grace04935
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Hi.
So I'm in Year 12 and I want to read Theology at Oxford. I got good grades in my GCSEs, and I'm doing well at A-Level, but I honestly just feel completely out of my depth when it comes to super curricular reading. I had a call with my college's Oxbridge co-ordinator, and it has knocked my confidence a lot - he basically called me inarticulate...
To an extent he may be right, I've been told my written work is impressive, but spontaneous questions/conversations about a subject really make me look like an idiot. I'm not well-read at all, and I don't know where to start. I just want to prove everyone wrong - I guess what I'm asking is what sort of books/areas of research would you recommend for a basal understanding of theology, ones that I can use in my personal statement and also to lay the foundations for more cohesive, confident conversation with academics? I have 10 weeks of summer holidays ahead of me to try and get this nailed down!
Thank you in advance
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vettycroissant
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Try not to let your Oxbridge co-ordinator knock your confidence. 10 years ago mine told me they wouldn't allow me to apply and if I did I would not get an interview. I can't tell you how good it felt a few weeks later, staying at Oriel College for my interviews!

Oxford don't have any particular texts they suggest for Theology applicants (see here), just that you should just read about areas of the subject that interest you (this is also best for your personal statement as if your statement is used for interview, you'll be most likely to discuss your ideas well). They also suggest: "You may also find it interesting to explore the BBC Radio 4 archives of the 'In Our Time' program, especially the Religion and Philosophy archives."

Cambridge have some pointers here.
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OxFossil
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(Original post by grace04935)
Hi.
So I'm in Year 12 and I want to read Theology at Oxford. I got good grades in my GCSEs, and I'm doing well at A-Level, but I honestly just feel completely out of my depth when it comes to super curricular reading. I had a call with my college's Oxbridge co-ordinator, and it has knocked my confidence a lot - he basically called me inarticulate...
To an extent he may be right, I've been told my written work is impressive, but spontaneous questions/conversations about a subject really make me look like an idiot. I'm not well-read at all, and I don't know where to start. I just want to prove everyone wrong - I guess what I'm asking is what sort of books/areas of research would you recommend for a basal understanding of theology, ones that I can use in my personal statement and also to lay the foundations for more cohesive, confident conversation with academics? I have 10 weeks of summer holidays ahead of me to try and get this nailed down!
Thank you in advance
Bear in mind that at this stage, no-one will expect you to have a polished understanding of the whole field of theology or philosophy. A general introduction like A C Grayling's "History of Philosophy" might be helpful.The issue you seem to be most concerned about is being able to put together a coherent argument in conversation? Bear in mind they want students who are teachable, rather than super-confident and unshakeable in their convictions. You may need to practice putting words to your your doubts about weaknesses in any argument and showing you can change your mind in response to compelling counter arguments. I'm not sure youtuber Cosmic Skeptic has it all right, but he is a Philosophy & Theology student at Oxford, so his thoughts on reading may be helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm8oXab3zSk

Above all, follow your interests. If you are finding the reading/learning a chore, there's something wrong!
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