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SEVENOAKS SCHOOL Oxbridge Evening Dr Caroline Burt, Admissions Tutor, Pembroke College Cambridge Dr Lizzy Emerson, Senior Tutor, St Hugh’s College, Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "SEVENOAKS SCHOOL Oxbridge Evening Dr Caroline Burt, Admissions Tutor, Pembroke College Cambridge Dr Lizzy Emerson, Senior Tutor, St Hugh’s College, Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 SEVENOAKS SCHOOL Oxbridge Evening Dr Caroline Burt, Admissions Tutor, Pembroke College Cambridge Dr Lizzy Emerson, Senior Tutor, St Hugh’s College, Oxford Richard Partington, Senior Tutor, Churchill College Cambridge

2 APPLYING TO OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE Dr Lizzy Emerson Senior Tutor, St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford Mr Richard Partington Senior Tutor, Churchill College, University of Cambridge Dr Caroline Burt Admissions Tutor, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

3 HOW DO OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE STAND OUT? Collegiate Exceptional access to senior academics via uniquely small- group teaching: supervisions and tutorials Intensive courses: contact-time and provision of feedback Outstanding academic provision Accommodation and social facilities Excellent career opportunities Low costs Very extensive financial and other support

4 WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR IN APPLICANTS? Genuine subject interest A good ‘ fit ’ between applicant and course applied for A very strong record in examinations Very positive references from school/college Core knowledge and technical fluency Focus and determination Ability to learn independently Potential for future development Vocational commitment (where appropriate)

5 SELECTION CRITERIA A-level (or equivalent) grades/predictions and subject combinations AS/A unit marks (Cambridge) GCSE grades Contextual data Test results (Oxford) UCAS school/college reference UCAS personal statement Submitted work (where requested) Interview performance

6 APPLICATION Via UCAS to Oxford OR Cambridge by 15 October –Cambridge applicants also fill in an online questionnaire –Cambridge applicants for Medicine and Vet take BMAT in early November –Most Oxford applicants take an aptitude test in early November Submitted work (where requested) is sent in in mid November Most applicants are called for interview in early December

7 UCAS REFERENCE AND PERSONAL STATEMENT REFERENCES should ideally tell us about: –Where an applicant lies in relation to his/her peers –Academic and subject-related issues –Organisation and focus We use PERSONAL STATEMENTS chiefly as a starting- point for discussion at interview Write about: –Your interest in your subject –Reading and other wider exploration –Work experience – where relevant Extra-curricular activities/positions of responsibility: some universities take these into account, but Oxford and Cambridge tend not to

8 TESTS AND SUBMITTED WORK ~70% of Oxford applicants will be asked to take an aptitude test in advance of interview Some tests are multiple-choice, whereas others are text- and essay-based All Oxford tests, plus the BMAT used by both universities, have websites with sample questions Tests are not generally content-based, though some of those that include essays will reward knowledge to an extent It is a good idea to do some practice, via the websites, in advance of taking a test If you are asked to send in some examples of school or college work, it is a good idea to send in something recent that you would enjoy discussing at interview

9 EXAMINATION RESULTS Fundamental to any successful application – especially for Cambridge (UMS) IB results and AS/A2 marks correlate with university examination results School/college background does not affect the correlations Cambridge considers average UMS across three best (Arts) or three most relevant (Sciences) subjects Most, but not all, successful Cambridge applicants have an AS average above 90% Most, but not all, successful IB applicants are predicted points including at Higher Level GCSEs are considered but are less important than in many other university applications

10 INTERVIEWS Vast majority of applicants are called for interview Interviews usually take place in December, and are conducted principally by the ‘preference’ College Applicants usually have 2-4 interviews, each lasting minutes Interviews are academic, subject-focused discussions in which lecturers hope to see applicants thinking problems through for themselves We have no hidden agenda, and applicants are not asked ‘trick’ questions

11 WHAT TO EXPECT Focused and challenging questions, typical of teaching and learning at Oxford or Cambridge Applicants are usually asked to talk about: –Academic work completed in the last year or two –Relevant wider reading or work experience –Subject-related issues that are very readily visible in the wider world –‘Prompt’ material New approaches to existing knowledge and problem- solving questions Questions to interviewers Prompting from interviewers

12 SUBMITTING A STRONG APPLICATION Choose the right subject/course Maximise public examination grades Read and complete other wider exploration Complete a practice test, if a test forms part of your assessment In advance of interview, refresh your memory about: –The Oxford or Cambridge course for which you have applied –UCAS personal statement And revise: –School/college work –Any submitted work Practise discussing academic work and ideas

13 UNSUCCESSFUL APPLICATIONS Every year c. 10,000 unsuccessful Oxbridge applicants go on to achieve three or more A grades at A level We could happily take many more of our applicants were places available Competition is very tough indeed and our decisions are extremely difficult The ‘Pool’ (Cambridge) Feedback Re-application Conditional offers: they are conditional IB: Oxford 776/39-40; Cambridge (typically) 776/41-2 A level: Cambridge A*AA/A*AAA; Oxford AAA-A*A*A In 2010 entrants averaged 776/42 in the IB or 2.5 A*s at A2

14 COMMON PITFALLS Wrong subject Track-record in exams causes concern Poor organisation Inconsistent UCAS reference Lack of super-curricular exploration – evidenced by thin UCAS personal statement At interview: – Subject knowledge insecure – Insufficient analytical ability, synoptic ability or clarity of thought – Unwillingness to re-think ideas in the face of contrary evidence

15 KEYS TO OXBRIDGE SUCCESS: THE FOUR ‘R’s Right subject Excellent examination results Read and think – critically and analytically Revise - to embed learning and especially in advance of interview

16 QUESTIONS Useful additional information is available in our prospectus and on our websites at:

17 IB AS A PREDICTOR: ARTS

18 IB AS A PREDICTOR: SCIENCES

19 Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson

20 Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson How do you choose between Oxford and Cambridge?

21 Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson How do you decide which college to apply for?

22 Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson How important are I/GCSE results and what about students who have no I/GCSEs or other equivalent qualifications to I/GCSE?

23 How important are predicted grades in determining the offer made? Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson

24 Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson How important are admissions tests and submitted work?

25 What can I do to support my application and develop my academic profile? Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson

26 Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson Is it advisable to take a Gap Year and is it more difficult to be offered a place for deferred entry?

27 Can you reapply to Oxford or Cambridge the following year? Churchill College Cambridge St Hugh’s College Oxford Caroline Burt Richard Partington Pembroke College Cambridge Lizzy Emerson


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