Adam488
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Hi, I want to apply to Oxford next year and have a few questions regarding Scottish exams. In England GCSEs seem to be the most important exams (pre-application), but in Scotland we have National 5s and Highers. Which of these would be more important for an application, seeing as National 5s are seen as 'Scottish GCSEs' but Highers are more important for Scottish unis?
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by Adam488)
Hi, I want to apply to Oxford next year and have a few questions regarding Scottish exams. In England GCSEs seem to be the most important exams (pre-application), but in Scotland we have National 5s and Highers. Which of these would be more important for an application, seeing as National 5s are seen as 'Scottish GCSEs' but Highers are more important for Scottish unis?
Hola Adam488,

National 5s are easier to compare with other UK candidates and Oxford University Admissions generate a conextualised score that takes into account school performance. So we would say National 5s. Highers (== AS) are more recent though and if for any reason attainment has improved subsequent to National 5s (due, for example, to extenuating circumstamces) then there would be some additional informations. As you know, Highers can be taken over one or two years and so they are more complicated to interpret.

How did you fare in your National 5s and which course are you interested in applying for?

Brasenose Admissions
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Adam488
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Hi BrasenoseAdm

I got all As in my National 5s (you take 8 subjects in scotland). You have to go into school to see whether you got upper As (basically A*s) and I'm not sure why they dont just tell you via email/letter. I got an Upper A in maths and close to upper As in most of my subjects, but not quite 🙁. I want to apply for PPE which (from my research) does not seem to be one of the mainly 'exam based' admission courses (maybe medicine would fit that category). I am slightly concerned however that my National 5s will be sub-par in comparison with all A* GCSE appications, regardless of the extra curriculars i take part in.
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by Adam488)
Hi BrasenoseAdm

I got all As in my National 5s (you take 8 subjects in scotland). You have to go into school to see whether you got upper As (basically A*s) and I'm not sure why they dont just tell you via email/letter. I got an Upper A in maths and close to upper As in most of my subjects, but not quite 🙁. I want to apply for PPE which (from my research) does not seem to be one of the mainly 'exam based' admission courses (maybe medicine would fit that category). I am slightly concerned however that my National 5s will be sub-par in comparison with all A* GCSE appications, regardless of the extra curriculars i take part in.
Hola Adam488,

Ultimately, the selectors go by information in the UCAS application. If a Scots candidate achieved all As at band 1, UCAS referees tend to mention it: that's their job. Kudos to the applicant if they have a result like this. Selectors though will also look at the school contextualised score and it is rare to see a straight band 1 application (or close to it). We think most Scots students apply with a profile not dissimilar to yours. We would suggest thinking about the TSA and working on your super-curriculars and PS - we don't see that you need to have any angst about your prior attainment and its not something you can change in any case

On the subject of grade banding, conditional offers don't pay attention to them. For PPE, the offer would be Advanced Higher at AAB and a candidate meets the offer if he/she achieves these grades or higher. You would not be asked for AA and B at band 1 or similar.

Brasenose Admissions
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Adam488
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
Hola Adam488,

Ultimately, the selectors go by information in the UCAS application. If a Scots candidate achieved all As at band 1, UCAS referees tend to mention it: that's their job. Kudos to the applicant if they have a result like this. Selectors though will also look at the school contextualised score and it is rare to see a straight band 1 application (or close to it). We think most Scots students apply with a profile not dissimilar to yours. We would suggest thinking about the TSA and working on your super-curriculars and PS - we don't see that you need to have any angst about your prior attainment and its not something you can change in any case

On the subject of grade banding, conditional offers don't pay attention to them. For PPE, the offer would be Advanced Higher at AAB and a candidate meets the offer if he/she achieves these grades or higher. You would not be asked for AA and B at band 1 or similar.

Brasenose Admissions
Hi,

I'm just wondering then if a really strong set of higher results (e.g all A band 1s or close) would be very influential/equally important as all A band 1s at National 5? I'm doing a lot of reading and 'super-curriculars' on the side but I realise that ultimately exams may be more important and so I know that I have to try to balance both - would highers be taken into account if they were substantially bettsr than the national 5s?
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Catriona23
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(Original post by Adam488)
Hi,

I'm just wondering then if a really strong set of higher results (e.g all A band 1s or close) would be very influential/equally important as all A band 1s at National 5? I'm doing a lot of reading and 'super-curriculars' on the side but I realise that ultimately exams may be more important and so I know that I have to try to balance both - would highers be taken into account if they were substantially bettsr than the national 5s?
Just gonna jump in here and say most English Universities pay the most attention to Adv Highers as that is the Scottish equivalent to A Levels. Of course they will look at Highers and Nat 5s (more interested in Highers than Nat 5s) but adv Highers are probably their main focus. So to answer your question, they’d be more interested in a strong set of Highers than a strong set of Nat 5s as they know Highers are harder.
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Adam488
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(Original post by Catriona23)
Just gonna jump in here and say most English Universities pay the most attention to Adv Highers as that is the Scottish equivalent to A Levels. Of course they will look at Highers and Nat 5s (more interested in Highers than Nat 5s) but adv Highers are probably their main focus.
Advanced highers are after the application process, do you mean predicted grades?
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Catriona23
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(Original post by Adam488)
Advanced highers are after the application process, do you mean predicted grades?
Yeah sorry, the predicted grades of your Adv Highers 😊
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by Adam488)
Hi,

I'm just wondering then if a really strong set of higher results (e.g all A band 1s or close) would be very influential/equally important as all A band 1s at National 5? I'm doing a lot of reading and 'super-curriculars' on the side but I realise that ultimately exams may be more important and so I know that I have to try to balance both - would highers be taken into account if they were substantially bettsr than the national 5s?
They are a factor but as pointed out in our earlier post, it is harder to compare candidates on this basis since AS exams are no longer widely taken.
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Adam488
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
They are a factor but as pointed out in our earlier post, it is harder to compare candidates on this basis since AS exams are no longer widely taken.
Okay thanks - would the admissions test (TSA) be more important than exam results in terms of getting an interview?
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by Adam488)
Okay thanks - would the admissions test (TSA) be more important than exam results in terms of getting an interview?
TSA results are banded. If your result is not in a high band, exam results will come into it more.
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Adam488
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
TSA results are banded. If your result is not in a high band, exam results will come into it more.
Okay thank you for your help - just taking the opportunity to get clued up. Does this mean that if I performed well in the TSA my exams wouldn't matter so much, kind of like a one or the other type thing (provided I have decent exam results that match any minimum criteria)?
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Shelley12345
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Just jumping in quickly here.

My son has an Oxford law offer.

He has 7 Nat 5s (5 at band A 1). One of which he took independently as his state school only offered six.

He has 5As and a B at Higher taken in one sitting. Two band A1s.

He has three AH - A1, A2, B. He has met his Oxford offer of AAB.

He also took the LNAT. (Law admissions test).

Good luck!
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Adam488
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(Original post by Shelley12345)
Just jumping in quickly here.

My son has an Oxford law offer.

He has 7 Nat 5s (5 at band A 1). One of which he took independently as his state school only offered six.

He has 5As and a B at Higher taken in one sitting. Two band A1s.

He has three AH - A1, A2, B. He has met his Oxford offer of AAB.

He also took the LNAT. (Law admissions test).

Good luck!
Well done for him, that's amazing! Did you ever hear back how he fared in the LNAT? Only asking as there's not many succesful Scottish Oxford applicants (around 50 each year from what I've seen) and I'm tryning to get as much information as possible!
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Shelley12345
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He got 27 in the multi choice section. Unsure of essay score though. He interview went particularly well, he feels.
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Adam488
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(Original post by Shelley12345)
He got 27 in the multi choice section. Unsure of essay score though. He interview went particularly well, he feels.
It's good to hear about some Scottish Oxford success stories, thanks for sharing this.
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by Adam488)
Well done for him, that's amazing! Did you ever hear back how he fared in the LNAT? Only asking as there's not many succesful Scottish Oxford applicants (around 50 each year from what I've seen) and I'm tryning to get as much information as possible!
Its important to remember that (due largely to differences in tuition fee systems) the number of Scottish students applying is also fairly small. The success rate last year was 14% - this is lower than the University average of 17.5% because Scottish students tend to favour courses that are more competitive than average (Law, Medicine, PPE, Engineering, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, English).
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Adam488
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
Its important to remember that (due largely to differences in tuition fee systems) the number of Scottish students applying is also fairly small. The success rate last year was 14% - this is lower than the University average of 19% because Scottish students tend to favour courses that are more competitive than average (Law, Medicine, PPE, Engineering, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, English).
I was referring to the rarity of a successful Scottish applicant, not complaining about it. Getting information from a successful applicant is especially useful when they are from the same location because they are likely to have a fairly similar educational experience (or at least moreso then someone from elsewhere) All I'm really saying is that it's nice to see someone from the same country achieving something that I similarly am aiming for because (due to the reasons you stated and more) it is rare to find a succcessful Scottish applicant, the same as it would be difficult to find a successful Northern Irish applicant
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by Adam488)
I was referring to the rarity of a successful Scottish applicant, not complaining about it. Getting information from a successful applicant is especially useful when they are from the same location because they are likely to have a fairly similar educational experience (or at least moreso then someone from elsewhere) All I'm really saying is that it's nice to see someone from the same country achieving something that I similarly am aiming for because (due to the reasons you stated and more) it is rare to find a succcessful Scottish applicant, the same as it would be difficult to find a successful Northern Irish applicant
Understood. In case there are any NI students following this thread, the success rate last year was 15% with applicant concentrations in Law, Medicine and Physics.
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Ballet
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Really interested in this too for my daughter. She has 8 As at national 5 ( 6 band 1s) and 5A’s at higher ( 3 band 1s) She would like to apply for maths. She is taking 3 AH pure maths, mechanics of maths and physics.
Obviously a lot depends on the Mat test but reading this thread I take these marks would stand her in good stead??
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