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What's better - a 2.1 from Oxbridge or a first from Aston? Watch

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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    You'd get pretty firmly shot down if your answer wasn't of the quality level being sought, yes.

    I believe mathematicians generally show a high level of eccentricity, don't they?
    LOL yeah, I guess. Do I get points for knowing these people are eccentric? No? OK...
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    (Original post by reallytired)
    This argument can never be proved conclusively.

    Recently an article came out stating the UK now has not 3 but 7 social classes. This is evidence that despite what it usually claims (that the UK is classless), it actually isn't.

    On an absolute level, Oxbridge does definately have the most demanding courses (in general) but can you extrapolate and say their students are cleverer?

    We know they have the most public scholl educated and once at Oxbridge, they also have the excellent 1-2-1 tutorial system, something that is denied to everyone else.

    So with these two points, possibly others as well, is it any surprise their standards are higher?

    As for reputation, they have no doubt been fuelled by the media and the offspring of heads of states. For example. in recent times, the profile of St. Andrews has been elevated by a factor of 10.

    Err .. we've actually moved on to the eccentricities of lecturers' dress and fashion sense .
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    (Original post by LoseSmallWinBig)
    You can't seriously try and pin this on the difficulty.

    A great deal is likely to have been down to the student being happier at Nottingham and possibly better mentally prepared.

    I don't buy that subjects like Geography and History are all that much harder then the degree at other top universities. So many subjects at Oxbridge have 90% 2:1 figures and the same can be said for other Russell group universities. By large, it doesn't seem particularly hard to get a 2:1 in Art/Humanities subjects whether it's at Oxford or York
    I'm at Oxford now doing Geography and although this might seem biased I have friends doing humanities at universities of similar standard to York (Exeter etc) and I do far more work than they do. They made us do 14x 2000 word essays (or presentations/problem sheets) in 8 weeks for tutorials on top of all the lectures, lecture reading, coursework and extra reading last term. I was pretty much in the library all day and all night. It's ridiculously hard, and that's from somebody who got full UMS at A2 in my subject.

    I would argue that (most of) the people who get into Oxford have the common sense to realise that if you don't work really hard from the outset you won't get a 2.1 - so most do (hence the high % of 2.1s). I was told by the Warden of my college that everyone accepted has the potential to get a high 2.1 degree. If you're not working hard enough, you really get it rammed down your throat, and they really get you to pick up the pace, e.g. by threatening you with resits of the termly 3 hour collections (mocks) if you don't get at least a low 2.1, or extra holiday essays if you fail to get your tutorial essays in on time. Both are not a nice thing to have to do on top of everything else, and most people do the work to avoid them.

    Degrees at Oxford and York are just imo not the same. The existence of the weekly (sometimes two-weekly) tutorial at Oxford with its strict essay deadline is the key discriminator between the two. It gives you that independence and clarity of thought that other universities just can't do, teaches you how to time manage to the extreme and makes you so much more employable.
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    If you attend Oxbridge and you receive a 2:1... why the hell did you go to Oxbridge? Get a first or accept that you are not smart enough. Stop whining about it.
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    (Original post by DavidCrow)
    I'm at Oxford now doing Geography and although this might seem biased I have friends doing humanities at universities of similar standard to York (Exeter etc) and I do far more work than they do. They made us do 14x 2000 word essays (or presentations/problem sheets) in 8 weeks for tutorials on top of all the lectures, lecture reading, coursework and extra reading last term. I was pretty much in the library all day and all night. It's ridiculously hard, and that's from somebody who got full UMS at A2 in my subject.

    I would argue that (most of) the people who get into Oxford have the common sense to realise that if you don't work really hard from the outset you won't get a 2.1 - so most do (hence the high % of 2.1s). I was told by the Warden of my college that everyone accepted has the potential to get a high 2.1 degree. If you're not working hard enough, you really get it rammed down your throat, and they really get you to pick up the pace, e.g. by threatening you with resits of the termly 3 hour collections (mocks) if you don't get at least a low 2.1, or extra holiday essays if you fail to get your tutorial essays in on time. Both are not a nice thing to have to do on top of everything else, and most people do the work to avoid them.

    Degrees at Oxford and York are just imo not the same. The existence of the weekly (sometimes two-weekly) tutorial at Oxford with its strict essay deadline is the key discriminator between the two. It gives you that independence and clarity of thought that other universities just can't do, teaches you how to time manage to the extreme and makes you so much more employable.
    But Oxford and Cambridge have a 1-2-1 tutorial system and nowhere else does.

    It is often said Imperial has low student satisafaction, owing to poor lectures but if you said of those Imperial students who've made it must be super, you'll often hear people denying it.

    You can't have it both ways.
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    Please explain how this sort of language:

    (Original post by DavidCrow)
    They made us
    you really get it rammed down your throat
    and they really get you to pick up the pace
    threatening you with resits of the termly 3 hour collections (mocks) if you don't get at least a low 2.1, or extra holiday essays if you fail to get your tutorial essays in on time.
    Is conducive to this:

    [Oxbridge teaching] gives you that independence
    If there's one way in which non-Oxbridge uni's trump Oxbridge (minus allowing students to leave with their souls intact at the end and, less jokingly, their lives) it's that they are much more hands-off in their students studies; it is both a weakness and a strength. The Oxbridge tutorial system is definitely a strenght for those that flourish in that sort of conversational, intimate environment (the fact that not everyone does is often overlooked) but it can also be seen as a weakness in that students are, as your language shows us, quite ferociously monitored academically. Of course this isn't a bad thing in and of itself if it ultimately gives them the qualities you claim it does, but when they ultimately graduate they can't altogether say they've done it as independently as students, who are often at the mercy of impersonal lectures and seminars and their own volition, at other universities can. Yes, an Oxford degree is universally going to be more challenging than an Aston one. But Oxford affords students far, far more academic nurture and supervision than Aston does.
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    Getting a 2:1 from Oxbridge is like telling your friends you got a sun tan when you actually used fake bake.
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    (Original post by DEVVO)
    Getting a 2:1 from Oxbridge is like telling your friends you got a sun tan when you actually used fake bake.
    Yes, that's the exact metaphor that springs to mind when discussing people with 2:1s from Oxbridge. Another metaphor that springs to mind, that you may use at your disposal in the future, is it's much like telling your friends you've had hemorrhoids removed, when in actual fact you've just had an anal bleaching.
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    (Original post by DEVVO)
    Getting a 2:1 from Oxbridge is like telling your friends you got a sun tan when you actually used fake bake.
    There's something oddly refreshing about your posts, although I don't really want to encourage you.
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    Long live public schools and long live OXbridge and the London 3 !
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    (Original post by curiousquest)
    But Oxford and Cambridge have a 1-2-1 tutorial system and nowhere else does.

    It is often said Imperial has low student satisafaction, owing to poor lectures but if you said of those Imperial students who've made it must be super, you'll often hear people denying it.

    You can't have it both ways.
    How does either factor you mention directly relate to causality re: 2.1 degrees form either place ???
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    There's something oddly refreshing about your posts, although I don't really want to encourage you.
    Haha oh god don't encourage me. I just like people to lighten up a bit... and maybe find a bit of humour in heated discussions... and to provide my opinion.
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    (Original post by Zenomorph)
    Long live public schools and long live OXbridge and the London 3 !
    Yes! Viva! Long Live the Big Five and their various research institutes and associated bodies! Hurrah!
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    (Original post by Noble.)
    Yes, that's the exact metaphor that springs to mind when discussing people with 2:1s from Oxbridge. Another metaphor that springs to mind, that you may use at your disposal in the future, is it's much like telling your friends you've had hemorrhoids removed, when in actual fact you've just had an anal bleaching.
    The differentiation is uncanny, i know. Ah i like it. Thank you my good man, i shall use that in the future. "Mum this meal is about as dry as the student room post about Oxbridge 2:1's and Aston First's." I dig it.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Yes! Viva! Long Live the Big Five and their various research institutes and associated bodies! Hurrah!
    Ah ! she knows what the term ' public ' school really means - definitely one of us.

    CLC by any chance ?

    BTW, guess who I saw today in full regalia, I nearly collapsed with mirth.
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    My original post made no sense (sorry), so let me try again.

    (Original post by curiousquest)
    But Oxford and Cambridge have a 1-2-1 tutorial system and nowhere else does.
    I don't think its this that gives Oxbridge its advantage on its own. Most Imperial people moan about this at some point, but what they forget is that the vast majority of the supervision/tutorial is based on solving problems (at least in Maths), which are much harder than non-Oxbridge sheets!

    It is often said Imperial has low student satisafaction, owing to poor lectures but if you said of those Imperial students who've made it must be super, you'll often hear people denying it.

    You can't have it both ways.
    Does this really happen? I don't consider myself to be 'super' just because I did well at Imperial (if I may say so myself...)
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    If by 'better' we mean 'what provides the most efficient way to get a job after university' than I'd be inclined to agree with people who say a first from Aston is.

    Many people are responding to posts by essentially just saying that 'your better might not be the same as my better'. So, simplifying the question so we may hope to get an answer, lets define the word 'better' as 'harder'.

    Those who disagree with this definition may ignore the following, but I think this is at least part of what the word 'better' should mean. Let's also concentrate on undergraduate degrees in Maths. There are two reasons for this: I have first hand experience of such a degree, and it is perhaps the subject where we can get closest to judging an exam based on the performance of students taking it.

    So now our reformulated question is 'What's harder - a 2:1 in Maths from Oxbridge or a first in Maths from x'. Here x denotes any non Oxbridge university.

    Since a grade mostly (or completely) on the exam, let's focus on the exam only.

    Now the rest of the comparison can be done in the following way. Choose a random sample of Oxbridge Maths students and get them to take a Maths paper from x and an (equivalent) Maths paper from Oxbridge. Then get a random sample of students from x and get them to do the same.

    Clearly I can't perform this analysis, but I would take a guess that the students from Oxbridge would have a higher average. I'd invite anyone (who has done a Maths degree) to literally compare papers.


    The point of all of this, anyway, is that many of the posters here have politically correct, polite, well written arguments for something which, when all the excuse factors are taken away, is patently false.

    When we strip away all these complicating factors we are left with two papers, one of which is far easier than the other.

    Now do the same experiment with old A Level papers compared to new ones...
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    (Original post by dbkey)
    In relation to what you've written, the paper in the paper I quoted is definately harder than the UK's. However we do not know the style of these papers and for all we know, it could tick all the boxes you mentioned.

    Nevertheless, I feel not enough is known about exams in other countries for us to make an informed decision about what is classed as "best".

    What we do know is an element of "he who shouts the loudest gets heard the most"!

    On the note of standards across universities, you are probably one of the few who understands what I'm syaing re exam boards at A-Level.

    Years ago (forgive me if I'm assuming you've done your degree a fe decades ago) there were quite a number of exam boards, eg LON, MEI, AEB, JMB, O, C, SMP, etc.

    It is clear just from reading the papers that they are not of the same standards, yet an A in one is deemed the same as an A in another. (My own experience was that MEI contained topics not found in others, such as Engineering statics, lagrangian multipliers, group theory and difference methods).

    To the present day, this still remains, though with fa fewer boards. I fail to see the need for there being different boards.

    On the point of a 1st v 2:1, admittedly the course from Oxbridge should be more demanding, owing to the 1-2-1 tutorial system as well as the higher grades achieved by their students.

    Note I say higher grades and not higher intellect as Oxbridge have more public school educated than others and if we are to believe public school educated have a distinct advantage, then this does not necessarily imply they are cleverer.

    But the student who achieves a 1st from a non-Oxbridge uni CANNOT be deemed less bright than a 2:1 from Oxbridge, simply because the maximum one can achieve is a 1st!

    What we can say is that a 2:1 from non-OB IS less bright than a 2:1 from OB.
    With regards to your first point, it may be the case that exams in other countries are harder than the equivalent exams at Oxbridge. However, this is irrelevant as we are discussing whether an Oxbridge 2:1 is better than a first from Aston (or, more generally, another Russell Group member).

    In response to your last couple of statements, I would say that I have never mentioned anything about the students attending the courses, but just the courses themselves. Clearly there are examples of weak students at Oxbridge and exceptional students not at Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by Tuerin)
    Of course this isn't a bad thing in and of itself if it ultimately gives them the qualities you claim it does, but when they ultimately graduate they can't altogether say they've done it as independently as students, who are often at the mercy of impersonal lectures and seminars and their own volition, at other universities can.
    You think that Oxbridge students end up LESS independent than other students? I think thats rubbish.

    Here at Cambridge I have to do 12-14 long essays plus a few presentations in 8 weeks. You need to do SO much independent reading and thought to keep up with that amount of work. If you don't have the personal work ethic and motivation then you slip behind very quickly - there is no such thing as being 'force-fed' information - you can be threatened with degrading and warned by your college about your work, but it is the students themselves who have to put in all the long hours. Being set extraordinary amounts of academic work is not equivalent to being dependant upon teaching. Finally, plenty of people get 2.2s and do badly in Cambridge - just because you are made to do lots of work through the year doesn't mean you remember it all for exams. Exams are there to test what you can DO with information, not how much you have covered in the year.
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    (Original post by Eboracum)
    I'd also disagree on the hardness. There is this snobbery from Oxbridge students (a very minor few - most are lovely) that people at all other unis are idiots and that they'd be guaranteed a First at say, a top 20 Russell. Not the case. To get a First at any Russell is really difficult. Many people at these Russell's have the same A Level grades as Oxbridgers and are just as smart. Acceptance to Oxbridge doesn't define ones existence and condemn those not chosen to a lifetime of being below.
    Again, this is does not correspond to what I have said. Most of what you say here I agree with but I think it's unfair to criticise me for snobbery when I'm just trying to evaluate the relative merits of two courses and not the individuals doing them.
 
 
 
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