ashsilva
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I'll be starting at Lady Margaret Hall this October, reading Biology.

My A-levels were Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I also did an EPQ.

Ask me anything about GCSEs, A-levels, or the Oxford application process!
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franklyfruity
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(Original post by ashsilva)
I'll be starting at Lady Margaret Hall this October, reading Biology.

My A-levels were Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I also did an EPQ.

Ask me anything about GCSEs, A-levels, or the Oxford application process!
any advice on picking a college to apply to? and what about personal statement tips that are oxford-specific? thanks so much!
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0ptics
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Is there anything, besides the grades, that made you a strong applicant in Oxford’s eyes?
How tough did you find oxford’s application process?
Any advice on how to increase your chances to get accepted by Oxford?
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KV5
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How hard would you say it is to not only get 3 A* but to also get into Oxford?
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Fluxions
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(Original post by ashsilva)
Ask me anything about GCSEs, A-levels, or the Oxford application process!
How many people do you estimate lie about getting into Oxbridge on TSR?
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mnot
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(Original post by ashsilva)
I'll be starting at Lady Margaret Hall this October, reading Biology.

My A-levels were Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. I also did an EPQ.

Ask me anything about GCSEs, A-levels, or the Oxford application process!
Congrats & good luck.
What goals do you have for yourself whilst your at Oxford?
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ashsilva
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(Original post by franklyfruity)
any advice on picking a college to apply to? and what about personal statement tips that are oxford-specific? thanks so much!
Hey! Here's what I recommend for picking a college:
1. Write down a full list of the colleges that offer your subject
2. Get rid of the colleges that aren't in your preferred location (e.g. in the middle of the city, or a bit futher out)
3. Get rid of the colleges that don't offer your preferred type of catering
4. Think about how formal of a college you want to go to. Do you want a very traditional experience, or a more laid-back experiece?
5. Have a look online at some Oxford college pros and cons lists to narrow it down from there.
6. If you can go to Oxford in person and have a look at your shortlisted colleges, I highly recommend this! You'll get a really good sense of the general vibe of the colleges.

Don't get too attached to one college in particular though. There's a good chance you'll be reassigned elsewhere, like I was - I originally applied to Wadham but I was reallocated to LMH (which ended up being a huge blessing!). So definitely stay open-minded.

For personal statement tips:
Have at least 85% of your personal statement be an honest discussion of what you've done outside of school to further your academic understanding of your subject.
Let your natural passion show - talk genuinely and personally about what you love about your subject and tie this in with what you've done to look further into it
Don't waste vital space with extracurriculars like DofE when your teachers can include it in your reference
It's not worth it to try and sound intelligent with obscure wording - definitely use academic language but the tutors will be able to tell if you use a word without fully understanding it

Hope this helps!
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ashsilva
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(Original post by Fluxions)
How many people do you estimate lie about getting into Oxbridge on TSR?
Hahahah, I dunno. You're just gonna have to trust me I suppose
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ashsilva
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(Original post by 0ptics)
Is there anything, besides the grades, that made you a strong applicant in Oxford’s eyes?
How tough did you find oxford’s application process?
Any advice on how to increase your chances to get accepted by Oxford?
I think there were three main things that made me an appealing applicant:
1. Having good GCSEs and good A-level predictions
2. Having done relevant reading and work experience in my subject
3. Being genuinely passionate about my subject and letting that show in my personal statement (by writing about the above point)

The process is tough, mostly because it's so lengthy and there are so many stages that you have to pass. The most difficult part of getting into Oxford for me was the interview. It's a daunting and unpredictable situation.

My best piece of advice for getting an offer is to practice doing interview questions as much as you can. Do them alone, out loud, get a friend or family member to ask you some example questions, whatever, just do it. There are banks of questions online for each subject. It'll prepare you a million times better for the interview than just memorising the stuff in your personal statement.
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ashsilva
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(Original post by KV5)
How hard would you say it is to not only get 3 A* but to also get into Oxford?
It's not easy, but if you're good at academics, work hard, and have a passion for your subject, it is completely within your reach.
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ashsilva
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(Original post by mnot)
Congrats & good luck.
What goals do you have for yourself whilst your at Oxford?
Thanks!
I'm not actually sure yet. I think my priority is getting myself out there, meeting loads of people, and experiencing as many new things as I can. Passing my degree would also be helpful I suppose
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summerbirdreads
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What are your GCSE grades?
How hard was the interview?
What was your EPQ about?
Did you spend a lot of time researching your subject for personal statement?
Did you read any books and watch documentaries for personal statement?
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taxonomy.
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what your gcses
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ashsilva
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
What are your GCSE grades?
How hard was the interview?
What was your EPQ about?
Did you spend a lot of time researching your subject for personal statement?
Did you read any books and watch documentaries for personal statement
At GCSE, I took triple science, English lit, English language, Maths, Spanish, DT, and RE. I got a 9 in every subject except for DT, where I got a 7.

The interviews are certainly designed to be challenging. The questions were hard and not within my comfort zone, but it's meant to be that way. The trick is not to panic about it, and think clearly + calmly. Do lots of practice questions beforehand and get used to being in the interview situation - you don't want the real thing to be your first time.

I wrote my EPQ on psychological and behavioural comparisons between orcas and humans, and why these features are adaptive to the two species. It really really helped with my Oxford application process.

Yes, I wrote about books that I read and documentaries that I'd seen in my personal statement. These were brief mentions though: I mostly wrote about other research that I'd done as a result of having read/seen them. If the books or documentaries are particularly academically rich you could talk directly about them and how you engaged with them. It's up to you: but don't make it up because your tutors will probably be able to tell.
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ashsilva
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(Original post by taxonomy.)
what your gcses
I took triple science, English lit, English language, Maths, Spanish, DT, and RE. I got a 9 in every subject except for DT, where I got a 7.
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PastelColours
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what exam board did you do for bio, any tips for a level biology for someone aiming for A/A*? ty and congrats!
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ashsilva
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(Original post by PastelColours)
what exam board did you do for bio, any tips for a level biology for someone aiming for A/A*? ty and congrats!
I did AQA biology! Would highly recommend doing past paper questions as your main form of revision. Really try and stretch yourself with them too. Once you see enough mark schemes you'll get pretty good at knowing what kind of answers the questions are looking for, and that's one of the hardest things to do in biology. Throught year 12 and 13 my teachers let me do them in class instead of the other activities they'd planned, and it meant that I was constantly ahead of everyone else.

Also, make sure you understand what's going on in your practicals. You don't need to memorise all of them (at least not for AQA) but as long as you've got a good idea of what you're doing and why, this will help you hugely.

Biology is an amazing subject, but boy do they make it difficult at A-level. Persevere. When you give up on biology, biology gives up on you.
Hope this helps
Last edited by ashsilva; 1 week ago
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black tea
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Would you have got 3 A*s if you actually had to sit the exams?
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ashsilva
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(Original post by black tea)
Would you have got 3 A*s if you actually had to sit the exams?
I did sit A-level exams. They were just internally assessed rather than externally.
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PastelColours
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(Original post by ashsilva)
I did AQA biology! Would highly recommend doing past paper questions as your main form of revision. Really try and stretch yourself with them too. Once you see enough mark schemes you'll get pretty good at knowing what kind of answers the questions are looking for, and that's one of the hardest things to do in biology. Throught year 12 and 13 my teachers let me do them in class instead of the other activities they'd planned, and it meant that I was constantly ahead of everyone else.

Also, make sure you understand what's going on in your practicals. You don't need to memorise all of them (at least not for AQA) but as long as you've got a good idea of what you're doing and why, this will help you hugely.

Biology is an amazing subject, but boy do they make it difficult at A-level. Persevere. When you give up on biology, biology gives up on you.
Hope this helps
thanks so much! wdym by stretching yourself with the past paper questions? as in doing as many as you can find etc. also do you have any tips on actually learning the content? ty!
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