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    Win a Computing Olympiad. Seriously, starting at the age of 12 you'll have plenty of time to develop good algorithmic skills and computational thinking to win a medal at an Olympiad. That is, of course, if you are smart enough. Start learning C, participate in many competitions and you will most surely be accepted at Oxbridge.

    There are many paths you can take of course. You say you are interested by Computer Science - then, as simple as it is, keep yourself interested - make a website, create a blog, learn a programming language, use it in a project. I know a person with very low grades at school, but with an award-winning project in Computing who got a scholarship at MIT. Top-tier CS universities welcome mostly students who have shown their interest in the subject, not student who say they're interested.

    So in conclusion, my advice is to find what you find fascinating about computer science and get involved with it. Starting at a young age this will surely guarantee you a place.

    If you still want to hear about A-Levels, Take M, FM, Physics, Chem.
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    I think everyone is making it sound like you need to do a hell of a lot to get in. You don't.

    You need the straight A and A*. They'll probably want you to have Further Maths at A Level (even if they say it's not essential, most applicants would have it) and a good GCSE profile (again, mostly A* and A). But, most of all, you need to be able to convey an enthusiasm for the subject, but that doesn't mean you have to start programming aged 12; in fact, I think something like a third of the students have no prior experience.

    Just to put it in perspective, although I applied for Natural Sciences at Cambridge, I actually did apply for Computer Science at Imperial (next best after Oxbridge for CS if you go by most league tables), and I was given an offer even though my Personal Statement had almost nothing about computing. It was just that I had the grades and I performed well at interview. This isn't the norm for obvious reasons, but it illustrates my point well.
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    Woaaaaahhhhh woooaaaahhhhh little boy!! Hang on you're only 12! You've got at least 5 years to make up your mind! You say your heart is set on Oxbridge to do computer science, this will change! When I was 12 I wanted to go into journalism, things change! Enjoy life for now and let the chips fall where they may! You've got ages to think about all of this. You never know what the requirements to do comp sci might be like in 5 years time Im not sure you even know what comp sci entails.

    Just relax for now, work hard and try everything, for all you know, you could change your mind if you try something new that you prefer.
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    (Original post by nikita_atikin)
    Woaaaaahhhhh woooaaaahhhhh little boy!! Hang on you're only 12! You've got at least 5 years to make up your mind! You say your heart is set on Oxbridge to do computer science, this will change! When I was 12 I wanted to go into journalism, things change! Enjoy life for now and let the chips fall where they may! You've got ages to think about all of this. You never know what the requirements to do comp sci might be like in 5 years time Im not sure you even know what comp sci entails.

    Just relax for now, work hard and try everything, for all you know, you could change your mind if you try something new that you prefer.
    This.

    When I was 12 I wanted to be an archologist (I can't spell). Then in the next few years I considered journalist, translator, human rights lawyer, fashion designer, something working with horses and cake shop owner. I am now holding five offers to study physics with hopes of doing a PhD afterwards and then doing research into particle physics.

    Keep doing what you love. But don't let your current 'dream' stop you from trying out other things you might love.
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    (Original post by blueandcream)
    I am a 12 year old Year 8 student. I have my heart set on doing Computer Science at either one of Oxford or Cambridge. Now I know you might say I am too young to be set on what I want to do as a degree but trust me, I am set. This is what I want to do. You can say I'm too young, you can say whatever, but this is my goal and I know it.

    I have looked up the entry requirements for the course at the universities and unsurprisingly they ask for straight As. The reason I have started this thread is because I would like to know how I can set my set myself on this path at this age. What subjects should I do GCSE? What subjects should I do at A-level? What work experience should I do? What type of extra curricular should I do? What exactly can I do from now on to maximize my chances to getting into either one of these universities?

    At this moment I am a clean slate and I just want to do everything right, with minimal mistakes. I want to have no regrets. I look around and I always see people saying they wish they'd done this or they wish they knew that or they wish someone had told them about this. It seems like 99% of the students applying to university feel this way, my own brother too in fact. Anyway, I enjoy doing Maths and Sciences and this is where I achieve my best grades.

    So, any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

    P.S - Is there much difference between Oxford and Cambridge on this course? It just seems like to me that the only difference is the location.
    GCSE's: concentrate on maths , science and english
    A Levels: Further maths (if the college near you doesn't do further maths find a new one) Physics and chemistry/biology depending on your mood. (I highly suggest chemistry over biology..)
    Dont bother with computing or electronics yet.

    Work experience.... well Cambridge doesn't really seem to care about extracurricular (and I believe it says so on their website somewhere)
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    It's good to have direction, but don't become fixated on Oxbridge CS. Your interests and aspirations are susceptible to change over the next 3-4 years, and please, PLEASE remember that, as good as they are, Oxbridge are just another set of universites, and graduates from other univerisites manage to still do well.

    For GCSE just take as many Maths/Science subjects as possible.

    For A-level, take Maths, Further Maths and two Sciences (remember that at Cambridge you do NatSci in your first year). Dunno about Computing A-level, but don't take ICT A-level.

    (Original post by n1r4v)
    Your grammar and post make you sound asian?

    Years 8-11 were by far the best and happiest years of my life, I can't believe how much I used to laugh in one day of school in year 11, don't think I'll ever be so content with life again. Remember that all decisions / responsibilities you have during that time are fake, so instead of thinking about this useless stuff, enjoy these 3 years of relative bliss.
    Well that's excellent that you found such happiness, but not everyone finds those school years to be a blissful, worry-free blast. I have often been quite obsessive about my subject/career choices simply because it kept my mind off other things and occupied me. Not saying that applies to the OP, but just don't assume the rest of us find the same joys in life that you do.
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    A lot of good advice here. I personally don't see anything wrong with knowing what you want to do- I always knew that I wanted to do maths at uni and ended up studying it at Oxford (although have realised since that I would have really enjoyed comp sic but never considered it). Do find it slightly odd that you are so set on Oxbridge though and would like to know your reasons (somewhat oddly I only chose Oxford over Manchester because I reckoned there would be more chance to do sport). Two things that I think you need to bear in mind are:
    1) The courses- have you looked what they involve, is it something in particular about the Oxbridge ones that attract you?
    2) Not everyone is capable of getting in to Oxbridge- this isn't to say that you aren't and I don't want to sound elitist but hard work alone won't get you in- you need a good amount of natural talent. The point here being that if you make this the sole target for the next few years you could be sorely disappointed through no fault of your own.

    Having said this, some advice to back up the advice from others:
    1) GCSE- choices shouldn't really matter too much- just get quite good results and make sure you get an A* in maths!
    2) A Level- do further maths and two other highly respected ones- obvious would be physics and chemistry but some choice here. Heaviy recommending the maths because I know that the course at Oxford is very maths heavy, not sure about Cambridge.
    3) Otherwise it would probably look good if you got into programming (but not necessary). Also having looked at comp sci entrance papers and they seem to love logic questions- actually think they are accessible if you want to have a go at that style of thinking- will have a look on the oxford maths site and find a good question for you.

    All that said (and this coming from a teacher who should be encouraging your focused attitude), don't sacrifice your whole childhood trying to achieve this...at the end of the day the next 2 years probably won't have a massive effect on your chances so work hard but play hard too!
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      (Original post by blueandcream)
      I have looked up the entry requirements for the course at the universities and unsurprisingly they ask for straight As. The reason I have started this thread is because I would like to know how I can set my set myself on this path at this age. What subjects should I do GCSE? What subjects should I do at A-level? What work experience should I do? What type of extra curricular should I do? What exactly can I do from now on to maximize my chances to getting into either one of these universities?
      Just pursue whatever intellectual topics interest you. Read books, solve problems, do experiments. The rest will come naturally.
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      (Original post by innerhollow)
      It's good to have direction, but don't become fixated on Oxbridge CS. Your interests and aspirations are susceptible to change over the next 3-4 years, and please, PLEASE remember that, as good as they are, Oxbridge are just another set of universites, and graduates from other univerisites manage to still do well.

      For GCSE just take as many Maths/Science subjects as possible.

      For A-level, take Maths, Further Maths and two Sciences (remember that at Cambridge you do NatSci in your first year). Dunno about Computing A-level, but don't take ICT A-level.



      Well that's excellent that you found such happiness, but not everyone finds those school years to be a blissful, worry-free blast. I have often been quite obsessive about my subject/career choices simply because it kept my mind off other things and occupied me. Not saying that applies to the OP, but just don't assume the rest of us find the same joys in life that you do.
      I had a feeling someone would misinterpret my post for showing off. I wasn't much happier than any other normal teeanger, life at school certainly was worry-free compared to later academic years though. Maybe by first post was too harsh but I get very confused when people say they want to study X at Oxbridge when they haven't even started GCSEs. I didn't assume what you said I did; I said that worrying about specific universities at this time in life is pointless. I only assumed that people shouldn't worry or stress for no / little reason. Nothing he does at the moment can contribute towards getting into those universities, apart from selecting single science GCSE / fewer than 10 GCSEs or something like that.

      However, being passionate about a subject is a great thing and he can certainly do things mentioned by everyone in this thread to reflect his interest in it; read maths and CS books, learn a programming language etc.
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      Okay, I decided I wanted to do computer science at churchill college, cambridge when I was fourteen so I know how you feel about having a goal at a young(ish) age. I'm also asian. I had already started GCSEs by the time I decided I wanted to study computers, non of my optional choices have anything to do with computers, ICT looked like s*** so I suggest you don't take it and do something that you may enjoy, I personally took triple science, DT, Art, German etc, I think DT helps develop identifying client needs and meeting them, researching relevant stuff etc. GCSE is easy and not too relevant when applying to universities, but straight A* and A do look good, no matter what subjects you do, I know at the moment GCSEs will look daunting and huge but believe me, it's reeeeaaaly not. In A levels, I'm taking maths, further maths, physics and computing, I only really started getting into programming at 16 so if your school/college does to computing a-level (AQA) I'd take it, it'll help with your personal statement(personal projects, subjects of interest etc) and show that you have legitimate interest and know what it is that you're going to take up. Do lots of reading, computer science books, although at the moment maybe not the undergraduate level books that universities suggest as preliminary reading. Extra curricular stuff help as well, it's known that children exposed to classical music are generally smarter, I've done grade 8 piano and flute, both distinction, don't know if it really made me any smarter but It helps boost up your ucas points (150 for my two) and show that you have a diverse range of interest. Sports and keeping fit will also help you show diversity but also help your life at school, personally, I don't have much problems with being picked on, I took care of any bullies or the like when I started secondary school, being physically fit, I think also help you focus on studies. I don't think there's much need to worry too much about the computing olympiad although it does look amazing, it's not necessary to be successful in computers, I personally did maths olympian papers and stuff but haven't really got much out of it.

      So just keep up the optimism, try your best in school, make the right choices, keep diverse, be prepared, and I' sure you'll succeed in any route that you decide to take.
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      You MUST do Further maths. Universities prefer it over Computing, and no doubt nearly all Oxbridge candidates will have it.
      I advise against taking computing because it makes the A level redundant because of your degree.
      I advise trying to learn some programming, take on a few projects, do some web design etc so you have a decent amount of exp under your belt when you apply. Thus not taking Computing A level won't be a disadvantage, by a very good advantage. I took English instead of computing and in no-way regret that! English has been extremely useful and it's help me be more diverse.
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      12 years old? Bit keen... I've heard Oxford's easier to get into, and Cambridge has a better reputation on Maths & Sciences I believe - but that's just my impression. Also, don't take ICT/Computing etc for GCSE or A-level. Take as much maths as you can. Also, by the time you get there, they'll both want A*A*A* most likely. GCSEs don't matter; programming experience is a bonus, but not really necessary; they don't want you to be a total nerd, so do some extra-curricular stuff; and the advice to not get set on Oxbridge is good - the success rate is only going to fall in future, and a lot of it's based on luck. There are plenty of other world-class unis in this country.
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      Well it's good to see that you have ambitition, but what you should try not to do is become completely "I need to go to Oxbridge" as this can create quite a bad result should you get rejected. But I like the enthusiasm though

      My advice is to do as much maths as possible when you can. This includes at GCSE, and with A levels, maths and further maths (with focus on Decision Modules, as this is the foundation of CS) If you wanted to as well, you could do STEP I in your final year. GCSEs, aim for practically all A* if you can. You also have to remember that you want to put your self in a position that you will have advantage, as it might be well harder to get a place at at Uni by the time you apply. Start doing basic programming. But whatever you do, make sure that you enjoy life as well. As when it comes to your personal statement in a few years, you want to show that you are able to be a person that can show different commitments and be able to have fun while work at the same time. I wish you luck!
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      The Cambridge/Oxford from a young age dream is unhealthy and the Unis somewhat overrated for a subject like CSci where the course is almost standard wherever.

      Programming from a young age, however, is not. When I was 12, I started teaching myself C++ and the problem-solving element of it actually just made me realise that CSci is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I continued developing the skills and, by the time I finally came to apply to Uni, I was already an x86 Assembly programmer and C++ expert. It's certain that helped sway at least one of my offers; Bristol, specifically, even said in my acceptance letter that the academic I was "interviewed" by was impressed by the route I had chosen.

      There's definitely nothing wrong with starting young. You pick up the syntax like a sponge then learn the algorithmic/problem-solving skills along the way.
     
     
     
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