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    Hi Dr Spencer, thank you so much for setting up this thread!

    I'm a post IB applicant applying for English and was wondering if I stand a chance or not.

    At GCSE I got 7A* 3A.I got 43 /45 points in the IB with 776 in Psychology, Visual Arts and English literature (1 mark off a 7). I also got a B (1 mark off an A) on my extended essay which I did in English. Since I am applying for English, will the 6 and the B disadvantage me?

    I'm hoping the admissions tutors will take into account that English is subjective as a subject. I really want to be realistic with my chances as I'm reapplying (1st time round to cam) and I'm definitely not taking a second gap year.

    Have a good weekend!
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    (Original post by suejiaiuo)
    Hello,
    If I were to resit an exam or two, would I have to explicitly mention this in my UCAS Application?
    Thanks in advance.
    No but you do need to mention it in the SAQ.
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    (Original post by AdHominem)
    Hello Dr Spencer. Thank you for doing this AMA. I am a year 12 student and after having finished my GCSEs I have decided that Cambridge is my one true aspiration with regards to university. Presently, Medicine and Natural Sciences appeal to me more than any other courses and I would guess that my A-Levels limit me somewhat to these anyway.

    Educational Background:
    At GCSE I achieved 10 A*s and 3 As, also an A* in the Level 2 Higher Project Qualifiation about the Higgs Boson particle and a Pass in the Level 3 Certificate in Algebra (Pass/Fail).
    A*s: English Language, French, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Further Mathematics, Computing, Business Studies, Geography and Religious Studies.
    As: Mathematics, History and English Literature.
    I have done GCSE maths twice, achieving an A both times and have been certificated twice as a result.
    My A-Levels are Maths, Chemistry and Biology. I am also doing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) this year.

    Extra-Curriculars, Responsibilities and Awards (Past and Present):
    Duke of Edinburgh Bronze (completed) and Silver (in progress) awards; Dragons' Apprentice Challenge (Hertfordshire and Cambridge schools, similar to Young Enterprise); Part-time job in a supermarket; 1 week of work-experience at UTC Aerospace Systems (aerospace engineering facility); Volunteering in a charity shop, computing club and GCSE chemistry lessons; Public Speaking in school parliament several times in my school career; Vice-Captain of a house at school; multiple house and subject awards; Participating in team maths challenge this year; Likely to participate in World Challenge on an expedition to Sri Lanka; Additional Reading.

    Questions:
    1. Would the fact that I retook GCSE mathematics and achieved the same grade affect my application in any way?
    2. Are my GCSE grades and A-Level subjects suitable for medicine or natural sciences?
    3. Are there any extra-curricular activities which I have done, or do which are particularly useful or any which would not help to strengthen my UCAS application?
    4. Is there anything else which you would recommend I do, in terms of showing passion for the course (medicine or natural sciences), or anything else which is entirely necessary?
    5. Based on the reasonably small amount of information you have about my academics and extra-curricular activities, what would my chances be of being invited to interview or offered a place?

    Thank you again for holding this Q&A and I hope to hear from you soon.
    Hello and thank you for your questions and the background.

    1) Yes, the fact that you didn't get an A* in Maths when applying for a Science subject having taken the GCSE twice is going to be a negative though if you do well in Maths AS this year then it shouldn't be a major negative.

    2) Yes, you have strong GCSE results overall and a good combination of A Level subjects.

    3) At Cambridge we do not use extra-curricular activities as part of our considerations.

    4) If you want to apply for medicine then you need to do some work experience, some volunteering at a care home would be sufficient. Beyond that reading around the subject is the best thing you can do.

    5) It's too early to say how strong an applicant you will be as you are only at the start of Year 12 but you have a strong set of GCSEs so that will be of benefit. If the rest of your application matches this then you'll be a good candidate.

    I hope this helps and that you have a good Year 12.
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    Do we find out results for our admission tests?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1998)
    Do we find out results for our admission tests?

    Thanks
    Not as a matter of course (except those taking BMAT and ELAT). Colleges might release results as part of feedback.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Not as a matter of course (except those taking BMAT and ELAT). Colleges might release results as part of feedback.
    It is kind of annoying to do an exam and never get to know how you did in it

    Would solutions to the multiple choice questions of ECAA get published so we can estimate our own grade at least? (If yes, approximately when?)
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Hello and thank you for your questions and the background.

    1) Yes, the fact that you didn't get an A* in Maths when applying for a Science subject having taken the GCSE twice is going to be a negative though if you do well in Maths AS this year then it shouldn't be a major negative.

    2) Yes, you have strong GCSE results overall and a good combination of A Level subjects.

    3) At Cambridge we do not use extra-curricular activities as part of our considerations.

    4) If you want to apply for medicine then you need to do some work experience, some volunteering at a care home would be sufficient. Beyond that reading around the subject is the best thing you can do.

    5) It's too early to say how strong an applicant you will be as you are only at the start of Year 12 but you have a strong set of GCSEs so that will be of benefit. If the rest of your application matches this then you'll be a good candidate.

    I hope this helps and that you have a good Year 12.
    Thank you very much for your reply. I was also wondering how much of an effect A-Level UMS averages have on the admissions process. In addition, as A-Levels are now linear, how would an offer be determined? Would it be based on GCSE grades; any AS level exams; entrance exams and mock exam grades? Or, is there something else? Thank you again.
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    (Original post by ziggyystardust)
    Hi Dr Spencer, thank you so much for setting up this thread!

    I'm a post IB applicant applying for English and was wondering if I stand a chance or not.

    At GCSE I got 7A* 3A.I got 43 /45 points in the IB with 776 in Psychology, Visual Arts and English literature (1 mark off a 7). I also got a B (1 mark off an A) on my extended essay which I did in English. Since I am applying for English, will the 6 and the B disadvantage me?

    I'm hoping the admissions tutors will take into account that English is subjective as a subject. I really want to be realistic with my chances as I'm reapplying (1st time round to cam) and I'm definitely not taking a second gap year.

    Have a good weekend!
    Hello and thanks for your question and wishes for my weekend!

    With your results you will certainly have a chance. 43 points is an excellent result in the IB, well done. The two English results will be a concern, however, especially as your other two HLs aren't traditional academic subjects. I think that you will have a decent chance but that the other parts of your application will need to show that your English results in the IB were not truly reflective of your abilities in the subject. Best of luck with the application.
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    (Original post by AdHominem)
    Thank you very much for your reply. I was also wondering how much of an effect A-Level UMS averages have on the admissions process. In addition, as A-Levels are now linear, how would an offer be determined? Would it be based on GCSE grades; any AS level exams; entrance exams and mock exam grades? Or, is there something else? Thank you again.
    Where UMS exists still it remains pat of our processes. We will take all the information that we have into account before making a decision and that means looking at everything and making an overall judgement on the candidate and comparing them to other candidates.
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    (Original post by Fbiemad)
    It is kind of annoying to do an exam and never get to know how you did in it

    Would solutions to the multiple choice questions of ECAA get published so we can estimate our own grade at least? (If yes, approximately when?)
    I understand, but it's not an exam, it's an assessment that makes up part of the overall judgement. Candidates have not traditionally found out how they have done in the interviews or in any tests sat in college except through feedback. We don't want people overestimating the importance of certain parts of the application by highlighting that.

    I don't know whether solutions will be provided or whether past papers will be published in the future. It's yet to be decided. You won;t be able to work out your grade (though you could work out your mark) as the grade for Section 1 will be worked out in comparison to everyone else's mark - the bottom candidates getting 1.0, the top 9.0.
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    Just out of curiosity, have you (or other colleges) ever admitted anyone that doesn't have the 'typical Cambridge' grades? (like GCSEs)
    Thanks
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    (Original post by suejiaiuo)
    Just out of curiosity, have you (or other colleges) ever admitted anyone that doesn't have the 'typical Cambridge' grades? (like GCSEs)
    Thanks
    In terms of GCSEs, yes plenty. In terms of A Levels, the number I have admitted those with less than the standard offer can be counted on the finger of one hand. The proportion accepted with less than the standard offer is very small indeed and there are nearly always significant extenuating circumstances.
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    Is there a compulsory pooling system this year using the assessments since UMS no longer exists for some subjects?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1998)
    Is there a compulsory pooling system this year using the assessments since UMS no longer exists for some subjects?

    Thanks
    Yes, the criteria remain the same where students have them. There will be many fewer able to reach the standard.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Where UMS exists still it remains pat of our processes. We will take all the information that we have into account before making a decision and that means looking at everything and making an overall judgement on the candidate and comparing them to other candidates.
    Thank you ever so much for all of your help, and for doing this Q&A. I do hope that one day I may study at your institution.
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    Hi,

    Thanks for this thread! It has been really helpful

    I am applying for Engineering studies at Cambridge and I was wonderding how to prepare for the ENGAA. There's only one specimen paper online so once I made that one, I've nothing left to study. How do the PAT, MAT and BMAT tests compare to the ENGAA? And do you advise making those? Why (not)?

    And what other tips do you have?

    — M
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    How shall I prepare for STEP? A user who has done the STEP exams has told me that they found content from S3-4 and M3-5 in STEP III as he had an offer from Cambridge and did the STEP exams. Shall I learn these modules? Would that help? I'm only doing: C1, C2, S1, M1, D1 and FP1 in the first year and C3, C4, S2, D2, M2 and FP2 in the second year so would I need to learn the other modules?


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    (Original post by DamnDaniel2)
    How shall I prepare for STEP? A user who has done the STEP exams has told me that they found content from S3-4 and M3-5 in STEP III as he had an offer from Cambridge and did the STEP exams. Shall I learn these modules? Would that help? I'm only doing: C1, C2, S1, M1, D1 and FP1 in the first year and C3, C4, S2, D2, M2 and FP2 in the second year so would I need to learn the other modules?


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    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=4275906
    STEP Prep Thread 2017

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    Hello, thank you very much for setting up this thread!

    I'm applying for MML, French and Italian at Cambridge this year, however I'm not sure which Italian option I should put on my SAQ. I have a GCSE in Italian, but no A Level as I took the GCSE over Y11 and Y12. Therefore I know I would not be of the standard of post-A Level Italian, however on the SAQ it says that ab initio is for students with no prior experience of the language. I'm leaning towards just putting ab initio on my application anyway, however I'm just looking for confirmation.

    Thanks
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    Hello Dr Spencer

    Thank you for running this thread.

    I am applying for Computer Science.
    Earlier in the year I had a operation on my ribs which affected my studies, my teacher will be mentioning it in her reference, will we also need to complete the Extenuating circumstances form?
 
 
 
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