Applying Oxford for similar course whilst at another uni?

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username4633536
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Hey everyone,

Just wondering if this is possible? I will start natural sciences at UCL (biomedical science will be one of my streams), but am planning to reapply to Oxford for biochemistry. I was wondering if I would be disadvantaged in any way, or if this is even possible? Will my interviews by much harder as I would have started an undergraduate course in a related field? Will they ask me for a valid reason for the switch? (My main one is the unbeatable research opportunities, high contact hours, great teaching, etc as the courses are quite similar, but UCL is still a great uni so unsure as to whether Oxford interviewers will accept this as a good reason for applying).

Thank you very much for any help!
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HoldThisL
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pretty sure (could be wrong) that you can't be actively studying to reapply to oxbridge (otherwise everyone would do it). you either have to suspend your studies for a year or drop out entirely to be eligible to reapply
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JoeClements
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You can do it for Oxford, not for Cambridge
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_gcx
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For the benefit of anyone stumbling upon this thread (is a month or two old) - it is generally unadvisable to start a course you have no intention of completing.
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username4218074
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(Original post by _gcx)
For the benefit of anyone stumbling upon this thread (is a month or two old) - it is generally unadvisable to start a course you have no intention of completing.
p big waste of money lol
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_gcx
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(Original post by Levi.-)
p big waste of money lol
Plus you have to stay another 2 years at a university you don't really like if it goes wrong
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username4218074
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(Original post by username4633536)
Hey everyone,

Just wondering if this is possible? I will start natural sciences at UCL (biomedical science will be one of my streams), but am planning to reapply to Oxford for biochemistry. I was wondering if I would be disadvantaged in any way, or if this is even possible? Will my interviews by much harder as I would have started an undergraduate course in a related field? Will they ask me for a valid reason for the switch? (My main one is the unbeatable research opportunities, high contact hours, great teaching, etc as the courses are quite similar, but UCL is still a great uni so unsure as to whether Oxford interviewers will accept this as a good reason for applying).

Thank you very much for any help!
and the answer to all your questions is yes, naturally they will interview you on content some leagues more complex than the typical year 13 applicant since you have not only completed the entire A-level syllabus, but also covered some university level content. You will end up paying a lot of money for this decision if you get into oxford and bear in mind; the BMAT is p hard test (imo harder than A-levels) and you will need to prepare for it if you wanna do biomedical sciences whilst being on track for a first at UCL which itself isn't an easy feat. Also if you get an offer it will be conditional on your year 1 performance.

Also wanted to mention; the increased financial burden you take upon yourself will not be negated by the quality of an oxford degree, there aren't any doors an oxford non-maths/physics/engineering course opens that a UCL one doesn't either so just ensure you're making a switch for a good reason.
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WeAreSuchStuff
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(Original post by Levi.-)
and the answer to all your questions is yes, naturally they will interview you on content some leagues more complex than the typical year 13 applicant since you have not only completed the entire A-level syllabus, but also covered some university level content. You will end up paying a lot of money for this decision if you get into oxford and bear in mind; the BMAT is p hard test (imo harder than A-levels) and you will need to prepare for it if you wanna do biomedical sciences whilst being on track for a first at UCL which itself isn't an easy feat. Also if you get an offer it will be conditional on your year 1 performance.
Levi, I'm surprised you have opted to make a claim which appears as baseless as this one. If Oxford were to suddenly alter interview standards (i.e. by making them as challenging as you've suggested) for a small subset of interviewees, it would fly in the face of their admissions philosophy, whilst also making the kind of one-to-one correspondence they so value in their decision-making process nearly impossible. In this case, they may as well ask these candidates to sit a different aptitude test as well, seeing as it is improbable the BMAT will be much challenge for a first-year natural sciences student at an elite university like UCL. However, this would never happen for the reasons stated above (also it makes little sense to amend one part of the process (interviews) while maintaining a somewhat similar part (the aptitude test)).

As a side note, I should point out that if the OP was at the required level to receive an offer from the likes of Oxbridge, then they would in theory always be on track to achieve a high 2.1/First from a non-Oxbridge university anyway.
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WeAreSuchStuff
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(Original post by Levi.-)
Also wanted to mention; the increased financial burden you take upon yourself will not be negated by the quality of an oxford degree
Perhaps true, but if the OP has enough of a vested interest to drop out of UCL's high-quality course for an Oxford alternative, I doubt they'll be put off by having to pay a tiny (at least, proportionally) monthly fee for a little longer afterwards...

Plus, it's all overwritten after thirty years anyway.
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username4218074
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(Original post by WeAreSuchStuff)
Levi, I'm surprised you have opted to make a claim which appears as baseless this one. If Oxford were to suddenly alter interview standards (i.e. by making them as challenging as you've suggested) for a small subset of interviewees, it would fly in the face of their admissions philosophy, whilst also making the kind of one-to-one correspondence they so value in their decision-making process nearly impossible. In this case, they may as well ask these candidates to sit a different aptitude test as well, seeing as it is improbable the BMAT will be much challenge for a first-year natural sciences student at an elite university like UCL. However, this would never happen for the reasons stated above (also it makes little sense to amend one part of the process (interviews) while maintaining a somewhat similar part (the aptitude test)).

As a side note, I should point out that if the OP was at the required level to receive an offer from the likes of Oxbridge, then they would in theory always be on track to achieve a high 2.1/First from a non-Oxbridge university anyway.
Not really, its perfectly normal for Oxbridge interviews to becoming more "challenging (though relative to candidate knowledge i suppose)" for PQA - this includes starting off on fully-fledged A-level knowledge and expecting candidates to be able to link/refer to this material and be more comfortable with it as opposed to year 13 students who haven't covered all the spec yet. (in fact Cambridge specifically ask you to outline what modules you have completed of your current A-level specification before interviewing you to make sure they know what to expect you to automatically know). As this prerequisite knowledge is higher for PQA or first year students it stands to reason they would expect you to link ideas more/be more comfortable with certain topics. In fact it isn't unheard of for students to get different interview questions, Oxbridge try to push you beyond what you know and sometimes that fringes on actual topics included at university level, if you are already studying that then they will make sure to find something else to interview you on. Worth noting that the difficulty relative to knowledge should be constant ideally. Source: I literally rang oxford about this and they told me lol.

Also it's pretty ignorant to say someone doing Natural Sciences at UCL would not struggle with the BMAT. If you haven't attempted to do the BMAT or even know the test itself it's quite abhorrent to comment on its difficulty, the content has always been GCSE level but the application of skills/timing/ critical thinking and problem solving goes beyond what your scientific knowledge is. People applying for undergraduate medicine AFTER doing an entire scientific degree still struggle with it - as is the nature of an aptitude test. Regardless of how much scientific knowledge or skills you have picked up at university, admissions test are designed to level the playing field and test aptitude for that specific course. That's why the aptitude tests aren't changed; interviews at Oxbridge are designed by nature to push you beyond what you know. It is entirely feasible that if a student has already covered some of the undergraduate degree, that interviewers would push them on other topics. Perhaps saying its inherently more difficult is untrue, but you are definitely expected to display a higher understanding of the A-level syllabus and what you have covered at university than a normal applicant.
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OxFossil
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Contrary to appearences, it's not hard to answer the OP.

There is no BMAT required for Biochemistry - which is the course they are contemplating.

They will need to be performing at high 2:1 or 1st level at their current university.

https://uni-of-oxford.custhelp.com/a...dy-studying-at

At interview, candidates are not all asked the same questions. Typically, each panel will have a pool of questions of comparable difficulty and range which they mix-and-match from one candidate to the next, ensuring to cover roughly the same range of skills and understanding. Bear in mind that the point is not to produce the "right" answer, but to demonstrate an informed interest and a flexible, creative learning style. The OP would likely be asked questions from this same selection, but would be expected to give answers which reflect their higher level experience than candidates straight from school.
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WeAreSuchStuff
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(Original post by Levi.-)
Not really, its perfectly normal for Oxbridge interviews to becoming more "challenging (though relative to candidate knowledge i suppose)" for PQA - this includes starting off on fully-fledged A-level knowledge and expecting candidates to be able to link/refer to this material and be more comfortable with it as opposed to year 13 students who haven't covered all the spec yet. (in fact Cambridge specifically ask you to outline what modules you have completed of your current A-level specification before interviewing you to make sure they know what to expect you to automatically know). As this prerequisite knowledge is higher for PQA or first year students it stands to reason they would expect you to link ideas more/be more comfortable with certain topics. In fact it isn't unheard of for students to get different interview questions, Oxbridge try to push you beyond what you know and sometimes that fringes on actual topics included at university level, if you are already studying that then they will make sure to find something else to interview you on. Worth noting that the difficulty relative to knowledge should be constant ideally. Source: I literally rang oxford about this and they told me lol.

Also it's pretty ignorant to say someone doing Natural Sciences at UCL would not struggle with the BMAT. If you haven't attempted to do the BMAT or even know the test itself it's quite abhorrent to comment on its difficulty, the content has always been GCSE level but the application of skills/timing/ critical thinking and problem solving goes beyond what your scientific knowledge is. People applying for undergraduate medicine AFTER doing an entire scientific degree still struggle with it - as is the nature of an aptitude test. Regardless of how much scientific knowledge or skills you have picked up at university, admissions test are designed to level the playing field and test aptitude for that specific course. That's why the aptitude tests aren't changed; interviews at Oxbridge are designed by nature to push you beyond what you know. It is entirely feasible that if a student has already covered some of the undergraduate degree, that interviewers would push them on other topics. Perhaps saying its inherently more difficult is untrue, but you are definitely expected to display a higher understanding of the A-level syllabus and what you have covered at university than a normal applicant.
You're missing the point. Unless you can provide data to demonstrate that PQAs (particularly undergraduates and postgraduates) do not achieve higher scores in admissions assessments than their pre-qualification competition, or at the very minimum that the difference is not statistically significant, your entire argument is redundant. On the balance of probabilities, a candidate in the upper echelons of education is likely to fare better in a non-standard test of their abilities than a candidate in a lower one, all else being equal, simply because of the disparity in experience (i.e. they will have had exposure to more problems, and at a higher level, probably also with greater regularity).

Using your logic, the prerequisite knowledge is higher for PQAs, therefore why would they expect them to sit an aptitude test for Y13s when some of them have progressed far beyond that stage (both in terms of content and the required rigour of problem-solving)? This does not compute and you have also created a false dichotomy (that Oxford must reinvent interviews to level the playing field) . I have seen multiple interviews and also worked through aptitude tests in the past so I have a better understanding than you give me credit for. If you say the BMAT (or any other aptitude test for that matter) is designed to test suitability for a course (i.e. by identifying if the candidate can procure solutions to problems by means of an indirect approach), then the interview also does precisely that but with the added component of a dialogue with the AT (to evaluate their capacity for reflective inquiry). Consequently, it still stands to reason that if Oxbridge thought they could better assess these applicants by significantly modifying the style of interviews, they would also have thought the same about their entrance exams. Also note that I don't refute the posssibility of the OP's interview questions being slightly more challenging, just not to the extent that you've claimed.
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WeAreSuchStuff
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(Original post by OxFossil)
Contrary to appearences, it's not hard to answer the OP.

There is no BMAT required for Biochemistry - which is the course they are contemplating.

They will need to be performing at high 2:1 or 1st level at their current university.

https://uni-of-oxford.custhelp.com/a...dy-studying-at

At interview, candidates are not all asked the same questions. Typically, each panel will have a pool of questions of comparable difficulty and range which they mix-and-match from one candidate to the next, ensuring to cover roughly the same range of skills and understanding. Bear in mind that the point is not to produce the "right" answer, but to demonstrate an informed interest and a flexible, creative learning style. The OP would likely be asked questions from this same selection, but would be expected to give answers which reflect their higher level experience than candidates straight from school.
I think this also supports what I was trying to say.
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JordanTRichie
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(Original post by WeAreSuchStuff)
Levi, I'm surprised you have opted to make a claim which appears as baseless as this one. If Oxford were to suddenly alter interview standards (i.e. by making them as challenging as you've suggested) for a small subset of interviewees, it would fly in the face of their admissions philosophy, whilst also making the kind of one-to-one correspondence they so value in their decision-making process nearly impossible. In this case, they may as well ask these candidates to sit a different aptitude test as well, seeing as it is improbable the BMAT will be much challenge for a first-year natural sciences student at an elite university like UCL. However, this would never happen for the reasons stated above (also it makes little sense to amend one part of the process (interviews) while maintaining a somewhat similar part (the aptitude test)).

As a side note, I should point out that if the OP was at the required level to receive an offer from the likes of Oxbridge, then they would in theory always be on track to achieve a high 2.1/First from a non-Oxbridge university anyway.
Receiving an offer from Oxbridge =/= always being on track to achieve a high 2:1 at a non-oxbridge university? What a profoundly ignorant thing to say. Many people get offers from Oxbridge, miss their offers and then get 2:2s and thirds at university etc. Also, I believe Levi.-'s point on having to balance university grades alongside preparing for the BMAT/interviews is perfectly spot on. It is not an easy feat whatsoever and will cost OP their social life in some instances and is a major point of stress to bear in mind, please refrain from sweeping generalisations such as, "if the OP was at the required level to receive an offer from the likes of Oxbridge, then they would in theory always be on track to achieve a high 2.1/First from a non-Oxbridge university anyway" as this is not the case whatsoever.

Also the aptitude tests are very different to the interviews. Aptitude tests are designed to test a candidates innate aptitude and 'fit' for a course whereas the interview is designed to see the candidate's alignment and probability of success within the tutorial/supervision system at Oxbridge.
"is improbable the BMAT will be much challenge for a first-year natural sciences student at an elite university like UCL" - again 100% inaccurate, on average gap year students tend to perform better on aptitude tests but largely because they have more time to prepare as they're not juggling school work. This is not the case for a first year university student.

Methods of examination/assessment and the skills picked up in a UCL natural science course are not directly beneficial to the BMAT as the BMAT is a completely different form of examination which only uses GCSE knowledge. Plenty of natural sciences students would struggle with the BMAT as they haven't necessarily built any skills in their course that directly aid with the examination however on average they may perform better than the median BMAT applicant because the cohort doing Natural sciences at UCL would be self-selecting to be fairly intelligent. However this is not causation and doesn't rule out that OP has a pretty good chance of struggling with the BMAT immensely as many other intelligent people do - Anecdotally I studied theoretical physics at Imperial and in my second year a medic friend showed me the bmat and i struggled ridiculously with it.

Also they would certainly expect a first year science student to perform "better" or demonstrate a firmer understanding of the A-level course than a year 13 applicant. As they have a selection of interview questions, they would probably select ones that don't progress into year 1 science the applicant already covered but would naturally of course expect the candidate to perform better (=/= correct answer but demonstrate a firmer understanding of their course and produce more relevant ideas). It can be "leagues more complex" or it could be a marginal difference, it depends on the interviewers' philosophy of what a first year science student at another university should be capable of. If they were only capable of doing the same as a successful year 13 applicant despite having studied the course elsewhere for 4 months then that would perhaps reflect poorly on them depending on the question itself. Obviously its hard to measure what a "better" answer is but by this I generally mean demonstrating a firmer understanding of the entire A-level syllabus and topics covered in university as oppose to purely AS-topics.
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JordanTRichie
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(Original post by WeAreSuchStuff)
Perhaps true, but if the OP has enough of a vested interest to drop out of UCL's high-quality course for an Oxford alternative, I doubt they'll be put off by having to pay a tiny (at least, proportionally) monthly fee for a little longer afterwards...

Plus, it's all overwritten after thirty years anyway.
It's worth mentioning since it's not a tiny fee by any stretch of the imagination. They will need to pay 9200 for the regular fee and then however much they take out for maintenance (london is very expensive) + interest rates. Its something to consider and it's pretty tone-deaf to say imply its not a significant issue when it will undoubtedly cost their parents a significant amount of money too as the government expects them to chip in and plenty of students have to make university decisions based off of the financial means available. Also, just because its written off after 30 years is not a good reason to ignore it, they will still be losing about 9% of their income for a longer amount of time which they could be spending on other things in life.
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username4218074
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(Original post by OxFossil)
Contrary to appearences, it's not hard to answer the OP.

There is no BMAT required for Biochemistry - which is the course they are contemplating.

They will need to be performing at high 2:1 or 1st level at their current university.

https://uni-of-oxford.custhelp.com/a...dy-studying-at

At interview, candidates are not all asked the same questions. Typically, each panel will have a pool of questions of comparable difficulty and range which they mix-and-match from one candidate to the next, ensuring to cover roughly the same range of skills and understanding. Bear in mind that the point is not to produce the "right" answer, but to demonstrate an informed interest and a flexible, creative learning style. The OP would likely be asked questions from this same selection, but would be expected to give answers which reflect their higher level experience than candidates straight from school.
Yeah this is my bad to be fair I think I misread OP or got confused with another post - I thought they were debating between biomedical sciences at Oxford/biochemistry when deciding which one to apply to from UCL and biomedical sciences does require the BMAT, thanks for clearing that up. Also I just generally meant that they would expect candidates to display a higher level of experience, for me personally the jump from AS-A2 is considerably more complex, especially for my courses and so naturally reflected that in my post but it is just subjective ig.
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username4218074
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(Original post by WeAreSuchStuff)
You're missing the point. Unless you can provide data to demonstrate that PQAs (particularly undergraduates and postgraduates) do not achieve higher scores in admissions assessments than their pre-qualification competition, or at the very minimum that the difference is not statistically significant, your entire argument is redundant. On the balance of probabilities, a candidate in the upper echelons of education is likely to fare better in a non-standard test of their abilities than a candidate in a lower one, all else being equal, simply because of the disparity in experience (i.e. they will have had exposure to more problems, and at a higher level, probably also with greater regularity).

Using your logic, the prerequisite knowledge is higher for PQAs, therefore why would they expect them to sit an aptitude test for Y13s when some of them have progressed far beyond that stage (both in terms of content and the required rigour of problem-solving)? This does not compute and you have also created a false dichotomy (that Oxford must reinvent interviews to level the playing field) . I have seen multiple interviews and also worked through aptitude tests in the past so I have a better understanding than you give me credit for. If you say the BMAT (or any other aptitude test for that matter) is designed to test suitability for a course (i.e. by identifying if the candidate can procure solutions to problems by means of an indirect approach), then the interview also does precisely that but with the added component of a dialogue with the AT (to evaluate their capacity for reflective inquiry). Consequently, it still stands to reason that if Oxbridge thought they could better assess these applicants by significantly modifying the style of interviews, they would also have thought the same about their entrance exams. Also note that I don't refute the posssibility of the OP's interview questions being slightly more challenging, just not to the extent that you've claimed.
People, in theory, don't progress "far beyond" an aptitude test, that's why its called an aptitude test. The interview is a dialogue and the interviewers have free-reign to discuss what they want, its common knowledge that they would expect a PQA to have a firmer understanding of the A-level specification and so link those ideas in better whereas a year 13 student would not be able to do so. The other guy summed up my perspective on the aptitude tests p well but its unfair to suggest that studying natural sciences would make someone naturally more adept at the BMAT since the problems they're exposed to don't actually line up with the way they are in the bmat and if OP had to do the test, which they don't, they'd need to spend just as much time as anyone else in preparing for it. "not to the extent that you've claimed" - already talked on this so I won't repeat myself. I also don't need to demonstrate statistics. 1) Undergrads/postgrads may perform better for other reasons rather than just becoming more adept at the BMAT because of their course. 2) I was disagreeing with your point that it would be improbable that UCL natsci student would struggle with the BMAT - you made the claim so ig its on you to provide the data or smn. Undergrads might do better on the BMAT since they just get more hardworking/intelligent - perhaps, but this wouldn't apply to OP anyway since UCL natsci for 4 months wouldn't have this effect and as Jordan mentioned I doubt simply doing a course at UCL is good enough reason to say that its improbable for them to struggle with the BMAT tbh.
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(Original post by Levi.-)
People, in theory, don't progress "far beyond" an aptitude test, that's why its called an aptitude test. The interview is a dialogue and the interviewers have free-reign to discuss what they want, its common knowledge that they would expect a PQA to have a firmer understanding of the A-level specification and so link those ideas in better whereas a year 13 student would not be able to do so. The other guy summed up my perspective on the aptitude tests p well but its unfair to suggest that studying natural sciences would make someone naturally more adept at the BMAT since the problems they're exposed to don't actually line up with the way they are in the bmat and if OP had to do the test, which they don't, they'd need to spend just as much time as anyone else in preparing for it. "not to the extent that you've claimed" - already talked on this so I won't repeat myself. I also don't need to demonstrate statistics. 1) Undergrads/postgrads may perform better for other reasons rather than just becoming more adept at the BMAT because of their course. 2) I was disagreeing with your point that it would be improbable that UCL natsci student would struggle with the BMAT - you made the claim so ig its on you to provide the data or smn. Undergrads might do better on the BMAT since they just get more hardworking/intelligent - perhaps, but this wouldn't apply to OP anyway since UCL natsci for 4 months wouldn't have this effect and as Jordan mentioned I doubt simply doing a course at UCL is good enough reason to say that its improbable for them to struggle with the BMAT tbh.
whether or not undergrad/postgrad students do perform better is irrelevant because you cannot actually pinpoint why that is. The fact this person said that it's improbable that a UCL natsci student would struggle with the BMAT (without actually having seen the statistics/legend themselves or looked extensively at the BMAT and natsci courses to see how their logic might flow) should've been the end of the conversation. On the one hand they made a blind claim based on their opinion on what a UCL natural sciences student should be capable of (natsci has an 84% offer rate by the way) and how difficult the BMAT should be without any stats, and on the other have lamented you for doing the same thing and you decided that arguing over the statistics was a constructive use of your time. They said something tone-deaf and you in response took the bait and decided to die on a very pointless hill, though I tend to agree with your points, the mention of statistics is pointless.

Need I remind you Levi, that you have made it something of a habit to mix genuine advice and shitposting together on this site which dilutes the quality of advice you give sometimes - here you were mostly right but saying they are "leagues more complex" could be misleading as that is relative to OP. Simply put, they're not applying for biomed so BMAT is irrelevant, they would be expected to have a stronger grasp on the A-level knowledge and university topics they have covered which may incline interviewers to expect a higher quality of reasoning as they have more ideas to link together etc, and they should of course consider the finances of their decisions. If person A decides to say something silly, you don't need to use other silly ideas to confront them just leave things be.
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WeAreSuchStuff
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(Original post by JordanTRichie)
It's worth mentioning since it's not a tiny fee by any stretch of the imagination. They will need to pay 9200 for the regular fee and then however much they take out for maintenance (london is very expensive) + interest rates. Its something to consider and it's pretty tone-deaf to say imply its not a significant issue when it will undoubtedly cost their parents a significant amount of money too as the government expects them to chip in and plenty of students have to make university decisions based off of the financial means available. Also, just because its written off after 30 years is not a good reason to ignore it, they will still be losing about 9% of their income for a longer amount of time which they could be spending on other things in life.
Again, you're missing the point. The OP has financing for the full length of their degree plus an insurance year; this means they will have the wherewithal to cope for the duration of their Oxford degree. Furthermore, they willl be paying for their Student Loan only once they earn over the threshold salary, and in negligible regular instalments, and the nature of the repayment (negated after 30 years), renders it more of a graduate tax than anything else. If the OP earned 30K annually (the average salary for a graduate this year), they would be paying a mere £21 per month -- I strongly doubt they would even notice such a trivial deficit from their balance. For comparison, this rate is less than half of Income Tax, which most people still barely notice leaving their account. They will not be under some severe financial stranglehold as you have maintained. Moreover, the claim that the government somehow expects parents to invalidate an expense to the account of an independent adult is completely ridiculous and unfounded -- much like everything you've said today...
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WeAreSuchStuff
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(Original post by JordanTRichie)
Receiving an offer from Oxbridge =/= always being on track to achieve a high 2:1 at a non-oxbridge university? What a profoundly ignorant thing to say. Many people get offers from Oxbridge, miss their offers and then get 2:2s and thirds at university etc.
Shifting the goalposts appears to be your primary skill. Also, you seem to have lost your faculty of comprehension. By "always" in this context, I clearly meant, in all cases, up to the point of receiving the offer. So perhaps, I should have added a "have been" afterwards, seeing how greatly you struggled to grasp that, instead opting to refer to irrelevant extreme cases.

And the reason Oxford require a high 2:1/First to successfully apply is because they have data to suggest these candidates are the likeliest to manage on the Oxford degree (their website states this is "the minimum to be able to make a competitive application") therefore Oxford offer-holders achieving a high 2:1/First at other institutions is an entirely reasonable deduction within the scope stated. The University didn't just set arbitrarily high admissions requirements.
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