Oxford, Cambridge and Medicine –
Bullers Wood support programme
What are the institutions looking for?
The Oxbridge selection process
The Bullers Wood support programme
Bullers Wood Sixth Form
Gifted and
Talented Philosophy
Identify suitable students
Raise awareness of opportunities for high achievers
Encourage students to be aspirational and aim high
Challenge misconceptions about Oxford and
• Provide assistance to allow students to maximise
their potential in terms of their Higher Education
• Provide as much individual attention as possible
Bullers Wood KS5 Gifted and
Talented Philosophy
“……I just wanted to say thank you for everything;
for your support with Oxbridge - I never thought two
years ago this would be (let's not tempt fate too
much) potentially my future, I hadn't even
considered Oxford when I started Bullers. I'd just like
to say, thank you so much for opening doors for me.”
(Stephanie Back, 2010-12, offered a conditional place to
read Spanish at St Anne’s College, Oxford)
Key School Focal points
Mr Weeks
Oxbridge and Medicine Co-ordinator
Head of Year 12
Mr Leonard
Key Stage 5 Academic Progress Co-ordinator
Ms Bellis
Director 6th Form
Ms Van Teutem
Assistant Head Teacher (i/c Gifted and Talented)
Bullers Wood Oxbridge
• 2008:
– 2 offers
• 2009:
– 1 offer
• 2010:
– 2 offers
• 2011:
– O offers
• 2012:
– 3 offers
Every year 1 or 2 students gain paces on Medicine (or
related) courses
What are Cambridge after?
Cambridge (Murray Edwards College) Admissions Tutor:
“Students need to be excited by intellectual complexity
and uncertainty. This is key and arguably more
important than exam results”
Advice to students:
• Academic ability and potential
• Motivation and independence of mind
• Enthusiasm and commitment
What are Oxford after?
Oxford Admissions department:
“your subject becomes your hobby”
Suitability for tutorial system:
Ability in and passion for their subject
Enquiring / questioning mindset
Analytical / logical thinking style
Proven track record at GCSE
Self motivated & reads outside the classroom
(Not about personality type / confidence and not looking
for ‘all-rounders’)
Oxbridge Selection process
– Average applicant to Oxford has 6.2 A*s (Classics 7.81 to Computer
science 4.43)
“if GCSEs poor, but AS results show promise…..” , “continual
Oxbridge Selection process
2. AS level grades
– The Cambridge ‘supplementary application questionnaire’ (inc.
UMS scores)
3. A2 predicted grades
Oxbridge Selection process
4. UCAS Personal statement
Super-curricular activities
(Extra-curricular activities)
Work experience
Associated skills
UCAS reference
Aptitude / assessment tests for most subjects
Written work
Interviews (minimum 2)
(On average 4 hours time spent per candidate
with no interview. 8 hours if interview)
• Cambridge and Oxford interviews similar
• Approx 3 candidates per place interviewed at Oxford
(more at Cam)
• Structured but informal based upon tutorial / supervision
• Questions become more challenging (but not ‘trick
• Questions based on resource prompt and involve problem
• In interviews must demonstrate:
– enthusiasm, genuine interest, clarity of thought, analytical
ability, intellectual flexibility
– Wider reading
A2 Entrance Requirements
• Oxford
– AAA for most Humanities or Social Science courses
(unlikely that this will change to A* over next couple of years)
– A*AA for most Science based subjects
– A*A*A for most Mathematics courses
• Cambridge
– Standard Offer of A*AA
– “Some flexibility”
• Medicine
– Minimum AAA (Often A*AA)
Identification of ‘Potential’
Here, students identified and tracked on basis of:
• Analysis of GCSE results, ALIS targets and AS first
modules (if applicable)
• Analysis of the Key stage 3 / 4 gifted and talented
• Dialogue with Heads of Department and subject
teachers (November of Year 12)
• Self selection and subsequent discussion with teachers
The group of students is fluid. Students opt out and
others opt in (September in Year 13) due to student
review of their future or unexpected AS results.
Raise Awareness
Assemblies / presentations / meetings
Alumnus talk
Higher Education evening at Bullers Wood
Oxbridge information evening at ‘linked’ local
• Regular one to one discussions regarding
College and course choice with 6th form team
• Participation in events provided by external
Raise Awareness
• Oxford and Cambridge conference (Epsom, 2012)
• Summer Schools
• London University Taster Days
• Pathways to Success Conference
Adhoc events
• PiXL conference
• Subject specific study days at either Oxford or
Written Application preparation
• External advice:
– PiXL Conference
– Epsom conference
– Summer schools
– Personal statement workshop provided by the
“Life Skills Company”
• Internal UCAS supervision:
– Initial draft with form tutors
– Regular meetings with Mr Weeks to perfect the
personal statement
Assessment Test Advice
Experienced teachers assist
Practice Tests provided
Specialist BMAT / UKCAT assistance
Booked through school (eg LNAT) or taken at
time of interview
Interview Preparation
• Discussion workshops
– Developing the confidence to impress academically via verbal
• Provide advice
– Demonstrate ability to think critically
– Demonstrate deep understanding beyond AS level (students
should ensure that AS material is revised well)
• Practice:
Training given by Mansfield College Admissions Co-ordinator
Mock interviews with Admissions Tutor from Imperial College
‘Swaps’ with Townley Grammar
Senior Leadership interviews at Bullers Wood
Subject specific interviews at Bullers Wood
Parental assistance…..
Medicine preparation
• Same as Oxbridge assistance
• Specialise subject teacher assistance
• External speakers
– Work experience guidance
– BMAT and UKCAT advice
• Work experience advice (internally)
Bullers Wood Sixth Form Gifted and Talented
support programme 2011-13
(Approximate timeline for the programme for the current Year 12, as illustration)
Year 12
- Identification of potential
- Increase awareness (Alumnus talk, Oxbridge conference)
- Summer school applications
March: - Higher Education and Careers evening at Bullers Wood
- Oxbridge evening at local school
- Pathways to Success Conference (Murray Edwards, Cambridge)
- Discussion workshops
- UCAS personal statement workshop
- Departments and college open days
- Discussion meeting about preparation over the summer
Year 13
- Interview assistance from Mansfield College Admissions Co-ordinator
- UCAS personal statement assistance
- Subject specific preparation led by subject teachers
- General interview preparation given by Bullers Wood
- Mock interviews (SLT, Imperial College Tutor, subject specialists)
- Collation of feedback about the interview and student preparation
How can parents help?
• Encourage completion of “super-curricular”
• Listen to talks about academic issues
• Conduct practice interviews
• Offer mock interviews for other students
(Act as chauffeur for open days etc)

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