At Oxford, where he double majored in math and computer science, he earned what the Brits call a double first, graduating with a perfect GPA in both subjects.

Does Oxford have GPAs?

16 thoughts on “Really?”

  1. No. Nor does it have “Majors”.

    Plus they’ve got the meaning of “double first” wrong too… And nobody studies “Math” either…

    From Wiki: A ‘double first’ at Oxford usually informally refers to First Class Honours in both components of an undergraduate degree, i.e., Moderations/Prelims and the Final Honour School, or in both the bachelor’s and master’s components of an integrated master’s degree.

    So not a 1st (70+%) in the two components of an “and” degree

  2. What abacab said
    There is a MSc in computer science for which a first in Maths is an acceptable entry requirement. This is a one-year course completed by a dissertation.

  3. There is “Mathematics and Computer Science” as an undergrad degree, but if you get a 1st in finals, it’s just a 1st…

    If you study “Engineering, Economics and Management”, or the dreaded PPE, you don’t get a “triple first” if you score over 70% in everything…

    Bloody Seppos assuming that things work a similar way to in US universities, and not taking 5 minutes to check…

  4. Don’t upset Yanks by saying things like “So not a 1st (70+%) …”

    Americans are used to exams so easy that 70% is a snivellingly low score. On this I speak from experience: I remember a clever American student shocked after his first attempt at British-style, British-standard exams.

    Mind you, that was long in the past. How easy British exams have become I don’t know. But given that Firsts are now scattered like confetti I have my suspicions.

  5. MathSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    Talking of which, skipping through TV channels yesterday I paused for a few seconds on one of the kiddie channels, advertising something called Math Tutor.

    It’s mathSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Goddammit! We’re not bloody illiterate yanks. Get chore bloody yank rubbish out of our kiddies’ education. Sesame Street was specifically not picked up for Brit TV in the seventies explicitly because of this sort of language mangling that would distort kiddies’ learning.

  6. Yeah, the old joke: What’s the UK equivalent of an American college degree? ‘O’ Levels.
    We had a few Americans at my Scottish uni in the 1980s. The other thing that floored them was proper beer, having been exposed to the shandy they have in the States.

  7. The microbreweries started take off in the States during the ‘80s. Some of the best beer anywhere now is to be found in there, though if somone still wants the weak brew the US was notorious for for so many years it is still available.

  8. @ jgh
    The brightest and best US graduates used to come over here to take undergraduate degrees; the only Rhodes scholar I met who was taking a post-grad degree was a Canadian.

  9. if somone still wants the weak brew the US was notorious for for so many years it is still available.

    My comment to my US colleagues when Budweiser introduced “Bud Zero” was “Why? What’s the difference?”

  10. What abacab said. There are so many errors in that sentence of the article, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Maths Finals have a number of papers, but back in my day (and Delo’s day) questions were marked out of 25, scores bucketed into alpha (21-25), beta (16?-20) and everything else. You could get a First by scoring more than N in (2 x your number of alphas) + (your number of betas), or your sum-squared score (sum over all your papers of the square of the marks for each question) being over 12,000 or so. Theoretical max was 40,000 or so. So most Firsts scored only 30% of the available marks.

    I’m sure the rest of the article is very well researched though. Gell-Mann amnesia, indeed.

  11. I was so chuffed to get over 40% (a 3rd) in my maths final (I did engineering at Oxford). I’d have been happy with scraping 30% for a pass…

    A couple of surprise 70+% grade marks and a 4th year project my supervisor wasn’t really in to so gave me a solid mid-2:1 65% (worth 3 papers!!!), and I scraped my 2:1 by just breaking the 60% threshold overall.

    Basically I had my brain utterly rinsed for 4 years, having more or less breezed A-levels…

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