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Is it too late to think about Oxford? A real dilemma... Watch

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    yo.

    I'm in year 12 at the moment and am doing maths, biology, and chemistry. I know in the future I want to go into zoology, but I'm not sure if I want to specialise in it just yet. I love chemistry as a subject but also the stuff we do in biology and I don't know if I want to give up all of the other things I love about biology just yet. Oxford is sort of my absolute dream university, and if I got in it would be very convenient as my parents live about three hours away. Also OXFORD. However, my GCSE grades (997A*AAAABBC) are quite low for the average Oxford applicant and I was wondering how that would affect me, applications wise. If I were to do zoology I would apply to Edinburgh, Exeter, and Bangor, but now I'm really not sure. My minimum target grades are AAA, but I am confident I can achieve better than this.

    So is Oxford out of the question? I don't want to waste my time applying if I won't have a chance of getting in, but it is truly my dream.

    Ta lads
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    (Original post by questionofrust)
    yo.

    I'm in year 12 at the moment and am doing maths, biology, and chemistry. I know in the future I want to go into zoology, but I'm not sure if I want to specialise in it just yet. I love chemistry as a subject but also the stuff we do in biology and I don't know if I want to give up all of the other things I love about biology just yet. Oxford is sort of my absolute dream university, and if I got in it would be very convenient as my parents live about three hours away. Also OXFORD. However, my GCSE grades (997A*AAAABBC) are quite low for the average Oxford applicant and I was wondering how that would affect me, applications wise. If I were to do zoology I would apply to Edinburgh, Exeter, and Bangor, but now I'm really not sure. My minimum target grades are AAA, but I am confident I can achieve better than this.

    So is Oxford out of the question? I don't want to waste my time applying if I won't have a chance of getting in, but it is truly my dream.

    Ta lads
    '
    Phrases like "it's my dream" are meaningless. Once, I dreamt that AngryJellyfish and I went narrowboating together.

    You need to figure out why you want to go there. Take the emotion out of it. So far, you've worked out that it has a good location - but many other unis will too. Does it do a degree that you like? Do you like the teaching methods? Do you like the facilities? Can you afford the accommodation and any other associated costs?

    You haven't done anywhere near enough research to decide whether Oxford is appropriate for you or not.
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    (Original post by Juno)
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    Phrases like "it's my dream" are meaningless. Once, I dreamt that AngryJellyfish and I went narrowboating together.

    You need to figure out why you want to go there. Take the emotion out of it. So far, you've worked out that it has a good location - but many other unis will too. Does it do a degree that you like? Do you like the teaching methods? Do you like the facilities? Can you afford the accommodation and any other associated costs?

    You haven't done anywhere near enough research to decide whether Oxford is appropriate for you or not.
    1. I wouldn't make that dream a reality, narrowboats are really bloody expensive (it was a pipe dream of Dad's)
    2. I've worked out my top 5, and Oxford is the second easiest to come home (first is UCL), as I live on the Isle of Wight, so travel costs are v important to me as the ferry is extortionate. I would have to really really love Edinburgh, as it would take me about 6 hours to get home sans the hour on the ferry.
    3. The biology degree is perfect if I decide to do biology, but I'm still deciding between biology and zoology.
    4. The living costs are actually some of the cheapest, and as living at home is not an option (no uni and ferry is pretty much the price of accommodation) so that's not really an issue, also 'everybody can afford to go to uni' and all that.
    5. I am applying for the UNIQ summer school so I can get more of a grasp on the teaching methods (and am going to work mentally hard to get in)
    6. As for facilities, I love the idea of going to a collegiate uni ( looking at Balliol currently), and also I will be able to judge if I get into the summer school (and also open days)

    The main point of discussion really is whether my GCSEs are high enough and whether I should plunge straight into zoology or not (which I could not do right off the bat at Oxford).
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    (Original post by Juno)
    '
    Phrases like "it's my dream" are meaningless. Once, I dreamt that AngryJellyfish and I went narrowboating together.

    You need to figure out why you want to go there. Take the emotion out of it. So far, you've worked out that it has a good location - but many other unis will too. Does it do a degree that you like? Do you like the teaching methods? Do you like the facilities? Can you afford the accommodation and any other associated costs?

    You haven't done anywhere near enough research to decide whether Oxford is appropriate for you or not.
    Precisely...take the emotion out of it. The process should be totally scientific and based on logic. Dreams are just that dreams, do your research, formulate your options and set your aspirations.
    For instance your description of the subjects you enjoy doing, i would say set you up nicely for the broad natural sciences course at Cambridge, where you dont have to particularly let go of some aspects of the course. Unlike in oxford where you would have to specialise in a particular science.
    Please, dont bother about your GCSE's and dont let applicants with three 9s and 6 A*s bother you, thats the past and you can only work on the present(ie focus and get the best grades possible) and hope for the best in the application process

    In a nutshell, research into the universities which spark your interest, understand the requirements and work towards achieving them.

    Good luck
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    (Original post by Oruese)
    Precisely...take the emotion out of it. The process should be totally scientific and based on logic. Dreams are just that dreams, do your research, formulate your options and set your aspirations.
    For instance your description of the subjects you enjoy doing, i would say set you up nicely for the broad natural sciences course at Cambridge, where you dont have to particularly let go of some aspects of the course. Unlike in oxford where you would have to specialise in a particular science.
    Please, dont bother about your GCSE's and dont let applicants with three 9s and 6 A*s bother you, thats the past and you can only work on the present(ie focus and get the best grades possible) and hope for the best in the application process

    In a nutshell, research into the universities which spark your interest, understand the requirements and work towards achieving them.

    Good luck
    I would apply to Cambridge but I went for a taster day thing and HATED it, the environment, everything really, I had really bad experiences of that day and it's sort of ruined the idea for me.
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    (Original post by questionofrust)
    I would apply to Cambridge but I went for a taster day thing and HATED it, the environment, everything really, I had really bad experiences of that day and it's sort of ruined the idea for me.
    Even the 'best' applicant is guranteed an offer. Do your research and apply, you have four other UCAS spots. You're guranteeing yourself a rejection by not bothering to apply and there's nothing much you can do about your GCSEs now.
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    Even the 'best' applicant is guranteed an offer. Do your research and apply, you have four other UCAS spots. You're guranteeing yourself a rejection by not bothering to apply and there's nothing much you can do about your GCSEs now.
    OP wants to apply to Oxford (nota bene: you can only apply to ONE of Oxford or Cambridge in one UCAS applications cycle).
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    Even the 'best' applicant is guranteed an offer.
    I presume you are missing a "not" - although strictly speaking the 'best' applicant is indeed guaranteed an offer, but they won't know they are the best until later
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    I presume you are missing a "not" - although strictly speaking the 'best' applicant is indeed guaranteed an offer, but they won't know they are the best until later
    Ooops and yeah what I should have probably written is the best applicant from the OP's perspective.
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    (Original post by Carbon Dioxide)
    OP wants to apply to Oxford (nota bene: you can only apply to ONE of Oxford or Cambridge in one UCAS applications cycle).
    I know, I know. Been through before years ago.
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    (Original post by questionofrust)
    I would apply to Cambridge but I went for a taster day thing and HATED it, the environment, everything really, I had really bad experiences of that day and it's sort of ruined the idea for me.
    Why are you going to enjoy Oxford then? The two unis are pretty similar in almost every aspect.

    Also don't base your uni choice on living costs. You don't really need to be close to home at all, your maintenance loan will cover everything.

    I'll save all the "if you don't apply you won't get in" and "you can make up for lower GCSEs by doing well in other aspects", and just say that those GCSEs will not be competitive at all for the one of the most GCSE-caring universities in the country. Not to say that you won't have a chance, but you'd have to literally get very high marks on both admissions test and interview.
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    Hi, best advice is just focus on your exams/mocks whatever you have this June because after that you have the whole of summmer to think about choices

    Also don't worry about your GCSE's entrance exam is more important
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    (Original post by questionofrust)
    ....The main point of discussion really is whether my GCSEs are high enough and whether I should plunge straight into zoology or not (which I could not do right off the bat at Oxford).
    My daughter has just graduated in Biology at Oxford. Edinburgh and Exeter were on her shortlist, and we we did a fair bit of research on them - including offer holder visits etc.

    As far as your "main points of discussion" go, I'd suggest that there may be more important criteria.
    On the question of GCSE grades, even if you didn't get an interview, you still have 4 choices left and you can only go to one university anyway.

    The differences between Zoology and Biology at U/G level are quite small. To the extent that one can exclude plants from your understanding of animal biology, this can be achieved through your options choices. And for most topics - ecology, evolution, biochemistry, cell biology, statistics....the rather artificial zoology/botany distinction is pretty nonsensical.

    I'd say that the Unis you mention are different in much more significant ways than this. For example, Exeter has a good "whole animal" approach (eg behaviour and ecology is well represented there, with the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the Penrhyn campus site), whereas Edinburgh seems more oriented towards "old fashioned" basic science. Edinburgh's is also a four-year course. You could also hardly have a bigger contrast in terms of location than the metropolitan buzz of Edinburgh and the rural TellyTubby world of Penrhyn.

    Oxford's college structure, weekly tutorials and heavy workloads are its main distinctions (rather than the subject content per se).

    So I would suggest looking at these things to guide your decision.
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    Unfortunately, Oxford is probably the most GCSE heavy university you can apply to, and really the only way you can make up for your GCSEs is by doing amazing in their entrance exams, which is obviously very difficult, for Medicine they use an algorithm with 50% being GCSE and 50% being the entrance exam, they don't even look at the personal statement before interview, so even if your PS was amazing, it wouldn't make up for your GCSEs unfortunately, at least for Medicine, but I'm pretty sure it's similar for most other courses. I'd seriously recommend Cambridge instead, they're pretty much the same, idk why you hate Cambridge but dream of going to Oxford.
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    (Original post by mosam00)
    Unfortunately, Oxford is probably the most GCSE heavy university you can apply to, and really the only way you can make up for your GCSEs is by doing amazing in their entrance exams, which is obviously very difficult, for Medicine they use an algorithm with 50% being GCSE and 50% being the entrance exam, they don't even look at the personal statement before interview, so even if your PS was amazing, it wouldn't make up for your GCSEs unfortunately, at least for Medicine, but I'm pretty sure it's similar for most other courses. I'd seriously recommend Cambridge instead, they're pretty much the same, idk why you hate Cambridge but dream of going to Oxford.
    Prove it
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    (Original post by DreamlinerFinder)
    Prove it
    https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/me...cal/statistics

    as you can see, the average number of A*s for a SUCCESSFUL applicant is 10.5, and the average percentage is of A*s is 93% lol and the average BMAT is around 63% which equates to 6.0, 6.0 and 3A roughly I think, the actual average for the BMAT in general across the country is usually around 4.5 4.5 3A, so even with amazing GCSEs you still need to be significantly above average to get an interview, so it's even harder if your GCSEs aren't up to scratch. For other courses at Oxford, it's probably slightly less competitive, but I'd still imagine that you'd need around 5-6 A*s at least for courses like Biology.
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    You should study a SUBJECT which you like
    Firstly decide what you want to study
    If oxford has it it worth trying
    And then start cramming for your so called dream
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    (Original post by mosam00)
    https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/me...cal/statistics

    as you can see, the average number of A*s for a SUCCESSFUL applicant is 10.5, and the average percentage is of A*s is 93% lol and the average BMAT is around 63% which equates to 6.0, 6.0 and 3A roughly I think, the actual average for the BMAT in general across the country is usually around 4.5 4.5 3A, so even with amazing GCSEs you still need to be significantly above average to get an interview, so it's even harder if your GCSEs aren't up to scratch. For other courses at Oxford, it's probably slightly less competitive, but I'd still imagine that you'd need around 5-6 A*s at least for courses like Biology.
    Thanks,I thought that your post was unsubstantiated,but those are interesting statistics anyway.

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    (Original post by mosam00)
    https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/me...cal/statistics

    as you can see, the average number of A*s for a SUCCESSFUL applicant is 10.5, and the average percentage is of A*s is 93% lol and the average BMAT is around 63% which equates to 6.0, 6.0 and 3A roughly I think, the actual average for the BMAT in general across the country is usually around 4.5 4.5 3A, so even with amazing GCSEs you still need to be significantly above average to get an interview, so it's even harder if your GCSEs aren't up to scratch. For other courses at Oxford, it's probably slightly less competitive, but I'd still imagine that you'd need around 5-6 A*s at least for courses like Biology.
    What you imagine may not accord with reality.

    There is no aptitude or admissions test for Biological Sciences at Oxford.

    A quick scan of the statistics for Biological Science applications (as opposed to Medicine) shows that a significant number of places are offered to people with fewer than 5-6 A*s. Here for example.
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    I think it's like a teenager dream you have and now you are not judging things adequately
    Talk to your parents and decide what Is better for you
    Choose the subject not the place/city etc
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