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Oxford Requirements for Americans with SATs and APs

rbrijsrbrijs Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
So I am an American student looking at applying to Oxford for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in the fall, and I have taken 3 APs, US Government and Politics, Chemistry, and Calculus BC.I didn't take more APs because my school stopped teaching to the AP system a while back, so we generally have to study a lot more for the APs than other students from other schools would. I took the SAT subject test Math 2 and got an 800 end of my sophomore year, and I am going to take the Chemistry and US History subject tests this June. I know they want at least 3 relevant APs and subject tests. Assuming I do well enough, are these enough relevant tests? Are there any other subject tests I should take that would be relevant? Also, I am considering taking the physics subject test in October. Would that help me at all, or would it either, one, not be relevant at all, or two, not get the the admissions team because of the deadline of October 15?

Replies to: Oxford Requirements for Americans with SATs and APs

  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,694 Forum Champion
    Economics has 2 APs. Doesn't your school offer Economics?
  • jupiter98jupiter98 Registered User Posts: 314 Member
    Chem and Physics will not help you at all. 2 Econ APs will count as one.
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 1,020 Senior Member
    It doesn't matter if you haven't yet taken a test, but intend to do so later in the year - it just means that if you get an offer, it would likely be conditional on scoring a 5 in it. Having said that, physics isn't all that relevant, but it would probably be OK - they don't ask domestic candidates for specific subjects for PPE. You've got calc, which is an excellent choice for potential PPEists, and history is always a good choice too. Govt is one of the 'lesser' APs which isn't regarded as acceptable.
  • rbrijsrbrijs Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    So my school doesn't have economics (we have courses like globalization and such instead) but I can likely self study economics (both) if it would be useful. However I would take that next May, should I list it as a test I will take in May on my application? Also does US Government count if I also take the comparative governments AP?
  • jupiter98jupiter98 Registered User Posts: 314 Member
    edited May 2016
    Comp and US Gov count as one AP (look up UCAS tariff points). You will list all upcoming exams as pending and your counselor will predict the grades.
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 1,020 Senior Member
    It isn't essential to have studied economics before starting a PPE degree, and on the whole I would advise against self studying.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,651 Senior Member
    Agree with @Conformist1688 that econ isn't necessary, but demur a bit on self-studying. Some people go overboard and there is no need for that, but if you are self-studying one that you are interested in, or that goes with what you are studying anyway the only risk is being sure that you will get a 5. I will say that CompGov is one of the most selfstudy-able of the APs and the material in it is actual useful in one of the first year PPE modules.

    One thing I would say to think about: how is your essay writing? I don't see much in what you've posted, and in PPE, even if you focus on the Econ you will write a *lot* of essays, under enormous time pressure.

    Also, don't forget to get sorted on you will take the TSA early- if you don't live near a test site, it can take some organizing.
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 1,020 Senior Member
    My concern with self studying is that you don't get any feedback from teachers about how you're doing, and may well crash and burn on the test, which could be worse than not doing it in the first place.

    Agree w. collegemom3717 that some practice writing essays would be a good thing.
  • aquabaloneaquabalone Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Current American Oxford undergrad here.

    I think the most important thing to remember is that the people making the decisions are professors in the relevant discipline. It is not so much about "looking good" in an application or building one's CV than actually showing you understand your subject and have potential to study it well. The interview and admissions test (idk what the one for PPE is, pretty sure there is one for most subjects) are the most important parts.

    As far as grades/exam scores go, A-levels are a highly relevant element of the application for UK students but they are less important for internationals. I would advise doing as well as you can on the SAT/ACT. An amazing score will not help much but a low score can hurt. Anything >2200 or 32 is probably good enough.

    I wouldn't worry about formalities like does Econ AP count for 1 or 2, or are these subjects 'relevant' enough, etc. For many subjects there may not even exist 3 relevant AP exams.

    Unrelated subjects will not hurt, but they may not help. Physics is probably not completely unrelated to economics, but say if you were applying for a science subject and happened to get a 5 in AP Art History, you might as well not even report it.
This discussion has been closed.