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    (Original post by Mentally Ill)
    "Interviews show how the person responds under pressure - important for exams " Surely the candidate has demonstrated this skill by getting three As in a level exams?????

    "Essays that are submitted are not necessarily written by the candidate"
    "All teachers are likely to give glowing references "
    Now if we are going to doubt the integrity of the applicant and school, then we could equally doubt the integrity of the interviewer!!

    You seem to have much faith in how the admissions systems is ideally supposed to work. In reality IT DOES NOT WORK VERY WELL. Therefore reform is neccessary.
    How many times am I to say this until you adress it? Written tests and grades are used in the addmisiions process. But the collages want to know that there is some understanding behind this as well. The interviewers do not look for you to respond rapidly under pressure, thats not the point of an interview. They want to see that you have some understanding in the subject and that you did not just suck up to get that predicted AAA. Also, universities liek Cambridge simply cant go by grades only as they have about 12 applicants per place in some courses, all of them with predicted grades between ABB and AAA. And really, the difference between AAA and ABB is not that great. This is why they want to actually speak with the students as well. They want to know who got teh AAA because they memorised the syllabus, and who got the ABB because they were unfortunate on some formal details. The interviews do nto replace the grades in teh addmision process, they complement them.
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    (Original post by MadNatSci)
    Unfortunately I know someone who submitted an essay written by somebody else. He didn't get in though, hehe

    A levels don't show how well you can react under pressure. For one thing the time you are given is usually generous (maths excepted); for another you can, as has been said, simply memorise the syllabus. They don't make you think. And, as I said, reacting well under pressure is important for life in general. Oxbridge quite like to see high employment rates, can't imagine why.

    You'll be interviewed when you apply for a job - is that unfair?
    Unfortunately I remember reading about an oxford admissions tutor who rejected someone cos he served in the israeli (or was it palestinian?) army.

    I do not accept that you can obtain AAA without a degree of understanding what the hell you are being examined on.

    Job interviews cannot be compared.
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    (Original post by MadNatSci)
    Haven't we covered this many times before?! Exam grades tell the interviewers nothing. Everyone applying has bundles of top grades. Essays that are submitted are not necessarily written by the candidate - there's no way of knowing that for sure. Written tests set by the college are all well and good but can be, and are, coached for. All teachers are likely to give glowing references so although this is an important factor it shouldn't be too powerful.

    Interviews show how the person responds under pressure - important for exams and life in general I'm afraid - and give the interviewers an indication of how the candidate thinks, which is what they're after. Interviews are in the style of the supervisions. If you can't cope with the interviews you won't cope with the supervsions. And if you can't think in the right way you won't cope at Cambridge or Oxford: you'll get left behind.
    Exam grades alone tell interviewers little other than something about the work ethic, schooling and exam skills of the candidate but they are still useful as one of a number of factors. What the better tutors do is a look for a strong thread of high performance through exam results, essays, personal statement, reference and interview. However there is a natural tendency to overweight the interview. The whole 'thinking on your feet, responding to pressure in tutorials' is as much myth as reality. I'd argue that the people who do really well are often those who can couple analysis with strong self study skills. For many subjects you spend an awful lot of time working on your own and those that are best at that tend to get most of the firsts not the 'quick thinkers'. Probably worth saying that many people at Oxford and Cambridge tend to be pretty good at both!
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    (Original post by Jonatan)
    How many times am I to say this until you adress it? Written tests and grades are used in the addmisiions process. But the collages want to know that there is some understanding behind this as well. The interviewers do not look for you to respond rapidly under pressure, thats not the point of an interview. They want to see that you have some understanding in the subject and that you did not just suck up to get that predicted AAA. Also, universities liek Cambridge simply cant go by grades only as they have about 12 applicants per place in some courses, all of them with predicted grades between ABB and AAA. And really, the difference between AAA and ABB is not that great. This is why they want to actually speak with the students as well. They want to know who got teh AAA because they memorised the syllabus, and who got the ABB because they were unfortunate on some formal details. The interviews do nto replace the grades in teh addmision process, they complement them.
    Sorry dude... have addressed it earlier on this afternoon...scroll back. The oxbridge admissions system is already a lottery. I feel some random methods needs to be employed to make it a fairer lottery.
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    eugh enough already with the exam breakdown!!! Lets concentrate on making the post come quickeer thru power of positive thought!! lol
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    (Original post by scanner)
    The whole 'thinking on your feet, responding to pressure in tutorials' is as much myth as reality.
    Come to my chemistry supervisions and then say that again!


    (Original post by Mentally Ill)
    Unfortunately I remember reading about an oxford admissions tutor who rejected someone cos he served in the israeli (or was it palestinian?) army.

    I do not accept that you can obtain AAA without a degree of understanding what the hell you are being examined on.

    Job interviews cannot be compared.
    Why do I always end up in arguments where there's no hope of anyone ever agreeing?! You and I will just have to agree to disagree, I guess. Am I right in guessing from earlier posts that you've applied to Cambridge? Good luck with your application
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    (Original post by Mentally Ill)
    Unfortunately I remember reading about an oxford admissions tutor who rejected someone cos he served in the israeli (or was it palestinian?) army.

    I do not accept that you can obtain AAA without a degree of understanding what the hell you are being examined on.

    Job interviews cannot be compared.
    Tell the rest of the story. The Student complained to the university , got accepted and the interviewer was fiered. This was not an error in the system, it was teh interviwer who did not follow the guidelines of the university.

    Also, youd be surpirsed how easy it is to get good grades without really understanding the syllabus just by applying the formulas in your data booklet... This is especially true in subjects such as chemistry, where most of the tests are based on raw knowledge rather than understanding.
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    which college ? i'm Clare Arch and Anth
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    (Original post by Mentally Ill)
    Unfortunately I remember reading about an oxford admissions tutor who rejected someone cos he served in the israeli (or was it palestinian?) army.

    I do not accept that you can obtain AAA without a degree of understanding what the hell you are being examined on.

    Job interviews cannot be compared.
    Besides, using interview to double check that predicitions are justified is quite silly. Why bother asking for predicted grades in the first place? Our teachers need to be trusted. I know my fe college would never exagerrate my grades.....they dont have the resource to help me with the the extra stuff involved in applying! Why would they create extra work for themselves??

    Some people are not good at first meetings.
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    (Original post by lizzzy`)
    You wouldn't get total reform on it, no way. Blair has enough problems on his hands now with the uproar at top-up fees, and I doubt that Labour, or the Conservatives would be interested in rocking the boat that is the Admissions system of Oxbridge, because it would be very difficult to induce change and they would probably be wasting time.
    A point on access and top-up fees. The proposals are that unis operate fair access schemes to enable them to charge top-ups. There will be an overseeing body set up to ensure that unis are operating fair access policies - body will be know as OFFA (Office for Fair Access). I contribute to another forum that has many members who are admissions tutors for the different universities. One of these (who admits students to the maths dept. at Nottingham) said his uni had the most number of applicants for maths places available. I e-mailed him and asked for his last years figures and told him of at least one other uni whose ratio was greater and added that they were upping their offers on grades quite substantially. He replied that his uni would have difficulty with doing that as they will be bound by OFFA and cannot discriminate between applicants on the basis of high grades as it goes against the prinicipals of fair access. This will have an effect on Oxbridge too in the future. We shall see many changes, that we have not yet considered, resulting from top-up fees in future years.
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    ok this is getting a little heavy lets chill ;-)
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    (Original post by Mentally Ill)
    Besides, using interview to double check that predicitions are justified is quite silly. Why bother asking for predicted grades in the first place? Our teachers need to be trusted. I know my fe college would never exagerrate my grades.....they dont have the resource to help me with the the extra stuff involved in applying! Why would they create extra work for themselves??

    Some people are not good at first meetings.
    I got a predicted 7 for economics. That sais it all. If Im lucky I will get a 5 on my exam...
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    (Original post by Mentally Ill)
    Written tests for all subjects should be introduced. The main indicators of suitability should be the academic stuff eg, grades, essays etc., the results of the written test, the referees comments, and only if necessary, interview observations. Interviews should be more transparent, and less important. Those who have not received a great education should be given the opportunity to make this clear. Then the final decision should take this into account.

    The same should apply to any university who uses Interview.
    Written tests were got rid of because they favoured students who'd been better educated. That argument is still made today- ask Haz what she thinks of the Oxford written test for arch and anth. Have we learned nothing from the past?
    Written tests are as imperfect as an interview would be, and I have yet to see an argument that they would do a better job than the present system at giving the oportunity for those who have been to crap schools to make it clear I'm afraid.
    Looking at grades is useless- virtually everyone who applies has good grades, making effective differentiation impossible. Written work already is taken into consideration.
    I dont agree that the referees comments should be important. This too could well penalise those who have been to schools where teachers dont care enough to lavish time on a decent reference, or who have simply not fit in at their place of education.
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    (Original post by scanner)
    The whole 'thinking on your feet, responding to pressure in tutorials' is as much myth as reality.
    Thats completely untrue, speaking as a tute veteran! Being able to think on your feet is incredibly important when your argument is being dissected by an expert tutor.
    What on earth would make you think this?
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    (Original post by lala)
    Thats completely untrue, speaking as a tute veteran! Being able to think on your feet is incredibly important when your argument is being dissected by an expert tutor.
    What on earth would make you think this?
    I agree with you lala - all I've heard about this is that it is expected you are able to do this and respond promptly and correctly to nebulous questioning
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    (Original post by lala)
    Written tests were got rid of because they favoured students who'd been better educated. That argument is still made today- ask Haz what she thinks of the Oxford written test for arch and anth. Have we learned nothing from the past?
    Written tests are as imperfect as an interview would be, and I have yet to see an argument that they would do a better job than the present system at giving the oportunity for those who have been to crap schools to make it clear I'm afraid.
    Looking at grades is useless- virtually everyone who applies has good grades, making effective differentiation impossible. Written work already is taken into consideration.
    I dont agree that the referees comments should be important. This too could well penalise those who have been to schools where teachers dont care enough to lavish time on a decent reference, or who have simply not fit in at their place of education.
    All true. There is no perfect system and you're right - going back to written tests is a step backwards. They favour those who have been better prepared and those who have an aptitude for tests of that type. The best short term solution is probably to create better pooling arrangements that eliminate the worst of the variables in the college specific admissions systems. Continue the stuff that Cambridge, in particular, are already doing in training new tutors in interview techniques. Some increase in monitoring what actually happens might also help assure people that it is fair. Essentially it about setting out a clear university wide system and sticking to it. It is at least possible to make sure that all candidates have a more equal experience and chance than they do at the moment. Longer term the solution is at school level.
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    (Original post by lala)
    Thats completely untrue, speaking as a tute veteran! Being able to think on your feet is incredibly important when your argument is being dissected by an expert tutor.
    What on earth would make you think this?
    Sure it's important but people make too much of it IMHO. In reality it's a small percentage of your time. I know it is often the key point of a week and it often does feel very important. But.....I'd still argue that if you know what you are talking about and have your ideas sorted out than in practice you don't necessarily have to do too much thinking on your feet. You'll get challenged but you get familar with that. It may differ from subject to subject, I can only speak from PPE.
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    I can't believe how long this thread got in a few hours... and nobody's even had any kind of reply from Cambridge yet!
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    hey, does anybody know how easy (!!!!!) it is get into churchill for chemical engineering via natsci?
    How many students do they select?
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    Wow, some of this thread actually made me crossed eyed.

    Anyone applied for Natsci at Emmanuel out there? I know Seer's applied to Emmanuel, but everyone else seems to be Clare and Jesus. Why is that? Hmm.

    I don't think we'll get our letters on Tues, guys. By the sounds of it, the university-wide posting date IS tomorrow. Sigh.
 
 
 

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