Oxford or Cambridge - which is easier to get in to? Watch

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Unregistered
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#41
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(Original post by Unregistered)
Yes i am!
Does Cambridge give you a list of essay titles to write on for the interview and you choose which one you want to do then? Oxford don't specify, you just do the work on whatever you like and they'll find someone to interview you who knows about that topic, the abstract stuff in your case then.
I dont know the specifics for arch and anth as I've said but with cases where you are obviously disadvantaged in a written test in other subjects (basically PPE and law as these are the ones I've spoken to mates about) the test just matters a lot less then it would for others- I dont think its disregarded but they would know that 50% or whatever is harder to get for you then 70% for someone else if you see what I mean. That said I imagine they would have expected you to get some background knowledge through reading round both subjects.
True about the 6As lot, my experience has been that there arent many of those round when you get there either, which might suggest that they arent looked on well by interviewers. Mind you, if the next Einstein applied and s/he didnt have any extra curricular activities I dont know what they'd do!

The essays are really separate - although the interviewers may talk about the essay content the interview is not confined to it. I was sent 2 lists of 3 titles, 1 for Arch and 1 for Anth. I had to choose 1 from each list, write a certain amount of words and send it back to them in about a week. It seems to me, that even if the test matters much less, one is still left with the interview as being the only chance to impress. Of course a certain amount of background knowledge is essential because people from most backgrounds can make the effort to read up on the subject!

Hopefully the next Einstein would get in if he/she were able to show that they had potential. I don’t think it’s about whether a candidate is all singing all dancing; they just don’t want people that sponge from the uni and don’t contribute in any way. The point about the six A lot is that sometimes they are the sort that aren’t especially gifted and just study many subjects in not that much detail to be in with a chance. I maintain it is better to have 3 or 4 good grades and a good knowledge of one’s subject gained in the time spared by taking fewer A’ levels.
Bumblebee3
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Sorry, that was me above.
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(Original post by Unregistered)
The essays are really separate - although the interviewers may talk about the essay content the interview is not confined to it. I was sent 2 lists of 3 titles, 1 for Arch and 1 for Anth. I had to choose 1 from each list, write a certain amount of words and send it back to them in about a week. It seems to me, that even if the test matters much less, one is still left with the interview as being the only chance to impress. Of course a certain amount of background knowledge is essential because people from most backgrounds can make the effort to read up on the subject!
Hopefully the next Einstein would get in if he/she were able to show that they had potential. I don’t think it’s about whether a candidate is all singing all dancing; they just don’t want people that sponge from the uni and don’t contribute in any way. The point about the six A lot is that sometimes they are the sort that aren’t especially gifted and just study many subjects in not that much detail to be in with a chance. I maintain it is better to have 3 or 4 good grades and a good knowledge of one’s subject gained in the time spared by taking fewer A’ levels.
I guessed that!
Its true that anyone who wants to take a course regardless of their background can read up on it, and so this would probably be one of the reasons behind testing applicants. However, I wouldnt say that the interview would be the only chance to impress- while its true that sometimes the test part just doesnt matter as much in such cases, sometimes the attitude taken is that anything someone who has not been taught the subject before does will be considered differently to those who've had prior teaching and so less knowledge displayed may well actually show more ability to research off your own initiative kind of thing. Its not unlike the system some universities have where applicants at poor schools or who are having other difficulties might be made a lower offer to balance out their disadvantage (though I dont know of any case where not having studied a subject before would get you a lower offer). As I say though this isnt arch and anth specific, more general Oxford.
I hadnt realised that there could be restrictions on the essay titles you send, I suppose the options must be broad ranging but I'm not sure I'd have liked that much. How did you feel about that? Is it the same for all Cambridge subjects and colleges?

May well be the case about the 6 A lot, I've heard of a few like that who didnt get in, though I would say that since I got AAB!
Bumblebee3
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Yes, I meant only that if they mostly disregarded the test results of people who hadn’t had many opportunities for background research, those people would be under more pressure to perform well at interview. However, as you say they are hardly likely to set a test that is invalid for some of their applicants. I’m sure they would take into account that a mediocre performance by such an applicant is as worthy as a good performance from one with A’ level Archaeology for example.

I think that while a candidate with a lesser knowledge of the degree subject in question may receive an offer despite a less than perfect interview/test performance it should have little effect on what that offer is. Obviously if I had had the opportunity to take A’ level Archaeology they would have required an A in that. Otherwise surely they would only make lower offers to those in whom they had real confidence no matter what their background. Why would they make lower offers to people who hadn’t studied the subject before – the fact that I haven’t taken A’ level Archaeology shouldn’t prevent me from getting an A in English for example. I think the disadvantage felt by those who haven’t studied the subject before and that felt by A’ level candidates whose background may result in poorer grades in general are separate issues. The latter mentioned candidates may indeed receive lower offers to balance out their disadvantage.

There were 3 essay options for Arch and the same for Anth. I can see why you may find this restrictive but it appealed to me because it firstly assured me that I would be writing about something designed by them to show my full potential, and secondly the essay titles were carefully designed to cater for a) candidates with a wealth of practical knowledge, b) candidates with a mainstream logical approach and c) candidates who take an abstract, philosophical approach. Also I like to think things out for a while, so test conditions were not ideal for me. The majority of Cam colleges use essays for Arch and Anth, although there is a smattering of tests, prep studies and interview alone.

What was the admission process for your History course? Lol about the 6 A students btw– I also got AAB and will readily agree with anything bad you have to say about them!
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