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

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    (Original post by Mithra)
    Applying post A-level they won't be looking for A*s as you couldn't have got them and your exams weren't designed for them, they'll just assess you on the merit of your own marks rather than comparing them directly to this year's :yep:.
    Thank you!!
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    (Original post by Mithra)
    Applying post A-level they won't be looking for A*s as you couldn't have got them and your exams weren't designed for them, they'll just assess you on the merit of your own marks rather than comparing them directly to this year's :yep:.
    Hmm...but in that case then surely they can't effectively compare us to the rest of the field. Unless they allocate a fixed quota for post-A2 candidates. This is probably why they should've held off a year on this A*AA offer thing. Although, I doubt they'll pay much attention to predictions.
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    (Original post by hannah_makeawish)
    My sixth form will only let me do 4AS levels, is this going to effect my chances? (I know it seems really illogical but everyone seems to have 5-6)

    I'm applying 2011 for medicine btw if that's relevant, I just wanted to check now.

    xx
    No it's not going to.

    (Original post by Cambridge Admissions Site)
    Cambridge applicants are encouraged to study either four or five AS levels in Year 12. Applicants taking four subjects will not be disadvantaged compared with those taking five subjects. We would normally expect A grades at AS level in subjects which are particularly relevant to the course you are applying for.
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    (Original post by necessarily benevolent)
    Hmm...but in that case then surely they can't effectively compare us to the rest of the field. Unless they allocate a fixed quota for post-A2 candidates. This is probably why they should've held off a year on this A*AA offer thing. Although, I doubt they'll pay much attention to predictions.
    Well the exams for this year's AS are all completely different, the specs have changed in almost every subject, so comparing you will be difficult anyway as you have been examined on different syllabi .
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    (Original post by Mithra)
    Well the exams for this year's AS are all completely different, the specs have changed in almost every subject, so comparing you will be difficult anyway as you have been examined on different syllabi .
    Hmm...well they manage to compare candidates doing different exam systems anyway I guess e.g. IB and A levels, so it probably wouldn't have that great an impact. :dontknow:
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    (Original post by Mithra)
    Well the exams for this year's AS are all completely different, the specs have changed in almost every subject, so comparing you will be difficult anyway as you have been examined on different syllabi .
    My brother's doing AS this year so I can compare and from what I've seen they really aren't that different from when I did them a couple of years ago.
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    I think I might try emailing the admissions office, about the post A level applications, as I can't find any "official" information on it and would like to know for definite the criteria they will use. As I have no specific college I'm guessing emailing the general admissions office would be the best bet?
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    My brother's doing AS this year so I can compare and from what I've seen they really aren't that different from when I did them a couple of years ago.
    Yeah most haven't changed dramatically (although have changed quite a lot, especially wrt what is in each module). However there has been a large change in that in a fair few subjects there is a LOT less, if any, coursework, which is a big difference to previously :p:.
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    (Original post by haute_couture)
    I think I might try emailing the admissions office, about the post A level applications, as I can't find any "official" information on it and would like to know for definite the criteria they will use. As I have no specific college I'm guessing emailing the general admissions office would be the best bet?
    Clare College's website have a good page dedicated to it (http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/admission...t-a-level.html). From what I gather, pretty much every college invites all post-A level applicants to interview even if they haven't met the standard conditions, and there are opportunities for those who want to go travelling to have their interviews in September.
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    (Original post by necessarily benevolent)
    Clare College's website have a good page dedicated to it (http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/admission...t-a-level.html). From what I gather, pretty much every college invites all post-A level applicants to interview even if they haven't met the standard conditions, and there are opportunities for those who want to go travelling to have their interviews in September.
    That link was great, thank you! Good to know about the early interviews too
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    The early interviews thing isn't standard across all Colleges though. You should try and be around during the interview period, especially in the instance you are pooled and they wnt to reinterview you.

    The A* thing is pretty irrelevant, as they have your module marks and will thus know what you would have got anyway.
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    (Original post by FadedJade)
    The early interviews thing isn't standard across all Colleges though. You should try and be around during the interview period, especially in the instance you are pooled and they wnt to reinterview you.

    The A* thing is pretty irrelevant, as they have your module marks and will thus know what you would have got anyway.
    Yes, but it still begs the question as to whether the two syllabuses (syllabi? :confused:) are comparable.
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    (Original post by necessarily benevolent)
    Yes, but it still begs the question as to whether the two syllabuses (syllabi? :confused:) are comparable.
    In short, they are.
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    (Original post by necessarily benevolent)
    Yes, but it still begs the question as to whether the two syllabuses (syllabi? :confused:) are comparable.
    Cambridge don't give a shti about your poxy A level syllabus. They just want to know whether you can excel in whatever exam system you are in, and why you can't if not.
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    (Original post by ace_banana)
    Cambridge don't give a shti about your poxy A level syllabus. They just want to know whether you can excel in whatever exam system you are in, and why you can't if not.
    If you're a post-A2 applicant this year then, being on the 2000-2008 syllabus, we will be competing against those doing the new 2008 syllabus. Considering it's essentially a competition for entry just 'excelling' is not enough.
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    But you also have the advantage of already having your grades. They aren't 'gambling' on you getting over 90% on anything. The same thing happened when they introduced a change much bigger than this one. When AS levels were introduced and the system went modular as opposed to taking all the exams at the end of year 13, that was a bigger change than this one nd they coped. Admissions tutors know what they are doing, just put forward the best application you can and trust in their judgement.
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    (Original post by necessarily benevolent)
    If you're a post-A2 applicant this year then, being on the 2000-2008 syllabus, we will be competing against those doing the new 2008 syllabus. Considering it's essentially a competition for entry just 'excelling' is not enough.
    Well if you want to think the syllabus makes a difference, then no you won't be 'competing' directly with them, because anyone doing the new syllabus won't have their final A2 grades at the time of application, will they?

    Anyway, your performance at interview and the quality of your PS is quite a lot more important than whether you got 88% not 89% because the old syllabus was soooo much harder, so you should strap a pair on, stop wetting yourself and go and read a book.
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    Rightio - I suppose my question is somewhat void because I am currently only in year eleven and therefore thinking well ahead, and I think I know the answer to my question anyway. However! I am only after a bit of reassurance, so I hope you'll forgive me.

    My GCSE results are likely to be considerably lower than they ought to be, since I missed three years of school due to mental illness (without going into too much detail, I have Tourette Syndrome and some related disorders, and was severely discriminated against when I started high school by the majority of the staff, who chose to ignore the advice of educational psychologists and other professionals, instead punishing me for my difficulties. This, on top of issues that already existed due to a 'unique' home life, led me to some severe mental problems, including depression and school phobia; I stopped attending school in year eight). I've been studying at a pupil referral unit since September and am predicted mostly Bs and Cs in my GCSEs, along with one A and a couple of Ds. These grade predictions are somewhat conservative, as my teachers had to make them shortly after I had joined, before they had any idea what I might be capable of. Realistically, I think I can expect about four or five A*s, and the rest considerably lower, though there's a high chance that I won't achieve this.

    I really (really really really) want to read English at Cambridge. I'm completely in love with the place and the course! I've chosen A levels in English lit., History, Philosophy and Drama/Theatre Studies.

    I suppose my question is, if I don't achieve perfect results in my GCSEs (and I know that GCSEs aren't the most important things in the world, so don't tell me that), will I be eligible to apply via the special access scheme? Or is it only valid if your education was interrupted during sixth form?

    I know I'm being stupid, and that if they don't take three years of no school into consideration then... they're really weird. I just need reassuring. I'm also aware that I have plenty of time yet, that there's no need to be thinking about University just yet, that I should go away and revise, blah blah blah. So don't tell me that, either.

    Thanks!
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    Yes you would be eligible for the special access scheme. But wait and see what results you get, and see what you are predicted for Alevel.
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    You would most definitely be eligible for the Special Access Scheme, that's exactly what it is there for, to put your application into its wider context.

    I'd also be tempted to suggest you make contact with a few colleges closer to the time for your application and get some input from them about the best way to go about your application. Only so that you and your referee have the best information avaliable about what information is needed on the paperwork.

    Lots can change between yr 11 and university applications, so try not to worry about it too much. Special Access or not, if you get the best marks you possibly can in your GCSEs then that will leave you with a widest range of opportunities.

    If you're not staying the thet PRU for 6th form then try and make sure you get the smoothest transition to 6th form you possibly can, and that the information about where you went to school gets through to your 6th form tutors. Even it the 6th form itself knows, there's no guarentee it will filter through to the individual tutors so it's always worth checking.

    But put even that aside until after your exams, work your socks off between now and late June and then you can have a lovely long summer holiday with plenty of time to sort details out and to explore a range of uni's and do anything else that takes your fancy.
Updated: August 16, 2012
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