When it comes to looking at higher education in the UK, there are two names which sit at the forefront of many students’ minds: Oxford and Cambridge.
For centuries, these renowned universities have dominated university league tables for their ability to produce some of the greatest thinkers in the world. And it comes as no surprise that hundreds of thousands apply each year, all eager to gain a slice of the Oxbridge way.
Both universities are famed for their excellent student satisfaction, world-leading quality of research, and network of connections, But it’s their high-quality teaching models which are the biggest testament to their reputations.
The universities offer a wealth of provisions for supporting students in their academic studies and beyond. Their iconic tutorial teaching method has helped shape some of the world’s greatest students and is consistently rated as one of the most effective ways for students to learn.
The core teaching method used at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge is the Oxford Tutorial. And it’s this unique way of learning that has helped Oxbridge institutions gain such a reputation for academic excellence.
Tutorials are recognised around the world as a fantastic way to explore new ideas, gain new perspectives and think for yourself - an essential skill for academic success and one which many employers look for.
Typically, tutorials are hour-long conversations between two or three students and their expert tutor, and offer an opportunity for students to talk in-detail about their subject, ask questions, and receive individual feedback on their work. This work needs to be prepared before the tutorial begins, which the tutor will typically set based on a particular topic or question.
A tutorial relies on the exchange of ideas, so you need to ensure that you complete any preparatory work set by your tutor to make the most out of your time together. In the session, you’ll be encouraged to present your ideas, defend your reasoning, actively listen to others in the group, and accept constructive criticism on how to improve your work. It’s the only way you’ll be able to truly dive deep into the content and gain a rounded perspective on it.
As well as participating in weekly tutorials, students following this study method will also learn through a combination of seminars, lectures, and - if relevant to their course - laboratory work and language classes. When combined, these learning methods foster the perfect learning environment with which to learn in.
In short, the ‘Oxford’ way of learning is considered the best in the UK’s education system.
There are an extensive range of benefits associated with studying at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, thanks to their effective tutorial-method of teaching and other unique associations that come with it.
Below, we’ve selected 6 of the biggest benefits that come from being able to access and study the ‘Oxford’ way. These are:
When it comes to being successful with your learning, you want to ensure that students are able to engage actively in class and garner assistance whenever they may need it.
Smaller class sizes allow students and their tutor to engage in wider classroom discussions, where everyone can benefit from active listening and debate. You’ll have the chance to hear from opinions from a whole range of different perspectives, defend your own opinion, and gain a much better understanding of your subject than you may have done in a larger classroom environment.
Besides allowing all students to take an active role in their learning, small class sizes also make it easier for tutors to monitor each student’s progress and provide more individualised attention - should they need it.
And, according to a 2018 HEPI report which analysed the effectiveness of the Oxbridge learning method, it appeared that small class sizes continue to be a priority for students at these world-leading universities:
“96% of Oxbridge students but only 36% of other Russell Group students and 35% of all students have at least one hour in classes with 0 to 5 other students;
59% of students at other Russell Group institutions have at least one class per week with more than 100 other students, in comparison to just 42% at Oxbridge and overall.”
Over the years, there have been numerous studies to indicate the benefits of using individualised feedback within university settings.
For example, Bellon’s 1991 study on Teaching from a Research Knowledge Base established that giving academic feedback was the strongest and most consistent factor which correlated with high academic achievement, more so than any other teaching behaviour.
It comes as no surprise that giving students a better understanding of how to improve their work is one of the main factors linked to academic success. But individual, targeted feedback can also help students and tutors build a strong rapport, which, as a result, can lead to greater confidence for students, who feel empowered to push their thinking, idea generation and critical thinking to the next level - which is so often linked with academic success.
Of course, for this to be effective, feedback needs to be regular, so students can keep track of how to continually improve their performance, implementing small changes as the semester progresses - rather than one large lump of overwhelming feedback in one go.
When it comes to receiving regular, personalised feedback, Oxbridge students tend to receive it within a much quicker timeframe, and often in an in-person environment:
“40% of Oxbridge students but only 14% of other Russell Group students and 16% of all students receive feedback in person;
A smaller proportion of Oxbridge students (3%) than other Russell Group students (11%) or all UK students (9%) report receiving only a grade as feedback;
82% of Oxbridge students but only 13% of other Russell Group students and 11% of all students receive feedback within one week.” [source]
This ability to receive detailed, regular feedback - with an opportunity to discuss and talk through it in person - really helps students to become masters of their work and know how to improve for the future.
Another great benefit that students can access through an Oxbridge education is a great wealth of information, knowledge and resources. As the leading universities in the world, Oxford and Cambridge often draw the most talented tutors, students, speakers, and physical resources, including books, lab equipment, and sporting facilities.
These resources are widely considered the best for students in the UK, with the 2015 National Student Survey naming the libraries in Oxford as the best in the UK. Impressively, these buildings hold a copy of every book which has ever been published in the UK - meaning students can access any resource they may ever need.
But aside from the physical library environments, students at Oxbridge institutions have access to a far wider breadth of expert resources. From the expertise of their tutors and classmates, inspiring speeches from leading public figures, free entry to city museums, and access to some of the world’s leading online journals and resources, students have everything they need to help them excel with their academia.
Everybody knows that students at the University of Oxford commit themselves to their work and study hard. And research has found that compared to other universities:
“Oxbridge students work a total of 43 hours per week, 12 hours more than other Russell Group students or all students;
Total workload is higher at Oxbridge across a range of disciplines - at Oxbridge, total working hours typically amount to over 40 hours a week, meaning time spent studying more closely resembles full-time work than at other institutions.” [source]
Studying the Oxford way demands a lot of time from students; weekly tutorials mean you need to complete at least one essay or long-form assignment each week, while seminar classes also require lots of independent study and preparatory reading. And this is before you start to think about any secondary reading or laboratory work.
On top of this heavy workload, when compared to other mainstream universities in the UK, Oxbridge term times run at only 12 weeks in length, meaning students are required to study intensively over a short period of time. Although this requires students to continually push themselves to work hard, it helps them to create a strong work ethic.
This is favoured by top employers around the globe, who seek graduates with a commitment to their work and will dedicate themselves accordingly.
Given the skills, expert teaching, and evidential dedication to learn, it’s not surprising that Oxbridge graduates are often highly sought after by some of the top employers.
Within 6 months of graduating from university over 94% of Oxford and Cambridge graduates are employed or in further studies just six months after completing their studies.
Mainly, this is down to the select range of skills Oxbridge students graduate with, which are so often a product of learning via tutorials, small class groups, and lots of independent study. But, it’s also thanks to the incredible network connections that the universities of Oxford and Cambridge have with some of the top employers.
In their final year of studying, students will have the chance to engage with the university’s excellent careers service, who can offer unrivalled guidance and advice for budding graduates. Top employers will also host formal dinners and receptions for those part of the careers service, hoping to encourage them to work for their companies.
The Oxbridge name is renowned around the world, with employers, universities and other recruiters looking highly amongst those who can prove they have succeeded in this rigorous academic environment.
For over 800 years, the Oxbridge educational system has been welcoming some of the brightest minds from around the world.
Young, passionate students come from all over to learn from some of the greatest academics and tutors, who have been selected for their commitment to research, incredibly detailed subject knowledge, and ability to teach high-potential young minds.
And it’s this premise that inspired us to establish Melio - allowing curious young minds from around the world to connect with some of the greatest academics and spark their curiosity.
Many of our tutors have studied or taught at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and they want to share this unique teaching experience with as many students as possible to benefit them.
Our Online Courses allow a small group of dedicated students to connect with one another from all over the world, and come together to share ideas and bounce information from one another.
Small seminar classes and tutorials allow plenty of interaction between you, your studious classmates and tutor who is an expert in your subject. It’s sure to create an inspiring atmosphere, filled with interesting, detailed discussions and new ideas.
It’s fair to say that not many universities in the world have the same international recognition as Oxford and Cambridge. Producing fewer than around 8,000 graduates each year, these elite universities offer an unparalleled learning environment for which students can excel.
Studying in small class groups amongst the world’s greatest thinkers, along with receiving plenty of rich and regular feedback means students have access to some of the world’s best teaching resources. Meanwhile the universities’ world-famous reputations means those who matriculate through their doors have access to an excellent network of tutors, services, and employers.
The Oxbridge learning methods have long been famed as the very best in British education, giving students the very best chance at extending their subject knowledge, developing critical thinking and other key skills for the future. So much so that we’ve modelled our very own online learning programmes on theirs to offer an unrivalled learning experience.
Merging tradition through technology, we’ve modelled our online courses on the same prestigious tutorial system that has set the universities of Oxford and Cambridge apart for centuries.
Expect one-on-one attention, comprehensive feedback on your work, and the chance to bounce ideas and debate with an expert tutor. All while learning alongside students who are every bit as driven as you are.
Or you can kick-start your learning journey today by submitting an application to study with us.