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    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    Yes. The average is about 3.5 A levels, so roughly as many get in with 3 as with 4. At Peterhouse, Maths is essential and Economics and Further Maths are advantageous so those are the best 3 subjects to be doing.
    Thank you very much for your answers/help! Now I can go on ahead without worrying about me dropping A-level Physics as I had heard/was told that most people get into Cambridge Economics with 4 A-levels, some with 5 but very rarely 3. I was worried because Cambridge/most Cambridge colleges will consider Maths and Further Maths as 1 subject so with me doing Economics, Maths(I will be taking on S3 and S4 modules just to prepare myself more the course and just because I find statistics interesting), Further Maths and EPQ would sound too bland and I would be outright rejected. As I really failed to achieve the grades I was predicted/should have gotten, I will be retaking a few exams (otherwise I will not be able to get any A*s) with the total number exams I will be sitting coming around to around 16 maybe 18 if I decide to retake both my AS physics exams without the lessons again. But i just wanted to ask does it matter? Is it okay for me to leave Physics AS(i.e. not retake the exams for it) or is it worth it to retake it just show my E was due to other reasons not me being lazy or being plain stupid and was due to my circumstances (this goes for all my AS-Levels as well but as its Physics that I have dropped and not Economics, Maths or Further Maths, i want to know if the AS Level still matters (probably the answer will be yes but I just wanted to confirm)).
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    Hey, you've obviously had to tell a lot of people that UMS isn't the be all and end all, and I don't want to add to that... but... Well, I won't ask you to consider if my average UMS is good enough, but maybe if I am a bit more detailed as it's the application in its entirety which is considered. I want to apply for (Biological) Natural Sciences.

    GCSE: 12 A*, 2 A

    AS Maths, A, 270/300, 90%:
    C1 87, C2 90, S1 93

    AS Further Maths, A, 269/300, 89.7%:
    FP1 84, M1 93, D1 92

    AS Biology, A, 288/300, 96%:
    Units 1 and 2 both 100%, Practical 48/60

    AS Chemistry, A. 260/300, 86.7%:
    Unit 1 84/100, Unit 2 128/140, Practical 48/60

    AS Physics, A, 245/300, 81.7%:
    Unit 1 104/120, Unit 2 96/120, Practical 45/60

    So that gives me an average overall of 88.8%, best 3 91.9%, best 3 with maths combined 90.5%.

    Honestly, I can't tell if this makes me a good candidate or just a "realistic" candidate. Am I likely to get an interview based on these figures? Where would I be in terms of applicants, around average? I just feel very unsure, like I'm on the borderline. I do also have some contextual flags too - the area that I am from has a very low rate of progression to university, and that said, the school that I did my GCSEs at was the worst in the city in terms of GCSE grades, and in special measures, with frequent teacher changes and Ofsted inspections. None of my family have ever been to university, either.

    I also believe that the maths modules taken matter too, right? I have taken the "easier" modules, i.e. D1 instead of M2, but unfortunately this was the only route offered by my sixth form. Will I be penalised, or am I to include this in my application somehow so that it can be considered?

    Also, I'm confused about the kind of thing that warrants sending an extenuating circumstances form off for. In the month before exam season, my sister was taken to hospital, and then moved many miles away to a more equipped hospital, and she has only left hospital just over a week ago. A few weeks before my exams, she gave birth extremely prematurely at 25 weeks. After that point, a lot of my time and my family's time was spent with the baby in neonatal intensive care, and it took its toll on my family, as my father became depressed, and my mother struggled to cope. I do think all this effected my grades, in mock exams and past papers I was getting near 100% consistently in Chemistry Unit 1, for example, but the night before that exam, I had spent almost entirely at the hospital in what I would call a "critical" time for my nephew. On several occasions, my parents would argue because of the stress of the situation, I would leave the house to avoid it. To say the least, it wasn't a good atmosphere to study in, and I felt distracted, depressed, tired, and frankly like crap during certain exams.

    My problem is, I don't know if that's the kind of thing an ECF is supposed to be for, or if it's more that you missed a lot of school because you yourself became seriously ill, and with a doctors note to prove it. I'm not sure if I should bother including my circumstances, or whether they're not "bad enough", or who I can get to prove that this was my situation at the time. It just upsets me, because I know I would've done better if things had transpired differently. Anyway, sorry if I gave more information than necessary.

    Edit: Holy cow, sorry for the wall of text... I am full of questions I guess!
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    (Original post by ComputerMaths97)
    I'm currently in the process of writing my personal statement for Cambridge and many other world class Universities, and I'd like a little bit of advice!

    I'm genuinely worried about how to be informative about the context of my results/ achievements in my school without sounding arrogant. To be more exact, I achieved a grade that had only ever been achieved once from my school before, in the 7 years it was taught. This was, as you can imagine, a fact I was extremely proud of, and didn't know prior to results day/ the exam. Therefore, I wanted to quickly state it on my personal statement, as I think it is worthwhile mentioning, and not something I'd expect my teacher to say. How would I go about just simply saying it without coming across arrogant? Or is a hint of arrogance not something that ruins an applicants personal statement, as I'm assuming you get a lot of "I achieved x,y,z" applications, but I just want to word it correctly

    Thank you in advance!
    As others have said, this should be covered by the school reference. I would even go as far as advising against mentioning anything to do with school context - partly because (as you say) it's difficult to pull off, but mainly because the personal statement has to be very short and there's a lot else we'd like to hear about.

    "I achieved x,y,z" is also a poor way to approach a personal statement - we can see your qualifications from elsewhere on the UCAS form.

    In general, each section of the UCAS form should tell us something extra which isn't repeated elsewhere, such as in the school reference or your grades. The key to a personal statement is to make it personal: it needs to speak with your voice otherwise it doesn't work. Don't let other people have too much input (be wary of getting too much help from TSR) and certainly don't copy something you found on the internet.

    From another thread:
    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    Think of the personal statement as a love letter to your subject - why do you want to study it? What have you found interesting so far? What are you interested in learning more about? Why can't you stop thinking about Philosophy? Aim to have at least 2/3rds (if not 85%) academically based about your wider (related) reading and your interests.
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    (Original post by Nirm)
    Thank you very much for your answers/help! Now I can go on ahead without worrying about me dropping A-level Physics as I had heard/was told that most people get into Cambridge Economics with 4 A-levels, some with 5 but very rarely 3. I was worried because Cambridge/most Cambridge colleges will consider Maths and Further Maths as 1 subject so with me doing Economics, Maths(I will be taking on S3 and S4 modules just to prepare myself more the course and just because I find statistics interesting), Further Maths and EPQ would sound too bland and I would be outright rejected. As I really failed to achieve the grades I was predicted/should have gotten, I will be retaking a few exams (otherwise I will not be able to get any A*s) with the total number exams I will be sitting coming around to around 16 maybe 18 if I decide to retake both my AS physics exams without the lessons again. But i just wanted to ask does it matter? Is it okay for me to leave Physics AS(i.e. not retake the exams for it) or is it worth it to retake it just show my E was due to other reasons not me being lazy or being plain stupid and was due to my circumstances (this goes for all my AS-Levels as well but as its Physics that I have dropped and not Economics, Maths or Further Maths, i want to know if the AS Level still matters (probably the answer will be yes but I just wanted to confirm)).
    Deciding whether to resit is a personal decision, doing so or not won't have a big impact on your chances this time around (but would do if you are unsuccessful and reapply). We assess you with the grades you hold and your performance in your A2 subjects is more important in terms of meeting any conditional offers. Be sure to check with other universities though, I don't know how they would view things.

    I think there's a bit of confusion with regards to Maths - Maths and FM are combined in the calculation of averages, but if you're sitting 6 modules in year 13 these still count as two subjects from the point of view of conditional offers and workload.
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    (Original post by lonepair)
    Hey, you've obviously had to tell a lot of people that UMS isn't the be all and end all, and I don't want to add to that... but... Well, I won't ask you to consider if my average UMS is good enough, but maybe if I am a bit more detailed as it's the application in its entirety which is considered. I want to apply for (Biological) Natural Sciences.

    GCSE: 12 A*, 2 A

    AS Maths, A, 270/300, 90%:
    C1 87, C2 90, S1 93

    AS Further Maths, A, 269/300, 89.7%:
    FP1 84, M1 93, D1 92

    AS Biology, A, 288/300, 96%:
    Units 1 and 2 both 100%, Practical 48/60

    AS Chemistry, A. 260/300, 86.7%:
    Unit 1 84/100, Unit 2 128/140, Practical 48/60

    AS Physics, A, 245/300, 81.7%:
    Unit 1 104/120, Unit 2 96/120, Practical 45/60

    So that gives me an average overall of 88.8%, best 3 91.9%, best 3 with maths combined 90.5%.

    Honestly, I can't tell if this makes me a good candidate or just a "realistic" candidate. Am I likely to get an interview based on these figures? Where would I be in terms of applicants, around average? I just feel very unsure, like I'm on the borderline. I do also have some contextual flags too - the area that I am from has a very low rate of progression to university, and that said, the school that I did my GCSEs at was the worst in the city in terms of GCSE grades, and in special measures, with frequent teacher changes and Ofsted inspections. None of my family have ever been to university, either.

    I also believe that the maths modules taken matter too, right? I have taken the "easier" modules, i.e. D1 instead of M2, but unfortunately this was the only route offered by my sixth form. Will I be penalised, or am I to include this in my application somehow so that it can be considered?

    Also, I'm confused about the kind of thing that warrants sending an extenuating circumstances form off for. In the month before exam season, my sister was taken to hospital, and then moved many miles away to a more equipped hospital, and she has only left hospital just over a week ago. A few weeks before my exams, she gave birth extremely prematurely at 25 weeks. After that point, a lot of my time and my family's time was spent with the baby in neonatal intensive care, and it took its toll on my family, as my father became depressed, and my mother struggled to cope. I do think all this effected my grades, in mock exams and past papers I was getting near 100% consistently in Chemistry Unit 1, for example, but the night before that exam, I had spent almost entirely at the hospital in what I would call a "critical" time for my nephew. On several occasions, my parents would argue because of the stress of the situation, I would leave the house to avoid it. To say the least, it wasn't a good atmosphere to study in, and I felt distracted, depressed, tired, and frankly like crap during certain exams.

    My problem is, I don't know if that's the kind of thing an ECF is supposed to be for, or if it's more that you missed a lot of school because you yourself became seriously ill, and with a doctors note to prove it. I'm not sure if I should bother including my circumstances, or whether they're not "bad enough", or who I can get to prove that this was my situation at the time. It just upsets me, because I know I would've done better if things had transpired differently. Anyway, sorry if I gave more information than necessary.

    Edit: Holy cow, sorry for the wall of text... I am full of questions I guess!
    I think you know what I'm going to say: don't worry about UMS averages.If you're on track to meet the typical offer (A*A*A) then there's a very very high chance you will be interviewed. No particular weighting is applied to any one piece of data and UMS are just one piece of information amongst many (including contextual information and interview performance, which you haven't done yet) so I can't really say how compare, except that you'd be in the mix. Don't worry about your maths modules - if those are what you could sit, those are the ones you could sit. We don't really get involved in judging difficulty - what you found more straightforward others may find more difficult. Maths and FM are great preparation for Natural Sciences (especially alongside all those sciences).

    Which subjects are you taking this year?

    For ECF, you and your teachers are the judge of what counts, not us. If you think you've been affected by something outside of your control, then an ECF is appropriate. Each candidate and their circumstances are different and there's no specified way an ECF is used - it just gives us more information and colour to use as we paint a picture of you and your achievements and potential. We certainly, absolutely, do not EVER look and decide whether we think the circumstances were 'bad enough' and penalise candidates accordingly.
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    For engineering, it says on the Peterhouse website that a STEP 1 Mathematics grade may be requested, in what circumstances would this occur? Are offers including STEP made frequently? I have 92% in SQA Higher Mathematics, so is it likely that I would be required to sit an additional STEP paper?
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    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    I think you know what I'm going to say: don't worry about UMS averages.If you're on track to meet the typical offer (A*A*A) then there's a very very high chance you will be interviewed. No particular weighting is applied to any one piece of data and UMS are just one piece of information amongst many (including contextual information and interview performance, which you haven't done yet) so I can't really say how compare, except that you'd be in the mix. Don't worry about your maths modules - if those are what you could sit, those are the ones you could sit. We don't really get involved in judging difficulty - what you found more straightforward others may find more difficult. Maths and FM are great preparation for Natural Sciences (especially alongside all those sciences).

    Which subjects are you taking this year?

    For ECF, you and your teachers are the judge of what counts, not us. If you think you've been affected by something outside of your control, then an ECF is appropriate. Each candidate and their circumstances are different and there's no specified way an ECF is used - it just gives us more information and colour to use as we paint a picture of you and your achievements and potential. We certainly, absolutely, do not EVER look and decide whether we think the circumstances were 'bad enough' and penalise candidates accordingly.
    Thank you very much for the reply. This year I'm taking A2 Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Chemistry, as I have now dropped Physics. It was my worst grade by a large margin, and the one I enjoyed least at AS (not so much the content, more so the teaching methods), and my passion is pharmacology anyway.
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    Hello Peterhouse Admissions. I'm asking on behalf of a friend:

    Most universities want people to do their A levels in 2 years. Say someone completed their A levels in two years but decided that they needed another subject to do a particular course so they picked up A levels like Further Maths and Physics and taught themselves in a gap year (and came out with good results). Would these A levels be disregarded? I'm asking because the process is holistic so I'd assume they'd look into every part. And would they need to get it mentioned on their UCAS reference? Thank you.
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    (Original post by Gwenuin)
    For engineering, it says on the Peterhouse website that a STEP 1 Mathematics grade may be requested, in what circumstances would this occur? Are offers including STEP made frequently? I have 92% in SQA Higher Mathematics, so is it likely that I would be required to sit an additional STEP paper?
    STEP conditions are added when there are concerns about a candidate's mathematical abilities. This is primarily the result of interview performance. The percentage of STEP offers varies wildly, from very few to nearly all candidates in a year.
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    (Original post by lonepair)
    Thank you very much for the reply. This year I'm taking A2 Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Chemistry, as I have now dropped Physics. It was my worst grade by a large margin, and the one I enjoyed least at AS (not so much the content, more so the teaching methods), and my passion is pharmacology anyway.
    That's a great choice of subjects and you'll be able to take nearly all the first year options within Natural Sciences.
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    (Original post by High Stakes)
    Hello Peterhouse Admissions. I'm asking on behalf of a friend:

    Most universities want people to do their A levels in 2 years. Say someone completed their A levels in two years but decided that they needed another subject to do a particular course so they picked up A levels like Further Maths and Physics and taught themselves in a gap year (and came out with good results). Would these A levels be disregarded? I'm asking because the process is holistic so I'd assume they'd look into every part. And would they need to get it mentioned on their UCAS reference? Thank you.
    Hi, happy to help. We always look into each candidate in detail and all qualifications are considered. It is generally true that we prefer candidates to complete their A levels in two years, but all applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. It would be a good idea to make sure the circumstances were mentioned somewhere on the UCAS form.
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    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    As others have said, this should be covered by the school reference. I would even go as far as advising against mentioning anything to do with school context - partly because (as you say) it's difficult to pull off, but mainly because the personal statement has to be very short and there's a lot else we'd like to hear about.

    "I achieved x,y,z" is also a poor way to approach a personal statement - we can see your qualifications from elsewhere on the UCAS form.

    In general, each section of the UCAS form should tell us something extra which isn't repeated elsewhere, such as in the school reference or your grades. The key to a personal statement is to make it personal: it needs to speak with your voice otherwise it doesn't work. Don't let other people have too much input (be wary of getting too much help from TSR) and certainly don't copy something you found on the internet.

    From another thread:
    So any grades/ anything I've achieved in school should not be put in my personal statement, just put in my reference? Do you generally read the applicants personal statement and reference together, as I'm sure they compliment each other.

    For example, I took part in the UKMT Maths Challenge - Should I mention this and my results, or just mention it, or leave it entirely to my school reference?
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    (Original post by ComputerMaths97)
    So any grades/ anything I've achieved in school should not be put in my personal statement, just put in my reference? Do you generally read the applicants personal statement and reference together, as I'm sure they compliment each other.

    For example, I took part in the UKMT Maths Challenge - Should I mention this and my results, or just mention it, or leave it entirely to my school reference?
    Universities can see what you've achieved and it's better to avoid repeating yourself. We certainly do look at the personal statement and references together - they print out on facing pages when me make up applicants' files.

    Things like maths challenge are a bit more complicated and it could be mentioned in your personal statement as this is something subject-related which you have done above and beyond the usual schoolwork.

    //Disclaimer: I'm not a professional personal statement advisor and this isn't a personal statement thread.//
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    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    Universities can see what you've achieved and it's better to avoid repeating yourself. We certainly do look at the personal statement and references together - they print out on facing pages when me make up applicants' files.

    Things like maths challenge are a bit more complicated and it could be mentioned in your personal statement as this is something subject-related which you have done above and beyond the usual schoolwork.

    //Disclaimer: I'm not a professional personal statement advisor and this isn't a personal statement thread.//
    Oh it's fine I appreciate any advice, even someone that reads personal statements is a good help! Thank you a lot!
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    (Original post by ComputerMaths97)
    So any grades/ anything I've achieved in school should not be put in my personal statement, just put in my reference? Do you generally read the applicants personal statement and reference together, as I'm sure they compliment each other.

    For example, I took part in the UKMT Maths Challenge - Should I mention this and my results, or just mention it, or leave it entirely to my school reference?
    Just to butt in; my view is you should work *with* your referee to ensure that one or other of you is covering your achievements. Don't assume they will include things like the Maths Challenge, and even if they do you should probably mention it anyway - it's a key personal achievement (assuming you did well!). Ideally ask your referee to review your PS, and likewise ask if you can see your reference (although some schools may not allow you to...) - and all in good time before the deadlines in case changes are needed!
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    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    STEP conditions are added when there are concerns about a candidate's mathematical abilities. This is primarily the result of interview performance. The percentage of STEP offers varies wildly, from very few to nearly all candidates in a year.
    What would a typical offer for a STEP paper be? I feel like applying for a place that is potentially conditional on the result of a STEP paper is a bit of a gamble, when I could apply to another college and not risk doing badly in STEP. Peterhouse is my top choice but it feels like the additional hurdle of STEP, although I would consider myself a capable mathematician, adds an extra layer of difficulty
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    (Original post by Gwenuin)
    What would a typical offer for a STEP paper be? I feel like applying for a place that is potentially conditional on the result of a STEP paper is a bit of a gamble, when I could apply to another college and not risk doing badly in STEP. Peterhouse is my top choice but it feels like the additional hurdle of STEP, although I would consider myself a capable mathematician, adds an extra layer of difficulty
    For Engineering (or Chem Eng via Eng) the typical STEP condition (if set) is a 1 in STEP I.
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    A general response to earlier questions about Computer Science, from our Director of Studies:

    I have no preference regarding particular maths modules (e.g.mechanics, statistics, decision etc.). My understanding is that not all schools offer all modules so advertising such a preference can be problematic.A broader point is that doing as much mathematics as possible is good preparation for the CS course and the new CS admissions test (CSAT).There is material available on-line to help you prepare for STEP which is of course useful even if you aren't going to apply for CS+Maths.
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    Hello,

    I have been wanting to study chemistry and am interested in the NatSci course at Cambridge (particularly chem, earth sciences, material science options). However, I have only studied maths and chemistry at A-level. I'm kind of assuming an application wouldn't be worthwhile as 99% of other applicants will have at least 3/4 science or maths subjects.
    I also only got 2A*s, 6As, (2 distinctions[ICT]) and a C (english literature) at GCSE.

    AS results:
    Maths 93%
    Chemistry 96%
    English literature 100%
    Geography 93.5%

    Would it be worth applying (considering I would be applying for chemistry at other universities, have only done 2 maths/science subjects, poor gcses) at all what-so-ever?
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    (Original post by itsConnor_)
    Hello,

    I have been wanting to study chemistry and am interested in the NatSci course at Cambridge (particularly chem, earth sciences, material science options). However, I have only studied maths and chemistry at A-level. I'm kind of assuming an application wouldn't be worthwhile as 99% of other applicants will have at least 3/4 science or maths subjects.
    I also only got 2A*s, 6As, (2 distinctions[ICT]) and a C (english literature) at GCSE.

    AS results:
    Maths 93%
    Chemistry 96%
    English literature 100%
    Geography 93.5%

    Would it be worth applying (considering I would be applying for chemistry at other universities, have only done 2 maths/science subjects, poor gcses) at all what-so-ever?
    You can go for it. You'd be limited to those options in first year, but it's still a valid application.

    And GCSEs are fine considering your strong AS.

    You might want to consider Oxford Chemistry, I applied for Chemistry at my other choices.
 
 
 

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