Is it harder to get the grades at Oxbridge?

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username9816
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#181
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#181
(Original post by BazTheMoney)
In the most part, some papers have short essays but mostly it's 5 or 4 choice answers. The main problem, other than they're a pretty crap indicator of ability, is that there's very little difference between 1300 and 1500, it's hard for universities to use the data to its fullest. But the Ivy league like them so what can we do. :rolleyes:
Baz, did you get any offers from American unis?
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BazTheMoney
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#182
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#182
(Original post by Invisible)
Baz, did you get any offers from American unis?
Yeah I did: Stanford, Harvard, Brown and UPenn
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sixthirtythree
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#183
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(Original post by BazTheMoney)
Yeah I did: Stanford, Harvard, Brown and UPenn
Any particular reasons why you didn't apply to Yale and Princeton? And which one did you apply to EA/ED, if any?
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username9816
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#184
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#184
(Original post by BazTheMoney)
Yeah I did: Stanford, Harvard, Brown and UPenn
Well done, that's fantastic! What made you go to Oxford instead of Harvard then?
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shiny
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#185
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#185
Baz, are you missing Helenia?
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BazTheMoney
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#186
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(Original post by Invisible)
Well done, that's fantastic! What made you go to Oxford instead of Harvard then?
Harvard isn't that good for undergraduate, people hear about the Business School, the Law School and the Med School so assume the undergraduate degrees are of a similar standard, which really isn't the case. For research it comes into its own, but for taught courses it isn't as good as Oxford. Also I'm not a fan of the liberty arts education.
Any particular reasons why you didn't apply to Yale and Princeton? And which one did you apply to EA/ED, if any?
Bush went to Yale didn't he? Say it all... :rolleyes: I just didn't really like Yale and I never really looked at Princeton; which I regret to an extent because Princeton actually looks quite good. I didn't apply ED to any, I didn't like the binding part, but I applied EA at Harvard, all the others were normal last day jobs.
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ASNaC
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#187
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#187
(Original post by BazTheMoney)
Also I'm not a fan of the liberty arts education.
Sorry to be pedantic, but it is a liberal arts education. An important distinction, though I fully undestang your qualms with the liberal arts approach.

Also SATs massively favour people from a western cultural background. At my last school the three people who had the highest SATs (I and two friends) were ALL North American. Of the three of us only I was amongst the top five at the school in final exam results (the four others amongst the top five couldn't break 1500). As a matter of fact the only person at the school to get an 800 in maths is **** at maths - I had to help him with his preparation work for engineering at Durham. Basically SATs are crap and pointless, and studies have shown no correlation between SAT results nad final degree results (there is a week correlation in first year which disappears thereafter).

As for Princeton, it is a very good university - almost certainly the best of the Ivy League for politics and history.
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H&E
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#188
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(Original post by ASNaC)
Also SATs massively favour people from a western cultural background. At my last school the three people who had the highest SATs (I and two friends) were ALL North American. Of the three of us only I was amongst the top five at the school in final exam results (the four others amongst the top five couldn't break 1500). As a matter of fact the only person at the school to get an 800 in maths is **** at maths - I had to help him with his preparation work for engineering at Durham. Basically SATs are crap and pointless, and studies have shown no correlation between SAT results nad final degree results (there is a week correlation in first year which disappears thereafter).
That may be true of SAT I's, but SAT II's are damn difficult (Math excepted). Getting 800 in them is a considerable achievement.
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BazTheMoney
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#189
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#189
SAT I is very straightforward, SAT II is harder but I still believe it's fairly easy to get a reasonable 700+ score. And everyone repeats them 3 times, so by the time it comes to handing in the results, quite a few people up their score by about 50.
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H&E
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#190
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#190
(Original post by BazTheMoney)
SAT I is very straightforward, SAT II is harder but I still believe it's fairly easy to get a reasonable 700+ score. And everyone repeats them 3 times, so by the time it comes to handing in the results, quite a few people up their score by about 50.
Saying it's easy to get 700+ is akin it's saying it's easy go get a B at A-level, and doesn't mean much. Secondly, universities are aware of repititions, I think; they're certailny aware of those who only do exams once, and thus they can factor them in. I may be being excessively positive here; I just think SAT's are given less respect than they deserve.
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username9816
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#191
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(Original post by H&E)
Saying it's easy to get 700+ is akin it's saying it's easy go get a B at A-level, and doesn't mean much. Secondly, universities are aware of repititions, I think; they're certailny aware of those who only do exams once, and thus they can factor them in. I may be being excessively positive here; I just think SAT's are given less respect than they deserve.
I hardly think that an exam where you can gain marks by pure guesses rather than excellent thinking, or educated guesses or having hints, deserves muchos respect.

They may as well just do proper Maths, English, Physics exams etc. Why this multiple choice thing?!

That's what I think anyway. People can gain marks and up their score to an extent via guessing - Maybe not by much, but it's possible nevertheless.
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H&E
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#192
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(Original post by Invisible)
I hardly think that an exam where you can gain marks by pure guesses rather than excellent thinking, or educated guesses or having hints, deserves muchos respect.

They may as well just do proper Maths, English, Physics exams etc. Why this multiple choice thing?!

That's what I think anyway. People can gain marks and up their score to an extent via guessing - Maybe not by much, but it's possible nevertheless.
Don't tell me you've never guessed anything in your AS exams.
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BazTheMoney
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#193
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(Original post by H&E)
Saying it's easy to get 700+ is akin it's saying it's easy go get a B at A-level, and doesn't mean much. Secondly, universities are aware of repititions, I think; they're certailny aware of those who only do exams once, and thus they can factor them in. I may be being excessively positive here; I just think SAT's are given less respect than they deserve.
Well it's all relative, as an international student you would really need BBB to even be considering studying in the US, so 700 wouldn't be much of a challenge. And I think you do have to put down if you did it more than once, I think they have 3 spaces for both SAT I and II on the common application form; but I'm not sure how much the admission tutor use it. I certain think a 1600 on the third attempted will be seen in a better light than a 1500 on the first attempt.
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BazTheMoney
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#194
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Yeah, some of the hardest tests I've done are negatively marked multiple choice papers, but I just don't think the papers (SAT I, mainly) are hard enough for it to play a big part. And I think actually having the answers in front of you is an advantage, but then everyone is in the same boat so it isn't really an issue.
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EconLou
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#195
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#195
(Original post by deianra)
Correct me if I'm wrong someone, but you lose marks if you guess wrongly. Guessing in SATs can be a dangerous mistake.
Yes, that is true, but you do only loose very few marks.
From what I have read american unis are quite keen on pupils who are able to, to take AP exams. Some don't give them a huge ampunt of credit against placement in the first year but they like them as a sign of ability.
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munch_crunch
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#196
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(Original post by Ananke)
Are exam scripts in universities externally moderated, so parity is maintained between the standards of different universities? I was originally under the impression that this was the case, and despite the fact that the people that teach you in university often write your examinations and are the first markers, a 2.1 in say history at Oxbridge would be equal in academic standard to a 2.1 in the same subject from Cardiff.

However, some things I've read over the last few months, - http://education.guardian.co.uk/univ...182673,00.html - for example, seem to suggest that a lot more power lies with the universities in choosing their standards.

So. Is it harder for someone to get the grades at Oxbridge? Is it therefore possible to directly compare (disregarding comparison in terms of reputation - purely academic) one's chance of gaining a First in history at Cardiff to a 2.1 at Oxford? Is Oxbridge more work because of shorter terms/academic pressure/speed of teaching/extra work or because the actual exams that you sit will be harder?
Yes the work is harder- if it wasn't Oxford's academic value would depreciate.
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BazTheMoney
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#197
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#197
(Original post by Louise_1988)
Yes, that is true, but you do only loose very few marks.
From what I have read american unis are quite keen on pupils who are able to, to take AP exams. Some don't give them a huge ampunt of credit against placement in the first year but they like them as a sign of ability.
AP and IB are the preferred pre-university qualifications, from what I understand they consider the A-Level to restricting and specialise, they far prefer someone with transferable skills than knowledge.
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H&E
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#198
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(Original post by BazTheMoney)
AP and IB are the preferred pre-university qualifications, from what I understand they consider the A-Level to restricting and specialise, they far prefer someone with transferable skills than knowledge.
It's a bit misguided though: SAT I doesn't require any more trasnferable skills than that demanded by Eng Lit and Maths AS; and you only do 3 SAT II's, so that's even more restricted than A2. I think that if you do a wide range of A2's you will get as many transferable skills as most US students do, without having to begin your university studies with GCSE level material.
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BazTheMoney
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#199
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(Original post by H&E)
It's a bit misguided though: SAT I doesn't require any more trasnferable skills than that demanded by Eng Lit and Maths AS; and you only do 3 SAT II's, so that's even more restricted than A2. I think that if you do a wide range of A2's you will get as many transferable skills as most US students do, without having to begin your university studies with GCSE level material.
I'm not saying I agree with them, but that's just the impression I got of Harvard admission officers. In fact most things about US undergrad seem a little misguided to me.
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H&E
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#200
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(Original post by BazTheMoney)
I'm not saying I agree with them, but that's just the impression I got of Harvard admission officers. In fact most things about US undergrad seem a little misguided to me.
Academically I speaking, I really don't know what they were looking for. Half the successful UK applicants I met had applied to read Maths at Tabsville, hardly the course for those possessing broad mindedness and a range of skills. Then, of course, there are the customary athletes who Oxbridge would probably think twice before granting interviews to.
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