through the hassle of interviewing everyone if they had already made decisions beforehand. Also my partner interviewed this year and from what I've heard on the 'ground' the interview is still the most crucial part of the process.

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    with respect to references. If you come from a school that sends a decent amount of people to Oxford or Cambridge, you tend to find that the colleges in question generate fairly good relationships with the schools. The school i went to, for example, which was a state grammar school, had a fairly decent track record, with the result that Oxbridge appreciates what the school writes about students from my school, as if they started writing big porkies, Oxbridge would soon get wise and place less emphasis on the references provided. It is not in the school's interest to go over the top when describing their pupils, as it harms their relationship with the colleges.

    Grades vs Reference. It is taken as a given that if you want to go to Oxford, you're going to have top grades. Let's face it, GCSEs and A Levels are a proverbial piece of piss, and most students applying to Oxbridge can do them in their sleep. The grades are usually used as a "first hurdle." Every year Oxford "deselects," their euphemism for rejecting without interview, 10-15% of applicants across the subject range, on the basis that their grades don't justify them turning up for an interview. This is the first round of the cull, with the piss-poor being turfed out without getting a shot at interview.

    Cambridge, on the other hand, was founded on a pledge of interviewing every single applicant. Oxford undertakes what it likes to call "preliminary sifting" (Jane Minto, Oxford's director of Admissions, loves this phrase), whereby for nearly all subjects written work is required, usually in the form of two separate pieces from your A-Level subjects. These pieces of work are then marked and graded by the tutors who will eventually interview you.

    When the tutors receive your application, with reference, personal staement, oxford specific personal statement, and written work, they sit down and have a meeting. A preliminary set of intake is decided according to the information received. At Oxford, the very weak candidates are "deselected," but not at Cambridge, as i said above.

    The personal statement is a curious thing in itself. Usually found stuffed full of mentions of extra-curricular helping grannies across the road, duke of edinburgh gold awards, grade 5 flute playing, etc, all of which they dont really give a flying f*** about. At Oxford, many people dont get asked a single question referring to their personal statement, as it's so meaningless. The reverse is true at Cambridge, which tends to have a "personal interview" based around you yourself. The only particular things they care about are if you have any exam board awards for exceptional performance, or if you are very good at rowing. In arts subjects a gap year is a good thing to have on your form.

    The muppets who spend years writing their personal statements (mine took me literally 15 minutes on deadline day) are not doing themselves too many favours. Just like the rich kid who's been coached extensively to help him with his interview, the tutors can see through it instantly. You must remember that most of the tutors have been interviewing for 20 years or so: they can and they do see right through over-coached pupils and *******s personal statements.

    So you turn up for your interview. If you're going to cambridge it's likely to be a one night in-and-outer, whereas at oxford you could be up for as many as four days. You go in and do your stuff etc, and the tutors who interview meet together usually twice to revise their preliminary choices. In the evening after your interviews have finished they meet up again to make the final choice. As one tutor wrote "shouldn't take longer than an hour, shorter if we're lucky!"

    As im sure you all know, Cambridge has a pooling system, whereas Oxford relies on allocated 2nd and 2rd choices. What some people dont realise is that Oxford also has a pooling system, but a bizarre one that operates for a week usually between the 9th and 16th dec. Its open from about 930 til 2pm for tutors to pick and change their candidates if they are oversubscribed, or conversely, they have a duff bunch. In one course at my college this year, out of 8 students, only 2 applied to the college.

    My application may have been idiotic, but it serves to highlight an important point, that which i made in my first post in this thread: all the bells and fancy trimmings hardly make a difference, it comes down to you and your innate intelligence at the end of the day.
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    That it comes down to "you" is elementary. However, why we should see idiocy as something that necessarily equates to intelligence I do not know. I do believe Oxbridge should recruit people with this "spark", but I fear if this "spark" plays too dominant a role in the selection process you'll get people making contrived attempts to be special and quirky (whether your actions were contrived or otherwise I do not know, due to the extent of them I fear the former). Perhaps they'll all turn up on unicycles, eating happy meals whilst simultaneously juggling Plato's dialogues.
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    (Original post by scum)
    with respect to references. If you come from a school that sends a decent amount of people to Oxford or Cambridge, you tend to find that the colleges in question generate fairly good relationships with the schools. The school i went to, for example, which was a state grammar school, had a fairly decent track record, with the result that Oxbridge appreciates what the school writes about students from my school, as if they started writing big porkies, Oxbridge would soon get wise and place less emphasis on the references provided. It is not in the school's interest to go over the top when describing their pupils, as it harms their relationship with the colleges.

    Grades vs Reference. It is taken as a given that if you want to go to Oxford, you're going to have top grades. Let's face it, GCSEs and A Levels are a proverbial piece of piss, and most students applying to Oxbridge can do them in their sleep. The grades are usually used as a "first hurdle." Every year Oxford "deselects," their euphemism for rejecting without interview, 10-15% of applicants across the subject range, on the basis that their grades don't justify them turning up for an interview. This is the first round of the cull, with the piss-poor being turfed out without getting a shot at interview.

    Cambridge, on the other hand, was founded on a pledge of interviewing every single applicant. Oxford undertakes what it likes to call "preliminary sifting" (Jane Minto, Oxford's director of Admissions, loves this phrase), whereby for nearly all subjects written work is required, usually in the form of two separate pieces from your A-Level subjects. These pieces of work are then marked and graded by the tutors who will eventually interview you.

    When the tutors receive your application, with reference, personal staement, oxford specific personal statement, and written work, they sit down and have a meeting. A preliminary set of intake is decided according to the information received. At Oxford, the very weak candidates are "deselected," but not at Cambridge, as i said above.

    The personal statement is a curious thing in itself. Usually found stuffed full of mentions of extra-curricular helping grannies across the road, duke of edinburgh gold awards, grade 5 flute playing, etc, all of which they dont really give a flying f*** about. At Oxford, many people dont get asked a single question referring to their personal statement, as it's so meaningless. The reverse is true at Cambridge, which tends to have a "personal interview" based around you yourself. The only particular things they care about are if you have any exam board awards for exceptional performance, or if you are very good at rowing. In arts subjects a gap year is a good thing to have on your form.

    The muppets who spend years writing their personal statements (mine took me literally 15 minutes on deadline day) are not doing themselves too many favours. Just like the rich kid who's been coached extensively to help him with his interview, the tutors can see through it instantly. You must remember that most of the tutors have been interviewing for 20 years or so: they can and they do see right through over-coached pupils and *******s personal statements.

    So you turn up for your interview. If you're going to cambridge it's likely to be a one night in-and-outer, whereas at oxford you could be up for as many as four days. You go in and do your stuff etc, and the tutors who interview meet together usually twice to revise their preliminary choices. In the evening after your interviews have finished they meet up again to make the final choice. As one tutor wrote "shouldn't take longer than an hour, shorter if we're lucky!"

    As im sure you all know, Cambridge has a pooling system, whereas Oxford relies on allocated 2nd and 2rd choices. What some people dont realise is that Oxford also has a pooling system, but a bizarre one that operates for a week usually between the 9th and 16th dec. Its open from about 930 til 2pm for tutors to pick and change their candidates if they are oversubscribed, or conversely, they have a duff bunch. In one course at my college this year, out of 8 students, only 2 applied to the college.

    My application may have been idiotic, but it serves to highlight an important point, that which i made in my first post in this thread: all the bells and fancy trimmings hardly make a difference, it comes down to you and your innate intelligence at the end of the day.
    I can't help feeling you're someone who is insecure about his diligence; perhaps trying to mask it by using profanity and crude idiomatic English
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    (Original post by Jools)
    You're dissing the English of someone on the editorial team for a certain student paper (still not revealing scum's true identity...)
    Sorry, I forgot the English of all Oxford undergraduates is beyond reproach. But I wasn't 'dissing' his English; I just get this feeling he's trying to portray himself as a kind of bish-bash-bosh raw intellect when he may well be another diligent geek.
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    (Original post by scum)
    To hammer home the point, in my interviews, I told one tutor not to sleep that night as I was planning to shoot him as he lay, and turned up to another interview drunk, after less than 3 hours sleep. In my entrance exam i wrote about s&m fetishists.
    damn....i forgot to write bout s&m on my oxford statement......now i have been rejected....that must be why.....
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    apparently only 3 homeboys go to d'oxford every yaar.
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    As long as you remembered to wear your cravat made of clingfilm and drink 7-Up from a Coca Cola bottle then you won't have totally messed it up. This is assuming you also remembered to constantly say "I have spark you know. Spark. SPARK!".

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    i think to show spark....u should set one of your tutors on fire.....just to let him know that u have spark...and lessons with u are probably gonna be interesting...
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    Surely if you have spark, you can just drench the interviewers with petrol and let the rest take care of itself?

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    (Original post by Allotriophagy)
    Surely if you have spark, you can just drench the interviewers with petrol and let the rest take care of itself?

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    are u jewish?
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    Yes. I'm the Pope.

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    (Original post by Allotriophagy)
    Yes. I'm the Pope.

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    lol
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    there's nothing wrong with a bit of profanity or crudity. As for contrivance it sometimes has a place, but i can assure you that here is had not. Flippant or idiotic asides will not win you a place at Oxford unless you have something with which to back them up.

    It is very difficult for someone with no experience of Oxbridge to understand the atmosphere. Both universities are closeted in their own little bubbles, spurred on by the collegiate atmosphere; unless you have lived within that setting, it is very difficult to grasp just how it all operates.
 
 
 
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