English-oxbridge-requirements (again?!) Watch

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Kalandraka
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Not sure if this has been done before but, If you apply for english at Oxbridge just exactly how much are you supposed to have read and how long are the reading lists you have to send for interview supposed to be? I mean, are you expected to have read works by most famous/popular authors and of all different time periods or is it acceptable to focus on a specific group pf authors from a particular time period? I was just wondering because I am, as yet, unaware of what is expected of an applicant for english at Oxbridge.
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serendipity
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(Original post by Kalandraka)
Not sure if this has been done before but, If you apply for english at Oxbridge just exactly how much are you supposed to have read and how long are the reading lists you have to send for interview supposed to be? I mean, are you expected to have read works by most famous/popular authors and of all different time periods or is it acceptable to focus on a specific group pf authors from a particular time period? I was just wondering because I am, as yet, unaware of what is expected of an applicant for english at Oxbridge.
It will be taken for granted that ou should have a broad knowledge across the history of literature, for example by reading a book by each of the "classic" authors. You should also have developed a specific interest, for example in one poet or author, or period of literature, for exaple the Romantics. With this specific interest you really should know a lot (not necessarily be an expert, that's their job) and have read around your subject of interest as well, for example by studying critical essays on the topic. hoped that helped, i know it's daunting!!
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fionah
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Who would you say, are the 'classic' authors that should have been read by this point? I'm thinking in terms of possible interviews at Kings college and queen mary..
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serendipity
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(Original post by fionah)
Who would you say, are the 'classic' authors that should have been read by this point? I'm thinking in terms of possible interviews at Kings college and queen mary..
Oh um, i had a list, if i find it i'll post it...
I would say :

All the major Shakespeare plays
Hardy
Forster (A Passage to India - fab)
DH Lawrence
Jane Austen (P+P, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Emma, etc)
Bronte (either sister)
Daniel Defoe
Dickens
George Eliot
Graham Greene (Travels with my Aunt)
Try reading the prose edition of Homer's The Odyssey, it's great and will score you brownie points
Ernest Hemingway
James Joyce (Ulysees - more brownie points)
Thomas Kyd (The Spanish Tragedy - Kydian formula influenced Shakespeare's writing)
Mark Twain
Mary Wollstonecraft
Virginia Woolf (comparison with Forster)

This is in no way a comprehensive list and is only a suggestion - pick your favourites!
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Kalandraka
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Wow thanks for the help

I guess this is all going to come down to time management.... *must learn to read faster must learn to read faster* heh, well at least i should have some of christmas and most of summer to work on it. Isn't english at Cambridge like solid to get into though?...maybe i'll go for oriental studies after all.....
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Acid_Rain
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(Original post by Kalandraka)
Wow thanks for the help

I guess this is all going to come down to time management.... *must learn to read faster must learn to read faster* heh, well at least i should have some of christmas and most of summer to work on it. Isn't english at Cambridge like solid to get into though?...maybe i'll go for oriental studies after all.....
Wouldn't advise choosing a degree just so you can get into Cambridge - fair enough if you're also interested in that course though.

English is highly competitive at any of the top unis. I think Cambridge is slightly easier to get into for it than Oxford though, probably cause it has a more science-y reputation.
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Acid_Rain
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http://www.teachit.co.uk/pdf/readlist.pdf

^ AQA suggested reading list for AS/ A2
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Kalandraka
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(Original post by Acid_Rain)
Wouldn't advise choosing a degree just so you can get into Cambridge - fair enough if you're also interested in that course though.

English is highly competitive at any of the top unis. I think Cambridge is slightly easier to get into for it than Oxford though, probably cause it has a more science-y reputation.


Ooo thanking you. Oops! didn't want it to come across like that lol! I'm a strict believer that you should do the course because you like it and enjoy it not because you think it's easier to get into. At the end of the day-If someone doesn't get into Oxbridge, its possible they're better off because it may not have suited them, right?

Well anyway, my dilema is oriental studies (japanese) or english lit. My really passion is for literature though (and I feel that is where my strengths lie), whether that be as part of an english course or a language course its just I can't decide which subject i'd prefer to do more. I haven't really read as much as I want to (who has?!) or should have which unnerves me for applying to english. But at the same time I never took a language at AS level which is labelled affectionatly by Cambridge as "highly desirable". I just don't know!!! The evil thing about all this is that if i truly loved english as much as i think i do, then surely i would have read more! Oh the humiliation!
Oh won't some kind experienced person swoop down and deliver me gentle and calming advice!
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Minta
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The language A level thing might not be a problem - seems to me that Cambridge have a bit of an obssession with languages and like you to have them for quite a few courses, but when it actually comes down to it there are plenty of people who get in for, say RS, without a language.

As for courses which are lingusitically based, I'd think a language is desirable becuase it shows you have reached a certain level of competence and grammatical understanding. However, you can equally well show such things by studying a language on your own account emphasising how much you've gained from doing so at the interview. In the final analysis, it's down to them to make the final decision about who gets in and who doesn't, but just remember it ain't over til it's over -do your preparation throughly and milk the interview for all it's worth!
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