(Original post by JayTeeKay)
I was rejected from Durham as well, if you're interested. I'm not sure what their application/place ratio was but I'm guessing it was high, as their offer is A*AA this year.
I reckon my B at AS level let me down. I had a bad exam day and I sat Cores 1 and 2 on the same day (neither was a resit either) straight after each other. I just felt like I was on damage limitation for those three hours.
If anything it shows that their admissions systems (or the exam system?) are flawed because I got A*s in cores 3 and four (one sat in Feb and one sat in July thank god!). I got an A* in physics too. I don't think they could realistically ask much more from a candidate without holding interviews or conducting external exams (which neither do). I'm sure many others who applied and many who were rejected also exceeded the offer. Even if you have the capability, it's still going to be hard.
My advice would be to forget about St. Andrews, unless you have your heart set on it. It's not worth the risk to be honest. I'd apply for somewhere less competitive or I'd go for somewhere like Imperial or Oxford -chances are lower that you'll get in there, but you get to argue your case in an interview and they're more prestigious, which makes it worthwhile given that St. Andrews is similarly risky.
Although to be honest, any top 20/russel group university will have a good physics course -they're all accredited by the Institute of Physics (which means they need to cover certain topics to a certain level of detail), so really it'll boil down to finding an offer you can meet and finding somewhere you will be happy.
For Physics, Birmingham, ICL, Oxbridge, Warwick, Lancaster, Durham, St. Andrews, Bristol and Southampton all tend to be the recognised "top ten", but to be honest, the top 20 or so are all very close.
I'd recommend Lancaster, because it has a fantastic physics department (home to the coldest place in the universe
!) and I know people who missed their offer for Lancaster and got in. There's no guarantee they'll be lenient next year, but it's an indication at least. I think Southampton might have had clearing spaces this year, but I can't remember.
Loughborough, York, Liverpool and Cardiff and Royal Holloway were all also in clearing this year. There were loads more in clearing the year before, including Lancaster (I checked the list last year to choose insurance choices, which worked because York was accepting people for their BSc with BBB in clearing this year), so you might get an easy place at a good department if the rise in applications this year was just a pre-tuition fee surge.
Thanks for wishing me luck but I got into Warwick's physics department, so I'm happy! Good luck with your UCAS application and make sure you choose somewhere you know you can get into for your insurance -the unis in clearing (above) will more likely be lenient with you if you mess up badly.