Oxford finalists are 'little better than A level students', claim tutors

“Examiners were once again concerned that students graduating from Oxford having studied foreign languages should have such a precarious command of their own,” one Spanish tutor wrote.

They are hailed as the brightest and best, but new documents reveal Oxford dons’ despair at some students’ failure to revise and inability to spell.

Some are unable to spell words such as ‘erupt’ or ‘across’ correctly and give answers that show a “worrying degree of inaccuracy,” according to examiners’ reports seen by the Daily Telegraph.

Academics said a culture of box-ticking at A-level had left students with poor general knowledge and unable to think for themselves.

One English examiner wrote: “We encountered a distinct sense of undeveloped critical thought, first year level work, or at the lower end of the run, A-level-style responses: information dumped but not tackled.”

A tutor marking Cold War history papers said: “The clotted residuum of A-level work was noticeable in a clutch of questions.

“Candidates would do well to abandon the assumption that they can use their schoolwork without significant addition to their reading and analysis.

“The intellectual thinness and out-datedness on topics such as the Soviet Union was embarrassing.”


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