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Deciding between Oxford and Cambridge

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    Hi,

    What are the main differences between the way Oxford and Cambridge handle maths applications? I heard somewhere that Cambridge look at UMS and GCSEs whereas Oxford don't or something, but I'm not sure what's reliable info and what's not

    I think I'm more suited to the MAT than STEP so on that basis I'm thinking of going for Oxford, but if I get really good UMS this summer and Cambridge care about that, should I try for Cambridge instead?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
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    Cambridge look at UMS, Oxford don't. Cambridge place more emphasis on this where as Oxford care more about GCSEs and the MAT.

    That's the jist I've been getting anyway.
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    (Original post by CD315)
    Cambridge look at UMS, Oxford don't. Cambridge place more emphasis on this where as Oxford care more about GCSEs and the MAT.

    That's the jist I've been getting anyway.
    oxford is looking even better, thanks
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    oxford is looking even better, thanks
    Obviously if you can get over 90s in your UMS go for Cambridge, its arguably better for maths and they apparently only consider your 3 most relevant subjects for UMS anyway.
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Hi,

    What are the main differences between the way Oxford and Cambridge handle maths applications? I heard somewhere that Cambridge look at UMS and GCSEs whereas Oxford don't or something, but I'm not sure what's reliable info and what's not

    I think I'm more suited to the MAT than STEP so on that basis I'm thinking of going for Oxford, but if I get really good UMS this summer and Cambridge care about that, should I try for Cambridge instead?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
    One of the key differences for me was that you have to take the MAT before your interview, but you take STEP in the summer after your interview. This means that, if you get an offer from Oxford, life is fairly chilled afterwards. However, if you get an offer from Cambridge, you have to work your ***** off from January until the summer knowing that you offer from Cambridge rests on your results in STEP. This was one of the reasons I decided I was going to pick Oxford instead (in the end, I picked physics instead of maths anyway).
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    (Original post by CD315)
    Obviously if you can get over 90s in your UMS go for Cambridge, its arguably better for maths and they apparently only consider your 3 most relevant subjects for UMS anyway.
    Is anything over 90 decent for Cambridge or should it ideally be close to 100 in maths+further maths?

    (Original post by SHELDON123)
    One of the key differences for me was that you have to take the MAT before your interview, but you take STEP in the summer after your interview. This means that, if you get an offer from Oxford, life is fairly chilled afterwards. However, if you get an offer from Cambridge, you have to work your ***** off from January until the summer knowing that you offer from Cambridge rests on your results in STEP. This was one of the reasons I decided I was going to pick Oxford instead (in the end, I picked physics instead of maths anyway).
    Yeah this is one of the main reasons I don't like cambridge at the moment, there's still somewhat of a chance that you won't get in once you get your offer
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Is anything over 90 decent for Cambridge or should it ideally be close to 100 in maths+further maths?
    Well I'm only applying next year so don't completely take my word for it. Obviously the closer to 100 the better, but I've seen people with low 90's and even high 80's getting offers on here. It's only one factor!
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    (Original post by CD315)
    Well I'm only applying next year so don't completely take my word for it. Obviously the closer to 100 the better, but I've seen people with low 90's and even high 80's getting offers on here. It's only one factor!
    ah okay, thanks for the help
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Is anything over 90 decent for Cambridge or should it ideally be close to 100 in maths+further maths?
    I don't know about maths, but a fellow at Churchill said the average UMS amongst successful candidates for natural sciences to Churchill last year was 93%. I don't know how this will compare to maths, but I thought it was quite reassuring, especially when you consider that this is an average for successful applicants, so many will have less than this.
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Is anything over 90 decent for Cambridge or should it ideally be close to 100 in maths+further maths?
    Ideally you'll have 100's in every module. Realistically, having most of your modules above 90, with a sizeable chunk above 95 is pretty damn good.

    Yeah this is one of the main reasons I don't like cambridge at the moment, there's still somewhat of a chance that you won't get in once you get your offer
    It's also easier to get an offer from Cambridge (somewhere between 1 in 2 and 1 in 3 applicants get an offer iirc).

    the question is: do you want to stress before or after your interview?
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    (Original post by around)
    Ideally you'll have 100's in every module. Realistically, having most of your modules above 90, with a sizeable chunk above 95 is pretty damn good.



    It's also easier to get an offer from Cambridge (somewhere between 1 in 2 and 1 in 3 applicants get an offer iirc).

    the question is: do you want to stress before or after your interview?
    great reply, thanks a lot

    I'm still not certain about whether I prefer the MAT to STEP, I think I'll do some practice over the summer to see which one I'm more suited to (I think I prefer MAT at the moment) but I'd much rather have stress before the interview than for the rest of year 13
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    great reply, thanks a lot

    I'm still not certain about whether I prefer the MAT to STEP, I think I'll do some practice over the summer to see which one I'm more suited to (I think I prefer MAT at the moment) but I'd much rather have stress before the interview than for the rest of year 13
    On first glance everyone prefers the MAT. There's a fundamental difference in the MAT and STEP examinations, STEP can be prepared for and if you look at past papers you can half expect what to get in the actual exam. With the MAT, however, you'll find it near impossible to prepare for (if you look at past exams, they are odd). It all boils down to whether or not you can do the MAT's quirky style of mathematics, or whether you'd prefer to prepare for STEP.
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    (Original post by Noble.)
    On first glance everyone prefers the MAT. There's a fundamental difference in the MAT and STEP examinations, STEP can be prepared for and if you look at past papers you can half expect what to get in the actual exam. With the MAT, however, you'll find it near impossible to prepare for (if you look at past exams, they are odd). It all boils down to whether or not you can do the MAT's quirky style of mathematics, or whether you'd prefer to prepare for STEP.
    Why can't you prepare for MAT? I've seen a few past papers and the multiple choice questions seem like curriculum stuff taken a step further and the long ones are a bit harder but why is that different to STEP type questions?

    Also, what's the difference between the interview processes between oxford and cambridge? Friends who applied to oxford had like, 3-4 interviews over a couple of days whereas the cambridge folk only had 1 interview on 1 day. What's this all about?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Why can't you prepare for MAT? I've seen a few past papers and the multiple choice questions seem like curriculum stuff taken a step further and the long ones are a bit harder but why is that different to STEP type questions?
    There is a set syllabus for STEP: you can be fairly sure that no STEP question will deviate from the syllabus (it might really test your understanding of it, but that's a different matter).

    I didn't actually take the MAT, but from what I heard the questions seem to be a little bit kookier, and there isn't so much a set syllabus as such. Also, at the stage when you take the MAT compared to STEP, you're likely to be less 'developed' as a mathematician because having a STEP offer really focusses the mind and makes you do a lot of STEP preparation.


    Also, what's the difference between the interview processes between oxford and cambridge? Friends who applied to oxford had like, 3-4 interviews over a couple of days whereas the cambridge folk only had 1 interview on 1 day. What's this all about?

    Thanks
    Oxford do the equivalent of pre-pooling - you'll likely be interviewed at a different college while you're there, whereas Cambridge will only call you up for a second interview if you didn't get an offer from the college you applied for.
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    (Original post by around)
    you'll likely be interviewed at a different college while you're there,
    In fact guaranteed to have an interview at a second college, if shortlisted
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    Differences that emerge farther down the road, and university maths is very different...


    Cambridge Maths is all maths. But is easier to bail from. If you struggle, the Tripos system allows formal points of exit (to management studies or History and Philosophy of Science, for example)

    Oxford's safety net is papers which have no equivalent at Cambridge (Single honours maths students can do the History of Mathematics as a finals paper, or join the university's ambassador scheme and teach maths at local schools, submitting essays on the experience). Properly bailing out of the course and onto another, excepting Maths and Stats, is less straightforwardly done, and certainly once in Y2.
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Hi,

    What are the main differences between the way Oxford and Cambridge handle maths applications? I heard somewhere that Cambridge look at UMS and GCSEs whereas Oxford don't or something, but I'm not sure what's reliable info and what's not

    I think I'm more suited to the MAT than STEP so on that basis I'm thinking of going for Oxford, but if I get really good UMS this summer and Cambridge care about that, should I try for Cambridge instead?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
    I would advise you not to pick Ox/Cam because you have a low/high UMS. I PMed you my grades, but on paper I would have had a supposedly stonger Cam applicantion pre-interview because of UMS and I chose Ox. Also, some Ox colleges will ask for UMS at interviews/ look at UMS if they are mentioned in your reference.

    Rather than basing it on admissions (unless you have serious preference of either STEP/MAT, or are really bad at interviews), look at other factors. Academically there is no difference in quality, or the content; how you choose to work/ take modules during uni will be more significant. Also, both places look the same, so no point in choosing because of location.

    Some of the factors I considered are:
    At Ox, both your final two years (of a 3 year degree) count towards your final uni grade classification; at Cam your final degree classification is based your 3rd year results (i have read this before, but look it up yourself).

    At Ox you can do the 4th year with a 2.1; at Cam you may need a higher 2.1/1st.

    If uni maths becomes too hard, I think at Cam it is much easier to switch to an "easier" subject.


    Look up on these kind of things.
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    (Original post by twig)
    I would advise you not to pick Ox/Cam because you have a low/high UMS. I PMed you my grades, but on paper I would have had a supposedly stonger Cam applicantion pre-iunterview because of UMS and I chose Ox. Also, some Ox colleges will ask for UMS at interviews/ look at UMS if they are mentioned in your reference.

    Rather than basing it on admissions (unless you have serious preference of either STEP/MAT, or are really bad at interviews), looking other factors. Academically there is no difference in quality, or the content; how you choose to work/ take modules during uni will be more significant. Also, both places look the same, so no point in choosing because of location.

    Some of the factors I considered are:
    At Ox, both your final two years (of a 3 year degree) count towards your final uni grade classification; at Cam your final degree classification is based your 3rd year results (i have read this before, but look it up yourself).

    At Ox you can do the 4th year with a 2.1; at Cam you may need a higher 2.1/1st.

    If uni maths becomes too hard, I think at Cam it is much easier to switch to an "easier" subject.


    Look up on these kind of things.
    wonderful reply, thanks a lot! (PMed)
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    (Original post by Refrigerator)
    Hi,

    What are the main differences between the way Oxford and Cambridge handle maths applications? I heard somewhere that Cambridge look at UMS and GCSEs whereas Oxford don't or something, but I'm not sure what's reliable info and what's not

    I think I'm more suited to the MAT than STEP so on that basis I'm thinking of going for Oxford, but if I get really good UMS this summer and Cambridge care about that, should I try for Cambridge instead?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
    May be visit both and decide?
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    (Original post by Dog4444)
    May be visit both and decide?
    Maybe I'm just odd, but I always found visiting Universities for comparative purposes really pointless - random similarity but it's similar to choosing what bed you want to sleep in for 10 years from the 10 seconds you bounce up and down on the mattress in the shop, it doesn't really give you an idea what it's like to sleep on for 9 hours :lol:

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