who are the thickest people you know who got into oxbridge? (GCSE/AS GRADES)

Watch
This discussion is closed.
hitchhiker_13
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#101
Report 17 years ago
#101
(Original post by TomB2000)
i think that it is absolutely ridiculous that people get rejected from oxbridge with impeccable GCSE results, predicted grades, references and personal statement, written oxbridge entrance exams, in favour of those who do only averagely at GCSEs etc.
The oxbridge selection procedure should not revolve entirely around a subjective 20 minute interview - this is not a rigorous or fair method of selecting the best canditates...


GCSEs are not the be-all-and-end-all of education. There are not as easy as often made out, but you can do extremely well in a subject you have no particular gift for by working hard. This is a fact. They are not really a measure of intelligence. Also, you are underestimating how much someone can improve over two years, and how they can be much more suited to the A level system.

It's true the oxbridge selection process is not infallible, but nothing is. There is an element of luck involved. The difference of a few grades at GCSE makes no difference. As has been said countless times, it is enthusiasm, natural intelligence, and a proper attitude they are looking for, not 14 A*s achieved by slogging your guts out, although this is an admirable thing to have done.
0
Harry Potter
Badges:
#102
Report 17 years ago
#102
Surely the reason GCSEs aren't considered is because the majority of subjects are completely irrelevant. Especially in things like maths, GCSEs have absolutely no relation to ability. One of my classmates is a real maths prodigy, definitely in the top 30 or 40 in the country, but he'll probably 'only' get about 4a*s at GCSE. Since when would a maths interviewer care that you got ds in DT and art? Even in acedemic subjects like French, unless you're doing a language degree, your GCSE score is completely irrevlevant. All an a* would prove is that you have a very good memory and/or a very good teacher.

Obviously in things like medicine or law, which require a wide range of skills, GCSEs would be more important, but they still aren't a very good indicator of a candidate's suitability for the degree.
0
Stewie
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#103
Report 17 years ago
#103
(Original post by Specialheffa)
"I felt as if I earned it for all the service I did at school, for working hard at my exams to get the A's and A*s, for three years worth of reading and study around the subject and making sacrifices on most weekends and evenings to study, for keeping a bulging binder filled with articles I cut out from newspapers and magazines on the subject out of interest and for taking the time out to do an extra GCSE in Ancient Greek so that I wouldn't have to struggle to learn it in the first year of my degree."

Stewie, if you have such passion for the subject you should not feel so agreived that you put all this extra work in.. i absolutely adore English, therefore read expanisvely all the time, i am not doing this to get in Cam but for the passion in my subject. The way you put it is that the only reason you did more was to get in Cam, maybe the interviewers spotted that?
The love of your subject should have motivated yoou to work.... not to just get in Cambridge.

Those people you speak of, fine if they don't really have a passion etc they will get 2:2... however you go to a top uni and get a first honours.. theres the big difference.. If you constantly keep looking back at why you didn't get in, how unfair it is, you will never completely move on and enjoy the subject.

Putting all the extra work in just happened; I'd read something on the German Reformation, which would thus connect to the English Reformation and so forth. I do feel very glad that I have; it's has made me enjoy the subject even more (I love doing RS A-Level) as I see not only how important religion is to the modern world but I'm continously in awe of how it has changed the Western world for centuries (in particular Christianity). I know this work will pay off later hopefully when I do a post-graduate and perhaps a First too. I know that wherever I go I will be a good student; if there's anyone who was only interested in Cam, it was the minority of Theology applicants who apply because they think it's easy to get in to, and some of them do get in. Funny thing was, when I met applicants already there, they all said not only had I done more work then they had when they applied and actually had something to say about the subject, but it was a good thing that I had also picked up a Bible a few times before I went in to the interview...

I'm off to have a great gap year; good luck to everyone and please don't take the michael out of the system by applying to a small subject just to get in (just heard from someone in my school who got rejected for English and re-applied and got a place for Arch.& Anth. and will admit to hardly knowing what it is); people who really want to do the subject can lose out.

Haz- I was planning my Oxbridge application and taking advice when I was 15 while all my friends were out partying and having the time for boyfriends, please don't question my readiness for the system. If you were to hear my opinions on the Western exploitation of the Muslim world and the propaganda used to turn the West away from Islam's positive contributions and at times (yes), more advanced ways of thinking, I think you could be possibly "way over your head" and wondering which fundamentalist cleric spoonfed me. I have news for you; it's all from analysing the articles in my big binder and dicussing them with Muslims I know.....

JayJay- Although I do enjoy the Philosophy of Religion, I think Kant with all his ideas can kiss the fattest part of my bi-racial rump; I am more of a consequentialist with a utilitarian bent who is much more interested in Theology than Philosophy, though the methods are similar. When I applied to UCAS, I did it to get into university, not because I particularly enjoy checking the online tracker every 5 minutes. My interview was an exciting and intellectual experience and I'm very happy for that; all the work I have done has made me a better Theologian whether Cambridge wanted me or not, and that had prepared me for life and further study wherever I end up; I don't think it's been a waste in any way. Thinking about the methods we use without thinking about what can happen as a result I think is wrong. Is it okay to reveal where a Jew was hiding during German occupation because you believe it's wrong to lie? What about the life lost? Kant may have been a brilliant thinker truely embodying his time, but as J.S. Mill would say, education is what is needed to raise society. I think I've done that for myself for all my effort and work, and to be honest, with a degree or not, I do feel better prepared to face the world and understand it. Cambridge may get you a first class degree, but you can use it for toilet paper when it comes to things like coping with loss, finding a job, family disputes, mortages, crime, relationship troubles...things everyone faces and has to deal with equally. Whether your Cam degree means you earn a hugh pay packet or not, you will be no better prepared than anyone else for things like that that happen in life. Only your experience can help you prepare and cope, and a Cambridge degree will not change your life in such a way that you will be better prepared for these things. You'll get a degree, a fun 3 years and lots of eye-brow raising, but how prepared for the real world will you be?
0
Ensocopier
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#104
Report 17 years ago
#104
Stewie, are you male or female. Did you use the Oxbridge Applications company?
0
JayJay
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#105
Report 17 years ago
#105
No-one i think- is denying your work ethic. I'm certainly not. I'm questioning the intent with which this work was done. If it was done with a genuine love of the subject- fine- thats not the impression you have been given.

I didnt doubt that you were a consequentialist thinker. However, just because there is one counterexample to Kant's argument - in most situations you are not compelled to break an imperative in the same wsy as in the murderer example. i can equally show you a counterexample to disprove utilitarian theory. utilitarian theory would say that killing one innocent person to stop civil disorder would be acceptable. what about the life of the innocent person. i believe you can aspire to kantian ethics. i think a good will is something we should perhaps all aspire to. valuing everything in terms of its consequences seems a rather shallow philosophy to me - and i dont think it is a view that oxbridge is looking for. i.e. i only want to get in because of the job prospects after oxbridge would be the consequentialist viewpoint on oxbridge. it doesnt show much commitment. you may have this commitment but it is belied by your consequentialist viewpoint and statement.
0
Stewie
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#106
Report 17 years ago
#106
(Original post by Ensocopier)
Stewie, are you male or female. Did you use the Oxbridge Applications company?
Male, and no, this has all been my own working
0
Ensocopier
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#107
Report 17 years ago
#107
(Original post by Stewie)
Male, and no, this has all been my own working
Are you sure, its just that I think I know who you are. If you are male, why did you write this:

Haz- I was planning my Oxbridge application and taking advice when I was 15 while all my friends were out partying and having the time for boyfriends

shouldn't boyfriends read girlfriends?
0
Stewie
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#108
Report 17 years ago
#108
(Original post by Ensocopier)
Are you sure, its just that I think I know who you are. If you are male, why did you write this:

Haz- I was planning my Oxbridge application and taking advice when I was 15 while all my friends were out partying and having the time for boyfriends

shouldn't boyfriends read girlfriends?
I've known for a while that I'm homosexual (and I don't think God looks at me differently for being so) and so are most of my friends.
0
Bumblebee3
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#109
Report 17 years ago
#109
(Original post by Stewie)
I've known for a while that I'm homosexual (and I don't think God looks at me differently for being so) and so are most of my friends.
Stewie, everything you have said about your intellectual prowess is all very well but it's not particularly supported by the fact that they rejected you, is it? You are missing the point - the interviewers won't have really cared that you'd read more than the others, that's not what they're looking for. Someone should have explained that when you were 15.
0
mavrm2000
Badges: 0
#110
Report 17 years ago
#110
I had the offer to Maths at Girton, but missed out on one step paper by a couple of marks.. (an alpha short I was told)

anyway, turns out that there are people with the same grades as me who still got in. But, what really pissed me off was the guy who won the last spare place the college had. A candidate with ABC doing Natural Sciences...
I've got AAAAA Step 1, 2. (2 is where I narrowly missed)

And there's people swanning about with Step 2, 3.

Jesus I'm pissed off.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Ended up going to Warwick, which is not too bad. But still, death to the thickie at Girton.
0
Philo
Badges: 0
#111
Report 17 years ago
#111
What college did you apply to Stewie?

Did you apply for deffered entry or are you taking a year out because you were rejected? If you were deffreing, did they explain the problems of having a gap year to you? In the theology interviews I had in both my colleges (Robinson was the one I actually applied to and Homerton was the secondary college I was allocated) the interviewers both made it VERY clear that when you apply for a deffered entry, your application will be compared to the ideal hypothetical student who might apply for the same place in 2004. So, it becomes an awful lot harder and hence I was so very surprised to recieve an offer.

Maybe that could have had something to do with it and the whole story would've been different had you applied next year. Though that's little consolation, I know.
0
meepmeep
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#112
Report 17 years ago
#112
(Original post by mavrm2000)
I had the offer to Maths at Girton, but missed out on one step paper by a couple of marks.. (an alpha short I was told)

anyway, turns out that there are people with the same grades as me who still got in. But, what really pissed me off was the guy who won the last spare place the college had. A candidate with ABC doing Natural Sciences...
I've got AAAAA Step 1, 2. (2 is where I narrowly missed)

And there's people swanning about with Step 2, 3.

Jesus I'm pissed off.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Ended up going to Warwick, which is not too bad. But still, death to the thickie at Girton.
I think the same thing might well happen to me (my second choice is Warwick and I've got a 1,1 offer). I'll still give it a shot though.
0
Alaric
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#113
Report 17 years ago
#113
In response to the original question, if you're talking about grades, then I am the 'thickest' person I know at Cambridge. I only got 3A*s, 3As and 3Bs at GCSE and only AACCE at alevel - which is 440points under the new system.
However, I fail to see much relevance in me getting an E in Art when I'm studying computer science. I was, essentially, doing it for fun at an evening class at the local college. So does me having an E grade make me a thick compsci? I think not. Did I work hard for those grades? Not really, I think they are perhaps better than I deserve for the amount of effort I put in.

The truth is that exam grades aren't the best way of assessing people, especially when the exams are in subjects not directly relevant to the course you're applying for.

You've obviously spent a lot of time preparing and doing background reading, and taking on extra qualifications. However, you've said you've only been predicted three As. For some courses here that'd be regarded as the low end. Four A-levels seems pretty much the norm, and five is probably as frequent three. Should you be judged on the grades then - or on your enthusiasm and potential in Theology?

Beyond the first day or so no one cares about a-level grades in cambridge. Pissing contests don't happen, because there's no point.

You keep mentioning the newspaper cuttings, sure that shows enthusiasm, but most fellows will probably give more weight to decent books on your subject, maybe something from their reading list. This is probably because of the generally poor and shallow content that newspapers/magazines put into articles. For example, I don't bother reading computing newspaper articles because they're largely mis-information or full of ridiculous simplifications, in short I would learn nothing of value from them.

The other thing you should also know before re-applying is that you can't earn a place through hard work. What they are looking for is innate. Academics can be very sceptical about previously taught material to candidates, especially in technical subjects, whether it was self-taught or taught at school. It is hardly surprising that they'll readily choose a carte blanche over someone who has hard en-trenched perhaps poorly conceived arguments.

I don't know if you have what they are looking for, because I haven't met you, so don't take this too personally, you may well have been good enough for a place. The system isn't infallible.

(Original post by Stewie)
I will re-apply because I know I was robbed and was more than suited to the course (I wrote to some DOS and got a really nice reply from Clare telling me this) and am just looking forward to having the best gap year ever....
If you're considering applying to Clare then perhaps you could also consider a slight change in attitude. Any hint of arrogance isn't something interviewers will like. Sure there are people who come who think they are (I'm quoting from someone here) "god's gift to academia", but they tend to get a reality shock very soon after arriving. Everyone is intelligent, and if I were to be brutally honest I'd say those that work really hard and don't do anything else are those that usually seem to be the thickest.

So, my advice to you, chill. Read a few good books, get some As but don't expect a place for 'effort'. If you're good enough, then surely you'll get through the second time around, and don't be bitter if you don't.

(Original post by timmio)
and dont talk bollox about potential, coz a guy who gets 6 A's will show his capability far more than an ABC. end of the day, if you get ABC, then you aint gonna magicly be cleverer than rahaydenuk in an interview.
Depends if the A-levels have the blindest bit to do with the subject. To assess someone's intelligence purely on a-levels is a gross simplification.
Lest we forget, Einstein wasn't good in a school environment, yet he is regarded as one of the best physicists of all time. Go figure.

(Original post by timmio)
that is scandolous, and if i was rahaydenuk i would take cambridge to court.
On what grounds precisely?


To surmise, yeah, sure 'thick' people get into oxbridge. Just remember to look at those with straight As at A-level as well as those who did 'badly' to find them.

Good luck with re-applying Stewie.

Alaric.
0
Schmelen
Badges: 0
#114
Report 17 years ago
#114
um... not too sure if i agree with the whole idea of grades = intelligence in the title of this thread, but, if thats the way its going, i think i am the 'thickest' person i know, i got an offer from oxfit and i only got AABC at AS (although i did do okay in my gcses), oh, and one of my A's at AS was in art (!)

i certainly did not pick an 'easy' subject to get into, mine was pretty tough ( and one half of it i have never studied before at all), and i felt a little out of my depth when chatting to the other applicants, but at the end of the day i just went and was myself. i had three interviews and had a great time, but i was convinced i wouldnt get in because of the things i said at interview (as i was determined to be myself i ended up, among other things, offering to do star-jumps, going on an anti-bush rant, calling tory MPs rude and childish, telling a story about a visit to see dead plants and giving my interviewers anecdotes about Tony Benn).

when i got my offer, i could tell a few folks were a bit surprised, but it just goes to show that grades don't mean everything. I guess that as i felt it was all very unlikely i wouldnt have come across as arrogant, and it seems to be the case that if the tutors want to teach you they will accept you - so arrogance is certainly a bit of a put-off.

(oh, just remembered that i left my handbag in one of my interviews as well - hehe...)
0
Philo
Badges: 0
#115
Report 17 years ago
#115
I absolutely agree with you Schmelen.

Although I have done an awful lot of reding about theology and have began to learn Greek and Hebrew, I did all this before I decided to even read the subject at University. My AS results were AAAC (GCSEs = 10A* and 1 A although I doubt they count for very much), so I'm sure there will be an awful lot of people with higher results who didn't get in, but like you and an awful lot of other peole have said, it's about SO much more than results, it's all about personality and how you look at NEW things, not what you have lernt from rote earlier.

Well done on getting an offer by the way - which college?
0
Schmelen
Badges: 0
#116
Report 17 years ago
#116
Thankyou Philo, my offer was from Christ Church (not where i originally applied)... i'm not too sure what to think of it all really, my first reaction was that i would be out of place etc, but after having looked into it properly i just cant wait for experience. i certainly am not of the opinion that it is a college of raving etonian rahs, and i guess that in a college that size there is a huge mix of people, something i will relish being a part of.

i agree with you about the 'not just learnt from rote' comment as well, the way you deal with 'new' issues is VERY important, as i guess this assesses the 'its the way you think' bit that the prospectuses are always on about. if you come across as quick and able to deal with new things, using knowledge you already have and showing abilty to adapt ideas, this would stand you in much better stead for the university life than repeating old facts.
0
brasil85
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#117
Report 17 years ago
#117
Gcse and AS LEVELS don't prove any thing. You might have 10 A*AT gcse and all A for A level but as person you might not be very nice. A boy at my school with all 3A at GCSE and the rest B and C get into oxford. He did get AAB, but still it was down the what his school report said about him.
0
akk713
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#118
Report 17 years ago
#118
I got one A*, four A, three Bs and 2Ds
and I got pooled by cambridge for engineering
do you think I would have been accepted if I had 10A instead?
0
brasil85
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#119
Report 17 years ago
#119
You must be the right sort of person that Cambridge wants.
0
MadNatSci
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#120
Report 17 years ago
#120
I think I'm the thickest NatSci, at least, in my year actually. I got immaculate grades at GCSE and A level, AEAs, etc etc etc, but the fact is that I am struggling with my course. I'm enjoying it despite this - but I'm not expecting great things of my Tripos exams. Grades mean NOTHING. Zilch. Diddly squat.

Just to back the other people up there...
0
X
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Which of these would you use to help with making uni decisions?

Webinars (39)
13.68%
Virtual campus tours/open days (64)
22.46%
Live streaming events (25)
8.77%
Online AMAs/guest lectures (27)
9.47%
A uni comparison tool (67)
23.51%
An in-person event when available (63)
22.11%

Watched Threads

View All