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Get Admitted to your Dream University – Oxford

Located approximately 60 miles northwest of London, Oxford is regarded as a top educational institution in the world. Studying at Oxford is a dream for bright and ambitious students across the globe. While the exact date of the University of Oxford’s founding is unknown, the school traces its roots back to at least 1096.

Approximately, 47% of the student body is undergraduate students and around 51% of its student body is made up of graduate students, and the remaining 2% are doctoral students. Oxford was ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

There are more than 25,000 students at Oxford, including 12,510 undergraduates and 13,044 postgraduates. More than half of Oxford’s graduate students conduct research as part of their studies. Research at Oxford takes place in all four of its academic divisions: humanities; mathematical, physical and life sciences; medical sciences; and social sciences.

Oxford’s academic calendar is divided into three terms – Michaelmas (fall), Hilary (spring) and Trinity (summer) – each eight weeks long. The language of instruction at the university is English. This university allows you to learn with more passion and advanced teaching techniques. Getting into Oxford is like a dream come true. However, as one of the most prestigious universities in the world it takes extensive preparation and excellent grades to secure an admission at Oxford. Please find relevant information on eligibility criteria, application requirements and preparation below.

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Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility requirements are the first step in knowing how to get admission to Oxford. The requirements might differ from one course to another, but there are some primary eligibility criteria that you must fulfill as an international student applying at Oxford University.

  • Academic requirements It is necessary that you have a 10+2 basic qualification from a recognised academic institution with a minimum percentage of marks
  • University Tests based on your planned major
  • Personal Statement
  • School or college teacher reference
  • Written work
  • Interview
  • IELTS or TOEFL score

Students need to demonstrate strong academic performance and perform well on all fronts. Please read on for more information on the Oxford admissions.

A.   Academic Requirements:

Oxford requires strong academic performance from students. Based on the course plan to study, you need to achieve at least the following grades in your core subjects in grade 12.

CategoryCourses of StudyCBSECICSEIBA LEVELS
A*A*AChemistry, Engineering Science, Mathematics, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and StatisticsFor the CBSE board as an indication, it is required to have 91 or above for A1 and 81 to 90 for A2Overall grade of at least 90%, with 95% or above in four subjects (including any relevant to the course applied for) and 85% or above in the fifth subject.776 in the HL Subjects with 40(course points)A*A*A
CategoryCourses of StudyCBSECICSEIBA LEVELS
A*AABiochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, Earth Sciences (Geology), Economics and Management, Geography, Materials Science, Mathematics and Computer Science, Medicine,Physics,Physics and Philosophy, Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL),Psychology (Experimental)Grades A1 A1 A1 A2 A2, with grade A1 in any subjects relevant to the course applied forOverall grade of 90% or more, with grades of at least 95% or above in three subjects (including any relevant to the course applied for) and 85% or above in the other two subjects.39 (including core points) with 766 at HLA*AA
CategoryCourses of StudyCBSECICSEIBA LEVELS
AAAArchaeology and Anthropology, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Classics, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages, Classics and Oriental Studies, English and Modern Languages, English Language and Literature, European and Middle East Languages, History, Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Music, Oriental Studies, Philosophy and Modern Languages, Philosophy and Theology, Religious and Oriental Studies, Theology and Religion.Grades A1 A1 A2 A2 A2, with grade A1 in any subjects relevant to the course applied for.Overall grade of 90% or more, with grades of at least 95% or above in two subjects (including any relevant to the course applied for) and 85% or above in the other three subjects.

38 (including core points) with 666 at HL

39 (including core points) with 666 at HL)

AAA

Indian students with either the CBSE (All-India SSC) or CISCE (ISC) boards. For the CBSE board as an indication, it is required to have 91 or above for A1 and 81 to 90 for A2.

The primary requirement is grades. For A levels Oxford (and Cambridge) require minimum A*, A* & A for students in A levels. For IB students they require 7,7 & 6 with an overall score of 42. Regardless of the system or board, you need to be an outstanding student with equivalent marks in your core subjects.

Choose the correct subjects in class XI and XII. Math is an essential requirement for Engineering, Computer Science, Economics and Medicine. Physics is compulsory for Engineering. Chemistry (not Biology) is required for Medicine.

B. University tests

SAT scores are not required or accepted. There are different types of tests to gain admission to the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Depending on your choice of major, Oxford (and Cambridge) require you to appear for a test. For example if you are planning to study Math, Computer Science or Economics, you will probably need to appear for the Math Aptitude Test. If you are planning to study Medicine, you will need to appear for the BMAT. If you are planning to appear for Engineering, you will need to appear for the Physics test. Only BMAT(Biomedical Admissions Test) and TMUA (Test of Mathematics for University Admission) are paid admission tests. The table below shows the applicable admission tests for different courses at the University of Oxford.

ADMISSION EXAMINATIONCOURSEDATES/FREQUENCYDURATION OF EXAM FORM OF EXAM
Biomedical Sciences, MedicineBMAT

Testing starts in October every year

Date: 18th October 2022

Duration: 2 hours

BMAT is not a test of knowledge. It tests problem solving, understanding argument, and data analysis and inference  It tests your ability to apply this knowledge in unfamiliar contexts

Form of Exam:

Paper 1: MCQ’s

Paper 2: MCQ’s

Paper 3 : Writing Task

Classics, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages, Classics and Oriental StudiesCAT (Classics Admissions Test)2nd November 2022

Duration: 3 hours

The CAT exam is designed to test the student’s aptitude.

Course 1 to be taken by those who are studying Greek and Latin to A-level.

Course 2 and Classical Language Aptitude test to only be taken by students who are not taking either Greek or Latin in college.

Form of Exam : Subjective Exam

English Language and LiteratureEnglish Literature Aptitude Test (ELAT)2nd November 2022

Duration: 90 minutes

ELAT exam tests the students’ close reading skills and their ability to shape and articulate an informed response to unfamiliar literary material.

Form of Exam: Subjective Exam

History, History (Ancient And Modern) History and Economics, History and English, History and

Modern Languages, History and Politics

HAT (History Aptitude Test)2nd November 2022

Duration: 1 hour

The HAT is a test of skills. It tests the student’s ability to read carefully and critically, the adoption of an analytical approach, ability to answer a question relevantly, ability to handle concepts and select evidence to support points, originality and independence, precision and clarity of writing.

Form: Question Based

Law (Jurisprudence)LNAT(National Admissions Test for Law)Testing starts before or on 15th October every year

Duration:  2 ¼ hour test

LNAT is a test designed to study the students aptitude for studying law.

 Form

Section 1: MCQS

Section 2: Essay type Question

Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, Mathematics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and StatisticsMAT (Mathematics Aptitude Test)2nd November 2022

Duration of Paper: Two hours and 30 minutes

The MAT tests the students’ knowledge in high school mathematics and their ability to study the subject in university.

Form of Exam: MCQ’S

European and Middle Eastern Languages, Classic and Modern Languages, English and Modern Languages, History and Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics, or Philosophy and Modern Languages.  MLAT (Modern Languages Assistance Test)2nd November 2022

Duration: 5 hours

Consists of 10 Sections

The MLAT tests the student’s knowledge on different languages like Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish in the first 8 sections. The last 2 sections are

● Language Aptitude test which tests the aptitude of  those applying for new languages as beginners and for Russian.

● The Philosophy test (for those applying for Philosophy and Modern Languages).

Oriental Studies, Classics and Oriental Studies (Oriental Studies with Classics), European and Middle Eastern Languages, Religion and Oriental Studies.OLAT (Oriental Language Aptitude Test)2nd November 2022

Duration: 30 minutes

Form:

The OLAT is designed to assess your ability to analyze how languages work.

Engineering, Material Science, Physics, Physics and PhilosophyPhysics Aptitude Test (PAT)2nd November 2022

Duration: 2 hours

Relevant for those who want to Pursue Engineering.

The PAT tests students’ knowledge in high school Physics. Students should have a strong understanding of Physics and Math to perform well in this test.

Form: Subject-specific admissions test.

Philosophy and TheologyPhilosophy Test (Philosophy and Theology only)2nd November 2022

Duration: 60 minutes

Philosophy test is not a test of philosophical knowledge. It is designed to test a student’s philosophical reasoning skills.

Form:

Part A: Comprehension Style Questions

Part B: Logic Style Questions

Part C: Half hour essay Questions

Experimental Psychology, Geography, Human Sciences, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics, Economics and ManagementThinking Skills Assessment (TSA)2nd November 2022

Duration: 2 hours

TSA tests students’ problem-solving skills, including numerical reasoning. This test also seeks to evaluate a candidate’s ability to organize ideas in a clear and concise manner, and communicate them effectively in writing.

Form: MCQ’s

Section 1: Thinking Skills Assessment [Only for those taking Economics and Management or History and Economics]

Section 2: Writing Task.

C.   Personal statement

Your personal statement is a chance to show your potential to excel at the University and beyond. It should include:

  • Your career aspirations
  • How you became interested in studying the subject
  • What, if any, relevant work experience you have undertaken that is related to the course or subject
  • What aspects of your previous education have you found most interesting
  • What attracted you to the University of Oxford
  • Other relevant academic interests and passions which display positive character and personality

Genuine experiences of extra-curricular clubs, work experience or knowledge about a subject would make your personal statement stand out. Admissions officers are looking for evidence to see whether you can be a productive member of the university.The average length of a Personal Statement for undergraduates is 400-600 words.

Tips for Writing a Personal Statement:

  • Be passionate about your subject
  • Start the statement strongly to grab an admission officers attention
  • Link outside interests and passions to your course
  • Be honest, but don’t include negative information
  • Don’t attempt to sound too clever
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute, prepare ahead of the deadline
  • Have friends and family proofread it
  • Don’t duplicate material from your CV/resume

D.   School or college reference

Your tutors will report your academic performance as part of your UCAS reference, including your predicted grades. This is also where some contextual information about you can be included. Recommendation letters are a very important part of the application process. Your mentor needs to be someone you respect, someone who inspires you and is related to your field of interest. If you are a high school student aspiring to study engineering, this may be your Physics (Chemistry or Computer Science) teacher.

E.   Written work

Oxford requires some applicants to send samples of written work as part of their application. Oxford will expect this work at different times, so double check the deadline when you apply to ensure you don’t miss it.  Oxford requires students who are planning on studying in Oxford to submit essays(in some courses) or portfolio(Fine Arts) These are some of the courses where submitting written work is important.

Classics, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages, Classics and Oriental Studies, English and Modern Languages, English Language and Literature, European and Middle East Languages, History, History and Economics, History(Ancient and Modern), History and English, History and Modern Languages, History and Politics, History of Art, Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Music, Oriental Studies, Philosophy and Modern Languages, Philosophy and Theology, Religious and Oriental Studies, Theology and Religion.

Given below is a table on

Written Work 

COURSEWRITTEN WORKS
Archaeology

● Two recently-marked essays, each written as part of a school or college course within a two-week period or less and preferably in different subjects.

● A short essay of no more than 500 words in response to the following question: What can we learn about people, either past OR present, from their material culture?

ClassicsTwo pieces (either essays or commentaries).
EnglishOne piece of written works done on literary texts or a short timed essay on a brief critical commentary. It should not exceed 2000 words.
Fine ArtThe portfolio should include a range of work which gives a sense of their artistic and intellectual interests and an awareness of contemporary art.
HistoryAn essay on an historical topic.
History of Art

● One marked essay of up to 2,000 words written for an A-level which will demonstrate ability to construct a sustained written argument

● one personal response, written in no more than 750 words, to a piece of art, architecture or design.

Modern Languages

One piece of essay  a few 100 words in length written in the languages you plan to study.

Second piece of marked writing in English language.

PhilosophyOne piece on  an examination or test answer to an unseen question, which has been supervised and marked by your school or college.(No more than 2000 words)
Theology, Religion and Philosophy of ReligionAn essay on Religious Studies or work in a related area, for example work on any Humanities subject, such as History or English.(No more than 2000 words)

1.   Interview

Oxford is one of the few universities in the UK that require an admission interview for admission. The interview allows you to meet your potential academic tutors. In essence, the interview is a friendly academic interrogation which enables tutors to tease out how you think about various academic subject matters whilst also allowing them to see if you’re the type of student they can see themselves teaching. It is essential to re-read what you’ve written in your personal statement, especially the books you’ve mentioned and the projects you’ve undertaken. Interviewers may quiz you on what you’ve written in your personal statement. It would also help to have a mock interview with your school’s career advisor before going for the actual Oxford interview.

2.   English Language Proficiency Test Scores for Oxford University

Amidst the procedure of how to get admission in Oxford University for international students, taking an English Language Proficiency Test is an essential requirement because every course in the university is carried out in English. These tests include TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Test in which TOEFL can be taken both online and offline. Varying in courses, the university will accept standard or higher English ability. Following are the average scores you need to secure in an English language proficiency test to apply at Oxford.

TESTStandard Level Scores for Computer Science, Mathematics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics(Only for these subjects) Higher level scores(For all the other subjects)
IELTS7.0Average Score : 6.57.5Average: 7.0
TOEFL100

Average scores:

Listening: 22

Reading: 24

Speaking: 25

Writing: 24

110

Average scores:

Listening: 22

Reading: 24

Speaking: 25

Writing: 24

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English(CAE)185Average Score:176191Average Score:185
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English(CPE)185176191Average Score:185

Although it is difficult to get into Oxford, with extended preparation you can improve your chance of getting into this prestigious university.

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About the Author: 

Shubhi Joshi is an Editor at Scholarly. She has a B.A. in English and a M.A. from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. She has an interest in history and current affairs. An avid blogger, Shubhi loves to write about higher education and self-improvement.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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