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4th AS level for Oxford modern languages application

(68 Posts)
3littlefrogs Fri 12-Apr-13 18:16:53

If you were interviewing applicants for modern languages courses at Oxford, what 4th AS level would you consider suitable/useful alongside French, German and music. (There is no possibility of a 3rd language course at school).

Is psychology considered too soft a subject for Oxford?


Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 18:47:15

Almost any would be 'suitable' surely? What would be useful? History or Eng Lit are fairly obvious ones, but if it were my DC I'd say do absolutely whichever of the subjects offered is fourth on your own personal list, in terms of interest/ enjoyment. Oxford is far less stuffy about choice than most of the top universities: it's the next tier down you need to watch, in case Oxford doesn't work out - maybe contact them? (cover all bases!).

titchy Fri 12-Apr-13 18:49:08

Psych would prob be ok as the others are all considered 'hard'. English might be a better fit though? Or history maybe depending on the content of the degree he is hoping to do - lit based or culture based.

titchy Fri 12-Apr-13 18:49:52

Cross posts!

Twentytotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 18:56:35

I'd avoid psychology.

bombyxmori Fri 12-Apr-13 19:00:44

Interest comes first, but if you're on a tie-break, rather than the interviewers preferences, I'd think about what skills would be useful. Off top of my head, I'd say if 'proper' essays aren't included in the mod lang A levels, I'd do a 'proper' essay subject. Not completely off the top of my head: DC's friends who hadn't done an essay subject got/needed coaching in how to write essays. Not Oxford tho'. T'other place.

weegiemum Fri 12-Apr-13 19:02:32


Other humanities eg history, Geography.

Nothing considered "soft"!

3littlefrogs Fri 12-Apr-13 19:06:00

Didn't do history at GCSE, and hates English (mainly due to horrible teacher though).

Really good at languages, would love to do a third, but school doesn't offer it.

The course is languages and linguistics/development of languages, which is why I wondered if psychology might be a possible AS level.

yellowhousewithareddoor Fri 12-Apr-13 19:07:18

I thought psychology was on the 'ok' list for non soft subjects. I'd be tempted by English if they liked it.

jkklpu Fri 12-Apr-13 19:07:22

English or History, I agree

3littlefrogs Fri 12-Apr-13 19:10:26

I did A level English and loved it, but the English teacher has been absolutely dreadful for GCSE, so it has become a subject associated with a great deal of stress and misery.

mysteryfairy Fri 12-Apr-13 19:33:06

My DS's school regard music as a second tier subject and therefore wouldn't encourage another option like psychology for an Oxbridge candidate - not sure if they are right about this. DS is currently doing the same subjects as your DS intends to and his other subject is Maths (he's actually doing Further Maths too so five in total). It might sound like an odd one to add into the mix but actually requires a lot of the same strengths as German and Music.

Twentytotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 19:33:41

For linguistics English language might be appropriate. On the website it says:

Modern Languages and Linguistics

A Modern Language
(depending on course choice)

English Language, Mathematics, or a science; any other language

Twentytotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 19:34:40


Twentytotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 19:35:39

Is it a very small school? Is she sure she'd get that teacher?

titchy Fri 12-Apr-13 19:50:10

Music is not a second tier subject!!!!shock

chickydoo Fri 12-Apr-13 19:53:19

Watch music, it is not considered a facilitated subject.
Oxbridge seems ( currently) to favour facilitated subjects for the vast majority of courses.
I know 3 students not offered Oxbridge places despite predictions of 4A* 3A*. for A'level.
After much upset & many phone calls & talks with the head of a different Grammar school. It appears taking Non facilitated subjects were the reason the applicants were declined from Oxford & Cambridge.

PuffPants Fri 12-Apr-13 19:54:04

English works well. The Oxford course is very literary - way more focused on lit than lang. If he doesn't like reading or studying texts, this will be a huge problem.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 12-Apr-13 19:58:20

As someone who spent five years reading German and Spanish, if it's the actual languages that you want to learn, rather than the Oxford kudos that you're after, I'd pick a different place to study.

breatheslowly Fri 12-Apr-13 20:19:04

This gives information about facilitating subjects. I woudn't suggest Music and Psychology in case they are both viewed as soft.

webwiz Fri 12-Apr-13 20:21:05

This is quite interesting - you can select a degree course at a particular university and see what A levels successful candidates had (and the grades)

titchy Fri 12-Apr-13 20:55:33

Facilitating and non-soft are NOT the same thing....

3littlefrogs Fri 12-Apr-13 21:22:01

Thanks for all the info. I will look at those websites. smile

I am amazed that music is considered a soft subject. The work load for GCSE is huge, what with practising 3 instruments, composing, arranging and performing. I think it is at least as hard as learning a language. Plus all the computer technology they have to learn as well.

webwiz Fri 12-Apr-13 21:31:27

Music is a well regarded A level - a facilitating subject just means one which is a required for a number of different degree courses and so keeps your options open. Music isn't a facilitating subject because it isn't "required" for any subject other than Music.

chickydoo Fri 12-Apr-13 22:16:06

Just to add to my former post
A good friends son wanted to study English at Oxford
He took English Lit, French, Music his 4th (AS) was history
He got 4A* for AS levels and 3A* for actual A'levels, yet he was turned down by Oxford & 2 other very well regarded unis. His interview went well, had great work experience with
a publishing house & was Captain of
rowing at his school.
He was so upset, my friend his DM after much phoning, emailing & speaking to head teachers from other schools, was told that because music was not a facilitating subject they chose other candidates with A* in facilitating subjects.
Don't shoot the messenger, but I lived through this with them, saw how devastated they were. He now wishes he had chosen history over music, and he might have got one of his chosen uni's

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