Mr S Yates & Mr C Dodd – GSAL Oxbridge Coordinators
All GSAL students who would like to find out more about applying to Oxbridge should register their interest with Mr Yates or Mr Dodd in school. Students in Year 12 & 13 can request to be added to the Oxbridge emailing list to receive important updates throughout the year.
It is vital that you take ownership of your application process. You cannot expect parents, tutors or teachers to spoon-feed you for Oxbridge. You should be liaising with your subject mentors (see below) to consider how best to prepare effectively for any admissions assessments and meeting with them when possible to build confidence in discussing conceptually challenging subject-specific issues in anticipation of being called for interview.
In addition to the resources shared here, The GSAL Journal also provides the following sources of information:
GSAL Subject Mentors 2020-2021
GSAL Key Oxbridge Dates 2019-2020
Tuesday 9 July. Submit the Oxbridge 2019-20 form to indicate your intention to apply.
School early entry deadline is Friday 20 September 2019 at 16:00.
Register for pre-interview tests at the examinations office by 12:00 on Friday 27 September.
UCAS deadline to receive applications for Oxbridge and other early applicants is Tuesday 15 October 2019.
Pre-interview aptitude tests for Oxford, Cambridge, some other competitive universities and BMAT: Wednesday 30 October 2019. This is in the second week of half term.
If you are applying for Law at Oxford, you need to sit the LNAT on a date between 1 September and 20 October. It is your responsibility to organise this.
SAQ Form Cambridge: 18:00 on Monday 22 October 2019
Interviews: Oxford – December 2019 (as per Oxford website May 2019); Cambridge – the majority take place during the first three weeks of December 2019, some may be a little earlier.
Undergraduate website of the University of Cambridge
Undergraduate website of the University of Oxford
List of Open Days at Cambridge
List of Open Days at Oxford
Oxbridge Outreach Network
The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have collaborated to create an excellent online resource for students and teachers. Spend some time exploring the Oxford & Cambridge Collaborative Outreach Network to find out more, including watching a video of an Oxford and Cambridge Explained talk.
The Widening Participation programme seeks to increase both the number and proportion of people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups accessing higher education. Students from lower income households, people with disabilities and some ethnic minority groups may be eligible.
Find out more about Widening Access & Participation at Oxford
Find out more about Widening Participation at Cambridge
If you think that you might be eligible for consideration through the Widening Participation programme, please speak in confidence to a member of the Higher Education (HE) team in school.
All of the following resources are appropriate for both Oxford and Cambridge, regardless of the university that has produced them.
Choosing What To Study (Oxford University)
34 Ideas for Super-curricular Activities (Oxford Royale Academy)
So You Want To Go To Oxbridge? Tell Me About A Banana… (Free eBook from Oxbridge Applications – registration required)
Oxford Admissions Tests (Oxford University)
Recommended Reading Lists (Oxford University)
Recommended Reading Lists (King’s College, Cambridge)
The Worcester Bookshelf project (Oxford University) – Every term they release a new list of six books that their tutors and academics would like to share.
A wide range of resources are available to help you develop your critical thinking skills. GSAL Sixth Form students can undertake a Critical Thinking course as part of the Aspire programme. The following resources may also be of interest:
Critical Thinking, a book by Tom Chatfield (2017)
Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction (Future Learn MOOC)
Critical Reasoning For Beginners (Oxford University/Open Culture MOOC)
GSAL organises a trip to the Oxford & Cambridge Student Conference at Aintree Racecourse, usually held in March each year. The trip is open to Year 12 students interested in finding out more about applying to study at Oxford or Cambridge. Speak to Mr Yates or Mr Dodd to register your interest.
Review of the Oxbridge Conference – Amy Alexander & Natalia Sanchez Castro – Year 12 Students
Top Ten Tips… Applying to Oxbridge – Amy Alexander & Natalia Sanchez Castro – Year 12 Students
Does fake news matter? Is falling in love bad for you? Could you survive a natural disaster?
Oxplore is an innovative digital outreach portal from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest academic research. Oxplore aims to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity. [https://oxplore.org/]
Thinking about applying to University and looking for ways to explore your subject beyond the curriculum? Then this website is for you. Each topic is produced by Cambridge postgraduate students and academics at the cutting edge of research in their field. The topics provide guided activities, questions to think about and suggestions for further reading.
The main subject pages also give you a quick guide to what it would be like to study the subject at university level and suggest some further resources to check out. Click on a subject icon or search all topics to get started. [https://www.myheplus.com/]
Staircase 12 is an online hub of resources and information for students thinking about applying to top universities. You’ll find plenty of ideas for stretching yourself beyond the school syllabus. If you want to learn a bit more about why exploring your subject beyond school is important, and see some top tips for going about it, take a look at the Explore Your Subject page.
That Oxford Girl
That Oxford Girl (TOG) includes an excellent freely accessible resource accessed via a blog and on Instagram, and a best-selling book ‘That Oxford Girl – A Real Student’s Guide to Oxford University‘. The blog is voluntarily written by over 70 current Oxford University students and provides an independent insight into the application process and student life. The book is now a best-seller and provides a refreshing and quirky insight into one of the top universities in the world.
Submitted Written Work
For those students that are required to submit written work in support of their application, you will receive college-specific requests for this with specific requirements and deadlines that must be met.
It is your responsibility to check the specific assessment requirements for your chosen course of study.
Maths Aptitude Test (MAT) – the Dr Frost Maths website (login required – speak to your maths teacher) provides a wide range of resources to help with preparation for the MAT required for Oxford University (Mathematics and Computer Science) and Imperial College London (Mathematics). Please speak to Mrs Jackson in the maths department for further information.
For more information about the Oxbridge interview process, including support with preparing for an interview, please speak to Mr Yates or Mr Dodd in school.
Cambridge: Preparing for Interview (Cambridge University YouTube)
Cambridge: The Interview (Cambridge University on YouTube)
Oxford: Admissions Interview (Oxford Pathways on YouTube)
Sample Interview Questions – University of Oxford
Oxford Interview Questions – Over 1000 past questions to help you prepare for your interview and help you get into Oxford.
Cambridge Interview Questions – Over 1000 past questions to help you prepare for your interview and help you get into Cambridge.
Oxford & Cambridge Interview Questions – This site holds a database of Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) past interview questions. The aim is to provide a resource for prospective students, giving them a flavour of the sorts of questions that they might get asked.
50 Real Life Oxford University Interview Questions – written by current students and shared online by That Oxford Girl.
‘How can we estimate the mass of the atmosphere?‘ – Oxford interview questions explained.
Tips for answering Oxbridge interview questions – Sample interview questions across a range of subjects, with advice on what would impress them in students’ answers.
Can you solve it? Would you get into Oxbridge? – Test your wits against Oxford’s famed Mathematics Admission Test.
What makes a good interview?
The following tips are from Oxbridge Applications:
Knowledge – At Oxbridge, it is essential to show the depth of your subject knowledge at interview. It is key to provide verbal evidence of your further reading to demonstrate that you are invested in and passionate about your subject. Knowing your school syllabus like the back of your hand is vital to prove to an interviewer that you can tackle more advanced course material at degree level.
Academic Potential – You may be provided with unseen material during your Oxford or Cambridge interview to test your ability to tackle new academic challenges. Always talk through your thoughts, so that the interviewer can guide you on your way. Don’t be afraid of being outside your comfort zone. This is designed to test you.
Communication – The intimate style of teaching at Oxbridge requires you to learn through discussion and to find your own answers. Clarity is proof of a logical mind, so try not to ramble or go off track. Don’t be afraid to offer an alternative answer and back up your response.
Top Ten Interview Questions 2018
What are the three biggest threats to humanity? (Human Sciences)
Architecturally, how would you adapt this Oxbridge college? (Architecture)
Can manipulative qualities and bitter emotions be beautiful in literature? (English)
What is a more pressing issue right now: terrorism or climate change? (Geography)
Describe how a historian looking back at an autocratic regime would ascertain whether its citizens were happy with their quality of life. (History)
Should ten nurses who are religious and refuse to vaccinate be forced to vaccinate children in a hospital? (Medicine)
You have a point A(3,3) and a point B(0,2) and a point C on the curve ln(x). Find the general solution for the area of the triangle ABC. (Mathematics)
Why do people in colder environments have a higher rate of schizophrenia? (Psychology)
Discuss phosphorus pentafluoride based on its bonding, shape and reactivity. (Chemistry)
Do hamsters have personalities? (Veterinary Medicine)
Why was women’s emancipation never fully achieved under socialism? (HSPS)
Oxford University – Sample Interview Questions
Oxbridge In The News
Due to their high profile, Oxford and Cambridge receive regular attention from the press and other interested parties. The following resources represent a selection of recent news stories and are presented here with the intention of trying to contribute in a balanced way to informed discussion about Oxbridge.
Record numbers of state school pupils given Oxford places – The Guardian, 16th January 2020
Top 10 hardest Oxbridge degrees to get accepted on – The Telegraph, 3rd December 2019
Cambridge slips to lowest-ever place in world university table – The Guardian, 19th June 2019
Oxford makes progress on diversity – but too slowly – The Guardian, 6th June 2019
Sonita Alleyne to be first black leader of an Oxbridge college – The Guardian, 26th May 2019
Oxford aims to attract deprived students with new foundation year – The Guardian, 21st May 2019
Cambridge university to study how it profited from colonial slavery – The Guardian, 30th April 2019
The cost of studying the arts at Oxbridge – The Economist, 26th January 2019
‘This is not a fluke’: how one state school got 41 Oxbridge offers – The Guardian, 19th January 2019
Inside the Cambridge admissions process – New Statesman, 14th January 2019
What stopped you applying to Oxbridge? – The Guardian, 18th December 2018
Oxbridge ‘over-recruits from eight schools’ – BBC News, 8th December 2018
Oxford University to launch first online ‘MOOC’ course – BBC News, 15th November 2016