(Original post by TopCat06)
Aww thanks m8 for that. i really enjoy learning about law too but i figure it will be the safer option. as i'm a british born chinese person will this damage my chances of getting a high ranking government role? i'll only really consider this if i manage to get into oxford, but i do really like the look of the PPE and what topics it covers.
so, how to you actually get into PPE?
p.s. my maths is only going to be a B at GCSE (everything else: A*/A). i'm not taking A level maths so i'm guessing the economics side of things will drag me down? but i do enjoy learning about it of course.
Do you mean that PPE will be a safer option than a law degree? I'd advise against choosing a subject due to it being a 'safe option' or something like that, especially at Oxbridge. The workload down here is intense (and it seems especially so for Law), and if you don't love your subject, you won't enjoy your time here. If you prefer the PPE course content to Law, do PPE. If you prefer Law, do Law. It's impossible to stress how important enjoying your course is.
The sort of stuff you study differs a lot between PPE and Law as well. Researching course content is important, since Law at one university won't necessarily teach the same stuff as Law at another university.
I wouldn't imagine that not being ethnically white-British would damage your chances of:
a) getting into a good university to read for a good degree
b) doing well in the civil service
There is no formal requirement for PPEists to have maths A-level. Many PPEists do (though this varies between colleges) though. Maths is only required for economics (especially microeconomics). Tutors will say that maths is helpful for logic (in philosophy), but I did not find this. I'm crap at maths, but not bad at basic logic.
I personally did not A-level maths, nor did 2 of my coursemates this year. If you don't have A-level maths, the odds are you will struggle with the mathematical parts of microeconomics (I did, as did my coursemates), but it is possible to persevere and get a 2:1 in Prelims (first year exams - these don't count towards your final mark in your degree) in Economics without A-level maths. Students who carry on with Economics after first year almost exclusively have A-level maths. Basically, unless you love Economics you will drop Econ if you don't have maths.
Whether tutors will consider a candidate with a B in GCSE maths I don't know. I'd imagine that 99% of applicants have A*. But, tutors will consider each applicant on his/her merits.
(Original post by TopCat06)
and phawkins, how did you get into oxford? what was your personal statement/ interview like? (if you don't mind me asking)
I don't mind at all.
You will have to have a strong personal statement. I was in a tricky position, since I was applying for different courses at different Unis (PPE at Ox, straight Philosophy elsewhere). I talked primarily about why I was interested in the 3 subjects (this is the most important part - tutors don't want someone who isn't interested) and then about extra-curricular stuff. I also mentioned two fairly advanced books I'd read. If you're a potential Oxbridge applicant though, I imagine your school/6th form college will give you help with your PS. I did about 4 drafts before I got it perfect.
The interview process for PPE is changing apparently. They're introducing a new test soon. I had a basic (and I mean basic!) test on word definitions and arithmetic/problem solving as well as my interviews, but you'd have this extra new test which I know little about.
You're interviewed by tutors in each of the 3 disciplines. In econ, I was asked to interpret some graphs (easy stuff, just read the axes). In politics, I was asked about where electorally savvy parties ought to position themselves on the left-right axis and then I talked about the deficiencies of the left-right axis and about the Nolan Chart. In philosophy, we talked about whether we can prohibit things which we harm no-one (eg. nudity). So yeah - I was primarily asked about the subject, but nothing that you'd need degree level knowledge of. I was also quizzed on some of the aspects of my personal statement (the extra curricular stuff).
When it comes to deciding whether to do Law or PPE, I recommend you consult the student handbooks, as well as prospectuses etc.
Hope that helps.