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Oxford - how important are the entry requirements?

I'm applying to Oxford and I have the exact grades needed to meet the the entry requirements. As these aren't the top (straight A*) I'm worried it may risk my chance of a position there. How much do the interviews, interview questions, EPQ, and entrance exams weigh the decision. If I do extremely well in those will I have a better chance (I'm applying for physics by the way, a very competetive subject)

Edit: I also think I have a decently robust knowledge of the subject (I know a lot about the uncertainty theorem and relativity, I've attended quite a few lectures on it and maths, and I very much love the subject). I am also considering drafting answers to common questions, if you have any advice on that
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by NoRJoke112233
I'm applying to Oxford and I have the exact grades needed to meet the the entry requirements. As these aren't the top (straight A*) I'm worried it may risk my chance of a position there. How much do the interviews, interview questions, EPQ, and entrance exams weigh the decision. If I do extremely well in those will I have a better chance (I'm applying for physics by the way, a very competetive subject)

Edit: I also think I have a decently robust knowledge of the subject (I know a lot about the uncertainty theorem and relativity, I've attended quite a few lectures on it and maths, and I very much love the subject). I am also considering drafting answers to common questions, if you have any advice on that


Hi,

I would just like to let you know of my experience applying to Oxbridge last year. I, alongside a lot of my classmates, applied to Oxford/Cambridge. I was predicted A*, A*, A (+ EPQ) and felt I had a very strong personal statement and entry exam. I did not get an interview. One of my classmates was predicted A*, A*, A*, A* (+ EPQ), he was head boy of the School and had completed exemplary super-curricular activities. He did not get invited to an interview either.

I am by no means trying to scare you away from applying to Oxbridge, but when applying last year, it would have been nice for me to hear a harsh reality about just how difficult it is to get into those two universities.

To answer your question, of course doing well in entrance exams and personal statements help, but grades do bear a heavy weighting in the application process. You will be up against the very best students in the country for your subject.

So absolutely yes apply, go for it, because you will kick yourself if you don't. You may just be one of the lucky ones that gets to study at one of the best universities in the world! But remember that there are other great unis out there - Oxbridge isn't the be-all and end-all.

Hope I've helped in some way, and good luck with your application :smile: !!!
Original post by James_B2003
Hi,

I would just like to let you know of my experience applying to Oxbridge last year. I, alongside a lot of my classmates, applied to Oxford/Cambridge. I was predicted A*, A*, A (+ EPQ) and felt I had a very strong personal statement and entry exam. I did not get an interview. One of my classmates was predicted A*, A*, A*, A* (+ EPQ), he was head boy of the School and had completed exemplary super-curricular activities. He did not get invited to an interview either.

I am by no means trying to scare you away from applying to Oxbridge, but when applying last year, it would have been nice for me to hear a harsh reality about just how difficult it is to get into those two universities.

To answer your question, of course doing well in entrance exams and personal statements help, but grades do bear a heavy weighting in the application process. You will be up against the very best students in the country for your subject.

So absolutely yes apply, go for it, because you will kick yourself if you don't. You may just be one of the lucky ones that gets to study at one of the best universities in the world! But remember that there are other great unis out there - Oxbridge isn't the be-all and end-all.

Hope I've helped in some way, and good luck with your application :smile: !!!


Thank you very much for your advice. Would you mind providing more context, as in why you thought you and your classmate were denied? What were your GCSE grades? Your attendance and homework rate? Your personal statements? If you would prefer not to, thank you anyway.

One last thing, what subjects were you applying for and at which uni in particular? From what I've heard, Oxford is easier to get into than Cambridge, and some subjects are much more competitive than others.
Hey so I actually hold an offer for physics at Oxford and I think that predicted grades can advantage you but they're unlikely to disadvantage you (unless they're below the entry requirements).

Physics admissions has a very clear procedure. After the PAT, you're given a score based on your PAT score and cGCSE (well at least pre-COVID, they didn't consider GCSEs this year). The top ~250 or so are automatically shortlisted for an interview. Then an extra ~150 or so are shortlisted based on "other evidence of excellence" and contextual data. This is when your predicted grades might come in so try and aim to be in the automatic shortlist. After your interview, you're also given a score and that's added up to your PAT grade and candidates are ranked and divided into three bands. Usually almost all band A candidates get in and some band B who have e.g. good predicted grades. So again, if you're already a band A candidate with an excellent interview score and PAT score, your grades are unlikely to hurt you.

If there's nothing you can change about your predicted grades, then focus on PAT and interview prep. It's great that you're learning about the uncertainty theorem! However, don't fall into the trap of spending all your time reading about super complicated material because a. you're unlikely to have the mathematical background to properly understand it b.you'll be taught the advanced stuff again at university anyways and c. it's incredibly unlikely to come up in your interview. Do of course read around for interest, you love the subject that's why you're studying it after all, but focus your prep for interviews and tests on sharpening your A level skills. Good luck!
(edited 8 months ago)
Yes there are a few A2 topics. Check out the syllabus here: https://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/study/undergraduates/how-apply/physics-aptitude-test-pat/pat-syllabus

Good luck!
Moved thread to the Uni of Oxford forum.
Original post by Mocha Latte
Yes there are a few A2 topics. Check out the syllabus here: https://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/study/undergraduates/how-apply/physics-aptitude-test-pat/pat-syllabus

Good luck!


Thanks Dude!
hey I’m going to apply for physics as well! good luck :smile:
Original post by salamander2021
hey I’m going to apply for physics as well! good luck :smile:


You too man.
Hello to all, this looks like a really great discussion to post a similar problem of mine here. I am currently an IB DP2 student that is super stressed about my predicted grades. Currently I am predicted a 39-40/45, basically just scraping past the minimum IB requirement for my desired subject (biomedical sciences at Oxford). I understand that applications to Oxford are really competitive, and I was wondering whether this predicted grade would affect my chances at getting admitted. According to the posts here, I am juggling my chances of getting an interview if I get top marks in BMAT. Could anyone please advice me on how much Oxford looks at predicted grades? And how much this compares with other factors (e.g. your PS or your BMAT scores), especially in the field of biomedical sciences. Thanks a lot :smile:

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