The Student Room Group

Help: Oxford or Cambridge for Law in this situation?

Hi all - intl student here.
I'm a student taking a gap year, and just received my A-level grades: 2A* (Law, Econ), A (English Lit) and B (Maths). I'm having the Lit and Math papers remarked, but in all probability, they'll not do much anyway - I don't fancy my chances with a remark (CIE board is notoriously absurd in grading) despite being predicted 3A* 1A.

GCSE - 6A* 2A (As in Maths, and a foreign language). My school didn't allow more than 8 GCSEs due to timetable issues. Intl student, so no contextualisation of these grades; most that I can do is tell the referee to mention these were pretty good results for my school.

Anyhow, I'm not complaining in the slightest since many friends got way worse - but I do want to ask; is Oxford or Cambridge more viable in this situation (Law)? I know;

1. Oxford places more emphasis on GCSEs than Cambridge, but perhaps with achieved grades, this would be less of an issue? I know they focus more on GCSEs due to them being the last exams taken before applying in most cases.

2. Oxford interviews fewer ppl by whittling down before interview - however, with Cambridge now introducing the LNAT pre-interview, perhaps this will mean they both now interview roughly equal amounts?

3. Cambridge has higher entry conditions. I know I've met the conditions for both (2A* 1A when A*AA needed for Cam, AAA for Ox) but somehow I feel that my A levels might hold me back more applying to Cam than Ox - and yet ironically my GCSEs might hold me back more at Ox than Cam. I've heard the old "Better A levels? Go to Cam. Better GCSEs go to Ox" but in this case I'm not sure whether its my A levels or GCSEs which are better XD

Sorry for the really long post, I just need some guidance and help. If it makes any difference, Oxford is about 4 grand cheaper for intls - but honestly with fees already so high at both, if Cambridge really is the "safer" shot, it would be worth it. And I know neither is "safe", but I'm sure you get what I mean.

Btw - I applied to Cam this year, got pooled, rejected. Feedback: great CLT exam, good first interview, meh 2nd interview and overall competition was just too high for me to get in with the 2nd interview being "eh". That said, I'm keen to get a shot in front of the interviewers (since I'm a weak candidate on paper) which is why Cam was an easy choice in 2021 - just unsure whether Cam will still be easier to get an interview with since they added the pre-interview LNAT.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by anaveragekid
Hi all - intl student here.
I'm a student taking a gap year, and just received my A-level grades: 2A* (Law, Econ), A (English Lit) and B (Maths). I'm having the Lit and Math papers remarked, but in all probability, they'll not do much anyway - I don't fancy my chances with a remark (CIE board is notoriously absurd in grading) despite being predicted 3A* 1A.

GCSE - 6A* 2A (As in Maths, and a foreign language). My school didn't allow more than 8 GCSEs due to timetable issues. Intl student, so no contextualisation of these grades; most that I can do is tell the referee to mention these were pretty good results for my school.

Anyhow, I'm not complaining in the slightest since many friends got way worse - but I do want to ask; is Oxford or Cambridge more viable in this situation (Law)? I know;

1. Oxford places more emphasis on GCSEs than Cambridge, but perhaps with achieved grades, this would be less of an issue? I know they focus more on GCSEs due to them being the last exams taken before applying in most cases.

2. Oxford interviews fewer ppl by whittling down before interview - however, with Cambridge now introducing the LNAT pre-interview, perhaps this will mean they both now interview roughly equal amounts?

3. Cambridge has higher entry conditions. I know I've met the conditions for both (2A* 1A when A*AA needed for Cam, AAA for Ox) but somehow I feel that my A levels might hold me back more applying to Cam than Ox - and yet ironically my GCSEs might hold me back more at Ox than Cam. I've heard the old "Better A levels? Go to Cam. Better GCSEs go to Ox" but in this case I'm not sure whether its my A levels or GCSEs which are better XD

Sorry for the really long post, I just need some guidance and help. If it makes any difference, Oxford is about 4 grand cheaper for intls - but honestly with fees already so high at both, if Cambridge really is the "safer" shot, it would be worth it. And I know neither is "safe", but I'm sure you get what I mean.

Btw - I applied to Cam this year, got pooled, rejected. Feedback: great CLT exam, good first interview, meh 2nd interview and overall competition was just too high for me to get in with the 2nd interview being "eh". That said, I'm keen to get a shot in front of the interviewers (since I'm a weak candidate on paper) which is why Cam was an easy choice in 2021 - just unsure whether Cam will still be easier to get an interview with since they added the pre-interview LNAT.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!

The long post is useful context, thank you.

You are spot on that your UCAS reference is the best place to contextualise GCSE results, and also mention that subjects were limited to 8.
A*A*AA meets the typical offer requirements of all Cambridge colleges; Oxford's requirements are AAA so you've surpassed that.
I don't think that means your chances are greater at Oxford though. Qualification entry requirements are simply to narrow the pool of applicants, it's a threshold.

Honestly my advice would be instead of trying to game the system / maximise your chances, just apply to the university and college that you like the best. Have a look at both Law departments and see which you prefer in terms of course structure etc. and apply. You've rightly identified that interviews are crucial (at either uni), and your personal statement will need to be solid too.

Best of luck
Original post by anaveragekid
Hi all - intl student here.
I'm a student taking a gap year, and just received my A-level grades: 2A* (Law, Econ), A (English Lit) and B (Maths). I'm having the Lit and Math papers remarked, but in all probability, they'll not do much anyway - I don't fancy my chances with a remark (CIE board is notoriously absurd in grading) despite being predicted 3A* 1A.

GCSE - 6A* 2A (As in Maths, and a foreign language). My school didn't allow more than 8 GCSEs due to timetable issues. Intl student, so no contextualisation of these grades; most that I can do is tell the referee to mention these were pretty good results for my school.

Anyhow, I'm not complaining in the slightest since many friends got way worse - but I do want to ask; is Oxford or Cambridge more viable in this situation (Law)? I know;

1. Oxford places more emphasis on GCSEs than Cambridge, but perhaps with achieved grades, this would be less of an issue? I know they focus more on GCSEs due to them being the last exams taken before applying in most cases.

2. Oxford interviews fewer ppl by whittling down before interview - however, with Cambridge now introducing the LNAT pre-interview, perhaps this will mean they both now interview roughly equal amounts?

3. Cambridge has higher entry conditions. I know I've met the conditions for both (2A* 1A when A*AA needed for Cam, AAA for Ox) but somehow I feel that my A levels might hold me back more applying to Cam than Ox - and yet ironically my GCSEs might hold me back more at Ox than Cam. I've heard the old "Better A levels? Go to Cam. Better GCSEs go to Ox" but in this case I'm not sure whether its my A levels or GCSEs which are better XD

Sorry for the really long post, I just need some guidance and help. If it makes any difference, Oxford is about 4 grand cheaper for intls - but honestly with fees already so high at both, if Cambridge really is the "safer" shot, it would be worth it. And I know neither is "safe", but I'm sure you get what I mean.

Btw - I applied to Cam this year, got pooled, rejected. Feedback: great CLT exam, good first interview, meh 2nd interview and overall competition was just too high for me to get in with the 2nd interview being "eh". That said, I'm keen to get a shot in front of the interviewers (since I'm a weak candidate on paper) which is why Cam was an easy choice in 2021 - just unsure whether Cam will still be easier to get an interview with since they added the pre-interview LNAT.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!

Cambridge has more places than Oxford. Also, with the LNAT, you will be called for interview if you have a high score, at Cambridge. :smile:

Also, your GCSEs would be a problem for Oxford, as you only have 6A* 2A, but Cambridge would not care, as you've excelled.

I wonder which college you applied to at Cambridge University last year? :s-smilie:

Why not choose Girton College, Cambridge University? OR St. Catherine's College, Cambridge University? :wink:

The Oxford Law degree is pre-lim exams in Year 1 and Final Honour Schools modules during Year 2 and exams in 8 subjects in Year 3. :s-smilie:

If you want to risk being under a lot of pressure choose Oxford, but if you want exams every year then choose Cambridge.

Here is the URL to a Oxbridge Admissions eBook: https://storage.googleapis.com/wp-static/oxbridgeapplications.com/2019/11/Tell-Me-About-A-Banana-e-Book.pdf
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by anaveragekid
Hi all - intl student here.
I'm a student taking a gap year, and just received my A-level grades: 2A* (Law, Econ), A (English Lit) and B (Maths). I'm having the Lit and Math papers remarked, but in all probability, they'll not do much anyway - I don't fancy my chances with a remark (CIE board is notoriously absurd in grading) despite being predicted 3A* 1A.

GCSE - 6A* 2A (As in Maths, and a foreign language). My school didn't allow more than 8 GCSEs due to timetable issues. Intl student, so no contextualisation of these grades; most that I can do is tell the referee to mention these were pretty good results for my school.

Anyhow, I'm not complaining in the slightest since many friends got way worse - but I do want to ask; is Oxford or Cambridge more viable in this situation (Law)? I know;

1. Oxford places more emphasis on GCSEs than Cambridge, but perhaps with achieved grades, this would be less of an issue? I know they focus more on GCSEs due to them being the last exams taken before applying in most cases.

2. Oxford interviews fewer ppl by whittling down before interview - however, with Cambridge now introducing the LNAT pre-interview, perhaps this will mean they both now interview roughly equal amounts?

3. Cambridge has higher entry conditions. I know I've met the conditions for both (2A* 1A when A*AA needed for Cam, AAA for Ox) but somehow I feel that my A levels might hold me back more applying to Cam than Ox - and yet ironically my GCSEs might hold me back more at Ox than Cam. I've heard the old "Better A levels? Go to Cam. Better GCSEs go to Ox" but in this case I'm not sure whether its my A levels or GCSEs which are better XD

Sorry for the really long post, I just need some guidance and help. If it makes any difference, Oxford is about 4 grand cheaper for intls - but honestly with fees already so high at both, if Cambridge really is the "safer" shot, it would be worth it. And I know neither is "safe", but I'm sure you get what I mean.

Btw - I applied to Cam this year, got pooled, rejected. Feedback: great CLT exam, good first interview, meh 2nd interview and overall competition was just too high for me to get in with the 2nd interview being "eh". That said, I'm keen to get a shot in front of the interviewers (since I'm a weak candidate on paper) which is why Cam was an easy choice in 2021 - just unsure whether Cam will still be easier to get an interview with since they added the pre-interview LNAT.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!


I think your chances are probably approximately the same either way, and you should just pick whichever you personally prefer

That said, if I had the chance to choose again, I might have picked Cambridge to avoid having to do Final Honour School (quite possibly the most stressful 2 weeks of my life) and take more options (probably would not have chosen Jurisprudence if it weren't compulsory).

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