NB: This thread has moved quote a bit from the initial post's topic... (in fact, Oxford has no relevance anymore)
Disclaimer: Yes I know there are prolly over 9000 threads like this but bear with me as my situation is quite unique.
I'm an EU applicant BTW.
Here we go...
So I applied for Oxford Math and git rejected pre-interview even with the extenuating circumstances I experienced.
However I feel like they have not been considering them for what they are; maybe I wasn't clear enough on them.
I will now give a detailed account, now obviously I couldn't put even half of this in my PS but I did indicate that I had extenuating circumstances (I will indicate which part I included in my PS in bold
My interest in math started when i was small and I always found math class too easy. Sadly I was unable to discover things like lateral thinking and proof until just the beginning of my A levels because I found some other subjects too difficult and was forced to pass due to the school system.
By the time of IGCSE's (CIE) I had lost interest in mathematics as I thought there was not much to it (and IGCSE math was very dull to me) so at that time I was thinking of doing physics (which I, admitedly use dto like more than now).
My school for my IGCSE's was poor with many students getting E's or below in most subjects. However I scored 5A*, 4A, and 1C. The C is in literature, which is already amazing seeing how bad I am at it (although got A* for language).
Most of my math teachers were awful but my IGCSE one was absolutely trash (seriously though). Essentially he didn't teach anything (so I had to self-study) but at the same time didn't let me study at my own pace (and had to rush my additional math studies), while at the same time threatening to send me to a lower set (was in set 1). I took both IGCSE international math (dunno why had to do that) and IGCSE additional math and scored A in both.
I now realize why I didn't get A*'s in my IGCSE math subjects, it's because I was never taught the exam technique and what the examiner's want so I went on thinking the same for A level math (and also scored A) just because of one jerk teacher misleading me so (thank god I found TSR otherwise would have never realized). My other teachers taught me the exam technique but never said that it was so which made me unaware of it until AFTER my A level math exams.
When I was about to start my A levels
(a very good sixth form accepted me) my father had to do some very extensive travels for his work. My mother, having an "amazing" idea that all the family should follow him because we'd all miss him too much. This caused me to be forced to having to self study in poor conditions (hotels are awful for studying when you have very noisy siblings). I also had much less time than a typical A level student to study.
This is why I took A level math early, so to spread the workload (my parents agreed that they can stay put somewhere for my exams and only my exams).
It was not until I started my A levels (edexcel math and further math, as well as ial physics) that I realized that there was much more to mathematics (I especially liked mathematical proof) and this is what convinced me to apply for math (as at the same time physics hugely dissapointed me). I even included some of the proof I did in my PS (which were very much beyond the specification). However I do have to catch up on all of this mathematical creative thinking because I was introduced to it so late compared to the competition.
I had no idea my A level grade would disadvantaged me so much that I would get rejected pre-interview even with a good MAT score. Honestly I lost all my confidence for a while there so I still performed much worse than in past papers, but I learned my lesson and will not let a dumb exam judge my abilities (because they can't when they're about memorizing methods and regurgitating them).
So obviously oxford had done absolutely no justice to my extenuating circumstances by not further asking about them etc. If in the feedback I see they have not been taken in account of, I will give a formal complaint as I think this is unacceptable in the light that oxford wishes to recruit the best mathematicians.
I do wish to reapply to oxford, provided that I achieve the grades, but at the same time I know that gap years for math is not seen well. So I decided that I would apply to unis this year and if I get a place would start the degree anyways due to the chance of still being rejected by Oxford. Is it possible to apply to Oxford when one already started an undergraduate degree?
I have no offers so far and in the case all the unis reject me I will probably start with the open university and reapply to unis next year so that I stay academically active.
If oxford rejects me again I will just accept whatever uni accepts me at this rate and try again for postgraduate studies.
I will most likely take all 3 STEP papers as an attempt to make me more competitive for oxford (and some unis I applying to use STEP)
So in the end here are my questions:
-Is it possible to apply to Oxford when one already started an undergraduate degree?
-Is the plan overall good? Any criticism to the plan?
-Is it worth reapplying to oxford knowing my circumstances? (I do still need to catch up upon the more lateral thinking side of things due to lack of exposure to it before A levels).
- Should I apply to another college next year?
- Any other advice?
Thank you in advance and have a good day
I know I can do better, I will take January exams to see if I did understand all of this exam technique thing.
PS: please don't be harsh, I am not doing very well emotionally lately (unrelated to uni places)
Last edited by ExamsDo2; 2 weeks ago