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    Ive researched both the Oxford and Cambridge English courses and they both look absolutely fantastic, yet I was just wondering about which one is more open for an individual to progress through entering the university and which one is looking more for an excellent academic back catalogue? If that makes sense. Thanks alot.
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    (Original post by alexchalpern)
    Ive researched both the Oxford and Cambridge English courses and they both look absolutely fantastic, yet I was just wondering about which one is more open for an individual to progress through entering the university and which one is looking more for an excellent academic back catalogue? If that makes sense. Thanks alot.
    Both are looking for clever people who seem enthusiastic about their subject and whom they can expect to respond well to the course. I think your distinction is a bit spurious - where did you get it from?
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    In terms of special circumstance students CSAS at Cambridge makes more sense, plus I'd argue that since Cambridge interview more rather than dismiss many off paper alone (leading to students with better GCSE results gaining an advantage, and best GCSE results happen in private schools), but the difference is minimal and I'm clutching at straws. In 99/100 cases they're gonna be largely the same.

    If you are to pick between the two on an academic basis alone, then play the system and see which one is best for you. Many subjects, such as history, they don't set an entrance exam at Cambridge whilst they do at Oxford. If you feel you'd excel in the exam and less so the interview, then Oxford may well work better, vice versa Cambridge.
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    I think the OP is asking this in the context of being slightly disappointed with GCSE results and confident this can be corrected at A2. In such cases, I would argue that Oxford has the advantage that the ELAT gives a chance to shine while simultaneously eliminating 40% of your rivals prior to interview. A super ELAT score, plus great A2 predictions (or even better, take a gap year and present great actual A2 results) would help to recover from the GCSE situation.

    http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/prospect...ction-criteria
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    (Original post by shoshin)
    I think the OP is asking this in the context of being slightly disappointed with GCSE results and confident this can be corrected at A2. In such cases, I would argue that Oxford has the advantage that the ELAT gives a chance to shine while simultaneously eliminating 40% of your rivals prior to interview. A super ELAT score, plus great A2 predictions (or even better, take a gap year and present great actual A2 results) would help to recover from the GCSE situation.

    http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/prospect...ction-criteria
    So, when I apply to Cambridge with completed A2 grades of hopefully three A*s, they will be less inclined to look at my GCSEs (which are quite bad) when considering whether to give me an interview?
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    (Original post by Alex-jc123)
    So, when I apply to Cambridge with completed A2 grades of hopefully three A*s, they will be less inclined to look at my GCSEs (which are quite bad) when considering whether to give me an interview?
    Sorry, not sure about Cambridge; Comrade_jon may be able to answer. I only really know something of Oxford's admissions process, and even then my subject is History, although this does have a similar admissions procedure to English (ie. an aptitude test elimination stage). GCSE grades don't feature prominently in the History decision process at Oxford.
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    (Original post by shoshin)
    Sorry, not sure about Cambridge; Comrade_jon may be able to answer. I only really know something of Oxford's admissions process, and even then my subject is History, although this does have a similar admissions process to English (ie. an aptitude test elimination stage). GCSE grades don't feature prominently in the History decision process at Oxford.
    Ah, thank you. I am 100% applying for history but am not yet ultimately sure of which of the two universities to apply to.

    How competitive would you say that history at Oxford is compared to, for example, law and medicine?
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    (Original post by Alex-jc123)
    Ah, thank you. I am 100% applying for history but am not yet ultimately sure of which of the two universities to apply to.

    How competitive would you say that history at Oxford is compared to, for example, law and medicine?
    Oh, I thought you were keen on English, you're a different Alex to the OP then?

    One in four applicants get an offer for History, though it's more like one in three if you get through the HAT. Law and Medicine are both more 'competitive' than this. The exact figures are on the Admissions page for each course, on the website.
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    (Original post by shoshin)
    Oh, I thought you were keen on English, you're a different Alex to the OP then?

    One in four applicants get an offer for History, though it's more like one in three if you get through the HAT. Law and Medicine are both more 'competitive' than this. The exact figures are on the Admissions page for each course, on the website.
    Hmm. I am quite good in oratory and interviews, but the HAT questions seem quite easy. Based on this, which university would be more suited to my abilities in terms of admission?
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    Feel free to drop me a PM about Cambridge if you wish, or I can answer any briefer enquiries on here. History is my thang and I went through the whole process only a few short months ago.

    At Cambridge in general they look less at your GCSEs because you have to submit all AS/A2 module results to them, in turn the focus is put away from GCSEs. There's some minor importance, but this can be minimised if you're really worried by applying post-A2s, although that may be a bit extreme and only necessary if your results are poor. Most people who have this complaint are just worried because they don't have 11 A*s, and really you don't need any A*s. GCSEs are useful for candidates with poor AS results who want to show they do have potential - likewise this is reversed, and poor GCSEs -> good ASs is much better than the former.

    Largely it's not a concern and my GCSEs were disappointing too due to lack of work, but it won't affect your process (unless god awful, and even then you're likely to have a decent reason). Cambridge are naturally more open as I said in my first post due to them interviewing more (I believe for history it's around 90% interview rate, and 30-40% at Oxford due to their application of the HAT, although that could be argued as a substitute to GCSEs, although often that's not the case).

    Hope this all helps, PM me or reply whatever floats your boat, and if you want me to go through the reasons why Cambridge > Oxford for History defo send me a PM :P
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    (Original post by comrade_jon)
    In terms of special circumstance students CSAS at Cambridge makes more sense, plus I'd argue that since Cambridge interview more rather than dismiss many off paper alone (leading to students with better GCSE results gaining an advantage, and best GCSE results happen in private schools), but the difference is minimal and I'm clutching at straws. In 99/100 cases they're gonna be largely the same.
    hmm equally one could argue that the HAT gives an opportunity to show what you have above grades (which are dominated by private schools at any level, including AS UMS grades that Cambridge attach a lot of weight to) and that once you have an interview you are far more likely to show your potential as it is weighted more (Cambridge usually only give a single interview, don't they? Whilst Oxford gives you multiple chances).

    Its difficult, but once you've considered all other factors then i guess it would not be an unreasonable assumption to broadly say a) Oxford look at HAT/GCSEs, cambridge look at UMS, you are less likely to get an interview at oxford but once you do it is more important. Maybe.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    hmm equally one could argue that the HAT gives an opportunity to show what you have above grades (which are dominated by private schools at any level, including AS UMS grades that Cambridge attach a lot of weight to) and that once you have an interview you are far more likely to show your potential as it is weighted more (Cambridge usually only give a single interview, don't they? Whilst Oxford gives you multiple chances).

    Its difficult, but once you've considered all other factors then i guess it would not be an unreasonable assumption to broadly say a) Oxford look at HAT/GCSEs, cambridge look at UMS, you are less likely to get an interview at oxford but once you do it is more important. Maybe.
    But the fact that Cambridge interviews ~90% of applicants means that those who get invited to interview have a chance to shine and prove that if their grades are bad they don't necessarily reflect their true ability.

    Saying that, the one thing I like about Ox's system is the way that there are several interviews spread over several days, merely because it allows a decision to be made quickly.
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    I think it is obvious that Cambridge > Oxford, by a country mile; always go for Cambridge
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    (Original post by Doughnuts!!)
    But the fact that Cambridge interviews ~90% of applicants means that those who get invited to interview have a chance to shine and prove that if their grades are bad they don't necessarily reflect their true ability.

    Saying that, the one thing I like about Ox's system is the way that there are several interviews spread over several days, merely because it allows a decision to be made quickly.
    I think 'shining' at a single interview enough to eclipse poor grades when you are competing against everyone else who applied for the course would be extremely difficult. I think at the end of the day Oxford's interviews override academics more often (albeit not to the most under-achieving). I accept your point though.
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    I personally can't distinguish between both Oxford & Cambridge to be honest.

    Cambridge's English course might be better but an English graduate from Oxford won't be treated differently from the Cambridge graduate (i may be wrong but i doubt it)
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    I think 'shining' at a single interview enough to eclipse poor grades when you are competing against everyone else who applied for the course would be extremely difficult. I think at the end of the day Oxford's interviews override academics more often (albeit not to the most under-achieving). I accept your point though.
    I disagree. If you're Cambridge material but you have bad exam technique/don't do well in exams for some reason, the interviewers will realise. Conversely, if you have perfect grades but aren't really passionate about your subject/are good at rote learning this will be picked up by the interviewers. Obviously, this won't work all the time and people will slip through the net, but it helps explain why somebody such as myself (ie somebody with poor UMS) gets accepted and people with perfect grades get rejected.

    I think the flaw in Oxford's system is that it's over reliant on aptitude tests. Someone may have a natural aptitude for the subject but they may suck at aptitude tests. Furthermore, aptitude tests aren't always the best indicator of aptitude (as silly as that may sound). The perfect example is the LNAT; that test is in no way a good indicator of how good a Law student you'll be.
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    (Original post by Doughnuts!!)
    I disagree. If you're Cambridge material but you have bad exam technique/don't do well in exams for some reason, the interviewers will realise. Conversely, if you have perfect grades but aren't really passionate about your subject/are good at rote learning this will be picked up by the interviewers. Obviously, this won't work all the time and people will slip through the net, but it helps explain why somebody such as myself (ie somebody with poor UMS) gets accepted and people with perfect grades get rejected.

    I think the flaw in Oxford's system is that it's over reliant on aptitude tests. Someone may have a natural aptitude for the subject but they may suck at aptitude tests. Furthermore, aptitude tests aren't always the best indicator of aptitude (as silly as that may sound). The perfect example is the LNAT; that test is in no way a good indicator of how good a Law student you'll be.
    You would have to be quite exceptional to overcome your grades if you would not have been interviewed at Oxford, but of course it does happen. In addition, i'll point out that the greater number of interviews at Oxford would be more rigorous with regards to rooting out the un-passionate or rote-learners.

    Aptitude tests are not perfect, but then neither are interviews (especially when there is only one of them). Oxford (and Cambridge) would not use either if they were not correlated with good degree performance.

    Also, exam technique is unfortunately still relevant to university and at all other points in most careers (most large companies have their own specific aptitude and even personality tests now), so i can perhaps see why Oxford expect high standards (and, again, why Cambridge use exam results heavily).

    I am not trying to argue that one system is better than the other (obviously both are highly scrutinized and based on evidence from degree performance). I do think that in terms of interviews Cambridge's is more geared towards not missing those very few strong applicants with poor grades whereas Oxford's is more for minimizing the use of grades when deciding between borderline applicants. In addition, Cambridge prefers UMS and Oxford prefers aptitude tests. I think these conclusions are rather self-evident.
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    (Original post by alexchalpern)
    Ive researched both the Oxford and Cambridge English courses and they both look absolutely fantastic, yet I was just wondering about which one is more open for an individual to progress through entering the university and which one is looking more for an excellent academic back catalogue? If that makes sense. Thanks alot.
    Am I right in thinking that you're asking which university will take students with flair and potential but who don't necessarily look good on paper, and which one favours/insists upon existing academic excellence? If so, the simple answer is that there's no uni-wide or even department-wide policy. Those kind of attitudes are the personal opinion of the tutor/DoS.

    I'll use myself as an example. I was a rather unconventional and irreverant student in that I don't have the vast background knowledge of classical music that everyone else on my course had. I had three interviews for Oxford and from what I've been told about my interviews, two of my interviewers were able to see potential and insight despite a serious lack of knowledge and the third thought I was amusing and had enjoyed interviewing me. I was lucky though: I know many of the other Oxford Music tutors wouldn't have had the same faith or interest in me and that there are many colleges I wouldn't have been accepted to

    Cambridge's course is rather different and I'd have been very ill-suited to it. That said, I've no doubt that it would have been a similar case had I applied there instead: some tutors would have favoured the potential and given me a chance despite a less-stellar academic record and others wouldn't have been interested :nah:

    Despite being a huge challenge to teach, rather annoying at the best of times and underachieving due to health, my tutor is still very fond of me and I don't think he regrets the decision to make me an offer, or take me when I missed it. That's to do with him as a person though, rather than some blanket policy to do with the uni/college/department

    At the end of the day, if this is what you're getting at, you're really not going to know an individual tutor's mindset unless you actually end up in a position of testing it :nah:
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    hmm equally one could argue that the HAT gives an opportunity to show what you have above grades (which are dominated by private schools at any level, including AS UMS grades that Cambridge attach a lot of weight to) and that once you have an interview you are far more likely to show your potential as it is weighted more (Cambridge usually only give a single interview, don't they? Whilst Oxford gives you multiple chances).

    Its difficult, but once you've considered all other factors then i guess it would not be an unreasonable assumption to broadly say a) Oxford look at HAT/GCSEs, cambridge look at UMS, you are less likely to get an interview at oxford but once you do it is more important. Maybe.
    I won't reply to the whole discussion I'll just keep it to the bit you replied to me with.

    I agree, partially, hence why I said before that the HAT could be argued as an alternative in fairness. However I would still argue that a hypothetical student with questionable GCSE grades has a higher chance at Cambridge than Oxford just because of the huge percentage rates. But on the whole the difference isn't huge, I wouldn't dismiss Oxford as an option unless your GCSEs are horrendous and you need to use CSAS. Instead play the system as best you can as I said above: if you feel you will do well in the HAT and less so the interview, Oxford makes more sense than Cambridge. Vice versa, Cambridge. Equally it's important to bear in mind the A* at Cambridge, although it's only a matter of time before Oxford follow suit (I think they have for sciences?)

    But yes on the whole the difference in equality is not huge, just play the system according to your own needs.
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    Re. the HAT and how this helps to make GCSE grades relatively unimportant for History at Oxford, check out this post from two or three years back. Dr. Andrea Hopkins works in the History Faculty with responsibility for History Admissions and Schools Liaison (when you ask for your HAT score, she's the one who emails you with it):

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...drea%20hopkins

    Selected quote (among lots of interesting points): "If you perform well at interview and in the HAT they won't care that much what your GCSE results were; these things will only matter if you're a borderline."
 
 
 
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