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Cambridge Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) Students and Applicants

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    (Original post by Pantoufles)
    Have you done Italian A level? I have a lot of catching up to do but so excited about it!
    Yeah... I'm in for post a level but I'm doing ab initio Russian. I am very excited as well - like hysterically so....
    :
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    So am I! I will be on your Russian course...

    How much Russian do you know at the moment!? Why do you want to do it?
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    (Original post by NickEM)
    So am I! I will be on your Russian course...

    How much Russian do you know at the moment!? Why do you want to do it?
    Well, I lived in Russia from the age of 4-8 and Kazakhstan from 9-11 but haven't spoken it since... I have forgotten an amazing amount - honestly, I can just about say my age and name but no more although I understand very, very, very basic Russian :p:
    So, yes, answer to the question would be not much. what about you?
    and why? well, ive lived there - i like russia - i like russian - i like russian literature......
    do sveedanya xxx
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    (Original post by hemini)
    hey everyone
    im in lower sixth at the moment, studying maths, economics, sociology and french...up till recently wanted to do economics at university. BUT i have now realised that French is what i really really want to do hopefully at Cambridge...can you give me any advice on how to prepare? im worried that because i havent got another language i wont be able to do MML...
    thanks in advance
    Hi Hemini,

    Don't worry about not having another language - I only had german alevel (no french/spanish etc since year 9) and applied for italian ab-initio. The one thing I had done, however, was to do basic courses in other languages, (i did 4/5 lessons of russian and then a year's worth of basic italian, both after school and privately when I decided I was going to apply for that). If there's another language you're interested in picking up I'd recommend finding out something about it now.

    Even if you don't learn the language itself, find out something about the history, culture, literature of the place (for example spanish = read gabriel garcia marquez's stuff or some other equally popular spanish language writer)

    In terms of your french, think about why you have decided you want to study that. Read around your subject, Le Monde and Le Figaro are online, there's also L'Express, a topical affairs mag (kind of like the economist, but not as heavy, so im told) which you can subscribe to. If your Alevel course involves literature, read around the authors you have to study, or simply practise language by reading trashy french novels (wouldn't big that one up in front of a french literature specialist, but it's a good way of helping vocab)

    If you're keen to study just french though, have you looked at Oxford? It's very literature-based, but if you're fine with that, might be worth a look as you can do single honours french there.
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    (Original post by NickEM)
    Oh thank you, that was interesting!

    So, as a first year German and ab-initio Russian student, how would my whole first year be assessed?

    Haha, me thinks this may be a question with a very long answer! Don't feel obliged to answer it!
    Luckily for you I'm nice (and putting off more work)

    You'll sit 6 papers - 3 in German, 3 in Russian. Works as follows:

    German:

    Use of German (comprehension type stuff)
    Translation from German (i.e. into English) + German Oral
    German scheduled paper (so literature, linguistics or history)

    Russian: (the A denotes ab-initio....post-alevel = B)

    Use of Russian A (for ab-initio people)
    Translation from Russian + Oral A
    Introduction to Russian literary texts

    I got this from here - there's full course descriptions as well. Don't know about Russian, but the German dept are massive language and grammar geeks and have all sorts of weird computer-based grammar exercises for you to do, there's a link on the site somewhere. Worth a look for Alevel exams/pre-camb prep (if you're disciplined enough to do lots of the latter).

    http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/courses/part1a/
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    Thanks for all the information on this thread - it's been very useful!

    I have a quick question about the MML test and pooling... I've been fished for re-interview by Newnham and am having two subject interviews there this Friday. I know that if I'd applied directly to Newnham, I would have had to set the MML test on the day of my interview in December. Does anyone know if I will have to set the test when I go up this Friday? I only ask because I'm trying to work out travel arrangements and I wasn't told I would have one but I thought I'd check just in case!
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    Priya- thanks very much!! That sounds super. Oh, I can't wait! Which German module did you choose in the first year?

    kitkat_2007- I really don't speak much Russian! I think I'm ok with the alphabet, and I learnt some basic stuff, but really I'm essentially utterly clueless! I think I'll learn some more after my exams!
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    (Original post by Christy20)
    Thanks for all the information on this thread - it's been very useful!

    I have a quick question about the MML test and pooling... I've been fished for re-interview by Newnham and am having two subject interviews there this Friday. I know that if I'd applied directly to Newnham, I would have had to set the MML test on the day of my interview in December. Does anyone know if I will have to set the test when I go up this Friday? I only ask because I'm trying to work out travel arrangements and I wasn't told I would have one but I thought I'd check just in case!
    It's unlikely you'd have another written test. Presumably the test you had at your last interview will be handed to Newnham before Friday. You could always phone the admissions office to ask though.
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    (Original post by Christy20)
    Thanks for all the information on this thread - it's been very useful!

    I have a quick question about the MML test and pooling... I've been fished for re-interview by Newnham and am having two subject interviews there this Friday. I know that if I'd applied directly to Newnham, I would have had to set the MML test on the day of my interview in December. Does anyone know if I will have to set the test when I go up this Friday? I only ask because I'm trying to work out travel arrangements and I wasn't told I would have one but I thought I'd check just in case!
    ask newnham to confirm - my guess is you won't (or they would have told you about it) but check anyway
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    (Original post by Benjamin885)
    Does that mean I don't have a French oral at the end of this year (my second)? All we Trinitarians seemed to be under the impression that we did, but I basically followed what someone else told me when filling out exam entry.
    was that 'someone else' a 2nd year too? you shouldn't have a second oral for 1b, unless they've changed the system overnight. check the website just to be sure, and check with your DoS
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    (Original post by hemini)
    hey everyone
    im in lower sixth at the moment, studying maths, economics, sociology and french...up till recently wanted to do economics at university. BUT i have now realised that French is what i really really want to do hopefully at Cambridge...can you give me any advice on how to prepare? im worried that because i havent got another language i wont be able to do MML...
    thanks in advance
    Well In my opinion, language a-levels are crap preparation for a degree in ml esp at cambridge. I do 3 of them and they dont a) increase your fluency or b) give you any academic grounding in the lit or linguistic side
    and their really dumbed down.

    My advice to you is: read literature. and read up a little on the history/language. Look at The mml reading list for french and the other languagage you chose (mml tripose- Fr6 or something). Take it from me, the more you read the better. Pick a main poet/text to concentrate on and mention in your personal statement- someone who really appeals- i recommend baudelaire. when you read books in french/translation- keep them short (i read l'education sentimentale-420pages and it bored me) and also read some texts on critical theory & french lit. Read a fair bit in the language if you can so you get used to the language (I got a passage in my interview by Maupassant which suited me great bc i had read mostly 19th cent romantic stuff.

    for the language your doing from scratch- read loads about the lit/history and read key texts in translation ( you should prob. read the french in translation too)

    Showing knowledge/understanding/passion for the great literary works is very valuable- you'll look more impressive than someone whose just read 'un sac de billes' or such likes. (my friend wrote that shed read just that in her PS and got rejected from oxbridge- i was able to talk about baudelaire, flaubert, their theories on realism- i think that must have helped me and hindered her
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    Can I ask all successful MML applicants this year what sort of preparation they did for interviews? I suppose I could have prepared a little more, but I'd like to know if there was perhaps something I didn't do that I should have. Thanks.
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    Butterfly Girl, wow, all that prep obviously paid off!!

    --

    Tbh i didn't really prepare much at all, I didn't force-read any books or anything, although most of my German interview was me talking about work experience in Germany!

    To be honest I found the best bet is to just show them the "real you" -- after all, that is who is going to be doing the course, and the interviewers know from that who they want to choose, not based on any obvious interview prep
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    To be honest I don't think applicants can really know what prepares you for the course, since they have no experience of it. I found the French course to be perfectly good preparation, Russian much less so. It depends how much work you personally have put in during the A-levels. Butterfly girl's advice is sound, I would suggest you do not really have to read the books in the target language, but doing so will improve your fluency. Watch films and read in both your languages, find out about the course, if you intend to do linguistics, know about the basic principles. That is crucial- do not go into your interview wanting to do linguistics and talk about what a "beautiful" language French is, for example. Know your stuff, and most importantly, know your grammar!
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    (Original post by NickEM)
    Priya- thanks very much!! That sounds super. Oh, I can't wait! Which German module did you choose in the first year?

    kitkat_2007- I really don't speak much Russian! I think I'm ok with the alphabet, and I learnt some basic stuff, but really I'm essentially utterly clueless! I think I'll learn some more after my exams!
    Congratulations, it's great to see so many people coming to do Russian. We are currently the largest year in over a decade (class of 2011).
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    (Original post by butterfly_girl_5)
    Well In my opinion, language a-levels are crap preparation for a degree in ml esp at cambridge. I do 3 of them and they dont a) increase your fluency or b) give you any academic grounding in the lit or linguistic side
    and their really dumbed down.

    My advice to you is: read literature. and read up a little on the history/language. Look at The mml reading list for french and the other languagage you chose (mml tripose- Fr6 or something). Take it from me, the more you read the better. Pick a main poet/text to concentrate on and mention in your personal statement- someone who really appeals- i recommend baudelaire. when you read books in french/translation- keep them short (i read l'education sentimentale-420pages and it bored me) and also read some texts on critical theory & french lit. Read a fair bit in the language if you can so you get used to the language (I got a passage in my interview by Maupassant which suited me great bc i had read mostly 19th cent romantic stuff.

    for the language your doing from scratch- read loads about the lit/history and read key texts in translation ( you should prob. read the french in translation too)

    Showing knowledge/understanding/passion for the great literary works is very valuable- you'll look more impressive than someone whose just read 'un sac de billes' or such likes. (my friend wrote that shed read just that in her PS and got rejected from oxbridge- i was able to talk about baudelaire, flaubert, their theories on realism- i think that must have helped me and hindered her
    Wow, you did a lot of prep

    Perhaps one of the reasons I was rejected was because I had only read L'étranger...

    When you say 'texts on critical theory and french lit' what sort of stuff do you mean?
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    You honestly dont have to do that. Have a look at linguistics (Le Francais Dans Tous Les Sens by Henriette Walter to begin with) and you might prefer it to literature. I read a fair amount of literature for both languages, and not only did it not come up in my interview, but despite my best efforts I couldn't even steer the conversation towards it.
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    I spoke quite a bit about linguistics cos I did my A-Level psychology coursework on a linguistics-related topic, so I was all linguisticsed-up during my interview, never ever ever intending to do a scrap of literature....then during the summer I had a change of heart and now am doing literature for both languages!!!
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    (Original post by Duck and Cover)
    I spoke quite a bit about linguistics cos I did my A-Level psychology coursework on a linguistics-related topic, so I was all linguisticsed-up during my interview, never ever ever intending to do a scrap of literature....then during the summer I had a change of heart and now am doing literature for both languages!!!
    So had you not read any lit in either language before your interviews?

    My interviewers knew that I was interested in linguistics as I do English Lang A-level, had written about it in my extra PS and had stated I was interested in doing the Linguistics tripos, so I got asked a lot of Qs on it; this was fine by me. In one interview we discussed 'L'étranger' and I think I did okay with that. He asked me if I'd read any other books and I had to admit that I hadn't. I don't think that made me appear too committed really...
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    (Original post by city_chic)
    Can I ask all successful MML applicants this year what sort of preparation they did for interviews? I suppose I could have prepapred a little more, but I'd like to know if there was perhaps something I didn't do that I should have. Thanks.
    For German I read 2 novellas by Kleist, a play and a novel by Goethe, and a play by Borchert. I also watched a couple of films and made sure I revised the history. All of it was touched upon in the interview.

    For Russian (ab-initio) I read 2 novels by Tolstoy, 1 by Dostoevsky and 2 short works by Pushkin. I went over quite a lot of Russian history, particularly that relevant to the course at Cambridge. I taught myself some very basic Russian language and watched a few bizarre films. It wasn't all discussed; most of the interview was dominated by Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina."

    I felt that this preparation really helped me and woulda advise anyone (re-)applying to Cambridge to prepare thoroughly.

    I also think it's good to find something a little bit different or unique to discuss. For example, I think it went in my favour that I'm very keen on cheesy Russian pop music!

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