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How pathetic is it to apply with A level EQUIVALENTS?

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    I really want to study Literature or History at Cambridge BUT:

    1. I'm not from the UK

    2. I don't have British A level results since it is impossible to sit them in my country (Hungary)

    3. I don't even have an IB which would be a nice and acceptable equivalent to the A levels

    So, what do I have?
    A Matura. It is a final exam common in Eastern Europe. I checked, it is acceptable at Cambridge, but is that REALLY TRUE?

    I applied to Oxford in 2011. After the interviews I was rejected. What I want to know is that is it possible that I will get rejected nomatter what I do because the 'Matura' exam is so pathetic?

    To top it off I couldn't even score an above 90%... (80% in History Higher level)
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    (Original post by IvyTiger)
    I really want to study Literature or History at Cambridge BUT:

    1. I'm not from the UK

    2. I don't have British A level results since it is impossible to sit them in my country (Hungary)

    3. I don't even have an IB which would be a nice and acceptable equivalent to the A levels

    So, what do I have?
    A Matura. It is a final exam common in Eastern Europe. I checked, it is acceptable at Cambridge, but is that REALLY TRUE?

    I applied to Oxford in 2011. After the interviews I was rejected. What I want to know is that is it possible that I will get rejected nomatter what I do because the 'Matura' exam is so pathetic?

    To top it off I couldn't even score an above 90%... (80% in History Higher level)
    This year 20 people were given offers based on the Polish Matura. I suspect the Hungarian matura is similar, and as such that shouldn't be a problem.

    EDIT: Thats at Oxford, not Cambridge. I know nothing about Cambridge.

    EDIT 2: Why Cambridge over Oxford anyway? Oxford are known to pay less attention to grades and value their own entrance tests more, you may have more luck there.
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    I know nothing about your qualification to be honest, but I do know that the Cambridge admissions system is designed to try and pick out the best candidates (althought it isn't necessarily true that they are always successful in achieving this). They put a lot of effort into considering each candidate on an individual basis, so if you come across as a bright, inquisitive and enthusiastic person in the interview, that will mean more to them than the fact your qualification isn't 'standard' for their applicants.

    Good luck!
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    PM'd you.
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    (Original post by IvyTiger)
    I really want to study Literature or History at Cambridge BUT:


    I applied to Oxford in 2011. After the interviews I was rejected. What I want to know is that is it possible that I will get rejected nomatter what I do because the 'Matura' exam is so pathetic?

    To top it off I couldn't even score an above 90%... (80% in History Higher level)
    Every year there are more people who get rejected from Cambridge who go on to exceed the basic offer (A*AA) than there are spaces for those who get in. In other words even if you achieve "5 across the majority of subjects" which is the basic standard for you, there is no guarantee that you will get an offer.
    The basic offer is a minimum standard, the majority of students who get a place will have done better. The admissions process is designed to pick the best from those who will meet or exceed the basic offer. There is no prejudice against Hungarian qualifications.
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    As Colmans said, it's accepted just fine but results don't guarantee you a place.
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    It is accepted, and treated more or less equally.

    However, with A-level equivalents you are not eligible for auto-pooling. I know that because when I applied I asked the Admissions Office about it.
    Which means that A-level applicants with considerably worse grades than you (if let's say you get the best possible Matura results) can get auto-pooled, while you get a straight-out rejection - given the case you all don't perform well in your interviews etc etc.

    I don't have the email any more, but they told me the reason for that was that they didn't have any guarantee that extremely good non-A-level graduation results are really equivalent to A-level ones. Well, no comment.

    That shouldn't bother you, though, as being auto-pooled is not really desirable anyway.
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    This year 20 people were given offers based on the Polish Matura. I suspect the Hungarian matura is similar, and as such that shouldn't be a problem.

    EDIT: Thats at Oxford, not Cambridge. I know nothing about Cambridge.

    EDIT 2: Why Cambridge over Oxford anyway? Oxford are known to pay less attention to grades and value their own entrance tests more, you may have more luck there.
    It is really hard for me to decide. Oxford rejected me, re-applying is a great challenge. I want to see what Cambridge is like. However, you may be right, since Oxford did not reject me because of my grades. I just wasn't enthusiastic and experienced enough.
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    (Original post by Wahrheit)
    I know nothing about your qualification to be honest, but I do know that the Cambridge admissions system is designed to try and pick out the best candidates (althought it isn't necessarily true that they are always successful in achieving this). They put a lot of effort into considering each candidate on an individual basis, so if you come across as a bright, inquisitive and enthusiastic person in the interview, that will mean more to them than the fact your qualification isn't 'standard' for their applicants.

    Good luck!
    Thanks for your help. I hear these rumour about Cambridge from others as well, I hope they are true.
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    (Original post by IvyTiger)
    It is really hard for me to decide. Oxford rejected me, re-applying is a great challenge. I want to see what Cambridge is like. However, you may be right, since Oxford did not reject me because of my grades. I just wasn't enthusiastic and experienced enough.
    I've got an offer from Oxford. Had I applied to Cambridge, I doubt I would have even gotten an interview, as my grades are on average around 92%. My school insists that people with an average of under 95% apply to Oxford rather than Cambridge.
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    (Original post by qua)
    It is accepted, and treated more or less equally.

    However, with A-level equivalents you are not eligible for auto-pooling. I know that because when I applied I asked the Admissions Office about it.
    Which means that A-level applicants with considerably worse grades than you (if let's say you get the best possible Matura results) can get auto-pooled, while you get a straight-out rejection - given the case you all don't perform well in your interviews etc etc.

    I don't have the email any more, but they told me the reason for that was that they didn't have any guarantee that extremely good non-A-level graduation results are really equivalent to A-level ones. Well, no comment.

    That shouldn't bother you, though, as being auto-pooled is not really desirable anyway.
    So, auto-pooling is when the college I apply to isn't interested and my application is pooled so other colleges might call me in for an interview?
    Last year I applied with an open application to make it less complicated, but this year I thought it would be worth choosing a college. Maybe one with that only requires an interview. If I do that will auto-pooling trigger my rejection?
    What would you suggest doing?
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    (Original post by IvyTiger)
    So, auto-pooling is when the college I apply to isn't interested and my application is pooled so other colleges might call me in for an interview?
    Last year I applied with an open application to make it less complicated, but this year I thought it would be worth choosing a college. Maybe one with that only requires an interview. If I do that will auto-pooling trigger my rejection?
    What would you suggest doing?
    No no, auto-pooling is not the same as pooling. (Note: It used to be like that, correct me if I'm wrong, anyone). If the colleges sort of likes your performance in your interview or see potential in you, but not enough to offer you a place, you get pooled. Auto-pooling means you fulfill certain criteria (regarding your grades), so the college can't reject you but automatically puts you in the pool, even if they didn't like you at all. So let's say your application looks brilliant on paper, but you perform poorly in the interview - if you have certain grades, they pool you. Don't ask me about the certain criteria though, I don't know about that.

    But as I said, the Admissions Office told me there is no such rule for A-level equivalents. Which doesn't mean you can't get pooled, it just means your grades a lone won't save you from directly being rejected.

    As for the open application - I agree. Just apply to the college that appeals to you the most. I wouldn't base my decision on entry requirements or anything like that, that might backfire. :pierre: Go for the college you like most.
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    (Original post by Colmans)
    Every year there are more people who get rejected from Cambridge who go on to exceed the basic offer (A*AA) than there are spaces for those who get in. In other words even if you achieve "5 across the majority of subjects" which is the basic standard for you, there is no guarantee that you will get an offer.
    The basic offer is a minimum standard, the majority of students who get a place will have done better. The admissions process is designed to pick the best from those who will meet or exceed the basic offer. There is no prejudice against Hungarian qualifications.
    Okay...so I haven't achieved the basic standard. Should I apply?
    I'm not saying that Oxbridge is prejudiced against Hungarian qualifications. I just thought that the basic standard in Hungary is simply below the British one. In this sense the admission process designed to pick the best will surely not pick those with a Matura. Not because they are mean or pro-British. So to come to the point, is it very uncommon that people with below the standard grades get offers to Cambridge just because they see potential in them?
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    (Original post by IvyTiger)
    Okay...so I haven't achieved the basic standard. Should I apply?
    I'm not saying that Oxbridge is prejudiced against Hungarian qualifications. I just thought that the basic standard in Hungary is simply below the British one. In this sense the admission process designed to pick the best will surely not pick those with a Matura. Not because they are mean or pro-British. So to come to the point, is it very uncommon that people with below the standard grades get offers to Cambridge just because they see potential in them?
    Actually they will be less likely to trust your qualifications (because they have little experience with them) and will rely more on your interview. Since they give interviews to almost anyone with a chance, that will be your opportunity to prove yourself.

    Apply. It's not too much more extra work and you'll have a non-zero chance of a place.
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    If you are applying post qualification and you haven't met the basic standard you will not get in. It would be the same as somebody applying post A-levels with AAA. you won't even get an interview. The only exceptions are for very strong mitigating circumstances such as family deaths or serious illness.



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    I think that if your qualifications are 'equivalent' to A Level, it shouldn't make a difference - you have experienced a similar standard of education so you should be fine
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    (Original post by Game_boy)
    Actually they will be less likely to trust your qualifications (because they have little experience with them) and will rely more on your interview. Since they give interviews to almost anyone with a chance, that will be your opportunity to prove yourself.

    Apply. It's not too much more extra work and you'll have a non-zero chance of a place.
    Thank you very much
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    I've got an offer from Oxford. Had I applied to Cambridge, I doubt I would have even gotten an interview, as my grades are on average around 92%. My school insists that people with an average of under 95% apply to Oxford rather than Cambridge.
    Cambridge reject very few people for interview. They say that they only don't interview you if your prior grades leave you with no chance of meeting the offer. 92% would leave you in good stead for getting A*AA!

    At my college (this year) 16% were not invited for interview, and they averaged 84.2% over their best three (for arts)/three most relevant (for science) subjects.

    Although your results are below average (however, if this is for all of your subjects, and not your best/most relevant three, this might not be the case) for entrants, don't put yourself down! If you got an offer from Oxford, you would probably have done very well in the interview and got in!

    I'm not sure what I think of your school's policy, but to be honest, I gave similar advice to some year 12s recently...

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