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To all those who got rejected from Oxbridge (from a current student) watch

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    100% agree with OP's message - Oxbridge really isn't for everyone, and at times I feel (current Cambridge undergrad here) they rest on their laurels and don't bother trying to improve their courses/ organisation/ anything - instead claiming that university is all about "self-studying" so they don't need to bother teaching us anything (to a certain extent, yes some independent study is obviously required - but they are meant to be there to at least teach the core content, guide our independent reading, set suitable homework, actually mark and give feedback on our work, etc.). Students feel pressured to stick it out because "it's Cambridge" and having gone through so much effort to get here it seems like giving up to switch universities.

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    Things that make me very frustrated about Cambridge:
    • Inconsistencies in marking of coursework and even exam papers (it's often noted on the external examiners reports, but no action is take on it)
    • Inequalities in quality and number of supervisions between colleges
    • Inconsistencies in financial support and living costs between colleges - meaning that some of us end up taking on part-time work (which the uni technically bans) in order to make ends meet, while richer students can spend that time studying/ relaxing
    • Poor communication from my department - particularly on things like when our labs are, important meetings we are meant to attend, how to submit work, when deadlines are, feedback on submitted work, etc.
    • Very little guidance on how to write assessed work, how it is marked or what the content of exams will be
    • Poor student support (it is generally left to colleges to provide pastoral care, but if your tutor isn't very useful/ super busy/ unsympathetic, it's really hard to know where else to look for support) - often students are encouraged to take the year off studying so they can "recover" rather than the uni having to deal with them
    • Very little flexibility and leeway in terms of course options - you can't take modules from other subjects to diversify your studies, can't easily pick up or drop modules, can't chose to study part-time if external pressures mean you can't keep up with the full-time course
    • Terrible exam and assessment structure - for my course, 75% of our final degree result is based on one week of intense exams this summer, with the other 25% for arbitrarily marked lab reports throughout the final year. This means all the pressure is on this one week of hell, and if you're sick for it you're completely screwed...
    • No retake options or flexibility if you miss the grades/ exams, even if due to illness - they don't take into account extenuating circumstances except in VERY major cases, even then the best you can get is being allowed to retake the year/ being put forward into the next year if you can't take the previous year exams due to poor health/ being allowed to take a year out to recover/ having your name removed off the publicly displayed results lists


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    (Original post by Luke7456)
    Nottingham is a decent university it's just not the same standard as Oxbridge if I struggled at Nottingham I'd be very unlikely to survive at Oxbridge if I was coping fine at Oxbridge I'd likely cruise by at Nottingham. If I struggled at hull I'd likely struggle even more at Nottingham and be very unlikely to survive at Oxbridge and if I struggled at London met i would have no chance of surviving at Oxbridge degrees are not all of the same standard or difficulty. That is utter nonsense.
    if a size 11 pinches, you're unlikely to get into a size 10. And if a size 10 is a squeeze, a size 9 will be bloody murder.

    No-one here, not the OP or the people sympathising with her based on their own experience, has suggested that there is a fitting problem. Oxford and Cambridge would claim, and with justification, that their fitting process is better than that anywhere else.
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    What you are describing is not affecting Oxbridge students only.
    It is the same thing for medics, law students and prospective engineers, especially those at 'better unis'.
    I can only speak for medics, but most of us experience similar thing. You suddenly aren't the best. You have to work hard to get those 40% pass and it seems like everyone around you are putting less work and get better results. You may also dislike medicine once you find out you won't discover cure for cancer in your 1st year and that you have to start with all the boring stuff like histology or biochemistry.
    But it's worth it. You got in for a reason, you applied for a reason. No one said university is easy.
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    if a size 11 pinches, you're unlikely to get into a size 10. And if a size 10 is a squeeze, a size 9 will be bloody murder.

    No-one here, not the OP or the people sympathising with her based on their own experience, has suggested that there is a fitting problem. Oxford and Cambridge would claim, and with justification, that their fitting process is better than that anywhere else.
    Absolutely. And I love the analogy.
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    (Original post by Nottie)
    No one said university is easy.
    As with life in general - nothing worthwhile is easily obtained.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    As with life in general - nothing worthwhile is easily obtained.
    nothing thats worth having
    • Section Leader
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    Why does the link in "Today on TSR" say: To those of you who got rejected from Oxford?

    :mad:
    FIFY.
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    Sounds like A-levels need to be altered and acceptance criteria needs to be looked at.

    My younger brother is at Oxford and hasn't complained once. He's very active in his various social things, too.

    Probably depends on the subject though.

    Also, I would agree that it may be harder at Oxbridge, but not because of tougher content. The stress is likely due to the condensed semester length. What I do at my uni in 10 weeks, Oxford does in 8.

    I've compared course content however and it's all the same, at least for physics it is. Probably changes in higher years but then at that point it's not about the difficulty, it's about what material the university is able to teach. This is often what sets unis apart - the earlier year modules are all the same, it's the 3rd/4th year stuff, taught by professors who are rare specialists in their field, that sets unis apart. For example my uni has an awesome 3rd year course in geophysical fluid dynamics which you can only get at a handful of British unis.

    Not that my uni is super duper - I'm just pointing out how a lot of universities have equally difficult material, and the only difference is the variety of modules available to students in later years.

    Conclusion: Oxbridge stuff is more difficult because of the condensed semester length. Course content isn't much different overall.
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    (Original post by Pessimisterious)
    Conclusion: Oxbridge stuff is more difficult because of the condensed semester length. Course content isn't much different overall.
    Just a little, rather irrelevant point, but one which actually made me physically itch: we don't have "semesters". We have "terms".
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Just a little, rather irrelevant point, but one which actually made me physically itch: we don't have "semesters". We have "terms".
    "Trimester" would be alright I guess.
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    (Original post by alow)
    "Trimester" would be alright I guess.
    :rofl: Technically, it ought to be 'Duomester' given they're eight weeks, but anything's better than 'Semester'.
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    arbitrarily marked lab reports throughout the final year
    This bit is particularly annoying. I was given a low practical mark for one of my assigned organic experiments this year because it was "easier" than other experiments. I know it's only a small proportion of the overall grade but it's not like it was my choice to do a practical that was easier to perform. I was quite annoyed at the time.

    Although I did get higher marks for lab reports than some people whose work was just as good so it's swings and roundabouts I suppose.

    I'm fairly lucky as I haven't experienced much else in your list, partly due to my college having (I think) the cheapest accommodation of any college and having relatively good supervisors for the most part.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    :rofl: Technically, it ought to be 'Duomester' given they're eight weeks, but anything's better than 'Semester'.
    "Semester" sounds far too American to me.
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    (Original post by alow)
    "Trimester" would be alright I guess.
    Proctor, the epidural,
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    well regardless of how widespread this view is, it definitely made me feel better about my rejection
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    Oxford 2nd year, I know a lot of people who would relate to your thread
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    if a size 11 pinches, you're unlikely to get into a size 10. And if a size 10 is a squeeze, a size 9 will be bloody murder.

    No-one here, not the OP or the people sympathising with her based on their own experience, has suggested that there is a fitting problem. Oxford and Cambridge would claim, and with justification, that their fitting process is better than that anywhere else.
    Well I'm not going to argue that point but the guy I was saying that said I am just as likely to struggle at Oxbridge as anywhere else and that is not true. Regardless of my ability I am more likely to struggle at Oxbridge then elsewhere if he had said that students at such and such are just as likely to struggle as students at Oxbridge the. With that logic it could still work. I am on my phone so hope I didn't misread can't wait to get laptop back still not heard anything.

    (Original post by Pessimisterious)
    Sounds like A-levels need to be altered and acceptance criteria needs to be looked at.

    My younger brother is at Oxford and hasn't complained once. He's very active in his various social things, too.

    Probably depends on the subject though.

    Also, I would agree that it may be harder at Oxbridge, but not because of tougher content. The stress is likely due to the condensed semester length. What I do at my uni in 10 weeks, Oxford does in 8.

    I've compared course content however and it's all the same, at least for physics it is. Probably changes in higher years but then at that point it's not about the difficulty, it's about what material the university is able to teach. This is often what sets unis apart - the earlier year modules are all the same, it's the 3rd/4th year stuff, taught by professors who are rare specialists in their field, that sets unis apart. For example my uni has an awesome 3rd year course in geophysical fluid dynamics which you can only get at a handful of British unis.

    Not that my uni is super duper - I'm just pointing out how a lot of universities have equally difficult material, and the only difference is the variety of modules available to students in later years.

    Conclusion: Oxbridge stuff is more difficult because of the condensed semester length. Course content isn't much different overall.
    See these are the sought of things that confuse me could that issue not be resolved by reading ahead? I mean if I was fortunate enough to get an Oxbridge offer and after having sat the exams was under the impression that their was a realistic chance that I had met the offer and was in, I would spend the summer period reading ahead to try and get a small lead or to compensate for that. I don't mean to imply that myself self studying could work at the same pace as oxbridge obviously not but I'd like to think that with a whole 2-3 months I could shave of at least a week or two? And if we have 3 terms that is 24 weeks a year we are at Oxbridge what happens to the other 28 weeks? Can we not utilise that?

    Am I missing something here?
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    (Original post by alow)
    This bit is particularly annoying. I was given a low practical mark for one of my assigned organic experiments this year because it was "easier" than other experiments. I know it's only a small proportion of the overall grade but it's not like it was my choice to do a practical that was easier to perform. I was quite annoyed at the time.

    Although I did get higher marks for lab reports than some people whose work was just as good so it's swings and roundabouts I suppose.

    I'm fairly lucky as I haven't experienced much else in your list, partly due to my college having (I think) the cheapest accommodation of any college and having relatively good supervisors for the most part.
    Urgh, yeah I had the most evil organic chem demonstrator in second year who gave me 2/10 for my first report - despite my college mum (who's report I'd based mine on, although obviously heavily reworded, properly referenced and improved a lot, I just used it as an idea of how to lay out the report and what kind of stuff to include...) getting 7/10 with it the previous year. Also I had that same issue last term where I had a demonstrator give me a lower practical mark because the experiment was "easier" despite it being a compulsory core experiment I hadn't had the option to pick a harder one for

    Argh, I get so annoyed with things at my college Recently got told that, despite paying £5000 a year for accommodation, we aren't even allowed to use all the kitchen facilities (apparently things like the dishwasher (I have very sensitive skin, doing the dishes is agony) and the only decent sized cupboards are for "staff use only" (i.e. conference guests)) when they were specifically advertised to us when choosing accommodation and we are paying for them! Similarly we can't use the college gym most of the time (even though it's card access, so could easily be 24/7) because it's reserved for fellows, and I get kicked out of accommodation before the start of may week (and therefore also before a potential oral exam) because conference guests are moving in... My supervisions have been mediocre at best, badly organised and several times supervisors have refused to mark extra work or offer revision supervisions because apparently the college refuses to fund it...

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    Don't go to Murray Edwards anyone...
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Urgh, yeah I had the most evil organic chem demonstrator in second year who gave me 2/10 for my first report - despite my college mum (who's report I'd based mine on, although obviously heavily reworded, properly referenced and improved a lot, I just used it as an idea of how to lay out the report and what kind of stuff to include...) getting 7/10 with it the previous year. Also I had that same issue last term where I had a demonstrator give me a lower practical mark because the experiment was "easier" despite it being a compulsory core experiment I hadn't had the option to pick a harder one for

    Argh, I get so annoyed with things at my college Recently got told that, despite paying £5000 a year for accommodation, we aren't even allowed to use all the kitchen facilities (apparently things like the dishwasher (I have very sensitive skin, doing the dishes is agony) and the only decent sized cupboards are for "staff use only" (i.e. conference guests)) when they were specifically advertised to us when choosing accommodation and we are paying for them! Similarly we can't use the college gym most of the time (even though it's card access, so could easily be 24/7) because it's reserved for fellows, and I get kicked out of accommodation before the start of may week (and therefore also before a potential oral exam) because conference guests are moving in... My supervisions have been mediocre at best, badly organised and several times supervisors have refused to mark extra work or offer revision supervisions because apparently the college refuses to fund it...

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    Don't go to Murray Edwards anyone...

    Practical marks seemed to depend a lot more on the demonstrators mood than anything else really. The one I was marked down in was also compulsory and obviously if I could have chosen a harder one for more marks I would so it's really not fair.

    Yeah that sucks. I pay £3.6k per year for ensuite accommodation which includes £600 to spend in hall/buttery and I can stay until the end of June. It's really not fair how different colleges have such drastically different living costs.

    Are the supervisions your DoS organised the bad ones (and shouldn't it be their job to fix that)? The ones I've had organised by the department have been good so far, and they've all said they can do some revision supervisions closer to exams without having to talk to my college to confirm it. Does that mean Murray Edwards contacts supervisors to tell them they won't fund extra supervisions before they have time to offer any?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Just a little, rather irrelevant point, but one which actually made me physically itch: we don't have "semesters". We have "terms".

    (Original post by alow)
    "Semester" sounds far too American to me.
    Heh.

    I haven't been on this forum for years. I forgot how pedantic you lot can be.


    (Original post by Luke7456)
    See these are the sought of things that confuse me could that issue not be resolved by reading ahead? I mean if I was fortunate enough to get an Oxbridge offer and after having sat the exams was under the impression that their was a realistic chance that I had met the offer and was in, I would spend the summer period reading ahead to try and get a small lead or to compensate for that. I don't mean to imply that myself self studying could work at the same pace as oxbridge obviously not but I'd like to think that with a whole 2-3 months I could shave of at least a week or two? And if we have 3 terms that is 24 weeks a year we are at Oxbridge what happens to the other 28 weeks? Can we not utilise that?

    Am I missing something here?
    Well any student can do that but to be honest I don't think it would ever properly prepare someone for the workload.

    This is worsened by the fact that lecture material isn't often readily available. It's good and well saying, "Oh I have a course in fluid mechanics next year, I guess I should buy a book on that." , but in reality the courses tend to cherry pick the most important aspects from these very thick textbooks. How is a student supposed to know which bit is best to read for relevance to the course?

    Also, there's the fact that universities are adult education institutions, not schools. They offer courses for people who are paying good money to be there. If a course is advertised as being from date A to date B, then the course should fit comfortably in those dates without students having study the course material beforehand.
 
 
 

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