The Student Room Group

American With Too Many Qualifications ( AS-Levels and AP)

I messed up. I am American and did not understand what I needed to do to get into Oxford even though my Dad graduated from Balliol with a Master’s Degree. QUESTION: I only needed 4 AP scores of 5 to apply as an American but I didn’t know it was so little until it was too late. I am a Junior (year 12) and will have 4 A-Levels with Cambridge International, 6 AS Levels, and 9 AP Exams via the College Board (55555554 and have 4 more pending AP exams. My high school won’t predict the last 4 AP exam scores.I have a killer personal statement and worked for some prominent politicians, but will my lower exam scores cancel out my good exam scores and totally ruin my chances for Oxford? I want to apply to Merton, Wadham, or LMH for History and Politics or PPE. Will too many scores hurt me? My good scores are in relevant subjects like history, english and politics. My bad scores are in science and math. Thanks!
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Lola_From_USA
I messed up. I am American and did not understand what I needed to do to get into Oxford even though my Dad graduated from Balliol with a Master’s Degree. QUESTION: I only needed 4 AP scores of 5 to apply as an American but I didn’t know it was so little until it was too late. I am a Junior (year 12) and have already achieved 7 AS-Levels with Cambridge International (AAABBCD) and 8 AP Exams via the College Board (5555543) and have 4 more pending AP exams. My high school won’t predict the last 4 AP exam scores.I have a killer personal statement and worked for some prominent politicians, but will my lower exam scores cancel out my good exam scores and totally ruin my chances for Oxford? I want to apply to Univ, Wadham, or LMH for History and Politics. How bad do these AS levels on UCAS? Will these scores hurt me? My good scores are in relevant subjects like history, english and politics. My bad scores are in science and math. Thanks!


I honestly do not know much about non uk qualifications. Personally, my sons did not get stellar AS level scores, but Oxford ignored them and they still got in. As long as you get the equivalent of AAA at A level, you're good to go.

It's only medicine that takes limited amounts of international students. If you are keen enough, and talented enough, why not have a go? It costs nothing. I see you have good scores in history and politics, so that's a great start.

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/history-and-politics

You will need to sit the HAT (history aptitude test)

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/history-and-politics

this is what everyone wanting to join a history course needs to do. Do have a look at sample HAT papers, to see if it is for you. The HAT score will be really important when it comes to selected those Oxford wants to interview.

You do not need to be a genius gradeswise, just have a natural interest and flair with history. I know of someone who got in with just 2 x 8/9s at GCSE.

For general pointers, here is my online book, Oxford Demystified

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

and the history Oxford Demystified chapter, by my younger son's friend

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?p=85140140&highlight=Oxford%20demystified

Even better, here is one of my favourite chapters, Hist/pol by his Majesty (a real hero, to me)

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6492118

Grades needed for AAA course (like hist/pol)

For courses requiring AAA:

Either Four APs at grade 5 (including any subjects required for the course you are applying to)

OR

Three APs at grade 5 (including any subjects required for the course you are applying to) plus a score of 31 or above in the ACT or 1460 or above (out of 1600) in the SAT. We do not require the optional essay for either the ACT or the SAT.

Please note that Calculus AB and Calculus BC cannot be counted as two separate subjects for the purposes of meeting your offer, whether taken as separate tests or by receiving the AB sub-score when taking Calculus BC.

The following combinations of Physics courses can be counted as two separate qualifications for the purposes of meeting your offer:

Physics C: Mechanics, and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Physics 1 and Physics 2
Physics 1and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Physics 2 and Physics C: Mechanics
If you are taking both Physics C courses, or both Physics 1 and Physics 2, you will not be able to count any additional Physics courses towards your offer requirements. In addition, only the specified combinations of Physics 1/2 and Physics C are permitted.

Superscoring

Please note that to meet the requirements of an offer to the University, your SAT Total Score for the SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and SAT Math sections must be from the same session; we will not consider scores from multiple sessions ('superscoring'). This also applies to scores for the ACT, so we will only consider the ‘Highest Full Battery’ score, and not the ACT Superscore.

Candidates are asked to enter all their scores for any tests taken when they complete their UCAS application, showing the relevant dates for each. This gives tutors a complete picture of a candidate's academic record, rather than just the ‘superscore’ of best results for the different sections of any test taken on multiple occasions.

Candidates are also asked to include any pending test scores on the UCAS application: that is, details of any test they intend to take up until the end of Senior Year. Again, this is to give tutors a complete picture of the candidates’ academic record, including studies which are still in progress.
Original post by atd59
UK unis are technically not supposed to look at your AS levels, because most UK schools now don't do them. of course, you still have to declare them, so they aren't totally ignored, but technically they aren't supposed to judge you based on them.

what i think you will have to be prepared to explain, however, is why you have done this. the UK university system (and, indeed, high school system) is far deeper and more targetted than in the US (of course, at the expense of breadth). so you have to ask yourself why have you done 7 AS levels (afterall, it's almost unheard of to do 5 in the UK, with 3/4 being the general amount) and 12 APs, when you're choosing to study in a country (and, particularly, a university) that cares about you having passion for one subject, not 15...

congrats on your results, they look overall pretty great, and it's good that your higher scores are in more relevant subjects! but since the quotas for oxbridge internationals are so low, you're going to have to work hard to come up with a reasoning why you have done such a variety of subjects, and subsequently why you have decided to study abroad in such a limited (comparatively) degree

tldr; Oxford have very bizarre ways of selecting students, so much of it is luck, and you obviously have enough good grades to show your potential. you will need to think, hwoever, on the question i outlined above :smile:


Thank you so much for replying! The reason I took so many AS Levels and AP exams is because I had to. We have to take a minimum of 28 modules over 4 years at my school. We cannot take LESS classes. If I took only one or two AS Levels, I would have to take more APs and vice versa. Or I would have to take easier classes and then would lose my rank. America is sick. It’s not unusual for students to take 18 APs or in some cases, as many as 8 A-Levels. I can’t wait to go to the UK and only focus on 4 modules a year in subjects I love!!! ❤️❤️❤️
Original post by Oxford Mum
I honestly do not know much about non uk qualifications. Personally, my sons did not get stellar AS level scores, but Oxford ignored them and they still got in. As long as you get the equivalent of AAA at A level, you're good to go.

It's only medicine that takes limited amounts of international students. If you are keen enough, and talented enough, why not have a go? It costs nothing. I see you have good scores in history and politics, so that's a great start.

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/history-and-politics

You will need to sit the HAT (history aptitude test)

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/history-and-politics

this is what everyone wanting to join a history course needs to do. Do have a look at sample HAT papers, to see if it is for you. The HAT score will be really important when it comes to selected those Oxford wants to interview.

You do not need to be a genius gradeswise, just have a natural interest and flair with history. I know of someone who got in with just 2 x 8/9s at GCSE.

For general pointers, here is my online book, Oxford Demystified

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

and the history Oxford Demystified chapter, by my younger son's friend

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?p=85140140&highlight=Oxford%20demystified

Even better, here is one of my favourite chapters, Hist/pol by his Majesty (a real hero, to me)

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6492118

Grades needed for AAA course (like hist/pol)

For courses requiring AAA:

Either Four APs at grade 5 (including any subjects required for the course you are applying to)

OR

Three APs at grade 5 (including any subjects required for the course you are applying to) plus a score of 31 or above in the ACT or 1460 or above (out of 1600) in the SAT. We do not require the optional essay for either the ACT or the SAT.

Please note that Calculus AB and Calculus BC cannot be counted as two separate subjects for the purposes of meeting your offer, whether taken as separate tests or by receiving the AB sub-score when taking Calculus BC.

The following combinations of Physics courses can be counted as two separate qualifications for the purposes of meeting your offer:

Physics C: Mechanics, and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Physics 1 and Physics 2
Physics 1and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Physics 2 and Physics C: Mechanics
If you are taking both Physics C courses, or both Physics 1 and Physics 2, you will not be able to count any additional Physics courses towards your offer requirements. In addition, only the specified combinations of Physics 1/2 and Physics C are permitted.

Superscoring

Please note that to meet the requirements of an offer to the University, your SAT Total Score for the SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and SAT Math sections must be from the same session; we will not consider scores from multiple sessions ('superscoring'). This also applies to scores for the ACT, so we will only consider the ‘Highest Full Battery’ score, and not the ACT Superscore.

Candidates are asked to enter all their scores for any tests taken when they complete their UCAS application, showing the relevant dates for each. This gives tutors a complete picture of a candidate's academic record, rather than just the ‘superscore’ of best results for the different sections of any test taken on multiple occasions.

Candidates are also asked to include any pending test scores on the UCAS application: that is, details of any test they intend to take up until the end of Senior Year. Again, this is to give tutors a complete picture of the candidates’ academic record, including studies which are still in progress.


Thank you!!!
In all honesty UK unis are used to seeing American candidates with an over abundance of qualifications.
Original post by atd59
UK unis are technically not supposed to look at your AS levels, because most UK schools now don't do them. of course, you still have to declare them, so they aren't totally ignored, but technically they aren't supposed to judge you based on them.

what i think you will have to be prepared to explain, however, is why you have done this. the UK university system (and, indeed, high school system) is far deeper and more targetted than in the US (of course, at the expense of breadth). so you have to ask yourself why have you done 7 AS levels (afterall, it's almost unheard of to do 5 in the UK, with 3/4 being the general amount) and 12 APs, when you're choosing to study in a country (and, particularly, a university) that cares about you having passion for one subject, not 15...

congrats on your results, they look overall pretty great, and it's good that your higher scores are in more relevant subjects! but since the quotas for oxbridge internationals are so low, you're going to have to work hard to come up with a reasoning why you have done such a variety of subjects, and subsequently why you have decided to study abroad in such a limited (comparatively) degree

tldr; Oxford have very bizarre ways of selecting students, so much of it is luck, and you obviously have enough good grades to show your potential. you will need to think, hwoever, on the question i outlined above :smile:


1) I don't think the fact that OP did so many AS levels and APs is going to be a problem. Oxford takes American students very regularly (in my year, there were several people at my college who did high school in the US) and they're used to seeing American qualifications (which, as you correctly mention, favour breadth over depth). So long as OP meets the academic requirements and can write a good personal statement demonstrating their interest in the chosen subject, they will be in as good a position as anyone else.

2) Oxbridge do not have quotas for internationals except for medicine. The medicine quota is imposed by the UK government on all UK universities.

3) Oxford's selection methodology is not bizarre. The tutors are really trying to select students who will excel in a tutorial setting, and the admissions process reflects that. There will always be an element of luck though.
They will consider all your qualifications (and you need to declare them all as well), but as above this is probably not an unusual situation for the Oxford admissions tutors, and I would expect they will probably mainly look at the most relevant results.

For UK applicants taking more than 3 A-levels for example, often they will just require a pass in any additional A-levels, or won't make them part of the offer at all - and will then just require the usual high results in the 3 A-level standard offer. I imagine a similar principle would apply to APs (granted I think they require 5 APs).

Ultimately they will look at your application holistically, and also any pre-interview admissions assessments or submitted work. They aren't machines going through a rigid algorithm, they do have discretion in choosing who to invite to interview and make offers to and so do take into account the whole picture.
Original post by artful_lounger
They will consider all your qualifications (and you need to declare them all as well), but as above this is probably not an unusual situation for the Oxford admissions tutors, and I would expect they will probably mainly look at the most relevant results.

For UK applicants taking more than 3 A-levels for example, often they will just require a pass in any additional A-levels, or won't make them part of the offer at all - and will then just require the usual high results in the 3 A-level standard offer. I imagine a similar principle would apply to APs (granted I think they require 5 APs).

Ultimately they will look at your application holistically, and also any pre-interview admissions assessments or submitted work. They aren't machines going through a rigid algorithm, they do have discretion in choosing who to invite to interview and make offers to and so do take into account the whole picture.

Thank you!
Original post by mishieru07
1) I don't think the fact that OP did so many AS levels and APs is going to be a problem. Oxford takes American students very regularly (in my year, there were several people at my college who did high school in the US) and they're used to seeing American qualifications (which, as you correctly mention, favour breadth over depth). So long as OP meets the academic requirements and can write a good personal statement demonstrating their interest in the chosen subject, they will be in as good a position as anyone else.

2) Oxbridge do not have quotas for internationals except for medicine. The medicine quota is imposed by the UK government on all UK universities.

3) Oxford's selection methodology is not bizarre. The tutors are really trying to select students who will excel in a tutorial setting, and the admissions process reflects that. There will always be an element of luck though.


Thanks so much!

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