How does Oxbridge admissions work?

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Anonymous #1
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Do they have several processes before giving out an interview?

For example, will a tutor who is responsible for all undergraduate admission filter applicants. Then, will an academic/director tutor at the college you applied for consider it?
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Anonymous #2
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depends on course and between Oxford or cambridge. Oxford often use a variety of factors to score an applicant or put them in bands beforehand using GCSE A*s, A-level grades and admissions tests scores. Quite often Oxford use an algorithm to rank students based on their GCSEs/cGCSEs/Entrance exam.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
depends on course and between Oxford or cambridge. Oxford often use a variety of factors to score an applicant or put them in bands beforehand using GCSE A*s, A-level grades and admissions tests scores. Quite often Oxford use an algorithm to rank students based on their GCSEs/cGCSEs/Entrance exam.
So, it is an algorithm that determines who's gonna receive an interview offer? If so, can entrance exam can compensate GCSE scores, and vice versa?
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
So, it is an algorithm that determines who's gonna receive an interview offer? If so, can entrance exam can compensate GCSE scores, and vice versa?
depends on the course, not all use an algorithm; at Oxford Medicine, an algorithm is used to rank students. 50% is GCSE, 50% BMAT. Not the same for all courses
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
depends on the course, not all use an algorithm; at Oxford Medicine, an algorithm is used to rank students. 50% is GCSE, 50% BMAT. Not the same for all courses
how about less competitive courses like biology?
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
how about less competitive courses like biology?
are you talking about Oxford, or Cambridge (natural sciences). Afaik there is no entrance exam for biology at oxford so you can't compensate for GCSEs in that.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Anonymous)
So, it is an algorithm that determines who's gonna receive an interview offer?
Its often a part... to my knowledge though, all applications are at least looked at by a human, to make sure there are no major contextual factors they need to consider. Edit: Sorry to clarify: I mean for Oxford here.

Not a single person though, least of all the head of admissions - imagine how long going through 1000-2000 applications would take!
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
are you talking about Oxford, or Cambridge (natural sciences). Afaik there is no entrance exam for biology at oxford so you can't compensate for GCSEs in that.
Cambridge, I heard they have an entrance exam, and was wondering if it could be fully compensated by like getting the top mark
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by nexttime)
Its often a part... to my knowledge though, all applications are at least looked at by a human, to make sure there are no major contextual factors they need to consider.

Not a single person though, least of all the head of admissions - imagine how long going through 1000-2000 applications would take!
oh okay, can it (GCSE) also be compensated by high entrance exam score in courses like biology?
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Cambridge, I heard they have an entrance exam, and was wondering if it could be fully compensated by like getting the top mark
oh Cambridge don't care about gcses at all as long as you have decent grades for the sciences/maths. But it wouldn't be an issue no but they might differentiate between A-level predictions and they tend to interview most applicants. Getting a good entrance exam score is important too but you don't need to do amazing tbh. Also Cambridge don't offer biology, their Natsci course is one of their flagships and pretty competitive as a result.
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(Original post by Anonymous)
oh okay, can it (GCSE) also be compensated by high entrance exam score in courses like biology?
If there is an entrance exam, they maybe?

Cambridge typically doesn't do a lot of selection based on GCSE AFAIK.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
oh Cambridge don't care about gcses at all as long as you have decent grades for the sciences/maths. But it wouldn't be an issue no but they might differentiate between A-level predictions and they tend to interview most applicants. Getting a good entrance exam score is important too but you don't need to do amazing tbh. Also Cambridge don't offer biology, their Natsci course is one of their flagships and pretty competitive as a result.
Ah okay, does it also apply to Oxford? Since I heard that they won't necessarily care about GCSE once A-level results are achieved??
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by nexttime)
If there is an entrance exam, they maybe?

Cambridge typically doesn't do a lot of selection based on GCSE AFAIK.
Ah cool thanks! was also wondering if this also applied to Oxford? where I heard that they weigh less once A-levels are achieved??
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Ah okay, does it also apply to Oxford? Since I heard that they won't necessarily care about GCSE once A-level results are achieved??
For a lot of courses like Medicine, PPE and E&M Oxford view achieved A-level grades and predictions as the same so don't make a difference. I think this year the Biology department however, interviewed everyone who met the min entry requirements if they had achieved those A-level grades already and demonstrated a good interest in biology. Poor GCSEs before this will be a big hindrance though and they don't do an admissions test for Oxford biology.
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Anonymous #2
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https://www.biology.ox.ac.uk/admissions source
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
For a lot of courses like Medicine, PPE and E&M Oxford view achieved A-level grades and predictions as the same so don't make a difference. I think this year the Biology department however, interviewed everyone who met the min entry requirements if they had achieved those A-level grades already and demonstrated a good interest in biology. Poor GCSEs before this will be a big hindrance though and they don't do an admissions test for Oxford biology.
right thanks,

hb other courses like chemistry or other less competitive courses that do require admission tests? Will I have a chance to compensate poor GCSEs by achieving the top grade?
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Anonymous #1
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also, I was wondering. I heard that if you'd get the top score in the admission score, you would be automatically interviewed? Is that true?
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
also, I was wondering. I heard that if you'd get the top score in the admission score, you would be automatically interviewed? Is that true?
there is no automatic system in place which guarantees that if that's what you're asking but the way admissions works, unless there was no bottleneck which impacted the applicant first (like if they didn't reach the minimum GCSE grades needed) they probably would. If you have poor GCSEs its highly unlikely you'd top the admissions tests as well.
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
right thanks,

hb other courses like chemistry or other less competitive courses that do require admission tests? Will I have a chance to compensate poor GCSEs by achieving the top grade?
Chemistry requires pretty high GCSE grades from what I've seen, the average number of 8-9s an accepted applicant had was around 7-8. Also its impossible to tell without going through each course. You're never going to get into Oxford with that attitude, pick something you genuinely like and apply.
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Anonymous #2
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Also, I'm unsure what a "less competitive course is". Sure there are some super competitive courses in terms of both number of applicants and academic standards like Medicine, Maths, PPE/E&M etc. but even some of the obscurer ones with fewer applicants are very competitive because those applicants will have spent years preparing for a really obscure course because they love it and will have top grades and a particular aptitude for that course that is difficult to emulate. Might be fewer applicants per place, but that each individual applicant is more driven and prepared.
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