Cambridge: academically superior to Oxford - but still a worse university Watch

Drogue
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#101
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#101
Guys, give him a break. Threadjacking I'll admit, since London was mentioned with respect to the difference between Ox and Cam ECs, I did pick on it and he did further. But I would never describe Ben as anti-Oxbridge, he just doesn't have the reverence for it that many people do have.

(Original post by President_Ben)
Part of the numbers game comes from the fact that many London students choose to do their activities away from their university. What with the City around, your non-academic life can very easily not involve the uni.
But do they do that much? I've yet to meet many UoL students who do much outside their studies, other than those who lead one of the relatively few societies there are.

(Original post by President_Ben)
By budgets, the Union itself here is a multi-million pound operation that employs something over 100 full-time staff. But because there of the enhanced centralisation through this, frankly, monolithic and more often than not... paperwork blackhole... you don't get budgets going up to that. In fact, if you started even getting close to those, the Union is more than likely to try and absorb the activity into itself.
Yes, the student's union, as it is everywhere. They're also not student run. I mean student run societies - ie. opportunities for students to get involved in things outside their studies. The Oxford Union is just another society, albeit with amazing premises and a rich history and membership.

(Original post by President_Ben)
As I understand it, a large amount of the budgets that Oxbridge societies have is for their massive and many socials, which in London unis, isn't done because that is done by the rest of London.
As far as I know, it isn't. I mean, there are socials, but I know when it comes to AIESEC, Future Flyers, OE, OSPL, etc. the budgets are spent on their activities. But moreover, as said, ECs are about the opportunities for students to do activities, run things, get involved in societies, outside their studies. This includes sport, drama, business, speakers, discussions, everything that's run by students. In Oxford there's loads, and many, many people get involved. I get the impression London has far fewer such opportunities, as all the stuff they need is provided by the city, removing much of the incentive to run them.
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dancingqueen
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#102
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(Original post by Sinuhe)
I'm a first-year doing chemistry at Oxford, and my weekly timetable is usually:
  • 11-12 hours of lectures (not more than 3 per day, Monday to Friday)
  • 3.5-4.5 hours of tutorials, depending on the subjects taught in that week (Maths is 1.5 hours every week, then the others rotate: Organic takes 2*1.5, Inorganic 2*1 and Physical either 2*1 or 1+1.5); sometimes we have more, eg tutorials on collections and vacation work seem generally to be in addition to the regular ones
  • 5-10 hours of practicals (Thursdays and Fridays; the duration depends on the laboratory)

It ordinarily takes about 15-20 hours to prepare for the tutorials (and we've got such lovely Sunday 6pm deadlines for problems/essays, too).

So timewise the workload seems quite comparable to yours. But obviously it depends heavily on the college: I have friends in several other colleges and they seem to have fewer tutorials and FAR less vacation work than we do.
Which college are you at? You seem to have more tutes than i did in my first year!
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Sinuhe
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#103
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#103
(Original post by dancingqueen)
Which college are you at? You seem to have more tutes than i did in my first year!
I'm at Catz.
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sTe\/o
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#104
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#104
From comparing with my friend who does medicine at Oxford, you seem to generally get less tutes but in smaller groups. In my supervisions there were normally about 3 of us, occasionaly more (but normally only in exceptional circumstances). In Oxford you seem to have tutes in pairs or even as individuals. Can anyone confirm that this is the case or is it only my friend's college that seems to do this?
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dancingqueen
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#105
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#105
(Original post by sTe\/o)
From comparing with my friend who does medicine at Oxford, you seem to generally get less tutes but in smaller groups. In my supervisions there were normally about 3 of us, occasionaly more (but normally only in exceptional circumstances). In Oxford you seem to have tutes in pairs or even as individuals. Can anyone confirm that this is the case or is it only my friend's college that seems to do this?
My frriend doing medicine usually has 2 or 3 people in her tutes. I do chemistry and mine are all individual.
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sTe\/o
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#106
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(Original post by dancingqueen)
My frriend doing medicine usually has 2 or 3 people in her tutes. I do chemistry and mine are all individual.
There does seem to be a difference then. I don't think I've ever had a supervision with less than 3 people in (for medicine btw). I'm assuming my college isn't different from other Cambridge colleges.
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Elles
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#107
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(Original post by sTe\/o)
From comparing with my friend who does medicine at Oxford, you seem to generally get less tutes but in smaller groups.
hmm, we were in 3s mostly for First BM (6 of us) - but then we had more tutes than Mutual Friend from what i remember - possibly more college than university dependent?
FHS tutorials have ranged from 1-5.

pff... you & your generalisations.
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sTe\/o
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#108
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(Original post by Elles)
hmm, we were in 3s mostly for First BM (6 of us) - but then we had more tutes than Mutual Friend from what i remember - possibly more college than university dependent?
FHS tutorials have ranged from 1-5.

pff... you & your generalisations.
Well, said friend only got two tutes a week in the first year, but he also said Magdalen medics get lots of tutes compared to everyone else.

I've had hardly any supervisions this year. Feeling quite guilty about it now...
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President_Ben
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#109
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#109
(Original post by Drogue)
But do they do that much? I've yet to meet many UoL students who do much outside their studies, other than those who lead one of the relatively few societies there are.
As picked up, people do a lot of their stuff outside of uni. Be it working, being pro poker players, international level chess as a FIDE master, learning how to pole dance, working, religious stuff, county level sport, pro paintballing, London based theatre, drama, opera and even the odd person doing ballet. Here, we have our own West End listed theatre and a lot of people do the stage crew stuff professionally to the point where it's a job more than anything. Quite a lot of people have their own band and go let it out in Camden or on the London pub circuit.

Granted, I know a number of students who plainly loaf when they aren't studying. Or just go out and get hammered belowing £4.50 on a glass of water in some places with nothing else under a tenner (...I know...).

Yes, the student's union, as it is everywhere. They're also not student run. I mean student run societies - ie. opportunities for students to get involved in things outside their studies. The Oxford Union is just another society, albeit with amazing premises and a rich history and membership.
The UCLU is pretty much through and through, student run except for those things where committment needs to be full-time/all-year. Our budget isn't in the 6 figure zone or all that close but those things in UCL which do strike near that range, strike it because that money is just a grant or administered by the Union/the Theatre rather than by the society (including the journo stuff such as the radio station).
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thomasjtl
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#110
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President Ben - you know the student union and the Oxford Union are different right? The oxford union is at it's core a debating society, completely separate from the student union, which does the same things as student unions do anywhere else.
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President_Ben
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#111
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(Original post by thomasjtl)
President Ben - you know the student union and the Oxford Union are different right? The oxford union is at it's core a debating society, completely separate from the student union, which does the same things as student unions do anywhere else.
Yes :rolleyes:
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5150
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#112
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#112
This whole "Oxford is a better uni than Cambridge" thing is nothing but silly banter. Really, when you get the level that Oxford and Cambridge are at, it doesn't matter. It's like saying Reading's a better city than Southampton.
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coldfish
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#113
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#113
Reading?! Better than Southampton?
Codswallop!
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zhivago
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#114
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#114
(Original post by Mr. Forbes)
Maybe you just have more contact hours at Cambridge because you guys are generally thicker?

Heh. :p:

On a serious note, does anyone know about the differences in regards to law?
I'm hoping to apply for 2007 and I've always for some reason had my heart set on Oxford (I think people are born with an innate preference), however, I have heard that in Cam there is greater scope for combination with other schools (like you can do a year of something else and still gain the LLB).

Does anyone have any comments/advice as to the differences between the courses? Which is better/more respected? What the law departments are like? And, as I say, what the whole combination thing is in Cambridge as opposed to Ox?

Cheers.
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manthi
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#115
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#115
Cambridge Law course is far far better and much more respected. :p: (Im biased of course...)
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JustaGuy
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#116
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#116
I'll probably get bashed for this - but this whole thread is really a little silly.

This "cam better than Ox" or "Ox better than cam" topic has been debated to death.

Both are academically equal really. Really really really :p:
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Drogue
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#117
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While the "Ox better than cam" or vice versa has been debated a lot, that isn't what this thread is. Whether or not one is better than the other depends on personal taste, as there are so many differences between the two. What this thread is doing is looking at two aspects - academics and extra-curricular opportunities - and discussing which is better for each of those. Any judgement of which is better is completely down to the individual.

Overally most tables seem to suggest Cambridge is better academically, in that it tops more subject tables and scores higher for those. However Oxford scores higher on it's spending, facilities and some other scores. This would seem to support the statement of Cambridge being better academically and Oxford being better for EC opportunities. Obviously this is all subject, college and interest specific, so other than being a blanket thing to discuss, isn't of so much use to a prospective applicant. Some ECs are better at Cambridge, and some academic subjects better at Oxford, it's all down to what an applicant wants to study and get involved in. Not to mention where they feel more comfortable, which buildings they like, what type of atmosphere they want to study in, etc.

There is no point discussing which is better, due to these personal differences. However discussing whether Cambridge does lead academically in more subjects, and whether Oxford's ECs are better than Cambridges, on the whole, could be interesting and beneficial discussions.
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priya
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#118
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#118
(Original post by Isaiah Berlin)
Languages: Don't know. Oxford course has a year out for no useful reason though, not great!
year abroad IS useful-extra year in which to gain fluency in the language (when people in the 2nd year tell you they're fluent, about 70% of them actually aren't) experience of living abroad out of the english university bubble is also highly valued.

in terms of course content, cambridge is much better IMO. oxford doesn't have proper oral supervisions, which are a 3rd of the language work at cambridge. as far as i'm concerned, what's the point of doing a languages degree if you're not going to be able to speak it!? also, you are forced to do 50% literature in oxford, whatever language you study, whereas you have the choice to specialise in history/linguistics in many languages at cam. i successfully managed to avoid german literature last year, and am now doing a half lit/half history paper, which rocks. in italian, i'm doing political texts, films and art, something which i don't think i would have managed to do at oxford.

finally, you do two languages at cambridge, giving you more breadth of knowledge, and it seems easier to start a language from scratch compared to oxford.

i agree with drogue overall, this debate is a little silly, you're either going to like the courses or you aren't, simple as. the above is just my personal viewpoint on one course. don't forget, whilst they're both fantastic universities, courses elsewhere can also be equally brilliant.
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bluefuture
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#119
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#119
Why does President Ben come on this forum anyway? I would not dream of going to the UCL/LSE forum and criticising their university or careers service.

I think any thread about which is the superior university out of Ox/Cam is pointless. Both provide the finest undergraduate degrees in the world (independent of subject). And your workload is really up to you. For instance, say the Ox physics has only 85-90% of the natsci workload (fair estimate?), it would be easy to go to extra lectures and take extra options to make up for the difference. That is really the beauty of the two universities.
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President_Ben
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#120
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#120
I read the whole of TSR by clicking 'new posts'. I often read the things posted by people who I think make worthwhile posts (like Drogue) who happens to post quite a bit in the Oxbridge forum.

I say what I think from what I know either directly, observed or gathered and combined into a brand spanking new product. So sue me. Wouldn't repeat something that has already been said and would say something that hasn't been.
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