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E&M at Oxford vs. Economics at Cambridge Watch

  • View Poll Results: Which course should I apply for?
    E&M - Oxford
    22.22%
    Economics - Cambridge
    77.78%

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    Hi! I have just finished year 12 and am torn between which course to apply for. I am taking: Maths, Further Maths, Economics and German. My GCSEs and A2 predictions are strong, but I think my GCSEs will be stronger than my actual AS marks. I have a few questions about the application process:

    1) The admissions test for Oxford seems more for me than the Cambridge one: how important are these tests? I was told by an E&M undergrad that most tutors don't fully read the TSA essay...
    2) I would say I'm better on paper than in an interview. Apparently Oxford place more emphasis on interviews...how true is this? To what extent do the interviews focus on the management aspect of the course?
    3) The E&M course is apparently the most competitive at Oxford; should that put me off applying?
    4) I enjoy maths a lot but am worried that Cambridge-level maths would be too rigorous. How does maths in the Econ degree compare to A-Level maths?

    Any advice or answers are appreciated greatly Thanks!
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    I'm a current cambridge econ undergrad - so obviously you should expect quite a biased opinion here

    For 1 and 2 I think it is generally accepted that both Oxford and Cambridge will take a holistic view of applications, I don't think either necessarily values interviews more than the other. To be accepted you need to be an all round strong applicant with a good PS and a relatively good interview. However, it is important to remember that (at Cambridge at least) there are no set weightings on each section of the application, so there is no point trying to game it on this.

    For 3 don't let that put you off - remember it is only 1 of 5 choices so there is no real harm in putting it down, if you don't apply you definitely will not get in so you may as well give it a go.

    For 4 the course at Cambridge is as mathematical as LSE/UCL so you do need to like maths, it's slightly different to A-level maths in that it is obviously applied to economic theory. What you need to be good at is quickly picking up concepts, you don't have time to fall behind.

    Now for the bias- I know several people who go to Oxford who all claim E&M is a bit of a joke, there isn't a huge workload and none of it is that difficult (apparently).It's seen as a course for people who want to go and work in the City afterwards. Obviously I don't do it so can't give an accurate description - this is all just hearsay. The Cambridge course is definitely rigorous and gives a thorough grounding in Micro and Macro.

    Look at the courses in more detail to see which you would rather do. You need to think about whether you want to take a course that is only half economics (I didn't apply to Oxford because I didn't want to do management). It is also important to consider whether you want to go to Oxbridge - obviously there are a lot of good things about it traditions/strong courses etc. but there are also a lot of negatives so please weigh those up and decide whether it is worth it before you apply.

    Any questions about Cam feel free to message me or just reply on this thread
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    Sad to say but interviews play a major role in most universities, let alone Oxford and Cambridge. On top of that, they're very important for jobs as well. Just practice interviews as they aren't that hard and apply for Oxford
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    (Original post by That'sGreat)
    Sad to say but interviews play a major role in most universities, let alone Oxford and Cambridge. On top of that, they're very important for jobs as well. Just practice interviews as they aren't that hard and apply for Oxford
    You realise very few universities interview for economics - only Oxbridge

    An average interview can be overcome by an excellent on paper performance and likewise a good interview cannot overcome a less good on paper performance. As I said it is holistic.

    My Dos has been very clear that the whole application does not rest on a 25 minute interview so do not stress too much about it
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    (Original post by CambEcon2015)
    You realise very few universities interview for economics - only Oxbridge

    An average interview can be overcome by an excellent on paper performance and likewise a good interview cannot overcome a less good on paper performance. As I said it is holistic.

    My Dos has been very clear that the whole application does not rest on a 25 minute interview so do not stress too much about it
    I was referring more to him admitting he wasn't great at interviews, and I was pointing it that he needs to work on them as many jobs put heavy focus on them. Sure academics are important, but if you can't present yourself - I don't see him having a great chance at a big bank or consultancy firm
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    (Original post by That'sGreat)
    I was referring more to him admitting he wasn't great at interviews, and I was pointing it that he needs to work on them as many jobs put heavy focus on them. Sure academics are important, but if you can't present yourself - I don't see him having a great chance at a big bank or consultancy firm
    Presumably he's 17 so he'll have plenty of time to work on that before applying for internships/jobs
    You've got a v different outlook on things at 17 than you do at 21+ so I think it's important not to be too concerned about it at this moment in time
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    Since when does Cambridge to Economics at undergraduate level? I thought they just offered Land Economics.
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    (Original post by yudothis)
    Since when does Cambridge to Economics at undergraduate level? I thought they just offered Land Economics.
    http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/about/history/

    literally since 1903
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    I am an international student from India, currently in grade 12 and have Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Economics and English. I have the requisite marks so far in my grade 9 (94%) 10 (96%) and 11 ( 93%) and am expecting very good predicted scores. I am also a little split between Eco/Management at Oxford and Econ at Cambridge. I am pretty good at maths as far as understanding the concepts and their application is concerned but feeling a little unsure may be due to more pre admission hurdles in Cambridge. Would you have anything to say that would be relevant for an international student. International students generally get conditional offers and have to crack STEPII and STEP III which are very tough exams i have been given to understand. Would be happy to hear from you.....Thanks
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    (Original post by CambEcon2015)
    I'm a current cambridge econ undergrad - so obviously you should expect quite a biased opinion here

    For 1 and 2 I think it is generally accepted that both Oxford and Cambridge will take a holistic view of applications, I don't think either necessarily values interviews more than the other. To be accepted you need to be an all round strong applicant with a good PS and a relatively good interview. However, it is important to remember that (at Cambridge at least) there are no set weightings on each section of the application, so there is no point trying to game it on this.

    For 3 don't let that put you off - remember it is only 1 of 5 choices so there is no real harm in putting it down, if you don't apply you definitely will not get in so you may as well give it a go.

    For 4 the course at Cambridge is as mathematical as LSE/UCL so you do need to like maths, it's slightly different to A-level maths in that it is obviously applied to economic theory. What you need to be good at is quickly picking up concepts, you don't have time to fall behind.

    Now for the bias- I know several people who go to Oxford who all claim E&M is a bit of a joke, there isn't a huge workload and none of it is that difficult (apparently).It's seen as a course for people who want to go and work in the City afterwards. Obviously I don't do it so can't give an accurate description - this is all just hearsay. The Cambridge course is definitely rigorous and gives a thorough grounding in Micro and Macro.

    Look at the courses in more detail to see which you would rather do. You need to think about whether you want to take a course that is only half economics (I didn't apply to Oxford because I didn't want to do management). It is also important to consider whether you want to go to Oxbridge - obviously there are a lot of good things about it traditions/strong courses etc. but there are also a lot of negatives so please weigh those up and decide whether it is worth it before you apply.

    Any questions about Cam feel free to message me or just reply on this thread
    Thank you so much for such a detailed reply - sorry for the late response! After considering everything I have decided to go with my gut feeling and the course that I'm most interested in, which is Economics at Cambridge (similarly to yourself, I don't particularly want to do management at this stage). I do have a few questions:
    1) In the personal statement, how would you advise reflecting on a book that I have read without coming across as pretentious or insulting to the author? Also, is it worth mentioning that I agree with the author?
    2) How did you choose which college to apply to?
    3) The ECAA has only been introduced recently, as I understand it. Were there any admissions tests for economics before this that I can use to prepare for the ECAA?
    Thanks again for your time it is much appreciated
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    (Original post by pinksplodge)
    Thank you so much for such a detailed reply - sorry for the late response! After considering everything I have decided to go with my gut feeling and the course that I'm most interested in, which is Economics at Cambridge (similarly to yourself, I don't particularly want to do management at this stage). I do have a few questions:
    1) In the personal statement, how would you advise reflecting on a book that I have read without coming across as pretentious or insulting to the author? Also, is it worth mentioning that I agree with the author?
    2) How did you choose which college to apply to?
    3) The ECAA has only been introduced recently, as I understand it. Were there any admissions tests for economics before this that I can use to prepare for the ECAA?
    Thanks again for your time it is much appreciated
    Ah excellent choice!

    I think it's good to talk about what's been said in the book and potentially how this has changed your opinions or how this has made you more interested in this topic of economics etc. I would say remember that you have a very limited character allowance so you obviously can't go into huge amounts of depth and admissions tutors are aware of this so don't worry.

    With colleges it doesn't really matter it's all cambridge. However, for picking purposes location and size are important factors. Economics is based at sidgwick site but then all the shops are in the centre so somewhere in the middle is good. Also consider whether you want to be in a big college with 150-200 people per year (e.g. trinity/johns/queens) or somewhere small with less than 100 per year (corpus/peterhouse) or somewhere in between. Then there's also the fact that some colleges have accommodation on site for all 3 years (Queens' definitely do and I think a few others do too) or whether you want to live in a college owned house away from site for at least one year. The alternative prospectus should give you a pretty good idea of that. And then aesthetics: do you want to be near the river or do you want to be able to walk on grass etc. Take a look at colleges here: https://www.applytocambridge.com/

    I didn't have any admissions tests when I applied so I can't offer much help there, but I do think there's a sample paper somewhere online?

    Hope this has helped!
 
 
 
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