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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?


seeker Fri 12-Apr-13 22:18:57

And apparently it's no use even applying if you don't have all As and preferably A*s at GCSE.....

Milliways Fri 12-Apr-13 22:22:41

My DD did French, German, Eng Lit & Maths to full A2 + History AS (Did MFL at Cambridge)

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 22:29:54

chickydoo I'm not convinced. I think sometimes if unsuccessful applicants insist on feedback the universities try to be kind, which is as it should be. Why kick a dog etc. - especially a dog who's applying post A Levels. Personally, I wouldn't rely on feedback as being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. I have a DD who got offers from all her five university choices for History (including Oxford and Durham and three other RGs) with less good grades than your friend and without being captain of rowing (etc). She took History, Eng Lit and Art & Design at A2 (with French for AS). I also think it may be a mistake to assess your own interview as good or not good, as so many young people who get in these days seem to have interviews which appear utterly disastrous to them. My own DD is very far from alone in having that sort of spread of subjects among her peers, which is why it's worth sharing.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 22:33:48

Where did you get that from seeker? And as grade deflation strikes, there will be more and more who've missed predicted grades but still get offers with Bs.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 22:35:35

A guess only smile And then of course there might a U turn and rampant grade inflation this year, who knows?

webwiz Fri 12-Apr-13 22:37:14

chickydoo did your friend actually speak to Oxford or just to other head teachers? I know several DCs at Oxford with Music as one of their A levels and with various combinations of "soft" subjects.

English is very very competitive and lots of good candidates don't get offers from all their choices. My impression of Oxford (DS is showing an interest in English) is that they want you to be a reader and aren't particularly interested in rowing and work experience.

breatheslowly Fri 12-Apr-13 22:39:29

Psychology is probably considered a "soft" subject at Oxbridge - so I would be wary of taking it in conjunction with Music which is debatably "soft", but not reliably considered "hard".

Twentytotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 22:45:56

Oxford have to like you. You could have straight A*s and not be what they're looking for. Then there are the colleges themselves. Many moons when I was in sixth form we were basically given an edited list to choose from because some would look less favourably on any applicant from our school. And it was acknowledged that so few people put Hilda's as their choice that it was a good choice for weaker candidates.

Twentytotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 22:48:31

Though as a mixed college that's probably no longer the case.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 22:53:02

Some subjects are almost wholly centralised now Twentytotwo and so for those where you apply is marginal.

slipshodsibyl Fri 12-Apr-13 22:53:54

I see that your dc doesn't like English and didn't do History Gcse. You do not have to have done History Gcse to take AS Level. It is a safe choice given your question (if it is palatable to your dc)

Primrose123 Fri 12-Apr-13 22:54:44

I did MFL at university and did A levels in French, German and maths. Would that be a possibility? You have to enjoy maths to do it at A level though, it's much harder than GCSE.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 23:04:02

True about History. I didn't do it for O level but did for A level and loved it and got an A in the dark old days when an A = an A* of today. Perfectly do-able. Got to have a vague interest at the outset I suppose, and a decent teacher too.

3littlefrogs Fri 12-Apr-13 23:23:38

DC is an avid reader, articulate in 3 languages, interested in history. Might consider doing history at AS level/A level if it is possible to do without having done GCSE. I didn't know that was possible, but I suppose it makes sense.

Just been really put off English because of awful teacher.

We have lots to think about. Thank you to everyone.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 23:27:17

If he's got an interest then History is a really good idea 3frogs as he's very likely these days to get a curriculum with a massive whack of German history as part of it.

breatheslowly Fri 12-Apr-13 23:39:17

I wonder whether they acceptability of "soft" subjects at Oxford might depend on where the candidate went to school and whether the school might reasonably have been expected to guide the student to the "right" mix of A levels. It would seem unduely harsh to reject a candidate from a school that rarely sent anyone to Oxford because the school didn't guide them to all hard subjects, but some schools would be very used to Oxford entrance and be expected to steer their candiates appropriately.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 23:47:11

In DD's case it was a superselective breathe and in their defence the HoS did say don't do it but she did anyway: not great at French (and not keen) but brilliant at Art (and super keen).

eatyourveg Sat 13-Apr-13 08:39:06

English or History or possibly Gov&Politics but no idea if thats soft or not

bombyxmori Sat 13-Apr-13 10:02:39

Trouble is, English is in such great demand. He's not the first I've heard of to get that kind of outcome. Mod Lang are a different kettle of fish so his experience is not perhaps generalisable. And Oxbridge IS a lottery - they have too many good candidates so no one is guaranteed - and someone feeling the interview went well is not a guide, they say that. Hope it worked out for your friend's DS in the end.

bombyxmori Sat 13-Apr-13 10:03:37

oops that was for chickydoo, not used to system yet. Way late response

seeker Sat 13-Apr-13 10:07:35

"Where did you get that from seeker? And as grade deflation strikes, there will be more and more who've missed predicted grades but still get offers with Bs."

The all As and A*s thing? It's received wisdom in our neck of the woods. Is it not true, then? <hopeful emoticon>

seeker Sat 13-Apr-13 10:12:42

Oh, and dd just told me they had a talk at school from an admissions person who said the same........

seeker Sat 13-Apr-13 10:13:19

Sorry, my last two posts were to yellowtip.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Apr-13 10:33:08

Chickydoo music is considered a facilitating subject.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Apr-13 10:39:24

It's music tech which is on the 'bad' list. And that is a very different animal.

I'm actually appalled that so many posters in this thread as so misinformed about music. Gove's war against the arts in education seems to be going well on the hearts and minds front. sad

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