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Cambridge: Maths or Natsci

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    To state the obvious, don't forget there is Bio and Phys NatSci to choose from - i.e. the natural sciences take up two different triposes.
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    Don't think that NatSci will give you the best of both (maths or X). It won't. You just have to choose one of them.
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    (Original post by GeneralOJB)
    What are the advantages/disadvantages of doing either of these courses and not the other? I'm doing maths, fm, physics, chemistry a levels. I love both maths and sciences and have A* grades in all of them at GCSE, and I have a g&t certificate for maths. I know maths is probably more competitive and harder to gain entry with the step exam, but was just wondering if it affected career options or anything.
    In terms of admissions it is "generally" easier to get an offer in Maths than in Natural Sciences, but quite a bit harder to meet it. There is a third option of Maths with Physics, so you can move into either tripos after the end of third year. Oh, and if you are a physics/maths person, then watch out with natural sciences! You have to take four options one of which is maths, so if you then took physics you would also probably need to take two of chemistry/materials science/computer science.
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    I'd do NatSci but that's just me.

    Most mathmos at Cambridge have been either dead set on wanting to do maths and channelling their energies or interests in maths for some years or are notably talented in the discipline. I'm not saying you're not good enough (how would I know?) but NatSci is a broader science degree that I would personally prefer - see the module choices, they are really good.

    In terms of career prospects, the mathmos do seem to be able to walk into top city jobs but then again NatScis who want it don't have it much harder. I'd say pick what you'll enjoy more at uni as the difference career wise isn't much, unless you want a numerate job such as being an actuary where maths itself is helpful.

    Oh but NatScis have Saturday lectures which is a real bitch.
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    Oh but NatScis have Saturday lectures which is a real bitch.
    So do Mathmos
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    (Original post by ben-smith)
    So do Mathmos
    What, really?

    I swear they don't?! Or am I seriously mixed up?
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    What, really?

    I swear they don't?! Or am I seriously mixed up?
    Says it here under lectures
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    (Original post by ben-smith)
    Says it here under lectures
    Ahh yeh but it's only for part IAs and only for 2 terms, all other terms / years it's just Mon-Fri but NatScis have Saturday lectures throughout.

    Edit: Either way you can do as I do and just not go. :borat:
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    Ahh yeh but it's only for part IAs and only for 2 terms, all other terms / years it's just Mon-Fri but NatScis have Saturday lectures throughout.
    Hmmm, that's not quite how I read it:
    All lectures take place in week day and Saturday (but not Sunday) mornings.
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    Ahh yeh but it's only for part IAs and only for 2 terms, all other terms / years it's just Mon-Fri but NatScis have Saturday lectures throughout.

    Edit: Either way you can do as I do and just not go. :borat:
    Mathmos have Saturday lectures throughout, physicists get to stop after first year.
    To the OP - I did maths with physics in my first year, before moving into physics. If I went through it again, I'd apply for Natsci, although I'm biased by the fact that I ended up really enjoying physics and wish I'd had a chance to explore more of Chemistry. At the time I had no idea which of the two I wanted to do. I will say though that STEP is not a fun experience. All my friends just needed 3 A's at A-level, and I was having to drive myself into the ground trying to get the necessary STEP grades...
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    (Original post by shunter7634)
    Mathmos have Saturday lectures throughout
    No we don't - there are no Saturday lectures in 2nd year (I didn't even have any Fridays last term!).
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    (Original post by dbou)
    There is a third option of Maths with Physics, so you can move into either tripos after the end of third year.
    Not quite true - you choose after the end of your first year!
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    (Original post by tommm)
    No we don't - there are no Saturday lectures in 2nd year (I didn't even have any Fridays last term!).
    They must have finally come to their senses and realised that nobody goes. I was at some Part III lectures last year on Saturdays, so presumably those still happen.
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    (Original post by ben-smith)
    Hmmm, that's not quite how I read it:
    No 2nd years no longer have lectures on Saturdays and 3rd years very rarely do (there are I think a few courses which still have to).

    Though Saturday lectures should not be a decisive factor in OP's decision on a degree!
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    (Original post by tommm)
    Not quite true - you choose after the end of your first year!
    Oops, I meant first but I typed third!
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    I'm a Mathmo and I had Saturday lectures in both Michaelmas and Lent Terms this year (3rd year), so I can confirm that they definitely happen!

    Anyway, OP, have a really good look into the Triposes and what you want to do with them. Bear in mind that (if you choose the right courses) you can switch from Maths to Part IB PhysNatSci after Part IA, or Part II/III Physics or Astrophysics after Part IB/II Maths, but not vice versa. (I believe you can do some Part III Maths papers as a NatSci though.) So in some sense, it's easier to leave maths than it is to go back into it (as I learnt when I almost didn't manage to switch from CompSci to Maths at the start of my first year). But at the same time, if you go into maths with a view of doing sciencey things afterwards, bear in mind that you'll get no experience with labs etc.
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    (Original post by dbou)
    In terms of admissions it is "generally" easier to get an offer in Maths than in Natural Sciences, but quite a bit harder to meet it. There is a third option of Maths with Physics, so you can move into either tripos after the end of third year. Oh, and if you are a physics/maths person, then watch out with natural sciences! You have to take four options one of which is maths, so if you then took physics you would also probably need to take two of chemistry/materials science/computer science.
    Not relevant, but seriously OMG you got a bloody S on step, how the ****!
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    (Original post by QuantumOverlord)
    Not relevant, but seriously OMG you got a bloody S on step, how the ****!
    It was in STEP I so it definitely wasn't as difficult as it would be to get it on II or III! I actually needed that S to meet my Cambridge offer

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Updated: March 27, 2012
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