Oxford University; AP Courses


This year I had a hectic time with my AP’s. I’m a sophomore looking to apply to Oxfords PPE program. I took the 2 AP economics courses, ending with 4’s in both. As you may know, those are incredibly unflattering scores, especially considering that I wish to apply to a program with economics in its name.

However, as my school does not offer AP courses and we must self study for exams, I wish to retake the AP’s next year.

In the event that I am able to gain 2 5’s, I was wondering, would I have a decent shot at PPE??

Or would the 2 4’s in economics stain any chance I have at the program.

I’m very worried and I need some external advice in order to decide whether or not I should drop my pursual of Oxford University.

Are you a US-based student?

Will you have Calc BC?

Are you a rising Sophomore or a rising Junior?

Have you looked at the TSA (Thinking Skills Assesment)?

What other courses and/or universities are you looking at?

Fwiw, some UK schools won’t accept scores taken during Grade 9- they only consider scores taken in the last 3 years of secondary.

I’m a Canada based student.

After lurking around a bit, I’ve decided that Cambridge HSPS is much more suitable for myself. I am heavily lacking in math, I acknowledge that taking AP Calc and gaining a 5 would be a serious overestimation of my abilites.

I am a rising Junior, and I have decided to take more AP’s next year.

I have already taken:

AP Comp. gov - 5
AP US gov + politics - 5

My school only allows a maximum of 4 AP’s each year, and we have to self study. We are limited to only 1 AP exam in our freshman year. This year, I chose to do the 2 Econs and the US centered ones listed above.

However, I am unsure of how I should proceed.

Would it be much more appealing to retake the 2 Econs, (where I’m fairly sure I can score 5’s on both)


for my junior year, should I just take World History, European History, AP Lang, and AP Human geography (I’m less certain on scoring 5’s, however, If I don’t make Cambridge, I have versatility with university credits and majors)

However, I would understand Cambirdges dissatisfaction with scoring 4’s. I was wondering if it would be better to obtain 5’s on 2 other humanity subjects, or to retake the econ’s and score 5’s.

Thank you for your reply.

Cambridge requires 5 scores of 5, and they don’t accept subject tests. Also (and this is totally opinion), applying with Canadian stats (v US) is likely to go down better.

Aside from the status associated with Oxbridge, what is your interest in going to either? If you are looking the versatility of majors I wonder if either are really going to suit you.

I appreciate the UK’s versatility, I have a general direction of what I want my career path to be on, however I’m unsure of which sector’s I’m passionate about.

I’ve looked into the UK more than Canada due to majores like PPE, HSPS, that bundle together subjects. When studying them, there’s a certain level of depth that distinguishes the social sciences from each other - which is a process that I think is what I need to help me determine my future (journalism, law, consulting, policy).

I guess to better explain it, it’s like purchasing ice cream and consuming samples to have a better idea of what I want, instead of buying chocolate every single time.

Specifically, the tutorial system is also another win. I know that I would do much better being taught in a smaller class size. The pressure associated with a 1-3 on one meeting would help me push myself so much more than a normal setting.

After thinking about it, I’m going to take 2 new AP exams, instead of retaking the 2 econ ones. Versatility and the opportunity to diversify knowing what I want to do is my priority. Different AP’s help with it. Fulfilling what I intended to do in the first place.

Thank you for the advice, it cleared up a lot for me.

The 3yr program in England is not as flexible as the title implies…PPE means you will study PPE. Look at Scotland, where the courses are 4yrs in length. The first two are spent studying your stated interests, and you take some courses that you are curious about…and there is the flexibility that you do not declare your focus until the end of year 2…with some exceptions…languages require all 4 years in the language. But, dual degrees are very common French/Intl Relations; Philosophy/Economics; History/Your Choice…

I have never, ever heard of third level in England considered ‘versatile’.

Building on @BOS-rules point: the tutors at Oxbridge select for their courses -even the composite courses. They may talk about ‘finding your core interest’- but they mean ‘which type of chocolate are you passionate about, not is it chocolate, vanilla or butterscotch’. For that you need a US LAC or similar.

As for the tutorial system- you have 1-2 hours of tutorials a week, and a certain number of lectures. You do all the rest of your learning on your own. It is extremely self -directed.

That is really not how it plays out- unless you mean getting internships in each area to see how you like them. You will be pretty equally prepared for any of those (with the obvious caveat of law prep)- but there won’t be any more direct help in picking one of them than you would get anyplace else.

Really think a US LAC is what you are looking for.

I am a student applying from the US. I was wondering if Imperial and Cambridge will accept senior year AP scores? I know that Oxford sends out conditional offers, but does it work the same in other universities?

Yes. And in the future, start your own discussion. Hijacking threads violates ToS and is considered rude to the original poster.

Sorry I didn’t know that this violated the ToS. I will be sure to start a new discussion in the future.