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    Hi. I have two questions regarding portuguese qualifications and how they are evaluated.

    I finished high school this June with 18,5/20 and was planning to apply for 2017 entry.

    17/20 in Physics/Chemistry, Biology/Geology and Philosophy unfortunately lower my overall score (19s and 20s on other disciplines); even then, I believe the grades I obtained on the national exams, for Physics/Chem and Biology/Geology (18,5 and 18,8, respectively) show better aptitude at these subjects than the school grades suggest.

    Any insight on how admission officers weight portuguese school grades vs exams scores? My exam scores are overall much better than school grades and I am worried my application won't be competitive enough if judged based on the last.

    I understand most UK schools consider a 18/20 equivalent to an A. By that reasoning, is a 19/20 an A+ and a 17/20 an A-?
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    Hello everyone and welcome to a new Ask an Admissions Tutor thread, back for its fourth year.

    I will be here for the next month to answer your questions about admissions to Cambridge, especially if you are planning to apply this year but also to help those already holding an offer for this year and waiting for your results.

    Do please fire away and I'll answer them as well and as quickly as I can.

    Hello, Thanks for opening this thread. I am an International student keen to start Computer Science (2017 entry). I am expecting predicted IB score of 39-40 (7/7/5 or 7/6/5) HL subjects being Physics, Comp. Science,Maths. Sadly, Maths is where I might get a 5. I know a lot goes in an application – Personal Statement, CSAT etc., but what would be the weightage of these grades? I do have some programming experience but don’t find Maths to be a barrier on live projects.
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    (Original post by Watawata)
    Hi. I have two questions regarding portuguese qualifications and how they are evaluated.

    I finished high school this June with 18,5/20 and was planning to apply for 2017 entry.

    17/20 in Physics/Chemistry, Biology/Geology and Philosophy unfortunately lower my overall score (19s and 20s on other disciplines); even then, I believe the grades I obtained on the national exams, for Physics/Chem and Biology/Geology (18,5 and 18,8, respectively) show better aptitude at these subjects than the school grades suggest.

    Any insight on how admission officers weight portuguese school grades vs exams scores? My exam scores are overall much better than school grades and I am worried my application won't be competitive enough if judged based on the last.

    I understand most UK schools consider a 18/20 equivalent to an A. By that reasoning, is a 19/20 an A+ and a 17/20 an A-?
    Hello and thank you for your questions. The scores we are interested in are the
    Diploma de Ensino Secundário. It's hard to know how competitive your application will be without knowig the subject you are interested in. If it's sciences then it looks as if your science scores are too low, if the humanities then scores of 19 and 20 in these subjects would make you competitive.

    It's not always helpful to try to draw equivalent grades between UK exams and overseas ones - what we are interested in when looking at foreign qualifications is do they provide adequate preparation for our courses and what do the best students achieve.
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    (Original post by ADSI)
    Hello, Thanks for opening this thread. I am an International student keen to start Computer Science (2017 entry). I am expecting predicted IB score of 39-40 (7/7/5 or 7/6/5) HL subjects being Physics, Comp. Science,Maths. Sadly, Maths is where I might get a 5. I know a lot goes in an application – Personal Statement, CSAT etc., but what would be the weightage of these grades? I do have some programming experience but don’t find Maths to be a barrier on live projects.
    Hello and thanks for your question. The standard IB offer is 40-42 points, with most colleges offering at 41 or 42 points so you really need to be aiming for that level at least. I'm afraid that if you are predicted a 5 in HL Maths then you won;t be called for interview. Your offer would almost certainly specify a 7 in Maths.

    We don't weight specific parts of an application and for different people different things end up as more important.
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    Hi , i am hoping to apply for Bsc Economics (L100) at Cambridge this year for 2017 entry. I am taking the full maths a level this year and the further maths a level next year aswell as 2 further maths modules this year aswell. If say i get an a* in maths but a C in both further maths modules, yet be predicted an a* for further maths, and do well in the admissions test will those C grades be looked down upon?
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    (Original post by University of Cambridge)
    x
    I want to get into Oxbridge...
    I am planning to do Economics...

    Is this a good mix of subjects?

    Maths
    Economics
    Maybe ICT? (I am not sure whether to do ICT... Should I or shouldn't I do ict?)
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    Hi

    How much do you value the EPQ - especially if the majority of your school takes it? I'm thinking of applying to Medicine and will be studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and FM. Since I am taking 4 A Levels, the EPQ, which would have been compulsory if I took 3, is an optional qualification for me to take. As it is time-consuming, I was wondering if it is even worth doing if you do not value it much as a qualification.

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    Hello and thanks for your question. The standard IB offer is 40-42 points, with most colleges offering at 41 or 42 points so you really need to be aiming for that level at least. I'm afraid that if you are predicted a 5 in HL Maths then you won;t be called for interview. Your offer would almost certainly specify a 7 in Maths.

    We don't weight specific parts of an application and for different people different things end up as more important.
    Thanks for your reply.
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    Hello. I wanted to know whether I can apply for Maths at cambridge and Maths with Statistics at other universities?
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    Hi , i am hoping to apply for Bsc Economics (L100) at Cambridge this year. I am taking the full maths a level this year and the further maths a level next year aswell as 2 further maths modules this year aswell. If say i get an a* in maths but a C in both further maths modules, yet be predicted an a* for further maths, and do well in the admissions test will those C grades be looked down upon?
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    I know you discourage over-preparing for admissions tests, but I don't want to go in and do anything without preparation (I struggle with mind blanks for a few seconds/minutes when i first start exams). How could I go about being more comfortable with the admissions tests, and practise/prepare a little in advance?

    I'm wanting to apply for History.

    Also, I'm highly talented at History and even wrote a degree standard essay when I was age 12. I also have a burning passion for it and want to be a History professor in a university when I'm older. But I'm scared I've messed up my English exams, despite being second highest in the subject, (and highest for History). I'm thinking of applying regardless, but if I re-apply post A2 with the required A-Level grades, and hence take a gap year, would the gap year be looked down upon?
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    Regarding the pre-interview assessments, are the currently available specimen papers an accurate representation of the difficulty of the real papers?
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    sorry to bother you again but i have another question. How much emphasis does Cambridge place on the social context of a student, how much Do they take into account whether they are from a low participation background/ disadvantaged area/ social housing , and will an average (but offer exceeding) student from a disadvantaged social background be on the same footing as a top-end student from a privileged social background?
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    (Original post by surina16)
    Hi

    How much do you value the EPQ - especially if the majority of your school takes it? I'm thinking of applying to Medicine and will be studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and FM. Since I am taking 4 A Levels, the EPQ, which would have been compulsory if I took 3, is an optional qualification for me to take. As it is time-consuming, I was wondering if it is even worth doing if you do not value it much as a qualification.

    Thanks
    Hello and thanks for your question. We are generally supportive of the EPQ as something which is a bit like university - it's a topic you choose, you go away and research it and then write something. it is good to discuss on the Personal Statement and often gives a student something to talk about in the interviews.

    With all that said, however, it doesn't currently form part of our offers and is unlikely to figure in a significant way on its own in our decision making, either in December or August.

    We'd much rather you did really well in four A Levels than quite well in 4 A Levels and the EPQ. We only normally ask for excellent performance in 3 subjects so you need to be sure that if you do an EPQ it doesn't affect your ability to do well in your other subjects.
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    (Original post by anujsr)
    Hello. I wanted to know whether I can apply for Maths at cambridge and Maths with Statistics at other universities?
    Yes, absolutely. You can apply for any other subject you like at other universities - we will consider you for the subject you apply for here and don't know what else you've applied for.
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    (Original post by james1221212)
    Hi , i am hoping to apply for Bsc Economics (L100) at Cambridge this year. I am taking the full maths a level this year and the further maths a level next year aswell as 2 further maths modules this year aswell. If say i get an a* in maths but a C in both further maths modules, yet be predicted an a* for further maths, and do well in the admissions test will those C grades be looked down upon?
    We'd certainly be concerned if a student for Economics got two Cs in FM modules. How much we'd be concerned would depend on how well you did on the other parts of the application. We are aware that things can go wrong in individual modules but the rest of the application would need to convince us that those Cs were aberrations and not evidence that you struggle when presented with more difficult Maths.
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    (Original post by SteamboatMickey)
    I know you discourage over-preparing for admissions tests, but I don't want to go in and do anything without preparation (I struggle with mind blanks for a few seconds/minutes when i first start exams). How could I go about being more comfortable with the admissions tests, and practise/prepare a little in advance?

    I'm wanting to apply for History.

    Also, I'm highly talented at History and even wrote a degree standard essay when I was age 12. I also have a burning passion for it and want to be a History professor in a university when I'm older. But I'm scared I've messed up my English exams, despite being second highest in the subject, (and highest for History). I'm thinking of applying regardless, but if I re-apply post A2 with the required A-Level grades, and hence take a gap year, would the gap year be looked down upon?
    Hello and thanks for your questions. Always good to see someone interested in History!

    Taking a gap year would not be looked down upon. Lots of students do this, I usually have at least one historian at Christ's every year who arrives from a gap year.

    In terms of preparation for the History Admissions Assessment, you will see from the specimen that what is expected is source analysis and comparison. So if you wish to practice then analysing sources, especially sources discuss similar topics, is what you should do.
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    (Original post by Forecast)
    Regarding the pre-interview assessments, are the currently available specimen papers an accurate representation of the difficulty of the real papers?
    There are intended to be, yes. I haven't seen any of the real papers yet so I can't say more than that the specimen papers are intended to give students a sense of what the papers will involve in terms of difficulty.
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    Yes, absolutely. You can apply for any other subject you like at other universities - we will consider you for the subject you apply for here and don't know what else you've applied for.
    Thank you!
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    Hello and thanks for your questions. Always good to see someone interested in History!

    Taking a gap year would not be looked down upon. Lots of students do this, I usually have at least one historian at Christ's every year who arrives from a gap year.

    In terms of preparation for the History Admissions Assessment, you will see from the specimen that what is expected is source analysis and comparison. So if you wish to practice then analysing sources, especially sources discuss similar topics, is what you should do.
    I'll get my teachers to recommend me some sources (or where I can get sources) as soon as I get back next week! I'm excited to start practising, I do love History. Nothing compares to it

    Ah okay! Do they usually spend their gap year focusing on their subject? I'm thinking of volunteering at the national railway museum in York, or another local museum, if I have a gap year. But I'd also really like to teach myself Latin so I can understand even more early modern/medieval primary historical sources!
 
 
 
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