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Very confused about UK schools? (mainly LSE)

balochibalochi Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
edited June 2016 in United Kingdom
I don't understand the testing policies, and whether conditional offers are common or not.

Schools I am interested in: LSE, SOAS, UCL, KCL and Oxford for International Relations.

Next year I am taking the following courses:
AP English Language
AP US Gov't
Macroeconomics
Microeconomics
Statistics
Psychology

I'm taking the AP exam for all of them, and I am self-studying comparative government, so if all goes right I'll have 7 5s. However, UCAS has Group A and B, where English is the only relevant exam I've taken.

But I've read on LSE's site that macro+micro count as one, same with the two gov'ts. Would other schools have the same policy and see my junior year test scores as 3 preferred and 2 non-preferred like LSE does?

Even then I'm one short for entry, I know they make conditional offers on your senior year exam marks.

Senior year I am taking the following APs:
Calculus BC
US History
European History
English Literature
These are all preferred subjects, could they give me a conditional offer? Like would they want 5s on all of these or would they be looking for a 5 on just one?

I've heard that for LSE you need Calculus, so even though I'm doing IR I'm doing Calculus BC. I've looked at the course overview and I'm not interested in taking the Economics courses, so can I take AB instead?

Oxford says they want a 32, but if I score a 33 am I seen as less than an applicant with a 35, or are we viewed the same?

Thank you in advance for the advice

Replies to: Very confused about UK schools? (mainly LSE)

  • balochibalochi Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    edited June 2016
    I am considering taking the Human Geography and Enviornmental Studies exam (they together count as one preferred) to meet the testing requirements junior year, should I do this? That would be a lot of exams but the ones I am taking are not the more difficult exams. I would keep my senior year APs the same.

    Also, things I am not asking about: cost of studying in London, aid, and work visas. I have these covered :D
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,152 Senior Member
    edited June 2016
    Schools I am interested in: LSE, SOAS, UCL, KCL and Oxford for International Relations.

    Oxford doesn't offer IR- the closest is History + Politics, or Philosophy + Politics + Economics.

    But I've read on LSE's site that macro+micro count as one, same with the two gov'ts. Would other schools have the same policy and see my junior year test scores as 3 preferred and 2 non-preferred like LSE does?

    Each uni will tell you exactly what their requirements are, and LSE's are the most stringent (also, only LSE uses the 'preferred' nomenclature- everybody else just goes with the UCAS A/B). imo, Micro + Macro will be accepted as a full AP by all of your unis, though fwiw the econ APs don't get any respect from either LSE or Oxford (they will still accept it- the tutors just aren't very impressed by them).

    Even then I'm one short for entry, I know they make conditional offers on your senior year exam marks.

    Senior year I am taking the following APs:
    Calculus BC
    US History
    European History
    English Literature

    These are all preferred subjects, could they give me a conditional offer? Like would they want 5s on all of these or would they be looking for a 5 on just one?

    Conditional offers are the norm, and they do specify exactly what they want. As an example, I know a student who applied for HisPol at Oxford and IR at LSE. She applied with 5s on World History, Lang, Lit, US Gov and ES; and was scheduled to take US, Euro, Comp Gov, and Latin as a senior. Her Oxford offer was a 5 on three of the 4, to include US and Euro. The offer from LSE was 5s on all 4 exams.

    I've heard that for LSE you need Calculus, so even though I'm doing IR I'm doing Calculus BC. I've looked at the course overview and I'm not interested in taking the Economics courses, so can I take AB instead?

    Calc is not required for IR- any Econ course would require it, but otherwise no. However, if you are also applying to competitive US unis you may need that 4th year of math.

    Oxford says they want a 32, but if I score a 33 am I seen as less than an applicant with a 35, or are we viewed the same?

    no- it's a box you have to tick. Once it's ticked they go on to the next thing

    I am considering taking the Human Geography and Enviornmental Studies exam (they together count as one preferred) to meet the testing requirements junior year, should I do this?

    I don't see any percentage in doing Geo & ES: they aren't relevant to your course, they aren't respected, and you have other, better, more relevant APs already on your list.

  • balochibalochi Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    @collegemom3717 Thanks for that advice, much appreciated :)

    Regarding Oxford, if I applied to PPE they'd want to see Calculus right?
    What do you suggest in place of Calculus if I do not take it?

    I'm under the impression that both AP Gov't exams will be considered as "one" too. They'll tell me what exams I need to take or they'll base it off my schedule for my offer?

    Lastly, is doing Model UN worth it, but even though ECs aren't weighed much but it's relevant to my course and something I could mention in my PS? I'm also applying to a summer program (NSLI-Y) where I learn Arabic, is that also relevant? (Since I'm applying for IR and I'm very interested in MENA).

    So this is my game plan:
    32 or higher on the ACT

    Apply with these APs:
    Macroeconomics - 5
    Microeconomics - 5
    US Gov't - 5
    Comparative Gov't - 5
    English Language - 5
    Statistics - 5

    Senior year plan on taking:
    English Literature
    US History
    European History
    Calculus
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,152 Senior Member
    Comp Gov (which is actually useful for 1st year politics modules btw) + US Gov do 'add up'.

    The uni will look at your APs and decide which ones will be part of your formal offer. As in the example above they can look at the 10 you are planning to take and tell you which ones they are counting toward your application. They will never ask you to take one you haven't listed.

    For PPE you could do AB instead of BC; a mid-700s on the SAT II / Math 2 might do it as well - though you will be at a disadvantage if you actually get in and take the first year Econ module.

    As for ECs: your PS is where you demonstrate that you have a serious interest in, understanding of, and aptitude for your subject. If you really love something you want to spend time with it, and one of the things that should come through in your PS is evidence of how you engage with your subject beyond the classroom. What do you read on your own that is thoughtful and serious about your subject? how do you spend your time? ECs that relate to your subject are an important part of making that case. Don't do model UN just so that you can reference it, but do look for the ways that you integrate your choice of subject into your life.

    Two side notes:

    1. PPE has an admissions test called the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) which is crucial for being called to interview (HisPol has the HAT)- if you are going to apply plan early, as the TSA can be messy to organzie and you take it in November.
    2. Please be sure to read the course descriptions very, very, very carefully. There are substantial differences between them, and they are much more restrictive than the US.
  • elguapo1elguapo1 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    I dont think UCL offer IR, some combo of History and Politics is the closest.
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    The Arabic would be useful to mention - have you taken any languages in HS? You don't seem to have any planned in the last two years.

    I don't think I'd suggest you did Calc AB rather than BC, because it would be seen as an easier option - it would be better not to do it all all imo.
  • balochibalochi Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    @theconformist My choice is not to do Calculus now. However, I am applying to some top schools in America (HY, Columbia, UChicago) and I know a fourth year is recommended. I'm still applying to Poli Sci/Gov't or IR or Near East studies. So given calculus is unrelated to my major and I've already taken statistics, should I really let this go? I'm planning to take a sociology and ethics course instead, which is more relevant IMO.

    Also, Arabic ends at level 2. Next year I'm taking French 3 Honors and senior year French 4 Honors, which is the highest level.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    Depends on how far you want to go. Poli sci can get quantitative and game theory is already a big part of IR.
  • balochibalochi Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    I'm not very into that @PurpleTitan. And f I did Poli Sci I'd focus in IR. So do I need Calculus AB or BC vitally? Could I get a rejection from a program because they think I'm underprepared for IR because I don't have calculus? They don't list any math prereqs on the program pages, but you know
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,152 Senior Member
    HY etc are going to want a 4th year of math
  • KajonKajon Registered User Posts: 4,362 Senior Member
This discussion has been closed.