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Languages at Oxford - help my student please!

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by musiclover1, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I used to do mock Oxbridge interviews, and I think the people who have the edge over others are the ones who clearly study the subject out of real enthusiasm for it, and who can show a genuine interest in the subject outside of their experience of it at school. So, does your student have anything to show for that? Have they taken an interest in the country they're studying? Have they travelled there, or are they planning to travel there? Do they take an interest in the current affairs or in the literature/history of the country? Have they ever read a novel from that country, listened to a pop song from that country, communicated with someone on a forum etc etc etc?
    One of the girls I interviewed was planning to do spend a year out doing charity work in the target country (and she'd already been there, I think), and another one was in touch with lots of people from 'his' chosen country over the internet and knew all about its popular music bands - both of these got in.
  2. That is really helpful and I will pass on your advice. Do you know if they would sit an oral and/or grammar test?
  3. FrauSue

    FrauSue New commenter

    If you scroll down to "Modern Languages" on this page: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/how_to_apply/tests/index.html there is lots of info on test requirements for different languages. There is a test in November of Y13 for applicants so your pupil could try to do some revision over the summer to prepare for this.

    He/She may also be able to contact individual colleges to ask about entrance requirements if he/she knows which college they would like to apply to.

    I remember that my last Oxford applicant had to send in a couple of essays - she sent in a German class essay which was a character study of one of the figures in the film we were studying, and an essay from one of her other subjects (music, I think) to show her analytical writing skills in English.

    Best of luck to your pupil.
  4. Herringthecat

    Herringthecat New commenter

    They have language-specific open days around now - and a large MML open day in the summer term (I think probably early May). At that one they will also have representatives from all the languages offered - as well as some pretty huge lectures about MML at Oxford. They're usually on Saturdays.

  5. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Two or three years ago at the funeral of my husband's elderly aunt in Oxford, I was chatting to an Oxford don who regulary interviewed prospective languages undergraduates. From the conversation we had it became clear that she viewed having read at least one novel in French as fundamental to the process, and from this I inferred that those candidates who had not done so would be at a disadvantage. If your student has not yet read any work of literature, be it as part of the course or independently, I would strongly advise doing so.
  6. I totally agree with smoothnewt! (We do a novel and a play for A2, and we start them on these as early as possible).
    I also do a brief introduction to poetry (Verlaine, Prévert...) just to get them thinking about language in different ways. I do lots of tricky translation sentences with them (ones that test key grammar points).
  7. Thank you for all your help - I will pass on all your good advice. [​IMG]

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