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    (Original post by Luke7456)
    so they only do supervisions if their is funding? which means if the university are paying them I assume? as for a lot of subjects the only commitment is peoples time but obviously those taking the supervisions get paid.

    So what is the situation if 3-5 students want to get together and self fund the supervision? eg pay the guy taking the supervision to do extra ones. Is this out of the question or a possibility?

    Just curious.
    Yeah, they are paid to supervise undergrads - often they are PhD students looking for some extra income They are paid be each college, rather than the university as a whole, hence the issues I've been having...

    I've never heard of students getting together to organise self-funding a supervision, students don't usually have that kind of money lying around and I doubt many supervisors would feel all that comfortable private-tutoring some students separately from their university contracts. I guess it is a possibility though, I've just never heard of it being done. Also, you'd ideally want the extra supervisions to be from the same supervisors who usually supervises you for the course (so you don't have to waste time getting to know each other/ expectations/ academic level/ lecture content etc.) so you'd have to get them to agree...
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    (Original post by pairofjeans)
    Like you keep saying incorrectly! Look at your posts:

    "I'm just pointing out how a lot of universities have equally difficult material"

    "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."

    First of all you back your entire argument up with an anecdote about your uni course in physics. First of all I don't know why you're assuming it must be the same with all courses across the uni. Second of all, your statements wrong anyway. What I'm sure you've done is just googled oxfords unit titles, saw they're the same as yours then assumed you did the same thing. You can see why everyone's disagreeing with you right now if you just look at what they actually cover within units.

    Then you keep incorrectly reiterating what sets unis apart is what they offer in later years. Where have you gotten that from? What exactly are you referring to by saying later years? After year 1? Go and google a first year semester 1 exam from Cambridge on something you think you've covered before.

    Like damn. It's ok to admit you don't know what you're talking about sometimes. I'm doing engineering. My friend at Cambridge occasionally rants about his own engineering work in our group chat. We're both in first year it's on structures. I can assure you that it's significantly harder content. Some of the stuff hes given just looks horrific.
    Haha. The problem here appears to be that you're in 1st year so you can't have a clue about what I'm on about when I say things vary and diverge in later years.

    I'm in 3rd year so I'm nearly finished.

    What I mean is, universities all cover the same basic material - possibly at differing rates - but the basic material must all be covered for a degree to be classified as a degree regardless of institution. This is fact. Take your argument to the institute of engineering, or whichever accredited institute for whatever degree course anywhere. It's fairly obvious to me that minimum standards exist for a reason.

    The fact that your mate at Cambridge is doing tougher stuff in 1st year simply means there'll be more time to do broader topics in later years. You'll catch up to him, but it'll be further down the line so you won't have as much opportunity to broaden into as many specialisms. That's the only difference.

    And so now I explain what I mean by this. Later years are where universities can teach in areas that their own staff specialise in. Oxbridge probably covers the lot. Other unis need to go with whatever they can get, or whatever niche they can get into, which largely depends on the professors they have working on campus, who are therefore able to teach the subjects that they're professors of.

    I said in an earlier post that my uni offers modules in advanced fluid mechanics, up to the geophysical level which very few other unis offer. York uni specialises in nuclear physics. I don't know about other degrees but overall it's just the way it is - different unis specialise in different areas.

    It's the variety of 'tougher topics' that sets a uni apart. I don't see what's so hard to grasp about that. The content of 1st year courses is largely irrelevant, other than to say, "This really good uni covers all the fundamentals in 1st year which leaves more room for a large variety of complex topics to be chosen from in later years", versus, "This really bad uni doesn't have enough qualified professors in any interesting areas so it just teaches the fundamentals at a slower rate."

    By the way, yes I did google Oxford uni physics stuff - it was sort of necessary to get to grips with the argument at hand. Their first year material isn't much different from anything I did (my uni is a fairly standard redbrick). However, correct to my original statement, the second and third year topics is where it diverged. Their advanced quantum mechanics was phenomenally complex. However their advanced classical mechanics course was not as detailed as the one on offer at my uni. I looked at the entire PDF for the course notes. And advanced fluid dynamics isn't available to Oxford physics students at all, whereas it is for me at my uni. These are all 3rd year topics. So there is an obvious difference between the two institutions, but not on the rather childish aspect of 'difficulty in 1st year' metric. The main thing showing the difference is what's available to be taught as specialisms in later years. This is because, as I said, uni courses from different institutions only properly diverge later on.

    You should have a look and see what optional modules your uni has available for you. I didn't realise at the time, a degree isn't necessarily just a specific timetable of courses for three years. After learning the fundamentals, you have to start thinking for yourself which direction you'd like to go in, with optional module choices having a knock-on effect on what modules you can take in later years.

    This also partly explains the American university system of minors and majors. Students can tailor their route with relative freedom from the start, which means one of the big measures of an institution's quality is on what courses are available to be chosen from. The UK system is actually very similar with the variety of optional modules that can be taken after 1st year; a degree can be quite well defined by these options later on. I think a lot of 6th form and college students in the UK aren't aware of this (I certainly wasn't). Applicants make arbitrary choices based on 'degree name' and 'university prestige'. For example (physics again, sorry), someone may hope to learn a bit of nanophysics in their degree, then be disappointed to find there's nothing aside from the basics because they didn't choose a uni specialising in that area.

    I hope this makes sense. The later year, specialist options on a course are hugely important. First year difficulty does mean something, but honestly not as much as you think. Not when, for example, you apply for for a job with the ESA and all you can say is, "Ah well space shuttle engineering wasn't available to me on my degree but I did do complex analysis in first year..."
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Urgh, I could moan about practical marking for years...

    What college are you at??? That's such a great deal! I pay £5000 a year (admittedly for very nice, modern ensuite - not that I had much choice, the cheapest rooms in college are just over £3000 (but that's shared) or £3700-ish for a tiny, unrefurbed single room) and that's excluding meals, for something like a 26 week contract (basically, we can move in the Sunday before lectures start, get kicked out the Saturday after lectures end, and have to leave at the very start of May Week :'(
    I'm at Homerton, all of our ensuites are the same price and for third years they're pretty nice and big. The building all the third years are in is quite new too, <10 years old I think. I would really struggle to afford to live if I had to pay what you do.


    Yeah, all the bad ones were generally organised by my DoS - but whenever I have asked about switching supervisors/ some advice on what to do to get more out of our supervisions, I've always been told that it was really hard to find supervisors that year, all the good ones were already taken by their own colleges, none of them wanted to cycle up the hill (not that any of us have issues with cycling to another college/ the department anyway!), it was probably just a one-off issue so I should just give the supervisor another chance, etc. etc. It's got a bit better this year, probably because supervisions are now organised by the department/ ourselves and my DoS this year is actually a Chemist.
    It kind of sounds like your DoS wasn't doing their job very well. Only one of my supervisors has actually been from Homerton and I just have supervisions at wherever my supervisors are based. Getting around Cambridge is easy enough that I don't have an issue with it.

    Regarding the funding issues - it's always been the supervisors mentioning it to us first, e.g. we'll say "would it be ok to have a revision supervision to go over all of this/ through some past paper questions" and they'll say something like "I'll have to double check with the college if there's funding for that", then come back saying that unfortunately they won't be able to do a revision supervision. I got the impression that they'd had issues in the past with getting college to cough up money...
    Maybe Murray Edwards has that reputation so they're always cautious to check first.
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Yeah, all the bad ones were generally organised by my DoS
    (Original post by alow)
    I'm at Homerton
    Varsity did a survey of supervision provision per course per college a couple of years ago (2013 article with 2011/12 data).

    Murray Edwards, Emma and Queens' refused to participate:

    Summary
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5787

    Course analysis:
    * Archaeology, Chem Eng, Classics, CompSci, Economics
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5849

    * Engineering, English, Geography, History of Art and History
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5851

    * Law, Maths, Land Economy, Linguistics and Medical and Veterinary Sciences
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5852

    * MML, Music, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and PPS
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5856
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Varsity did a survey of supervision provision per course per college a couple of years ago (2013 article with 2011/12 data).

    Murray Edwards, Emma and Queens' refused to participate:

    Summary
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5787

    Course analysis:
    * Archaeology, Chem Eng, Classics, CompSci, Economics
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5849

    * Engineering, English, Geography, History of Art and History
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5851

    * Law, Maths, Land Economy, Linguistics and Medical and Veterinary Sciences
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5852

    * MML, Music, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and PPS
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5856
    Very interesting. It usually isn't a good sign when they don't want to be compared to other colleges...
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    (Original post by alow)
    Very interesting. It usually isn't a good sign when they don't want to be compared to other colleges...
    Indeed.

    And it would be helpful for Varsity to do a follow-up to see if the situation (and variations in provision) has changed.
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    I remember there was a bit of a crackdown on supervisions over and above those which were considered strictly necessary - I suppose a revision supervision would fall into that category. There was also a paper going round about no single supervisions, and a slight frowning on pairs even (in Law, we always seemed to be in a four).
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    I remember there was a bit of a crackdown on supervisions over and above those which were considered strictly necessary- I suppose a revision supervision would fall into that category. There was also a paper going round about no single supervisions, and a slight frowning on pairs even (in Law, we always seemed to be in a four).
    I exclusively have supervisions in pairs. There would be too much to go through as 3 people.
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    (Original post by alow)
    I'm at Homerton, all of our ensuites are the same price and for third years they're pretty nice and big. The building all the third years are in is quite new too, <10 years old I think. I would really struggle to afford to live if I had to pay what you do.

    It kind of sounds like your DoS wasn't doing their job very well. Only one of my supervisors has actually been from Homerton and I just have supervisions at wherever my supervisors are based. Getting around Cambridge is easy enough that I don't have an issue with it.

    Maybe Murray Edwards has that reputation so they're always cautious to check first.
    Yeah, the only reason I can afford it is that I qualify for the maximum grant and Cambridge bursary, I have no idea how other students cope

    Hmmm, it does seem like we have a bit of a bad reputation with supervisors


    (Original post by jneill)
    Varsity did a survey of supervision provision per course per college a couple of years ago (2013 article with 2011/12 data).

    Murray Edwards, Emma and Queens' refused to participate:

    Summary
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5787

    Course analysis:
    * Archaeology, Chem Eng, Classics, CompSci, Economics
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5849

    * Engineering, English, Geography, History of Art and History
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5851

    * Law, Maths, Land Economy, Linguistics and Medical and Veterinary Sciences
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5852

    * MML, Music, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and PPS
    https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/5856
    "Murray Edwards College, Emmanuel College and Queens' College were the only colleges to refuse our request for this data"

    Bit worrying...

    Also, looking at the college who did provide data, there are some pretty significant differences - personally I don't understand why the university gets colleges to organise supervisions, it would make a lot more sense and be a lot fairer if this was down to departments...
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      (Original post by Reality Check)
      Helpful... Did you go to Oxford or Cambridge? Because nearly everyone who has commented on the OP's post has, and they don't seem to feel that the OP is 'self -pitying' or feels the need to give such a dismissive response.

      OP: well done for being able to express how you're feeling - a lot of people feel they can't possibly express any sort of disappointment or frustration with the Oxbridge system for fear of appearing entirely ungrateful and self-centred. But this isn't the case - it's very common to feel like this in the first term (or dare I say the first two terms!). It will seem hopeless, but it honestly isn't. Do your best (after all, you can't do more than that), always seek help and advice from your DoS and Tutor and try to retain some perspective. It will get easier.
      Yes, I did go to Oxbridge. I also have the distinct advantage over most posting here in that I attended other universities too so have something to compare to.

      The 'feelings' you go on to mention are indeed common. But they are common everywhere. And whilst oxbridge is academically tough, other unversities like LSE, UCL, Imperial all are also extremely tough and academic.
      What is also true is you have a bit of self selection here. Its not just the oxbridge environment, its the selection fo people who go to study at oxbridge who will tend to be the over-achievers who have mostly coasted through school/college through natural abilities and are now feeling the pressure.

      But honestly the same things occur everywhere. What makes you think a BBB student who is at Keele uni (not offending Keele, just thinking of a non-Russell uni) isn't finding it academically as tough as an A+A+A+ (or whatever top marks is now) at Oxbridge?

      The OP essentially is posting a warnign about going to Oxbridge. But that same warning could also be applied to ever pushing yourself to your limits or out your comfort zone.

      Myself I found uni in London far more challenging. Really lonely without the support of the college system, one face in thousands, expensive as hell making day to day budgeting a huge stress and a completely different exam and assessment style which took a lot of getting used to.

      Cardiff was wonderfully relaxed on the other hand, probably overly so.
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        Also I appreciated the condensed terms at oxbridge and the rules agaisnt term time paid employment as it mean i could only study and have fun at uni and earn the required cash in holidays.
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          (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
          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.

          Spoiler:
          Show


          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



          I imagine with marking oxbridge is little different to anywhere else.
          I'm unsure if anyone else suffered the curse of the 68%. My eternal mark.
          High 2.1. Good enough you can't massively complain, but not hitting the '1st' level hence flagging up the marker as overly generous.. I do wonder if like the 'he has made strides playing badminton' comment PE teachers always say its just a fob off without checking...
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          (Original post by CatherineE-S)
          Not getting into Oxbridge is not the end of the world; take it from a current student at Oxford. You might love your subject, or you might love the idea of studying at Oxbridge. Whatever your reason for applying, rejection might just be the best thing to happen to you.
          I applied to Cambridge and was rejected. The next year, after achieving 3 A*s in my A levels, I was accepted by Oxford. I thought it was the best thing in the world, and at the time, I could not have been happier.
          But after being here for a term (and a few weeks into my second term), let me tell you, it is not what it seems. Sure, there is the natural small fish in a big pond; all of a sudden you're not the best, you're lucky to be average. But that isn't what makes studying here difficult. What makes it difficult (I would say horrendous), is that no matter what you do, it is never good enough. And when you have to write 4 essays in a week on subjects you don't know much (or for me, anything) about, you find yourself in a very dark place. You fluctuate from having hope and motivation that you will be able to get by. But then you start the reading, and realise that you don't understand it, that you don't like your subject anymore, and there is no hope. You have to accept that what you hand in will be bad, that you will be brutally judged on it; that is hard to accept. It is impossible to deal with. So you comfort yourself by socializing, or watching netflix, or getting involved in too many societies. And that just makes the mess at the end worse. Having realised this, I find it impossible to even start essays. I will often just sit there, miserable, inconsolable, doing nothing. It doesn't make for a good end product.
          It is a dark place from which there is no escape. And almost everyone I have talked to feels the exact same way. By the time you reach the end of term, you are sleep deprived, nutrient deprived, and often delusional. Nothing can be done about that. It is what Oxbridge does to you.
          Not only that, but most of the time (especially in arts subjects) your tutorials/supervisions don't match up with lectures; you have to write essays for subjects you have never even heard about, never mind had lectures on. And if you're unlucky enough to have four essays in a week, due to bad and unorganised scheduling (which can't be avoided when you're dealing with world leading academics), you can't even begin to imagine the emptiness and darkness that brings to your life.
          So please don't see getting rejected as a bad thing. Most other unis are actually better organised, and as a result your work will probably be better. You wont come to hate your subject. You will actually be able to have an enjoyable life. And trust me, I am not saying this to comfort you. I am saying this because I am so dejected and fed up by the whole Oxbridge system, that I feel a genuine need as a human being to warn people. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had ended up at any other uni. I have forgotten what it feels like to have enough sleep, nutrients, a decent social life. All that is just a distant memory, and I am still only just getting by, by the skin of my teeth.
          Rejection is probably the best thing that could have happened to you. And I am writing this as someone who has no history of depression or mental illness. I don't suffer from them. This is just what Oxbridge does to you.
          I realise that it might be selfish and make me seem self absorbed to be moaning at being at such an institution. And I do appreciate the opportunity. I am grateful to have it. But it really is not all it seems. That I can assure you.
          Why don't you hire an academic to do your work like all the other
          affluent connected people? Don't worry though, a friend know someone who went there, and Oxbridge grades are bumped up as they don't like the knock on their reputation that would come with giving students 2.2s, and 3rds. Even a totally useless guy who failed all his assignments was given a 2.1.
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          (Original post by Davman)
          Even a totally useless guy who failed all his assignments was given a 2.1.
          At Oxbridge the vast majority of marks are in the exams, not assignments.

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          I was fully expecting her to say something along the lines of - "To all those who got rejected from Oxbridge....BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME, LOSERS!"
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          (Original post by Withengar)
          I was fully expecting her to say something along the lines of - "To all those who got rejected from Oxbridge....BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME, LOSERS!"
          I mean, OP did apply to Cambridge and then re-applied to Oxford, so I'm sure they know the rejection feelings...
         
         
         
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