Oxbridge Admissions Tutoring

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GGO
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#1
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#1
I am in year 12 and aiming to study engineering at either Oxford or Cambridge. I did well at GCSEs and am doing well at AS/A-levels, but I understand that getting past the admissions tests and interviews are a step up from A-level (in some cases involving the entire course before you have covered it in school). I am seriously considering purchasing a tutoring programme designed for oxbridge admissions for this subject (involving practice materials, 1-1 tutoring and some mock interviews). However, I am asking to see if anyone with experience in this process has anything to add. I understand that not everyone has tutoring for oxbridge entry, but does anyone know roughly what percentage of entrants have tutoring? How useful/necessary is it? Could I teach myself and find these resources online? Do you have any advice?
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skylark2
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#2
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#2
Don't waste your money. No, you are not expected to know the entire course before you have been taught it - this is a lie promoted by people trying to get them to pay you for things you don't need. Most people don't have tutoring and the entire application process is set up to not disadvantage people who can't afford it.

Oxford Mum so she can point you at free resources.
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Rebeca5782
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#3
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#3
(Original post by GGO)
I am in year 12 and aiming to study engineering at either Oxford or Cambridge. I did well at GCSEs and am doing well at AS/A-levels, but I understand that getting past the admissions tests and interviews are a step up from A-level (in some cases involving the entire course before you have covered it in school). I am seriously considering purchasing a tutoring programme designed for oxbridge admissions for this subject (involving practice materials, 1-1 tutoring and some mock interviews). However, I am asking to see if anyone with experience in this process has anything to add. I understand that not everyone has tutoring for oxbridge entry, but does anyone know roughly what percentage of entrants have tutoring? How useful/necessary is it? Could I teach myself and find these resources online? Do you have any advice?
Hi There!
I had an interview at cambridge this year, and am waiting on the result … although it’s not going to be good 🤦🏼 But I would honestly say that if your going for an arts subject, there isn’t much you can directly prepare for the interview content wise, as they are designed to push you to a place your unfamiliar. In regards to STEM subjects I would say it’s widely the same, but having a good grounding on A - level knowledge will definitely help as they tend to base the initial questions on prior knowledge and then move you into an unfamiliar place afterwards. In regards, to purchasing a tutoring program, I wouldn’t as the vast majority of people get in to OXBRIDGE now a days without them. What I would say the most important thing to do is to focus on getting the best predicted grades that you can and reading widely around your subject. Then if in the summer you still decide to apply I would recommend doing as many past papers of the admissions test and practising speaking out loud about your subject, because that’s all you can really do.
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Oxford Mum
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#4
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#4
(Original post by GGO)
I am in year 12 and aiming to study engineering at either Oxford or Cambridge. I did well at GCSEs and am doing well at AS/A-levels, but I understand that getting past the admissions tests and interviews are a step up from A-level (in some cases involving the entire course before you have covered it in school). I am seriously considering purchasing a tutoring programme designed for oxbridge admissions for this subject (involving practice materials, 1-1 tutoring and some mock interviews). However, I am asking to see if anyone with experience in this process has anything to add. I understand that not everyone has tutoring for oxbridge entry, but does anyone know roughly what percentage of entrants have tutoring? How useful/necessary is it? Could I teach myself and find these resources online? Do you have any advice?
Hi there!

The paid tutoring programmes are an absolute rip off and are not endorsed by Oxford (and they have actually said they don't approve).

They cost over £4k and there is no guarantee you get in anyway. It's just a licence to print money and they peddle in people's desperation. For example one programme I looked at said the tutors come from Oxford but most of them were Oxford Brookes, lol. They pad the courses out with trips to Oxford, Stratford etc. One of the law programmes boasted a talk by a chief inspector of police. What the heck does that have to do with LNAT preparation or interview prep (plus a lot of it requires natural talent and a fantastic sense of logic)

Are you at state school, and have you got 7 x 8/9s at GCSE? You may be eligible for free mobile phone tutoring by an undergraduate in your subject. Look at Zero Gravity and get in touch with them.

I have also written a book called Oxford Demystified, with lots of handy hints on applying. There is a chapter about re-application that contains a lot of interview and admissions tests techniques by successful students.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6100480

All this guff about having to know the entire course is absolute nonsense, put about by people who don't know what they're on about.

Good luck.
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booklover1313
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#5
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#5
(Original post by GGO)
I am in year 12 and aiming to study engineering at either Oxford or Cambridge. I did well at GCSEs and am doing well at AS/A-levels, but I understand that getting past the admissions tests and interviews are a step up from A-level (in some cases involving the entire course before you have covered it in school). I am seriously considering purchasing a tutoring programme designed for oxbridge admissions for this subject (involving practice materials, 1-1 tutoring and some mock interviews). However, I am asking to see if anyone with experience in this process has anything to add. I understand that not everyone has tutoring for oxbridge entry, but does anyone know roughly what percentage of entrants have tutoring? How useful/necessary is it? Could I teach myself and find these resources online? Do you have any advice?
I do know one person who got in after being tutored like that, but nobody else I know did. They want to see how you think, and that's quite a hard thing to tutor for.
I think things that are useful are seeing if you can get mock interview practice, maybe through your school? Or if you have any connections with school alumnae/family friends, then having a mock interview can be helpful.
You will want to do preparation for the admission tests, but you don't need a programme to do that. There are books you can buy, and you can work through past papers.
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Oxford Mum
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#6
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#6
(Original post by booklover1313)
I do know one person who got in after being tutored like that, but nobody else I know did. They want to see how you think, and that's quite a hard thing to tutor for.
I think things that are useful are seeing if you can get mock interview practice, maybe through your school? Or if you have any connections with school alumnae/family friends, then having a mock interview can be helpful.
You will want to do preparation for the admission tests, but you don't need a programme to do that. There are books you can buy, and you can work through past papers.
I know some Oxford undergraduates living in London who offer tutoring but again it is expensive and there is no guarantee of success
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ran-dumb
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#7
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#7
I tried a bit of tutoring, not a scam like some others are. They genuinely gave lots of tips about my performance, set things up in a way that was realistic. By that I mean they'd ask a challenging question, ask you to work through it and give you tips when you're stuck, like in the actual interview. But I think it helps more in the sense of helping you get used to working out loud (you could practice that yourself I suppose?), working with hints and keeping going, but NOT to prep for the questions they'll ask you, because it'll almost certainly be different from what you did, there are just too many questions to choose from. So basically more Oxbridge specific interview skills but not making you 'smart' enough to make it. They're also very expensive, of course to take advantage of rich people who are who wouldn't mind forking thousands for a better shot.
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Theloniouss
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#8
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#8
(Original post by GGO)
I am in year 12 and aiming to study engineering at either Oxford or Cambridge. I did well at GCSEs and am doing well at AS/A-levels, but I understand that getting past the admissions tests and interviews are a step up from A-level (in some cases involving the entire course before you have covered it in school). I am seriously considering purchasing a tutoring programme designed for oxbridge admissions for this subject (involving practice materials, 1-1 tutoring and some mock interviews). However, I am asking to see if anyone with experience in this process has anything to add. I understand that not everyone has tutoring for oxbridge entry, but does anyone know roughly what percentage of entrants have tutoring? How useful/necessary is it? Could I teach myself and find these resources online? Do you have any advice?
There are no interviews or pre-interview assessments which require that you know entire A-level courses. Pre-interview assessments are based on AS levels and interviewers will not expect you to know anything you haven't covered.
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eeeli
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#9
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#9
(Original post by GGO)
I am in year 12 and aiming to study engineering at either Oxford or Cambridge. I did well at GCSEs and am doing well at AS/A-levels, but I understand that getting past the admissions tests and interviews are a step up from A-level (in some cases involving the entire course before you have covered it in school). I am seriously considering purchasing a tutoring programme designed for oxbridge admissions for this subject (involving practice materials, 1-1 tutoring and some mock interviews). However, I am asking to see if anyone with experience in this process has anything to add. I understand that not everyone has tutoring for oxbridge entry, but does anyone know roughly what percentage of entrants have tutoring? How useful/necessary is it? Could I teach myself and find these resources online? Do you have any advice?
They attempt to design the admissions process so tutoring doesn’t give you an advantage since not everyone can access it. The success of this is debatable but it is perfectly possible to get into Oxford without tutoring. The information a tutor can give you is probably in most cases available for free online if you do some digging. I also think you have been somewhat misled about the difficulty of the admissions process - they absolutely do not expect you to know things you have not already covered, and indeed may ask what you have done pre-interview to ensure your interview is not going to include content you know nothing about (unless the intention is to see how you approach new material). Oxford admissions are difficult, sure, but they’re difficult in such a way that there’s only so much a tutor can actually do for you. Having a tutor absolutely will not guarantee you get in, so I guess think about the expense and how you would feel if you didn’t get in after all that. If you’re at a state school you may be able to get free mentoring from Zero Gravity which will help you prepare rather than coach you, and if you are worried as a state educated student your school might not be much help I’d really recommend it. If you’re at a private school I’ll wager it’s quite likely your school will provide you with help preparing. Either way, speak to your school about what support they typically offer and do some research for free Oxford admissions resources before deciding on whether to get a tutor. Oxford admissions are to be honest quite subjective, there’s no one way to get it right and one tutor’s opinion on how to get ahead is probably very different to the next.
With admissions tests, there’s plenty of guides and past papers available online for free. The interview itself is a personal thing, and i don’t think it’s necessarily the best idea to have someone telling you what to say/do. Practicing a mock interview is useful, but you can find questions online and to practice talking through it anyone could run a mock interview for you - a teacher perhaps.
IMO the only part potentially worth getting a tutor for is entrance exams if you’re really struggling/there’s lots of unfamiliar content and you need someone to walk you through it but even then you could probably self teach and there are likely gonna be preparation books out there that will cost a fraction of what a tutor does. So really it’s up to you, but you do not need a tutor to get in and most people at Oxford that I know including myself had no tutoring and got in just fine!
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booklover1313
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#10
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#10
GGO As other people have said, you aren't expected to know everything. I didn't know something in my interview (like I hadn't come across it before), and that wasn't a problem, they just explained the basics and then let me work it out from there.
Last edited by booklover1313; 3 months ago
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Oxford Mum
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#11
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#11
(Original post by eeeli)
They attempt to design the admissions process so tutoring doesn’t give you an advantage since not everyone can access it. The success of this is debatable but it is perfectly possible to get into Oxford without tutoring. The information a tutor can give you is probably in most cases available for free online if you do some digging. I also think you have been somewhat misled about the difficulty of the admissions process - they absolutely do not expect you to know things you have not already covered, and indeed may ask what you have done pre-interview to ensure your interview is not going to include content you know nothing about (unless the intention is to see how you approach new material). Oxford admissions are difficult, sure, but they’re difficult in such a way that there’s only so much a tutor can actually do for you. Having a tutor absolutely will not guarantee you get in, so I guess think about the expense and how you would feel if you didn’t get in after all that. If you’re at a state school you may be able to get free mentoring from Zero Gravity which will help you prepare rather than coach you, and if you are worried as a state educated student your school might not be much help I’d really recommend it. If you’re at a private school I’ll wager it’s quite likely your school will provide you with help preparing. Either way, speak to your school about what support they typically offer and do some research for free Oxford admissions resources before deciding on whether to get a tutor. Oxford admissions are to be honest quite subjective, there’s no one way to get it right and one tutor’s opinion on how to get ahead is probably very different to the next.
With admissions tests, there’s plenty of guides and past papers available online for free. The interview itself is a personal thing, and i don’t think it’s necessarily the best idea to have someone telling you what to say/do. Practicing a mock interview is useful, but you can find questions online and to practice talking through it anyone could run a mock interview for you - a teacher perhaps.
IMO the only part potentially worth getting a tutor for is entrance exams if you’re really struggling/there’s lots of unfamiliar content and you need someone to walk you through it but even then you could probably self teach and there are likely gonna be preparation books out there that will cost a fraction of what a tutor does. So really it’s up to you, but you do not need a tutor to get in and most people at Oxford that I know including myself had no tutoring and got in just fine!
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Oxford Mum
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#12
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#12
(Original post by booklover1313)
GGO As other people have said, you aren't expected to know everything. I didn't know something in my interview (like I hadn't come across it before), and that wasn't a problem, they just explained the basics and then let me work it out from there.
And let’s face it, you would have to be a complete genius to know all the answers to interview questions! One would be lucky to know more than a couple immediately
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