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Cambridge applicants will have to sit written test, university announces

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Of course it's fair. It's their choice how they interview prospective students. Besides, students applying for Maths at Cambridge have long had to sit an entrance paper. You could say that written tests for all subjects is fairer than singling out Maths.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  3. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    And medicine ...and vet medicine...and law...
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    All by written test when l applied there....
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    And the difficulty Cambridge have is that if they set the bar at A*A*A or better at A Level, they still have more candidates than places. So there needs to be a filtering process; a written test is possibly going to be a bit fairer/less subjective than an interview alone. And yes there have been extra tests used by many universities for some years now, BMAT and the rest.
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    What could be fairer? Everybody is judged by the same standard. We all know that predicted grades by teachers can't be trusted. Years ago the normal way into Oxford and Cambridge colleges was the entrance exam, which was the right way to handle things.

    Of course, we'll get the interminable whining about how private and leafy lane schools provide better coaching than Flak Jacket High, but that's the fault of the state education system, not that of Oxford and Cambridge.
    yodaami2 likes this.
  7. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Me, too. And applicants to read music at Cambridge still have to take a 45-minute written test in harmony and counterpoint and a 30-minute aural test, in addition to commenting on a both a score and a text relating to music history during their interview.
  8. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    We had to take a whole week's worth of written entrance exams for Cambridge when I applied in 1959. And then a further week's worth of papers for Oxford. And they weren't just short papers either but 3 hour ones.

    What's unfair about the new proposals?
  9. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    My daughter didn't have to take a harmony and counterpoint test or an aural test at Cambridge. She did have to discuss a score and musicology in the interview though. She got Janacek, as I recall.
  10. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Absolutely nothing.
    sabrinakat and Lascarina like this.
  11. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Entrance exams of a sorts at Oxford for Classics already, e.g. if you haven't studied the languages, then a linguistic approach exam. Now three (3) ways to get in for Classics, e.g. both languages, one language and not the other, and none. Of course, they have to test to see if the person is linguistically able to handle learning two ancient languages. Makes sense to me.

    My interviews were on the phone (overseas student) and I sat a language exam under examination conditions in the US, then I had a telephone interview, then came over for proper interviews. I knew what the procedures were when I applied - it wasn't a surprise....here's another interesting fact - accepted even with dyslexia, which meant all my exams were with a dictionary. Am I terribly clever? Not sure. Did I work hard? Yep. I am not your top brilliant scholar, but that's okay - many types can get into Oxbridge - I think Cambridge's idea for more exams could mean that the most talented have a chance regardless of state or independent, but perhaps, I am biased as my college at Oxford has almost a 50% state school ratio and hosts a state school summer school in Classics....

    And all colleges require interviews - I've been the interviewee and the student helper for prospective students and you know what - interviews are (in my opinion) the most important - the exam weed out, but the interviews show the real character and potential.
    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  12. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Ah yes, I see some colleges have dropped the tests. With no disrespect to your daughter, though, it does seem rather unfair that some colleges require applicants to sit them while others don't - after all, the applicnats are all applying for the same course.

    It looks like this situation will continue, since Cambrige have announced that music and maths will be the only two subjects not to have common format written assessments under the new admissions arrangements from 2017:
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    She was Summer Schooled at Kings, applied to Sidney Sussex and was interviewed at Trinity, if that's relevant. (Should have applied to Kings where they knew her...but that's history.)

    Pooled and went to Durham in the end . Had a wonderful experience!
  14. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    It's not really unfair, though, because you have a choice of which college to apply to. Don't want to sit an entrance test? Don't apply to a college that insists on one.
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Speaking of Cambridge - a timely bit of news, for those who may have followed my posts about The Boy in The Helmet over the years.

    This young man has today officially heard that he has been offered a fully-funded unconditional place to stay on at Cambridge and do a PhD. Last year he got the only First in the whole of his college in any subject.

    He's black; has Asperger's; and went to a comprehensive school in special measures. The support he has had from his Cambridge college and the Maths department, which have enabled him to thrive, succeed and be extremely happy there has been absolutely superb.

    I'm having a tenner at Ladbroke's now that he'll win a Fields Medal at some point.
    RedQuilt likes this.
  16. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I got into a Welsh university in 1975 after taking their entrance exams in French and Spanish and gaining a scholarship place (that came with £40 per year thanks to a bequest from a Welsh vicar). It took the pressure off my later (re-sit) A level in Spanish. I gained an A.

    The previous year I had only managed an E, in common with 5 of the other 6 candidates at my Grammar school. It transpired that we had been taught by an unqualified teacher who was not competent to teach A level.

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