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The Big "Are My Grades Good Enough for Cambridge?" Thread (Mk1)

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    Hey, I'm looking at applying to Cambridge for Maths this year. I've taken my Maths A level early and I'm quite sure I got an A* in that and over 90 UMS in all of my AS Further Maths modules except M2 which I messed up on and will probably be getting something like 70UMS. Do you reckon this would be an issue?
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    Go and look at a STEP paper. If all the questions look impossible to attempt, reconsider Oxbridge.

    (I was deciding between Maths and NST at Cambridge with >95% UMS average in Maths/FM and STEP still looked impossible so I made a decision not to do it. Then subsequently someone else in my year who I consider much better than me at Maths applied got an offer and missed the STEP grades on it. I'm now struggling with the Maths component of NST even.)
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    (Original post by Game_boy)
    Go and look at a STEP paper. If all the questions look impossible to attempt, reconsider Oxbridge.

    (I was deciding between Maths and NST at Cambridge with >95% UMS average in Maths/FM and STEP still looked impossible so I made a decision not to do it. Then subsequently someone else in my year who I consider much better than me at Maths applied got an offer and missed the STEP grades on it. I'm now struggling with the Maths component of NST even.)

    I don't really feel like that's a fair comment to make. Most people feel like the questions look impossible - especially if they haven't been especially pushed in maths by their school before. I was completely overwhelmed the first time I looked at STEP, and didn't even attempt questions until November. Then in January I still felt like I could barely do any questions. Now I feel I have a good shot at making my offer. I'm not certain or even very confident by any means, but I have a decent chance.
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    (Original post by Game_boy)
    Go and look at a STEP paper. If all the questions look impossible to attempt, reconsider Oxbridge.

    (I was deciding between Maths and NST at Cambridge with >95% UMS average in Maths/FM and STEP still looked impossible so I made a decision not to do it. Then subsequently someone else in my year who I consider much better than me at Maths applied got an offer and missed the STEP grades on it. I'm now struggling with the Maths component of NST even.)

    (Original post by hassi94)
    I don't really feel like that's a fair comment to make. Most people feel like the questions look impossible - especially if they haven't been especially pushed in maths by their school before. I was completely overwhelmed the first time I looked at STEP, and didn't even attempt questions until November. Then in January I still felt like I could barely do any questions. Now I feel I have a good shot at making my offer. I'm not certain or even very confident by any means, but I have a decent chance.
    I agree with hassi 100%. I'm not a mathematician by trade and I only have second-hand experience of STEP, but I'll share what I know. Many people in my year are doing the test for one reason or another, and the people who are now considered the best were not by any means the ones who were best at them initially. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will look at a STEP paper for the first time with a mixture of confusion and horror. It's only by plowing through the past questions (getting tutoring and attending STEP classes doesn't hurt either!) that you gain the confidence and skills required to succeed in them. Ain't nothing but practice.
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    (Original post by Nick_)
    I would quite like to know how important UMS scores are to cambridge, and what average would be considered bad/average/good/very good.
    If you mean in general, I believe (the information is floating around on the internet somewhere) that the average science applicant has 90%+ in their 3 most relevant subjects and the average arts applicant has this across their 3 best. The average offer-holder/student has closer to 95%.

    This is not a hard-and-fast rule. It is possible to get higher than that and get rejected. It's very possible to get lower than that and get an offer (I'm a final year law student who had an average of something like 88% across my top 3). It's supposed to be a good indicator of degree success but they take a lot of other factors into consideration, especially your interview.
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    (Original post by hassi94)
    I don't really feel like that's a fair comment to make. Most people feel like the questions look impossible - especially if they haven't been especially pushed in maths by their school before. I was completely overwhelmed the first time I looked at STEP, and didn't even attempt questions until November. Then in January I still felt like I could barely do any questions. Now I feel I have a good shot at making my offer. I'm not certain or even very confident by any means, but I have a decent chance.
    Whilst that is correct, Cambridge maths is a world beyond even FP3, which itself is a world beyond all the modules anyone will do in their AS year. The maths which is taught as part of the natural sciences first year is well above FP3, and the proper maths is another level up. Given that the OP hasn't been getting 90% in further maths AS modules, I would doubt Cambridge is for him.
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    (Original post by alphil)
    Well, your case might have been slightly different, but there can be cases in which they do ask those questions. A friend of mine who applied for medicine was asked: 'Here is a bottle of water. Talk about this bottle for five minutes'.
    I myself was asked: 'How do you know that you're in Cambridge?' and 'How do we perceive objects?'.

    These are tough questions that may need practice. It would be insensible to waste such a opportunity (of getting into Cambridge) because you weren't prepared enough.


    Ps- I applied for Philosophy and got an offer.
    Come on, what do you expect to be asked if you're doing philosophy. I spent the whole interview talking (heatedly arguing) about how much values are like colours. Are you doing philosophy now, or have you got an offer for next year?
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    (Original post by AdamBryCarv)
    Hey, I'm looking at applying to Cambridge for Maths this year. I've taken my Maths A level early and I'm quite sure I got an A* in that and over 90 UMS in all of my AS Further Maths modules except M2 which I messed up on and will probably be getting something like 70UMS. Do you reckon this would be an issue?
    As long you're generally around the 90 mark you should be fine. Also, don't freak out about M2. You might have done better than you think
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    (Original post by AdamBryCarv)
    Hey, I'm looking at applying to Cambridge for Maths this year. I've taken my Maths A level early and I'm quite sure I got an A* in that and over 90 UMS in all of my AS Further Maths modules except M2 which I messed up on and will probably be getting something like 70UMS. Do you reckon this would be an issue?
    Meh; I got 74 on M2...one bad module isn't really -that- troublesome. I'd say go for it
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    Cheers for your reply guys. Just got an email from Cambridge admission department. According to email they are only concern about recent academic achievements.
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    To be honest if you are good enough to do maths at Oxbridge I don't see how you could possibly not get an average of 90% across your maths modules. In my maths class at school there are 6 people who have been getting and will get over 95% in every maths and further maths module, but only a couple of them are good enough to stand a chance of doing maths at Cambridge.
    I know that its not what you want to hear but unless their is a really good reason for not getting near to full marks in most math modules, then I doubt you are good enough to do maths at oxbridge.
    Really Sorry
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    (Original post by Nick_)
    To be honest if you are good enough to do maths at Oxbridge I don't see how you could possibly not get an average of 90% across your maths modules. In my maths class at school there are 6 people who have been getting and will get over 95% in every maths and further maths module, but only a couple of them are good enough to stand a chance of doing maths at Cambridge.
    I know that its not what you want to hear but unless their is a really good reason for not getting near to full marks in most math modules, then I doubt you are good enough to do maths at oxbridge.
    Really Sorry
    Don't conflate Oxford and Cambridge maths together here. From what I know from a few friends doing maths at Oxford, they think the Cambridge course is quite a bit harder. I could be wrong but from what I've heard, the Cambridge course is harder so does have higher requirements.

    (If anyone knows better, please correct me )
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    (Original post by gethsemane342)
    Don't conflate Oxford and Cambridge maths together here. From what I know from a few friends doing maths at Oxford, they think the Cambridge course is quite a bit harder. I could be wrong but from what I've heard, the Cambridge course is harder so does have higher requirements.

    (If anyone knows better, please correct me )
    Your right Cambridge does have a reputation for being harder (I personally don't know if it is or not). My point is still valid for both though, I know it sounds harsh but really good mathematicians should easily be getting 90% in maths. There really isn't any excuse not to: the questions are almost exactly the same each year, there are never any especially difficult questions, each question has a method taught on how to do it.
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    (Original post by Igrisok)
    That shouldn't be your only reason for choosing a university. Look at their course structure, talk to some people who did the course, visit the campuses if you can... Don't pick between the two just because you think you might be more likely to get in! And as I said, UMS isn't treated as a huge deal with maths, and remember that 50% of people will get below the mean mark!
    Not necessarily :p:
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    (Original post by Helenia)
    Not necessarily :p:
    Oh you know what I mean
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    (Original post by DJMayes)
    Do you do anything relevant to the course? Cambridge honestly couldn't care less what instruments you play or which style of martial arts you subscribe to. They will be interested in very strong UMS as Medicine is a competitive course, combined with a set of extra-curriculars which display a strong passion and aptitude for the subject.

    If your music grades are all you have to put on your personal statement then I doubt you'd have a realistic chance at Medicine at Cambridge. Your AS grades could well be high enough to be competitive but without evidence of a strong commitment to and aptitude for Medicine as a career choice your chances are very slim.
    I've done quite a few work experiences, at hospitals and I volunteer at care homes, I can describe the different types of operations I saw and write about what I learnt from shadowing doctors in my PS. I am a member of a variety of orchestras which has helped me develop skills such as communication, working with others, leadership (as principle violinist) and I can apply these to the course. I do charity work....I can go on and on lol :P is that better? I don't want to bore you by writing everything I've done or do!
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    (Original post by SParm)
    Meh; I got 74 on M2...one bad module isn't really -that- troublesome. I'd say go for it
    i got 3 a's in A level but i did them in year 10 will they take that into account
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    (Original post by Aysena)
    I've done quite a few work experiences, at hospitals and I volunteer at care homes, I can describe the different types of operations I saw and write about what I learnt from shadowing doctors in my PS. I am a member of a variety of orchestras which has helped me develop skills such as communication, working with others, leadership (as principle violinist) and I can apply these to the course. I do charity work....I can go on and on lol :P is that better? I don't want to bore you by writing everything I've done or do!
    If you've done appropriate work experience like the hospitals etc. then go for it. However, take my advice: Don't mention your music/martial arts, as it doesn't matter how much you twist them to look relevant to Medicine; Cambridge have heard it all before, and it's not what they want. What Cambridge want is experiences which show you interacting with patients and getting a true feel for what it's like to be in the role of a doctor, and this is the kind of thing Cambridge want to hear about it. Don't waste space on your personal statement writing about how "You play in an orchestra, which develops my leadership as I'm a violinist". Write about your experiences in fields related to medicine.

    Good for you that you can play these instruments; I'd personally love to be able to play an instrument to any decent standard. However, don't expect it to aid your application in any way as it is not what Cambridge is looking for.
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    Hello there !

    I'm thinking of applying to Cambridge, most likely for something languages/History related, but I'm a little scared.
    My History teacher is known (in my school) for being very severe, so my grades in History aren't good this year, while all my other grades are very good. I know that I'll get a better grade in History at my bac (I'm doing the French bac), for sure, but I'm afraid Cambridge will reject me right away for my History grades on my high school transcript.
    Do you think they'll understand how weird it is that I have very good grades in every subject except in History ? Or will they just think that I didn't make any effort in History and miraculously got a good grade at my bac ?
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    (Original post by Igrisok)
    Oh you know what I mean
    No, we know what you median. :o:
Updated: August 16, 2012
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