Presentation on theme: "Admissions Tests and Interviews at Cambridge and Oxford 2012 Dr Andrew Bell Tutor for Admissions Gonville and Caius College University of Cambridge."— Presentation transcript:
Admissions Tests and Interviews at Cambridge and Oxford 2012 Dr Andrew Bell Tutor for Admissions Gonville and Caius College University of Cambridge
From sixth-form to university no, or very few, re-sits no bells, few collective timetables integrating elements in linear courses formative and summative assessment learning “the wrong way round” rapid progress students do not work to a mark scheme self-motivation and self-discipline
What do we look for in applicants? Very strong exam record, especially in Years 12 and 13 Excellent school/college reference Appropriate choice of subject and course Good test performance (BMAT) and high-quality submitted written work (Arts subjects) Academic potential, meaning: knowledge and skill; logic and clarity of thought; intellectual flexibility; imagination
Selection criteria Admissions decisions are based on: A level (or equivalent) grades and subject combinations AS grades and (Cambridge) unit marks GCSE grades UCAS personal statement and school/college reference Submitted work (where requested) Test results (chiefly Oxford) Interview performance
Application Students apply via UCAS to Oxford OR Cambridge by 15 October Cambridge applicants also fill in an online questionnaire after they have submitted their UCAS form; this essentially gathers AS scores Many Oxford applicants sit an aptitude test in early November; so do Medics and Vets for Cambridge Most applicants choose a College but many take the ‘open’ application route; choice of College has no impact upon likelihood of success Typical Oxford offer: mostly AAA (A*A*A Maths) Typical Cambridge offer: A*AA or A*AAA
Use of Contextual Data Both universities use contextual data to help make admissions fairer So, we look at: The performance of the applicant’s school or college at GCSE or equivalent level, and the performance of the applicant’s school or college at A-level or equivalent level. But also at Whether the applicant come from a low participation neighbourhood (LPN) Or from an area of relatively low socio-economic position (ACORN information) Or whether they have spent significant time in care These allow us to see achievement in context.
A very strong examination record We seek students whose academic record places them in approximately the top 3% of the ability range Most – though by no means all – successful Cambridge applicants have an AS UMS average (across their best or most relevant three subjects) of comfortably above 90% The mean AS average of students receiving offers from a range of Cambridge Colleges in 2010/11 was 94-96% There is no minimum required number of A*s at GCSE, though most successful applicants achieved A* in most of their GCSEs
Interviews Normally two or more interviews, each usually lasting 20−30 minutes Conducted by lecturers and predominantly academic and subject-focused Discussion-based and intellectually challenging Check the websites for videos and further information
Interviews: what are we looking for? The last piece in the jigsaw rather than the ‘final hurdle’ Academic ability and potential to be successful Self-motivation, commitment and serious interest in the chosen course Ability to think independently and critically Use of existing knowledge to assess new problems No trick questions!
Interviews: what to expect Focused and challenging questions 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 Prompting from interviewers Questions to interviewers
Interviews: How to prepare Refresh your memory about: the course for which you applied recent school/college work UCAS personal statement submitted work Wider reading Practise discussing academic work and ideas Vocational subjects