Can you get in for PPE without maths at Oxford?(20 Posts)
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DD is very interested in this course. She’s about to embark on her a levels after having a year out due to a move from abroad to a UK school...
Due to school subject slots, she cannot study Maths. She’s not a fan of maths anyhow but got an A* at IGCSE.
She is going to study History, Geography, French and Economics.
A family member did, although that was quite a while ago.
Your DD should look at the course requirements:
They say it is not necessary, they very rarely take anyone without it
Yes, Dd showed me that link...it really does look to me that they require it just don’t outright say it.
I cannot see how, realistically, you could do the Economics without Maths. You wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else of the highest quality to do Economics without it. They leave it a bit woolly just in case! Given that about 1 in 10 get in, I think you need to nail the best set of A levels for the course because the successful candidates will.
French has a better success rate!
I’m pretty sure that in practice (if not in theory) maths is required for any economics course at any RG university.
What elements interest her most?
Bubbles will know more than me but when DH read PPE it was common to effectively give up one of the three subjects. (He did his best to avoid philosophy.) Economics has got a lot more mathematical since, so if economics is her interest, she should probably aim for a maths A level.
If she is less interested in the economics, how about something like PPL. Or contact an admissions tutor about how much she needs maths for PPE with less focus on the E.
I really would not try to game the system by looking at sucess rates. Do the degree you want to do. A French degree is a different kettle of fish.
This shows how many PPE offer holders in 2016 and 2017 had taken A-level maths:
I did an Economics degree at an RG University (not as high calibre as Oxford) and it's basically applied Mathematics. I had A Level Maths and found it hard. Friends who did PPE without A Level Maths found the Economic s incredibly tough, and at my old uni they now insist on it for PPE. Regardless of what Oxford will accept - and I imagine it's incredibly competitive - I really wouldn't recommend your DD does PPE without the Maths background. She'd be at a massive disadvantage.
(a) It's not unusual at Oxford to switch to a different degree course after the first year and go into year 2 of a different course
(b) in the ppe course you can drop one out of politics, philosophy or economics after the 1st year and focus on the other 2.
It is therefore possible to obtain a place to study a different subject, get a decent grade in 1st year exams to demonstrate that you can hack the pace, then apply to switch to ppe but never actually study economics and never need the maths.
I know 2 people who have done exactly this.
You have to have a genuine love of the other subject though or the first part of the plan won't work.
In order to get the TSA scores required for that course, she'll need to have very nimble numerical and spatial reasoning abilities.
These are the kind of skills maths keeps you sharp at!
Of course the TSA assesses other skills too.
Imchlibob so they ended up doing philosophy instead? What a couple of oddballs! I had to do some philosophy in my degree... it was unpleasant.
I think it’s a bit naughty applying with the intention of swapping out as soon as possible. You’re potentially depriving someone who has the passion and ability of a place.
I had grade A maths (not further maths) and still struggled with the maths in the economics part of my Oxford ppe degree. It's definitely required in practice.
What would she need to drop to do Maths?
If she's really set on applying to this course, it's obviously a big advantage to do it these days. (Is she also wanting to apply for PPE elsewhere, or different subjects?) Experiences of people who were there 10 years ago and more, before the test was introduced, aren't so relevant now, although AFAIK dropping one of the three subjects in later years is still standard.
I was offered a place to do PPE with Economics, Geography, English lit and Chemistry.
I didn't take it up though, was too terrified by the entry grades. It was over 20 years ago, mind you!
Why not just call the university and ask? It might depend on the college but they would know more than we would?
Recent stats show 93% of successful applicants had Maths A level so it’s a massive advantage to have it. I would have thought her school would like the combination of Maths and Economics too. If she’s not keen on Maths, is Economics as a degree or part of a degree realistic? Particularly at Oxford where everyone is stellar. Even in the first year one would think it would be tough for someone who doesn’t particularly like Maths. My DD got an A* in igcse Maths too, however she would also run a mile from the A level! I’m not sure Geography is worthwhile in this combination and Maths would be so much better. That’s why the vast majority have it and others might have equivalent from other countries.
I would suggest she looks at other courses that don’t involve Economics. That’s why I wondered about French. It’s far less competitive! I wasn’t suggesting French was good for PPE.
The issue is not, IMO, just whether your DD gets in without Maths bit whether she’d enjoy a course on which >90% of students were hugely better prepared than she was.
You will really struggle without Maths. Most other people on the course will have it and will be at a huge advantage. Is definitely recommend having it.
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