What are my chances of getting into Oxford? Watch

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YouKnewThat!
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#81
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#81
(Original post by Daenerys)
Wow, repliers here are certainly being pessimistic. It's a very competitive course to apply for and the interview will be challenging, from what I've heard, but why shouldn't you have just a good as chance as most? I think the interviewers will be more impressed by an eloquently spoken, intelligently enthusiastic candidate with horror of horrors, just an A at Eng lit (so what?) than one with a string of GCSE A*s and one sided, stuffy views. Just a theoretical example.
I agree! Why is everyone (well, some) being so god damned horrible when all this person needs is some advice, and not your opinion on his GCSE grades?
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Tek
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#82
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(Original post by YouKnewThat!)
I agree! Why is everyone (well, some) being so god damned horrible when all this person needs is some advice, and not your opinion on his GCSE grades?
Hey! I just told them to be more independent and stop leeching off their teachers! If that isn't good advice I don't know what is.
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Agrippina
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#83
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#83
(Original post by Tek)
Hey! I just told them to be more independent and stop leeching off their teachers! If that isn't good advice I don't know what is.
Hey! That's not fair I object to that! I do not "leech off teachers" I supplement my current reading with what they recommend! There's no need to be nasty!!
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Specialheffa
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#84
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(Original post by Eeyore)
Well I think the point I made is that I didn't want to waste time reading stuff that's not really worthwhile reading. There are so many books I want to read and I don't want to bother reading books (or wasting the money) if they aren't going to be any good.
How would you know that it is crap without reading it?! That's how you develop your skills in English, reading so called 'crap' books, but then being able to discuss why it was so... maybe the structure was not to your liking etc.

If you always read so called "excellent" books you can never really develop a broad critical opinion..

BUT saying those things before, you should apply since you have nothing to lose otherwise, and you may regret it AND if you may not get in you can always apply as a mature student for a masters or PhD, something which i intend to do!

Apply for it girl, you're a strong applicant... by the way the responses i was giving you are like the Cam ones, they want to test you...
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tagzt
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(Original post by Eeyore)
Hi there! This is directed mainly at current Oxford students reading English Lit, but if anyone else has any advice fire away!
I am currently in year 12 at a pretty good state school, and I really want to go to Oxford to study English Lit. However I'm not sure how good my chances of getting in are.... I could use some advice, so perhaps if you could glance over the info below and get back to me? Thanks!
- I was home educated from the age of 8 til I joined the Sixth Form last September and consequently I'm very self-motivated and am quite happy with independent study having done it most of my life.
- I'm taking AS levels English Lit, Music, Psychology, Geography and General studies, and planning to drop geography next year to end up with full A levels in the first three, and also take history at AS next year too.
- I do quite a bit of reading around my subject - e.g. other books by the authors I'm studying in class, etc.
- At the beginning of my A level study I was writing A grade essays for English Lit while everyone else was writing E or U grade essays.
- I got A for GCSE English Lit and A* with a top five mark for GCSE English Lang.
- I play the viola at grade 6 standard (just got Honours, woo-hoo!) and flute at grade 7, plus a bit of piano.
- I play and sing in numerous music groups both in and out of school.
- I am about to start working towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award.
- I have lots of interests besides English Lit - obviously classical music, but also archaeology, horses, etc.

So, realistically, what are my chances? I'd really appreciate any advice.
u just give it your best shot and no one can ask for more, im sure u wil b fine
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hildabeast
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(Original post by tagzt)
realistically? i think you have absolutely no chance at all, don't even bother turning up for interview because they will prob just laugh you all the way out of the building.
Don't be nasty!!! My friend Cat is doing Eng Lit and her A Levels were Eng lit, psychology, biology, classics.

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Brown Patrick Bateman
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(Original post by tagzt)
realistically? i think you have absolutely no chance at all, don't even bother turning up for interview because they will prob just laugh you all the way out of the building.
The boy deserves negative rep for this!
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Radagasty
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(Original post by Specialheffa)
How would you know that it is crap without reading it?!
That's a specious argument: there are so many books out there that one cannot possibly read them all to determine whether they are 'crap' or not. There are many ways of determining how good a book is: reading reviews, flicking through the book, reading the blurb, asking other people, recommendations, etc. Granted none of these are fool-proof, but it's the best we can do short of reading the book ourselves.

My friends often laugh at me for looking up reviews before watching any movie. Their argument is that I have to watch the movie so that I can determine whether it is worthwhile watching or not. However, I don't have that much time to watch movies, and this completely defeats the purpose of determining whether it is a worthwhile movie to watch or not.

(Original post by Specialheffa)
That's how you develop your skills in English, reading so called 'crap' books, but then being able to discuss why it was so... maybe the structure was not to your liking etc.

If you always read so called "excellent" books you can never really develop a broad critical opinion..
Just as a point of reference, Eeyore said 'worthwhile reading'. If a 'crap' book allows one to develop a broad critical opinion, then it may 'worthwhile reading', depending on what one is looking for in a book. You're the one equating 'crap' with 'not worthwhile'.
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tagzt
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#89
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(Original post by hildabeast)
Don't be nasty!!! My friend Cat is doing Eng Lit and her A Levels were Eng lit, psychology, biology, classics.

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yeh sorry, my mate thought that wud b funny. sorry bout that, i have rectified it.
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hildabeast
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#90
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(Original post by tagzt)
yeh sorry, my mate thought that wud b funny. sorry bout that, i have rectified it.
Lol OK, you're forgiven

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tagzt
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(Original post by Jools)
The boy deserves negative rep for this!
once again my apologies, i have sorted it now though
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Specialheffa
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#92
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#92
(Original post by Radagasty)
That's a specious argument: there are so many books out there that one cannot possibly read them all to determine whether they are 'crap' or not. There are many ways of determining how good a book is: reading reviews, flicking through the book, reading the blurb, asking other people, recommendations, etc. Granted none of these are fool-proof, but it's the best we can do short of reading the book ourselves.

My friends often laugh at me for looking up reviews before watching any movie. Their argument is that I have to watch the movie so that I can determine whether it is worthwhile watching or not. However, I don't have that much time to watch movies, and this completely defeats the purpose of determining whether it is a worthwhile movie to watch or not.

Just as a point of reference, Eeyore said 'worthwhile reading'. If a 'crap' book allows one to develop a broad critical opinion, then it may 'worthwhile reading', depending on what one is looking for in a book. You're the one equating 'crap' with 'not worthwhile'.
If you really believe reading a blurb (which is biased for you to read the book), asking friends or teachers (usually biased in their opinion) even recommendations or reviews are subject to bias. One fool-proof way of knowing the quality of a book is to read it YOURSELF. This way you can your own opinion and are able to compare it to other books.

You are comparing books with movies, and still i would say you need to watch, even begin to watch the movie to have a reliable opinion.

Originally Posted by Eeyore
How was I supposed to know if a book by the same author was as good as The Handmaid's Tale or a load of crap, for example?

She originally made the point of a "crap" novel.
Fair enough with the "worthwhile" and "crap" argument. My point is still, you cannot judge a book to be worthwhile unless you read it. To be further pedantic, worthwhile encompasses a mass of factors. Was it worthwhile to your previous novel choices, exam syllabus, particular interest or field of literature etc.

As a person who has been interviewed for 4 establishmentss, three of them in the top 10 of the country, i know my interviewers desired know my opinion on literature I have read and which reaches far beyond my syllabus (for me it was magical realism). Furthermore, both Cambridge and UCL wanted me to think on my feet and compare literature, however if i had simply dismissed the novel discussed on what somebody else had said it would have been pretty foolish.

And if you would like to read my original point, it was that the girl in question (who is a very strong and intelligent candidate), needs to come across as someone with a passion in English Literature and who takes her own initiative to discover literature. At university, the lecturers advise books to read, but since it is independent study YOU have to search and find other relevant, worthwhile books and READ them (if only excerpts)... AND no matter how crap, non"worthwhile" and boring they are.

I commend eeyore's post, she should try and apply, i was simply providing a sort of taster (of what i experienced). She shouldn't be disheartened, and she may even come across harsher people. (Plus who ever made the ridiculous criticism on her GCSE's, is a moron. Everyone knows that has little relevance!)
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Radagasty
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(Original post by Specialheffa)
If you really believe reading a blurb (which is biased for you to read the book), asking friends or teachers (usually biased in their opinion) even recommendations or reviews are subject to bias. One fool-proof way of knowing the quality of a book is to read it YOURSELF. This way you can your own opinion and are able to compare it to other books.
If you had read my post, you will see that I have acknowledged that all the methods I suggested are not fool-proof, and I did not deny that the only fool-proof way is to read the book yourself.

However, you seem to have ignored my point that it isn't possible to read every book one might like to to determine if the book is worthwhile or not. One needs some a priori method of ascertaining the relative worth of a book so that one can determine whether one should devote the necessary time. It is a question of opportunity cost, and, in any case, it is well nigh impossible to read every book one would like to. It is hardly wise to read indiscriminately.

(Original post by Specialheffa)
You are comparing books with movies, and still i would say you need to watch, even begin to watch the movie to have a reliable opinion. And if you would like to read my original point, it was that the girl in question (who is a very strong and intelligent candidate), needs to come across as someone with a passion in English Literature and who takes her own initiative to discover literature. At university, the lecturers advise books to read, but since it is independent study YOU have to search and find other relevant, worthwhile books and READ them (if only excerpts)... AND no matter how crap, non"worthwhile" and boring they are.
If they are not 'worthwhile' to read, then, by definition, they are not worthwhile. I seem to be stating the obvious here, but you seem to imply that one should read books that are not worthwhile to read. Again, I maintain that one should not read indiscriminately, and that time-limitations precludes the possibility of reading every book worthwhile reading, let alone those not worthwhile.
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dreamer
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hey tek!

sorry I haven't got back to your why science thing- will do! You are right though- lots of teachers, students and so on disagree with Carr.
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butterflew
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crikey! i just read cos its interestin and fun! i feel a bit in the minority here!
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Tek
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(Original post by dreamer)
hey tek!

sorry I haven't got back to your why science thing- will do! You are right though- lots of teachers, students and so on disagree with Carr.
I'm impressed! You're meant to be a scientist!
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Meerkat
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What the difference between English and English Lit in Cambridge and what do you mean by reading widely and voraciously. Can you give me some examples of good books or literary texts which would fit that description! *smile* I want to know what genres they're interested in. If I'm not exactly good at poetry, will I stand a chance? I'm 14 so if you let me know, I'll work harder and perhaps I'll stand a better chance.

My friend from Eton got into Cambridge recently. He said the interview wasnt as hard as he thought. Hmm. Well anyways, he was a King Scholar, what can you expect.

Cheers
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butterflew
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I think (??) Cam only does English Lit, not English as in English Language linguistics etc. And the genres that they are interested in depends on the tutors in the colleges you apply to and their personal interests. i suggest that even if you don't think you're any good at poetry, have a bash, read stuff by as many different poets as poss, as it is really likely to come up in interview (let alone the whole course!! don't do english lit if you dislike poetry!!)
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dreamer
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(Original post by Tek)
I'm impressed! You're meant to be a scientist!
In fact, I am an arts student who is psychologically satisfied by science as she thinks it's truth is somewhat 'better' than those of the arts, so ti makes her feel cleverer than the historians

Seriously though, I really do like science very much, but it's certainly not the case that I think less about the arts. On the contrary, I would have been very happy studying history, law or philosophy.

I get a big kick out of science though: it enables me to rationalise and feel some control over what is, in so many respects, a chaotic and unpredictable world. (I am aware that quantum mechanics makes my statement unsound, but since I have chosen to focus in biology and chemistry, and 'medium-scale' physics, it still works for me!). Not to say this isn't the case in other disciplines, but somehow science elicts this feeling in me more strongly than in other disciplines. I also enjoy the possibility that any discovery I make could have a very direct real world application.

Tek, have you read confessions of a philosopher by bryan magee? I think you would like this, as a historian with a philosophical bent.
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Stephanie1820
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Although we were always told that GCSEs were all important at my school (private, london, day) I totally messed them up -

2 A*, 2 A, 3 B, 2 C (in dual award science - *******s!!)

I still received an offer from St. Peters (Oxford) to read French Literature.

My school was really negative about me applying because they thought id just get slapped in the face about my GCSE results, but in the end i was 1 of the 5 (out of 40 who applied from my school) who got an offer.

What im saying is, once you've taken your GCSEs there's nothing you can do about them, so theres no point worrying about what the Unis will think. Just make sure you have a really good personal statement (show loads of enthusiasm) and make sure your teachers / reference writers believe in your capability in the subject.

In the end, my French Lit tutor cared about whether or not i was good at his subject, not about whether or not I had memorised the periodic table.

Good Luck! I'm sure you'll be fine!

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