Oxford and the IB

  • Mike Nicholls – Director of Admissions, Oxford Uni
  • Until recently, little logic in IB offers – inconsistency, ignoring of key elements of IB etc
  • 18k applicants – 23% international 8 years ago, now 34%
  • Decline in A-level pool – under 70% applicants with A-levels
  • More international academics – more understanding
  • IB – over 1k now of the 18k applicants.
  • No offers over 40 points now. (38-40)
  • Students who have over 40 points consistently outperform A-level students at Oxford – this should lead to flexibility in the view of their specific
  • Kids with less than 37 points did badly and rarely completed their degrees.
  • Level of Maths – doing Physics and Maths HL more than compensates for not doing Further Maths
  • Humanities and Social Sciences have moved to 6-6-6 HL. Engineers need 7-7-6. UNLIKELY TO ACHIEVE THIS.
  • Average actual standard is 41-42 even though the offer is 38-40. (A-levels – 2.3 x A*)
  • Emphasis on final exams suits IB students
  • IB expects students to read full texts – play to this strength.  A-levels don’t expect this as much.
  • IB is integrated subject – Oxford has joint degrees
  • Extended Essay on top of a heavy schedule is liked.  As are time-management skills.
  • Predictions – often wildly inaccurate!  4-5% of A-level predictions inaccurate – 25% in IB cohort. (Partly because it’s harder to predict in so many subjects).
  • They will wait until A-level results are out to decide
  • NEW IB SCHOOLS – TEACHERS MAY STRUGGLE TO BE ACCURATE IN THEIR PREDICTIONS.  MUST MENTION IF YOU ARE A NEW SCHOOL DOING IB. 
  • School has to opt in to giving results – unis can be left in limbo not knowing what kids’ results are.
  • Teacher workshops – June, July.  3 day residential stay in Oxford – observe a tutorial – eye-opening.
  • Q & A – any benefit taking 4 x HL?  Not really – unnecessary pressure.  Preference for humanities for Law?  Requirements are made clear – Law has no specified subjects.  However, some subjects will give an advantage with the admission test.
  • Can the aptitude tests be prepared for?  TSA – 3-4 hours of prep is suitable.  Not much time available – need to move quickly.  Essay is not regurgitation – a much more focussed response is needed.  Maths paper – get more marks for working-out than the final answer
  • For Medicine – think hard bio-chemical degree.
  • Tutors are responsible for development of the students they admit.