More tests to crack 'elite' Oxbridge code | india | Hindustan Times
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More tests to crack 'elite' Oxbridge code

Undeterred by criticism, Britain’s Oxford and Cambridge universities have introduced a battery of tests for admission seekers, many of whom are from India, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2007 00:26 IST
Vijay Dutt

Undeterred by criticism, Britain’s Oxford and Cambridge universities have introduced a battery of tests for admission seekers, many of whom are from India.

The tests come in the wake of a renewed attack from the Institute for Public Policy Research, which says admission policies favour pupils from elite independent schools.

Both varsities admit over 40 per cent of students from independent schools, though the private sector accounts for seven per cent of the nation’s pupils.

They have also faced criticism for failing to recruit enough students from the working class. A study last month said a third of Oxbridge places were monopolised by students from 100 elite schools.

Oxbridge academics, however, say the A-levels fail to identify the best candidates. This makes the selection process difficult as admission to the varsities are sought by students from all over the world.

Under the new rules, students applying to study English and Philosophy and, Politics and Economics at Oxford will have to take an entrance exam. Oxford recently introduced aptitude tests in Physics, History, Mathematics and Computer Science.

A retired professor told HT recently that A-levels are no longer an accurate barometer of ability. The opinion has been a matter of controversy since last year.

Mike Nicholson, Oxford’s director of admissions, was quoted in The Telegraph, as saying: “Oxford and Cambridge are trying to make students more aware of opportunities. But if they choose not to apply, that is the only guarantee that they are not going to get in."