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    Hi!
    I'm extremely interested in how Oxford university works in regards to a students schedule. What I mean is, at my university in America, I am taking five classes, each class has one hour of lecture three times a week with assignments due throughout the term and exams given at mid-term and during finals week. The only thing I can gather about Oxford is that there are lectures and usually two tutorials; one tutorial once a week and the other once every two weeks. How do assignments and papers and exams work? Do you have set teachers that are responsible for giving you a grade? Does your college take care of that? And while on the subject of colleges, do you ever attend lectures in other colleges? Or tutorials from other colleges? Do you mostly stay within your own college for your entire undergrad? And what is the grading system like? Are there other things to do besides row, go to the pub, or the library? (that is not meant to sound rude because honestly all three of those sound amazing to me) Also what is a PPE course?
    If anyone can answer any of these questions I would be soooo grateful. I've scoured the internet for two days straight!
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    (Original post by jennasun32)
    Hi!
    I'm extremely interested in how Oxford university works in regards to a students schedule. What I mean is, at my university in America, I am taking five classes, each class has one hour of lecture three times a week with assignments due throughout the term and exams given at mid-term and during finals week. The only thing I can gather about Oxford is that there are lectures and usually two tutorials; one tutorial once a week and the other once every two weeks. How do assignments and papers and exams work? Do you have set teachers that are responsible for giving you a grade? Does your college take care of that? And while on the subject of colleges, do you ever attend lectures in other colleges? Or tutorials from other colleges? Do you mostly stay within your own college for your entire undergrad? And what is the grading system like? Are there other things to do besides row, go to the pub, or the library? (that is not meant to sound rude because honestly all three of those sound amazing to me) Also what is a PPE course?
    If anyone can answer any of these questions I would be soooo grateful. I've scoured the internet for two days straight!
    Hello! A lot of questions to answer and the answers will most likely depend on the subject read at Oxford. Like for my subject (music), students across the different colleges probably had at least three tutorials a week, every week during term time (this is not including instrumental or voice lessons!). Whereas, say, my friends doing theology and history had far fewer than that BUT the standard length of their weekly/fortnightly tutorial essays would be much longer than a music student's. If you see what I mean?

    So it's kinda hard to answer a lot of these questions without you specifying a subject. That said:

    - PPE is a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. You study all three subjects in the first year and drop one subject and continue the other two in the second and third years :yes:

    - There are SO many societies at Oxford, ranging from Star Trek to the famous Oxford Union debating stuff and everything in between. Many nationalities and religious groups have their own societies. There are various sports aside from rowing (including Quidditch! ), as well as music and drama societies :yes:

    - Lectures are centralised/uni-wide: you go to a building and sit with everyone else in your year group. Tutorials are specific to your college, though sometimes you may be sent to a tutor at another college, in which case the tutorial probably happens in THEIR college!

    - Exams are centralised and standardised, whereas tutorial work is specific to the whims of your tutor (or the tutor s/he has sent you to) for that particular subject. So everyone sits the same exams but everyone's set tutorial work is different between colleges!

    The grading system is as follows:

    39% average or below: Fail

    40-49% average: Third class (also called a Third)

    50-59% average: Second class (lower division, also called a 2.2 classification)

    60-69% average: Second class (upper division, also called a 2.1 classification)

    70% average or above: First class degree

    The aim is to get a 2.1 or a First :yes:

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    Here's an idea of the organisation of work for Biological Sciences

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/unde...ciences?wssl=1
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    Chemistry generally have 2 lectures each morning (this is the timetable from last year) http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/timetablewe...10/2016&Year=1as well as 2 or three tutorials a week. Before each tutorial we complete a sheet of work normally involving some reading/note making and some problems (normally takes between 5 and 10 hours to complete a tute sheet).

    On top of that, 2 days a week we have labs from 11am til 5pm

    Examinations all happen at the end of the final term of the academic year (called Trinity term).

    On top of that in the second, third and fourth years there is opportunity to do supplementary courses in things like: Quantum Chemistry; Heterocyclic chemistry; Pharmaceutical chemistry; Advanced crystallography; and Foreign languages (check out that Oxford semicolon :rofl3:). A first (over70%) in any of these gives a bonus of 1% towards your overall degree! (they are examined at the end of the second term (called Hillary Term)
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    Seriously thank you so much for this reply!!!!
    (Original post by MexicanKeith)
    Chemistry generally have 2 lectures each morning (this is the timetable form last year) http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/timetablewe...10/2016&Year=1as well as 2 or three tutorials a week. Before each tutorial we complete a sheet of work normally involving some reading/note making and some problems (normally takes between 5 and 10 hours to complete a tute sheet).

    On top of that, 2 days a week we have labs from 11am til 5pm

    Examinations all happen at the end of the final term of the academic year (called Trinity term).

    On top of that in the second, third and fourth years there is opportunity to do supplementary courses in things like: Quantum Chemistry; Heterocyclic chemistry; Pharmaceutical chemistry; Advanced crystallography; and Foreign languages (check out that Oxford semicolon :rofl3:). A first (over70%) in any of these gives a bonus of 1% towards your overall degree! (they are examined at the end of the second term (called Hillary Term)
    (Original post by MexicanKeith)
    Chemistry generally have 2 lectures each morning (this is the timetable form last year) http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/timetablewe...10/2016&Year=1as well as 2 or three tutorials a week. Before each tutorial we complete a sheet of work normally involving some reading/note making and some problems (normally takes between 5 and 10 hours to complete a tute sheet).

    On top of that, 2 days a week we have labs from 11am til 5pm

    Examinations all happen at the end of the final term of the academic year (called Trinity term).

    On top of that in the second, third and fourth years there is opportunity to do supplementary courses in things like: Quantum Chemistry; Heterocyclic chemistry; Pharmaceutical chemistry; Advanced crystallography; and Foreign languages (check out that Oxford semicolon :rofl3:). A first (over70%) in any of these gives a bonus of 1% towards your overall degree! (they are examined at the end of the second term (called Hillary Term)
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    So there are no exams given during the first two terms?
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    Oh thanks for this! Biological sciences was one I was actually wanting to know the specifics of!
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    Not having done undergrad there, but being American, I'll take a stab at it.

    It's sort of the reverse of the US large university format. There, lectures are the main event and people try to weasel out of sections with TAs. At Oxbridge, it's the tutors (or supervisors, at Cambridge) who are preparing you for the exams, and are taken more seriously. The lectures, on the other hand, are often somewhat optional.

    At Cambridge, which is much the same in structure as Oxford, you choose 'papers' within your subject-- with some guidance from faculty-- and they are the equivalent of American 'courses'. I think that amounts to two papers/term, some of which will continue on for the full year. So there might be a survey 'paper' on English history from the Roman invasion to 1066, and a side thing on historiography, or whatever. Each paper has a lecture schedule that would meet centrally, and supervisions/tutorials at your college or some other place, if your college doesn't have a person who covers that area. The tutors/supervisors would assign you an essay for each week, which you could write with or without knowledge gained at the lecture.
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    (Original post by jennasun32)
    So there are no exams given during the first two terms?
    Generally everyone's exams happen all at the end of the academic year, there are some subjects which are exceptions to this rule (eg Law exams in first year happen at the end of Hillary)

    I also get the impression that in the US exams and assessment that count towards your degree happen pretty regularly throughout the course of a degree. At Oxford it's quite different, with virtually all of your degree coming down to finals. So three years of work ultimately boils down to a week or two of exams at the end that determine your entire degree! Talk about stressful!
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    The teaching schedule for Biological Sciences is pretty similar to Chemistry.

    Roughly speaking, that means about 2 hours of lectures a day, plus 2 or 3 afternoons of lab work. You don't have to attend lectures, but you have to write up your lab sessions, of course.

    Tutorials typically happen once a week, and you get set an essay to write for each tutorial - although sometimes this might be replaced by a more quantitative worksheet. You might have more tutorials from time to time, but you soon get to a point where you are expected to take responsibility for this - you might get away with deciding you are going to have fewer, or you can decide to arrange more if you think you need them, and if you can find a tutor who is willing.

    There are formal exams at the end of Year 1 (Prelims). You have to pass these, but they don't count towards your final degree. Part 1 of Final exams are at the end of Year 2 - and then Part 2 of Finals is in Trinity of Year 3.

    In addition to exams, there is a Research Project stretched over the end of Y2 and the beginning of Y3, plus an extended essay. Together, these make up about 30% of your final degree mark.

    Between formal exams, colleges also arrange to have their own internal exams - called "collections", which don't count towards your degree, but which are designed to check your progress.
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    okay I think I'm wrapping my head around all of this, but what about grades. Are you graded on the essays you write? Do you have a certain percentage you have to stay above throughout the terms? Are you given As or Bs or anything like that or is it just run off percentages and anything above 70% is pretty much the same thing? Is 100% and 70% equal in terms of your final grade or marks?


    (Original post by OxFossil)
    The teaching schedule for Biological Sciences is pretty similar to Chemistry.

    Roughly speaking, that means about 2 hours of lectures a day, plus 2 or 3 afternoons of lab work. You don't have to attend lectures, but you have to write up your lab sessions, of course.

    Tutorials typically happen once a week, and you get set an essay to write for each tutorial - although sometimes this might be replaced by a more quantitative worksheet. You might have more tutorials from time to time, but you soon get to a point where you are expected to take responsibility for this - you might get away with deciding you are going to have fewer, or you can decide to arrange more if you think you need them, and if you can find a tutor who is willing.

    There are formal exams at the end of Year 1 (Prelims). You have to pass these, but they don't count towards your final degree. Part 1 of Final exams are at the end of Year 2 - and then Part 2 of Finals is in Trinity of Year 3.

    In addition to exams, there is a Research Project stretched over the end of Y2 and the beginning of Y3, plus an extended essay. Together, these make up about 30% of your final degree mark.

    Between formal exams, colleges also arrange to have their own internal exams - called "collections", which don't count towards your degree, but which are designed to check your progress.
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    okay I think I'm wrapping my head around all of this, but what about grades. Are you graded on the essays you write? Do you have a certain percentage you have to stay above throughout the terms? Are you given As or Bs or anything like that or is it just run off percentages and anything above 70% is pretty much the same thing? Is 100% and 70% equal in terms of your final grade or marks?


    (Original post by MexicanKeith)
    Generally everyone's exams happen all at the end of the academic year, there are some subjects which are exceptions to this rule (eg Law exams in first year happen at the end of Hillary)

    I also get the impression that in the US exams and assessment that count towards your degree happen pretty regularly throughout the course of a degree. At Oxford it's quite different, with virtually all of your degree coming down to finals. So three years of work ultimately boils down to a week or two of exams at the end that determine your entire degree! Talk about stressful!
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    (Original post by jennasun32)
    okay I think I'm wrapping my head around all of this, but what about grades. Are you graded on the essays you write? Do you have a certain percentage you have to stay above throughout the terms? Are you given As or Bs or anything like that or is it just run off percentages and anything above 70% is pretty much the same thing? Is 100% and 70% equal in terms of your final grade or marks?
    Nothing in your first year counts towards the class of your degree (although your prac write-ups will form part of your finals submission). But you must pass the Prelim exams at the end of the first year in order to continue to the "honours" part of your course in Years 2 and 3 - it's a 'pass/fail' thing.

    Your tutorial essays are graded, but these grades are indicative - to give you (and your tutors) an indication of how well you are doing. They do not count towards your degree class either. Likewise, your college collections are graded, but they do not count towards your final degree mark. However, if your essays and/or collections are weak, your tutors will want to have a word! You might be required to sit extra collections if they are concerned, and may even be "rusticated" - sent away for a term or a year - if you are still failing.

    For the details, see here
    http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/examregs/2...e/studentview/
 
 
 
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