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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:50 am 
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Location: West Midlands
Article on Oxford's democratising step is here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34505485

This year's 11+ cohort of parents on this forum have been an engaging bunch, even though we're not in the candidature this year.
I therefore guess that there may be other hangers-on like me who can't quite get 11+ out of their system, and maybe that could continue right up until 6th form. Maybe it's just an educational bent?
Anyway, this link may be of interest to such as those, and is pertinent if selectivity at 11 correlates at all with suitability for the most demanding degree courses later on.

The questions are so surprising, I thought - open ended, debatable, you could argue either way on most if not all - but they give the opportunity to demonstrate rational objectivity.
Sometimes, however, I do wonder how much work the highest ranking (or maybe read 'most selective') schools actually do in adding value and nurturing their pupils. Do they rely on an already high-achieving/ability intake who will naturally excel, or is it just that because of this they have a different job in developing those abilities to the fullest extent?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:55 am 
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http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergra ... -questions

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:45 am 
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Full disclosure - I'm reading at Oxford at the moment.

Having spoken to a don about access and entrance requirements last week, I think this is all part of an attempt to demystify the process rather than give sample questions to prep for.

It was a really illuminating discussion with someone who leads u/g admissions for a v. popular course at a v. popular college. His frustration was evident that some candidates are obviously extremely prepared either by ambitious schools or parents, in some instances to gain from the Oxford name rather than love of a subject. Many of these candidates do get through mainly because they have worked so hard to get there but what the colleges are really striving for are the students who have the greatest love of their subject and will enjoy studying with likeminded peers.

I say this because it can be easy to think that Oxbridge is analogous to the 11+ (more often a test for parents rather than our DCs!) and that hurdles are to be overcome to 'win' the prize. FWIW I would advise DCs to think carefully about what they want to do before applying as reading 40 hours a week on top of lectures for 3/4 years will soon grate if you are only doing a subject that your parents approve of or was "easier" to get in for because it had fewer candidates.
The upside is, if you really love your subject, you would have done the reading anyway. That is what these questions seem to me to be designed to pick up.

As an aside I was gossiping with one of the Proctors at another event who said they also prefer candidates who have done at least one dirty job as it shows they are grounded. Good leverage for parents...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:41 am 
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Thanks SM
I have heard similar in the past, but it is good to be reminded. I find it's all too easy to get caught up and forget what real education is about. I hope I can keep a level head about it when the time comes in future years.

Mind you, I think I might have so far: I perhaps should have been exuberant at dc's recent successes, but somehow just feel that they're only right / just. Maybe it's the grace/favour of just/right people and the overcoming of obstacles/barriers that were/could-have-been in the way that I am quietly celebrating.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. And I do always say to my dc "Do you see that dustbin man? We need him. I can't get on with what I do if he doesn't do his job."

I'll just keep cleaning windows!


Last edited by WindowGlass on Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:50 am 
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BTW I suppose 11+ is trying to find the same kind of dc's but perhaps has a much harder task of predicting them ahead of time and also avoiding an exclusive isolation of homogeneous academics which would not make for a diverse social mix - children / we all do learn from each other.

The cost, time and complexity of trying to sort through all the candidates to find the "right ones," both at 11+ and 18+, is probably quite a task.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:36 am 
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Quote:
an aside I was gossiping with one of the Proctors at another event who said they also prefer candidates who have done at least one dirty job as it shows they are grounded. Good leverage for parents...


That does not mean digging a water channel in Ecuador for world challenge or bush clearing the local nature reserve, they are both leisure pursuits; it means cleaning tables, sweeping floors, mowing grass, stacking bricks etc all in return for honest money to fund their own lifestyle. Also be warned, my friend who works in admissions for a relatively lowly college,,but a few sought after courses does occasionally check supporting statements, so don't say you worked at McDonald's, the nearest corner shop, or on uncle winklebottom's farm unless you did, or you may be binned!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:54 am 
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I wonder if the cost time and complexity of selecting in this way actually makes much difference- if you took a bunch of A* students chosen conventionally and put them in that same environment, how different would they be from the ones that were lucky in the random choice of question, and by chance on the day looking and feeling their best at the moment of the interview/question.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:54 am 
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silverysea wrote:
I wonder if the cost time and complexity of selecting in this way actually makes much difference- if you took a bunch of A* students chosen conventionally and put them in that same environment, how different would they be from the ones that were lucky in the random choice of question, and by chance on the day looking and feeling their best at the moment of the interview/question.



I'm fairly positive it does, otherwise companies would never interview, they would simply employ via cv.

Also think about it, if a teenager has four a* a levels, but has no leisure pursuits, no part time jobs, no commitments outside of school other than those prescribed by the school or parent for the purpose of the personal statement, then how can they prove they have anything more to give or any independent thought? Their studies may have taken up all their time completely, so add looking after yourself, socialising and in many cases essential part time work to the the daily routine and that person suddenly can't cope and their expected performance is some way off from that anticipated.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:14 am 
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Sadly the view of the don was that silverysea is right. Effectively most of the candidates presented are of such a consistently high level that you might as well pick names out of a hat.

Although I balked at this initially, on reflection, I do think there is something there. One of his complaints was that a minority of successful candidates carry an innate sense of superiority. If there was broader recognition that there are finite places and a field of excellent candidates, some of whom are just luckier than others, people would not beat themselves up about having to say magic words to get in.

Slightly different for organizations I would argue as there is often a need to build cohesive teams who will operate well together so interviews and selection processes may add more value in that context.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:33 am 
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Quote:
the view of the don was that silverysea is right. Effectively most of the candidates presented are of such a consistently high level that you might as well pick names out of a hat.


In that case quite simply the academic bar for entry must be raised.


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