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Four things that unis think matter more than league tables 08-12-2016
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    Hello Dr. Spencer!

    Thank you for doing the thread, it's been very helpful to read through these posts as they've answered some of my own questions!

    With the UCAS deadline looming in, I need to decide on which college I'm applying for economics. I have a college in mind that I want to apply to, but the college requires submitting a piece of written work, which I'm not so confident about. How much importance, would you say, is placed on written work? Is it worth, on its own, to influence college choice?

    Also, if I indicate on UCAS that I'll be sitting STEP next year, is there any chance that I might be given a STEP offer for economics? According to the Cambridge website the only colleges to do this are St Edmund's, Hughes Hall and Trinity Hall, but I just wanted to check.

    Thank you once again for your help.
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    Will the reference I provide on my COPA be asked about my "teaching difficulties" in school?
    I spoke about how one of my teachers only taught the old spec and how I had to self learn the new spec - problem is, that teacher is my reference.
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    Hello Dr. Spencer,

    I am applying for Classics at Pemberton. My AS results were AAAA with UMS 93.5 Latin, 90 Greek, 93 RS and an A in English Lit. (linear). My predicted grades are A*AA. My school prefers to err on the side of achievability but I am concerned when seeing the predicted scores of others on the forums as most seem to improve at A2.

    I'm afraid my application will not be competitive given the very high predicted grades of other Oxbridge candidates. Can you advise the relative weight placed on AS vs predicted results please? Will my application still be competitive?
    Thank you.
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    My son is applying for Computer Science with predicted grades of A*A*A* in Maths/Further Maths/Physics. I know there will be others applying with 4 or 5 A levels - I am hoping this will not put him at a disadvantage. He is in a state school. Does he have a realistic chance of getting an interview?

    He had a very good recommendation on his PS - his Head of Maths has stated that he is the best Maths pupil the school has ever had - his UMS is 300.
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    (Original post by russandol)
    Hi,

    I'm applying for medicine this year, and my AS grades are As in Maths, Biology, History, (critical thinking), and I got a B in Chemistry. Chemistry's reformed, and my predicted grades are A*A*A*A (A in chemistry). I've seen the statistics for medicine, so I get that the B could cause a massive problem, but it won't actually count towards my final grade and I'm pretty confident on getting a great BMAT score, so could my BMAT make up for it in terms of getting an interview, or even an offer?

    I'm not too fussed about getting an offer, but I would really like to have a go at the interview. I suppose what I'm asking is whether my B in the reformed Chemistry AS would put me at a really significant disadvantage, even if I excelled elsewhere, given how competitive medicine is.

    Thanks.
    Hello and thanks for your question. A B grade in Chemistry AS and an A prediction is a big warning sign for us given that Chemistry is generally regarded as the most important subject for medicine at Cambridge. A strong BMAT performance will help you but without the whole paper application it's impossible to say for sure whether you'll get an interview.
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    (Original post by jess117)
    Hi Dr Spencer,

    Apologies first since this is not related to History or Murray Edwards, and thank you for your time!

    I am an overseas student applying for Land Economy. I have already submitted my UCAS, COPA and SAQ. I was just wondering when I could hear back from Cambridge whether or not they would like to interview me. I know that it is usually by the end of November, but since Land Economy is relatively small course, I thought it could be earlier. If you do not mind, could you please tell me since when you started inviting candidates to Cambridge interview when you were the Admissions Tutor at Murray Edwards?

    Thank you for your time again
    It's ok, there's no need to ask specific questions about History or Murray Edwards. It's impossible to say for certain when individual colleges will send out information about individual courses. As Land Economy is a subject without a pre-interview assessment then it may well be that colleges will try to get interview decisions out reasonably early, that is what we are planning to do at Murray Edwards. I would therefore expect you to hear by the middle of November but I can't guarantee that.
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    (Original post by unknowntsr)
    Hi Doc,

    I have a couple more questions.

    Is it possible to drop your 4th A Level after putting it on your UCAS application and declaring it and if Cambridge have already received my application?

    Also, how should I prepare for the ELAT? Is it worth doing as many past papers as possible?

    Also, will it harm my application in any way if I don't provide an additional personal statement on the SAQ?

    Thank you very much !
    Yes, but if it is before you receive an offer then you need to let us know that you are dropping it. If it is after you receive an offer then you need to ask permission from your firm choice in order to drop the subject.

    I would do some past papers but don't overload it. A few hours practice with these sorts of things can make a definite improvement beyond that, though, it's negligible improvement.

    No, you won't be harmed by not filling in the additional personal statement.
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    (Original post by dyuunn)
    Hello Dr. Spencer!

    Thank you for doing the thread, it's been very helpful to read through these posts as they've answered some of my own questions!

    With the UCAS deadline looming in, I need to decide on which college I'm applying for economics. I have a college in mind that I want to apply to, but the college requires submitting a piece of written work, which I'm not so confident about. How much importance, would you say, is placed on written work? Is it worth, on its own, to influence college choice?

    Also, if I indicate on UCAS that I'll be sitting STEP next year, is there any chance that I might be given a STEP offer for economics? According to the Cambridge website the only colleges to do this are St Edmund's, Hughes Hall and Trinity Hall, but I just wanted to check.

    Thank you once again for your help.
    I'm very glad that the thread has been of use, that's the aim!

    The importance placed on written work will vary from subject to subject, college to college and indeed candidate to candidate. It tends to be more important when it is used as a prompt in the interview. Students do make decisions on college choice about admissions arrangements (a lot used to decide on the basis of whether the college had an admissions test in their subject or not) - it's not how I'd choose my college though.

    You're unlikely to get a STEP offer for Economics even if you are taking it.
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    (Original post by amelienine)
    Will the reference I provide on my COPA be asked about my "teaching difficulties" in school?
    I spoke about how one of my teachers only taught the old spec and how I had to self learn the new spec - problem is, that teacher is my reference.
    No, it isn't seen or mentioned to the referee or the school.
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    (Original post by Virgilsmuse)
    Hello Dr. Spencer,

    I am applying for Classics at Pemberton. My AS results were AAAA with UMS 93.5 Latin, 90 Greek, 93 RS and an A in English Lit. (linear). My predicted grades are A*AA. My school prefers to err on the side of achievability but I am concerned when seeing the predicted scores of others on the forums as most seem to improve at A2.

    I'm afraid my application will not be competitive given the very high predicted grades of other Oxbridge candidates. Can you advise the relative weight placed on AS vs predicted results please? Will my application still be competitive?
    Thank you.
    Hello and thanks for your question. I assume you mean Pembroke? You AS results are solidly good and we will certainly place more weight on them than on predictions. You should be reasonably competitive I think.
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    (Original post by nutz99)
    My son is applying for Computer Science with predicted grades of A*A*A* in Maths/Further Maths/Physics. I know there will be others applying with 4 or 5 A levels - I am hoping this will not put him at a disadvantage. He is in a state school. Does he have a realistic chance of getting an interview?

    He had a very good recommendation on his PS - his Head of Maths has stated that he is the best Maths pupil the school has ever had - his UMS is 300.
    With the very strong UMS that he has I would be extremely surprised if he did not receive an interview.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Hello and thanks for your question. I assume you mean Pembroke? You AS results are solidly good and we will certainly place more weight on them than on predictions. You should be reasonably competitive I think.
    Hopefully better than my ability to check the predictive text! Thank you for your comments - very reassuring
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    Where the SAQ asks for class size, how significantly is this taken into account?

    E.g. my further maths class had 20 people where the average class has about 5-10 people

    Thanks
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    Hi Dr Spencer,

    I've got a question about the SAQ. I'm from the Netherlands, and here, the last three years of secondary education are regarded as the final part. That is also when you get to choose your subjects. So in the part where I need to enter the linear subjects I've taken this and last year, would it be okay if I included the year before that too? I fear leaving it out would give an incomplete picture of the topics covered in school.

    Thank you in advance!
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    Hey, does anyone know much about the submitted work? I'm applying for MML at Queens' and I think I have to send 2 pieces- 1 in English and 1 in a foreign language. I have 2 Qs:1. Can the piece in English be from History last year (AS) as I haven't done any essays in Politics this year.2. Does the piece in the foreign language have to be 1000-2000 words like pieces in English? Because the longest piece we write for the course is 400 words.. and I didn't want to write a new one for Cambridge as I'd rather use an authentic piece Thanks!
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    Hi again, I was just wondering as I'm currently practising for the upcoming HAA test how section 2 will be marked?

    As there is no provided mark scheme in the specimen paper or even some sort of indication of how many marks this section is worth, or how an answer should be attempted.

    Also is the actual test going to be harder than the provided specimen, as I've just done the one provided (section 1) and scored a LOT higher than the 50-60% that I was told was a good score for the average applicant. Have I been misinformed or will the actual test be harder? What sort of percentage mark are applicants expected to achieve?

    Thanks again for all the help
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1998)
    Where the SAQ asks for class size, how significantly is this taken into account?

    E.g. my further maths class had 20 people where the average class has about 5-10 people

    Thanks
    It's not a big thing - it just helps us contextualise.
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    (Original post by daniilS)
    Hi Dr Spencer,

    I've got a question about the SAQ. I'm from the Netherlands, and here, the last three years of secondary education are regarded as the final part. That is also when you get to choose your subjects. So in the part where I need to enter the linear subjects I've taken this and last year, would it be okay if I included the year before that too? I fear leaving it out would give an incomplete picture of the topics covered in school.

    Thank you in advance!
    Yes, it would be fine to do that - it's sometimes necessary to adapt our wording for overseas systems.
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    (Original post by Frenchspanish101)
    Hey, does anyone know much about the submitted work? I'm applying for MML at Queens' and I think I have to send 2 pieces- 1 in English and 1 in a foreign language. I have 2 Qs:1. Can the piece in English be from History last year (AS) as I haven't done any essays in Politics this year.2. Does the piece in the foreign language have to be 1000-2000 words like pieces in English? Because the longest piece we write for the course is 400 words.. and I didn't want to write a new one for Cambridge as I'd rather use an authentic piece Thanks!
    1) yes you can use a history essay. 2) check with your college but our general attitude is that we don't want you to write things especially for your application.
 
 
 
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