6 Common Oxbridge Myths Debunked

The ‘Oxbridge experience’ is surrounded by myths that can attract and put off students from applying. With a combined age of 1,737 years, it is no surprise that myths have developed over time around the two academic giants. We have put together the 6 common Oxbridge myths and why they are true or false.

Author: Moira Robinson

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The ‘Oxbridge experience’ is surrounded by myths that can attract and put off students from applying.  

With a combined age of 1,737 years, it is no surprise that myths have developed over time around the two academic giants. For those applying to Oxbridge or just interested to hear some myth debunking, we have put together the 6 common Oxbridge myths and why they are true or false.

“Oxbridge is expensive” – MYTH!

Firstly, it’s reasonably priced. Secondly, you normally only pay rent for the time you’re actually using it. Everything’s close by in Oxford and Cambridge, so you won’t spend money on expensive rail fares and taxis to get around. A bike is more than enough! AND on top of all this, there’s generous support for students from lower-income families! Don’t be put off by cost – it really isn’t a problem.

“There’s no time for fun” – MYTH!

In fact, having interests away from the work can help you to keep everything in perspective and ensure you approach your work with a clear mind. Even if you aren’t a county-standard rugby player, there are loads of clubs and societies to choose from – check out the students’ union websites for more details.

“No-one is from state-schools” – MYTH!

The following statement was taken from Oxford University News and Events in 2021:

‘For students applying in the most recent admissions cycle, the University has made a total of 3,541 offers. In this cycle, state school pupils received 68.7% of all offers, in line with the 69.1% figure last year for offers and the record 68.6% who were admitted’.

“You need 12 A* grades at GCSE to get in” – MYTH!

Whilst it can’t be ignored that good grades certainly help you stand out, admissions tutors consider all aspects of your application and interview performance to get a balanced measure of your academic potential. With most students applying to Oxford and Cambridge achieving stellar academic grades, the admissions test and interview have become amongst the most important components.

“Interviews are really scary” – MYTH!

This requires a two-way discussion, where you have a chance to express your ideas and work your way through tricky problems. The interviewer wants to bring out the best in you, so a scary grilling would be rather counter-productive! A good interview should be an interesting and stimulating academic experience. The days of Oxbridge dons barking at you are well and truly gone.

“You’ll need to expand your vocabulary” – TRUTH!

Of course not everything is a myth:

For example in Cambridge, a kitchen is a “gyp room”, cleaners are called “bedders”, a rowing contest is called “bumps” and you enter a college through the “plodge”. In Oxford, dinner might be a “crew date”, a party is a “bop” and the second boat is called “Isis”. That’s something to get your head around!

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