Is it harder to get the grades at Oxbridge?

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H&E
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#221
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#221
(Original post by Invisible)
Cost to who? And what has exam structure/style got to do with accessibility?

please explain.
Bloody hell you are stubborn. Cost to the applicant. Someone has to pay for the materials to be produced and marked: that's why A-levels and GCSE's cost about 20 quid a pop. Accessibility involves how easy it is for foreign applicants to take the exam: A-levels are very inaccessbile, and hardly anyone takes them who doesn't study them for two years; SAT's, however are taken in a huge range of countries by applicants who do a couple of hours' preparation.

Anyhoo, I've clearly nothing like your stamina for arguing this point, so I'm giving up. Yes, they are flawed, but in the circumstane they do a pretty good job, and help a lot of people show their potential who could not do it under a more precise but less accessible exam structure.
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username9816
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#222
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#222
(Original post by H&E)
Bloody hell you are stubborn. Cost to the applicant. Someone has to pay for the materials to be produced and marked: that's why A-levels and GCSE's cost about 20 quid a pop. Accessibility involves how easy it is for foreign applicants to take the exam: A-levels are very inaccessbile, and hardly anyone takes them who doesn't study them for two years; SAT's, however are taken in a huge range of countries by applicants who do a couple of hours' preparation.

Anyhoo, I've clearly nothing like your stamina for arguing this point, so I'm giving up. Yes, they are flawed, but in the circumstane they do a pretty good jobb and help a lot of people show their potential who could not do it under a more precise but less accessible exam structure.
There are other ways to keep costs low, and maybe they shouldn't charge as much to the applicant if they were bothered enough.

"Accessibility involves how easy it is for foreign applicants to take the exam: A-levels are very inaccessbile, and hardly anyone takes them who doesn't study them for two years; SAT's, however are taken in a huge range of countries by applicants who do a couple of hours' preparation." - Well currently foreigners are disadvantaged anyway, and I don't see how normal exams can't be equally accessible, but without the element of "lucky boy" involved.

"Yes, they are flawed, but in the circumstane they do a pretty good job." - That's not the point, a BMW is a decent carr but a Ferrari is always better.

"In the circumstances" - Yes, as I said, it's for the convenience to those making the papers and administrating it etc. rather than getting the best results possible. We both agree on this, cutting costs etc. and all the rest.

"show their potential" - Does it? Doesn't allow creativity, method marks, train of thought used etc. and instead rewards marks for luck in some cases. Doesn't reveal it as well as it could.
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ASNaC
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#223
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#223
(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 think they are given too much respect. ALL studies have shown NO correlation between SAT Is (which are more seriously considered than SAT IIs) and university results. Even SAT IIs in writing are quite easy, and in maths and physics are piss easy. Maybe UK schools don't train people well to do SATs, but at my school plenty of mediocre students had good SATs, while plenty of very, very bright students who were second language had much lower SATs. A friend of mine got 41 points in his IB Diploma (the equivalent of more than three As at A levels), and now has a 13 000 pound a year scholarhsip at LSE, yet he still had trouble breaking 1200 on SAT I, and all his SAT IIs were under 700. Why? Because they are culturally and linguistically biased. It is that simple. If you claim otherwise you have obviously not seen how badly students of other linguistic and cultural backgrounds are disadvantaged.

And by the way, yes, in the grand scheme of things it is easy to get Bs at A levels as well.
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ASNaC
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#224
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#224
(Original post by H&E)
SAT's, however are taken in a huge range of countries by applicants who do a couple of hours' preparation.
Actually many American schools offer entire courses on how to take SATs, and tutor their strong students for up to 2 hours a week in techinique and past paper practice. So no, the top students in the US are trained for the SATs just like any other exam, except for the fact that the verbal is a glorified vocabulary test, and maths is a glorified arithmetic test.
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H&E
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#225
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#225
(Original post by ASNaC)
Actually many American schools offer entire courses on how to take SATs, and tutor their strong students for up to 2 hours a week in techinique and past paper practice. So no, the top students in the US are trained for the SATs just like any other exam, except for the fact that the verbal is a glorified vocabulary test, and maths is a glorified arithmetic test.
Of course; the point is that it isn't essential. A bright student can do a couple of hours work, turn up to SAT's and do well. Try the same for A-level and you'd fail pretty horribly; for half the exams, you wouldn't even qualify due to various coursework/project requirements.
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noctivaga
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#226
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#226
(Original post by ASNaC)
Because they are culturally and linguistically biased. It is that simple. If you claim otherwise you have obviously not seen how badly students of other linguistic and cultural backgrounds are disadvantaged.
Aren't the SATs primarily concerned with showing universities the level at which you potentially can perform in an English-speaking university? My mother tongue is Norwegian, but I don't think my lack of abilities in both written and oral English should make it easier for me to gain admission to a course - after all, disadvantages to people not having English as their mother tongue will still be present when they enter university, and if they struggled in an admission test, they will also struggle during the course. I personally feel that if any universities I'm applying to are unsure about whether my English skills are below the standards they should be in able to cope with the course, they should reject my application.
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ASNaC
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#227
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#227
(Original post by noctivaga)
Aren't the SATs primarily concerned with showing universities the level at which you potentially can perform in an English-speaking university? My mother tongue is Norwegian, but I don't think my lack of abilities in both written and oral English should make it easier for me to gain admission to a course - after all, disadvantages to people not having English as their mother tongue will still be present when they enter university, and if they struggled in an admission test, they will also struggle during the course. I personally feel that if any universities I'm applying to are unsure about whether my English skills are below the standards they should be in able to cope with the course, they should reject my application.
Yes, but passages in one of my SATs were taken from the American constitution. This obviously provides a massive cultural advantage to those who are living (or have lived) and studying (or have studied) in the US. Besides, surely your results in English A levels or IB exams are a better indicator of university level English, as they show your ability to study for an exam in English and then write it. University exams are not ability tests - you are able to study and prepare.
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