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I think I could be Oxbridge potential- but worry about self-motivation and passion watch

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    (Original post by lukas1051)
    OP, you sound just like me. Most teachers would agree that I have to potential to get into Oxbridge, but I personally don't know if I could cope with the workload, not because I'm academially incapable, but because I'm really lazy. I procrastinate like you wouldn't believe, always leave things until absolutely necessary. Right now for example, I have 2/3 hours of maths work to do for tomorrow, but I'm on the internet doing nothing productive. The sheer thought of having 50 hours of work a week is just horrifying. And as much as I wish I weren't like it, I can't help myself. I can't really help you with the thread as such, but you're not alone in feeling like this
    Frustrating or what? I completely know what you mean. In fact I am probably procrastinating right now. But its so damn inevitable because there's never a moment where there isn't work to be done! For example, I've let a whole load of essays pile up and simply can't face writing them. I know I'd be here all night Don't you just hate yourself sometimes? Haha
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I can't advise much about English. What I'd like to say is that quite a few lazy people - myself included - end up at Oxford and manage to adapt to the environment and workload without too much trouble
    Ditto for Cambridge!
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    (Original post by NeonIndian)
    Frustrating or what? I completely know what you mean. In fact I am probably procrastinating right now. But its so damn inevitable because there's never a moment where there isn't work to be done! For example, I've let a whole load of essays pile up and simply can't face writing them. I know I'd be here all night Don't you just hate yourself sometimes? Haha
    Haha, I certainly do. I usually manage to get work done before it's meant to be in, but that often means getting up ridiculously early and rushing to do it before school. I'm just worried that when the workload does inevitably increase, I'm going to fail hard. I just know that I'm not going to do all of my work tonight, I'll probably start at about 10, do half of it and try to get away with it. To be fair, I think we'll learn the hard way when it does become a problem, so it'll probably get better.
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    You've had a lot of responses so I'll try and keep this brief.

    I see two potential problems with your application: firstly, the passion side of things. You do need English to be one of your loves in life, because if you don't you'll never do well in the interview. You have to be passionate and see links here there and everywhere, have opinions on stuff and be ready to justify it - or in the case of the quite similar history, if you get proven wrong be ready to rethink your analysis as I found in the interview. Everyone works to varying amounts, some considerably more than others, and they don't just want some nerd who only reads in their spare time, but that passion for your subject is essential. With so many candidates applying for those places, it's passion and analytical potential they look for in the interview, and the latter will not come across without the former.

    The other problem, as mentioned by others, is the reading. This is mainly the reason I didn't apply for English, because you will require very intimate knowledge of books and be able to analyse them, to be able to compare something given to you in the interview to a wide canon of reading. I have a friend who went to Oxford to read English, and he casually mentioned some book in reference to the extract given, and then they quizzed him intensely on that one book for the rest of the interview. You need to be able to find those links, those literary echoes, and that only occurs with much reading. However saying that, I know someone who got into Cambridge this year who claims her background reading was limited - however, speaking to her about several topics she clearly has very close knowledge of what she speaks about due to basic passion, as I explored in the first paragraph.

    I hope this all helps. I very almost did English, and the way you treat it application wise is quite similar to History, so if you want to PM me I may be able to help you.
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    I want to add 2 comments:

    (Original post by NeonIndian)
    I'm doing fairly well in English Lit AS at the moment, but I do find it a struggle to hit the 'Assessment Objectives' which so many of our assignments and essays today are based around. I prefer exploring the text rather than ticking boxes I guess.
    Don't worry too much about this unless it endangers the chances of you getting an A in the subject. If you get to interview exploring the text will be much more important than ticking boxes for examination purposes.

    (Original post by NeonIndian)
    I also doubt my passion for English- which you seem to need a lot of if you are to be considered.
    There are 2 elements where passion is concerned. The first is relevant to you getting in to the university, the second is relevant to how much you will enjoy the course. It's possible to fake passion in the application procedure but you should consider whether your lack of passion might have a detrimental effect on your enjoyment of the university experience. Don't forget that after the initial acceptance you will have to do 3 years of a very intense course. Just ask yourself what you really want to do and make an honest choice.
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    (Original post by NeonIndian)
    I've always been good at English and judging from various conversations I've had with alumni, a mock interview video at Cambridge and general comments from people, I do have a niggling feeling that I could stand a chance at gaining a place.

    However, the main problem with me is laziness- I lack self-motivation and get very easily distracted when working. I also doubt my passion for English- which you seem to need a lot of if you are to be considered. I do read, but quite slowly, and I doubt I've read as widely as many typical candidates have.

    I'm doing fairly well in English Lit AS at the moment, but I do find it a struggle to hit the 'Assessment Objectives' which so many of our assignments and essays today are based around. I prefer exploring the text rather than ticking boxes I guess.

    I was wondering if anyone else is feeling this way, or is unsure whether they are Oxbridge material. Part of me just thinks 'what the hell, you might as well just go for it, you only have one chance.' But is this realistic considering all of the above?

    Apologies for the tedious length of this
    Laziness is a typical student thing, don't worry
    I am a lazy person and managed to get a place at Imperial College for engineering.
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    (Original post by Alex-jc123)
    Ah, I happen to be doing The Great Gatsby at the moment!

    I would say he is a reliable narrator because of his relative neutrality in the novel. Also, he seems to perfectly understand what type of character Jay Gatsby is in the last chapter: a man trying to chase the American Dream but finally coming to realise that the past is a cyclical nature. Basically, pursuit of the American dream always results in misery in the end (as shown by another, similar novel Of Mice and Men.
    I'm new to this forum, so please bear with me, but I totally share all of your concerns about potential etc. I would absolutely love to go to Oxford, but the course I want to apply for is so competitive (English with French) and although I think I'd love it, I don't want to spend my whole time at university feeling inadequate. Also, I'm worried about my GCSEs: I got 3 A*s, 3 As and 4 Bs, which I've been told means I have little chance of getting in, so I'm wondering whether to have a go or cut my losses and save a place for somewhere more likely to accept me.
    The cynical part of me thinks my biggest tick for getting in is that I am in the lowest bracket for income (eg. I am super poor), however living in NI means I got into a grammar school through the 11+, which probably negates that. And I don't want to get in somewhere just because I have no money and they want to fufil a government quota... :L

    BTW, I know some people are annoyed about this turning into an english thread, but can I just have some (very respectful!) disagreement with the above statement. I too am studying Gatsby atm, and my teacher HATES Nick Carraway with a burning passion (it's quite scary). I'd say, like in Enduring Love, he is a ridiculously unreliable narrator: the narrative is so fragmented, like when he goes from putting a half naked man to bed after Myrtle's party to being in the train station in the small hours. I think by the end of the novel he has learned the error of his ways & is wiser, but throughout he is ridiculously naive (Gatsby: "San Francisco is in the Mid West, you know." Nick: "Yes, that's totally true." WTF?) But I can see why people think he's reliable, however I reckon it's more fun to bash him in the exam and say he's a complete childish loser. SORRY FOR THE LENGTH!
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    (Original post by MaggieRead)
    I'm new to this forum, so please bear with me, but I totally share all of your concerns about potential etc. I would absolutely love to go to Oxford, but the course I want to apply for is so competitive (English with French) and although I think I'd love it, I don't want to spend my whole time at university feeling inadequate.
    You shouldn't worry about feeling inadequate. There simply isn't time for it once you get here.

    Also, I'm worried about my GCSEs: I got 3 A*s, 3 As and 4 Bs, which I've been told means I have little chance of getting in, so I'm wondering whether to have a go or cut my losses and save a place for somewhere more likely to accept me.
    Your GCSEs are lower than the average Oxford student's but that's true for a lot of people at Oxford too. You might stand a better chance of getting in for English at Oxford than at, say, Durham because (or it certainly seems so, at least) Oxford tend to be less Nazi-ish when it comes to GCSE grades. You have five choices and you could do worse than to make Oxford your aspirational choice.

    The cynical part of me thinks my biggest tick for getting in is that I am in the lowest bracket for income (eg. I am super poor), however living in NI means I got into a grammar school through the 11+, which probably negates that. And I don't want to get in somewhere just because I have no money and they want to fufil a government quota... :L
    That won't really affect your application either way.
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    (Original post by MaggieRead)
    I'm new to this forum, so please bear with me, but I totally share all of your concerns about potential etc. I would absolutely love to go to Oxford, but the course I want to apply for is so competitive (English with French) and although I think I'd love it, I don't want to spend my whole time at university feeling inadequate. Also, I'm worried about my GCSEs: I got 3 A*s, 3 As and 4 Bs, which I've been told means I have little chance of getting in, so I'm wondering whether to have a go or cut my losses and save a place for somewhere more likely to accept me.
    The cynical part of me thinks my biggest tick for getting in is that I am in the lowest bracket for income (eg. I am super poor), however living in NI means I got into a grammar school through the 11+, which probably negates that. And I don't want to get in somewhere just because I have no money and they want to fufil a government quota... :L

    BTW, I know some people are annoyed about this turning into an english thread, but can I just have some (very respectful!) disagreement with the above statement. I too am studying Gatsby atm, and my teacher HATES Nick Carraway with a burning passion (it's quite scary). I'd say, like in Enduring Love, he is a ridiculously unreliable narrator: the narrative is so fragmented, like when he goes from putting a half naked man to bed after Myrtle's party to being in the train station in the small hours. I think by the end of the novel he has learned the error of his ways & is wiser, but throughout he is ridiculously naive (Gatsby: "San Francisco is in the Mid West, you know." Nick: "Yes, that's totally true." WTF?) But I can see why people think he's reliable, however I reckon it's more fun to bash him in the exam and say he's a complete childish loser. SORRY FOR THE LENGTH!
    Hello As for your Oxford ambitions, do you possess A*s in GCSE French and/or English? In view of your background and hunger to study this degree, you will likely stand as much chance as someone with 10 A*s but only a desire to study at Oxford rather than study French and English due to their passion. Therefore, if you were to get predicted at least A*AA (Oxford is finally changing entrance requirements), managed to produce a personal statement which will be seen as the definition of 'passion', acquire sound tutor references and appear utterly devoted to pursuing your chosen degree in an interview, then you will stand a good chance indeed. There are many myths associated with Oxbridge so you should be careful not to assume that perfection is a requirement.

    Ah, it is interesting to hear a different interpretation of Nick I personally never liked the book but I have no choice in doing it. I am much more of a fan of poetry JOHN MILTON!
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    (Original post by MaggieRead)
    I would absolutely love to go to Oxford, but the course I want to apply for is so competitive (English with French)
    Don't be put off from applying to Oxford because of this. For joint courses, if you are a strong candidate but you just miss out on a place, they may consider you for a single honours anyway. A girl at my sixth form applied for English and German, but in the end was offered a place for German. You should apply for the course that interests you the most
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    I agree with Chiggins - I'd definitely say go for it. After all, it's only 1/5 of your UCAS choices, and the worst that can happen is you don't get in.

    I was in the same position as you when I was going through UCAS applications - I really didn't think I was good enough for Oxford, and I wondered if applying was a waste of time. I also came out of my interview thinking I'd never get an offer - but I did.

    Yes, Oxford and Cambridge are hard - the work is tough and there's a lot of it. But they're only going to offer you a place if they think you're good enough to cope. There's so much help and support to get you through, and everyone settles in to the routine really quickly.

    Loving your subject is important, but that doesn't mean your world has to revolve around it. I'm a lawyer, and I'd never so much as picked up a law book before I applied, but I thought it would be interesting to study for 3 years, and I was right. As long as English interests you, that's fine - you won't have read as many books as some people, but that's the case with everything in life. The tutors are looking for potential - if you know it all before you go, there's no point in them teaching you.

    Sorry for the uber long reply - hope it helps!
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    Anyone here also love poetry?
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    Hey,

    I'm a bit similar to you in that I haven't read a lot compared to some other candidates at all, and sometimes I do have self motivation problems. But I enjoy English a lot and I'm very good at it, so I'm going to apply to Oxbridge and see what happens!

    PS I'm doing AS Eng Lit too - which syllabus are you on? I sometimes find that the questions can be a bit restrictive but there's still definitely the potential for exploration. Which texts are you studying?
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    (Original post by Alex-jc123)
    Ah, I happen to be doing The Great Gatsby at the moment!

    I would say he is a reliable narrator because of his relative neutrality in the novel. Also, he seems to perfectly understand what type of character Jay Gatsby is in the last chapter: a man trying to chase the American Dream but finally coming to realise that the past is a cyclical nature. Basically, pursuit of the American dream always results in misery in the end (as shown by another, similar novel Of Mice and Men.
    I wouldn't say he's a reliable narrator at all :P he likes to think that he is, going on about reserving judgments at the beginning, but even that is offset by his admittal that 'a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out at birth'. It's easy to forget that every description we read, every remark about someone, is entirely Nick's doing. Just looking at the adverbs used for Tom and Daisy reveals his attitudes towards them. I love the bit in Myrtle's apartment, where Nick presents Myrtle as some sort of caricature and describes her mannerisms quite snobbishly and amusedly. The whole book is clouded by Nick's contempt for the American Dream and capitalism. Nick sees Gatsby as an embodiment of everything he hates, yet still he feels affection and sympathy towards him and hints that he himself was drawn into the glamour and scandal of New York, until he consequences came to light.

    Anyway, sorry to hijack the Oxbridge thread :P
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    Actually, I just realised that even the title itself is evidence of Nick's bias - who said that Gatsby was great? It creates an image of a performer, an illusionist. Yet in the end he vanishes as quietly as he came, and his whole life was just a circus act.
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    (Original post by la-dauphine)
    Hey,

    I'm a bit similar to you in that I haven't read a lot compared to some other candidates at all, and sometimes I do have self motivation problems. But I enjoy English a lot and I'm very good at it, so I'm going to apply to Oxbridge and see what happens!

    PS I'm doing AS Eng Lit too - which syllabus are you on? I sometimes find that the questions can be a bit restrictive but there's still definitely the potential for exploration. Which texts are you studying?
    Hey, just looked back at this thread cos I've been looking at Uni's and courses and such recently. Sorry I didn't reply to you when I first posted the thread- obviously there were a lot of replies and it was hard to keep up!

    What kind of stuff have you read? I've read more than a lot of people in my class, but in comparison to your typical oxbridge applicant- not as much. I'm on the AQA syllabus. Are you on it too? If so how did you find the LITB1 exam? And we studied four texts; The Great Gatsby, Enduring Love, Keats and Tennyson. We did a Tennessee Williams play for coursework.
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