Ask an Admissions Tutor X: 20 September - 21 October

University Navigation

Announcements Posted on
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Hi, I'm thinking about applying for Natural Sciences post A-level this year - I applied for Computer Science (at Queens') last year but was rejected and I've since decided that it's not really the subject for me, hence the gap year. My A2 results are 4 A* in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. How important are the individual module UMS marks for a candidate who has already achieved strong overall grades? Chemistry and Physics are both around 93% overall with similar performance across the AS and A2 years - all modules ≥ 90% apart from a disappointing B grade (44/60) in the A2 Physics practical. My Maths scores average to around 92% for 12 modules but they were slightly up and down - this year I scored 100 in FP1, FP2 and S2 but only 84 and 80 in FP3 and M2. Also, based on the released specimen paper I would expect to gain a high mark in the NSAA - would this count for much when applying post A-level?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Hi there, my understanding is that as a general rule, Lucy Cavendish is willing to exempt candidates from the practical component, and make an offer based on the theoretical components only, in one of your science A-levels, provided they can demonstrate practical scientific experience elsewhere. Whether they would be willing to exempt a candidate from the practical component of all three science A-levels is more doubtful, and I recommend that you get in touch with the Admissions Office directly to check. I understand that the Admissins Officer is away until the start of next week so do it then.

    I hope that helps.
    Thank you very much! I will indeed get in touch with them next week.

    Is it rude to ask whether that is the case at ME too?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Woot, glad to see you back! Settling into the new college well?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Good evening Dr Spencer,
    Perhaps I am slightly premature to be commenting on this forum but I am in year 11 and try to find the most suitable sixth form. Statistics show you're much more likely to be accepted into Cambridge as an undergraduate coming from a grammar school (in 2014, roughly 200% higher acceptance rate from Grammar schools than state schools). Could you verify whether j have a higher chance of being accepted from a grammar school, having the same grades as one applying from a state school?
    Many thanks,
    Miranda
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    There's no disadvantage in applying for a deferred place. If we reckon you are god enough for this year then you will get a place for next year. It's often comforting for colleges to know that they have got someone good in the bag for next year already.
    Is that the case for all colleges or do they have different views on applications for deferred places?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Forecast)
    Hi, I'm thinking about applying for Natural Sciences post A-level this year - I applied for Computer Science (at Queens' last year but was rejected and I've since decided that it's not really the subject for me, hence the gap year. My A2 results are 4 A* in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. How important are the individual module UMS marks for a candidate who has already achieved strong overall grades? Chemistry and Physics are both around 93% overall with similar performance across the AS and A2 years - all modules ≥ 90% apart from a disappointing B grade (44/60) in the A2 Physics practical. My Maths scores average to around 92% for 12 modules but they were slightly up and down - this year I scored 100 in FP1, FP2 and S2 but only 84 and 80 in FP3 and M2. Also, based on the released specimen paper I would expect to gain a high mark in the NSAA - would this count for much when applying post A-level?
    Thanks for your question. Individual UMS marks will remain important for Post A Level students, not just overall grades. Yes, the NSAA will still be important for post A Level applicants. We will try to look at as much as we can.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Hello again!

    Just wondering the importance of predicted grades in light of the reforms? Mine are good and I'm proud of them (A*A*A). I could move the A up to an A* at any point according to the head of English Literature, though. I don't know if I should do this or if A*A*A would be good enough? I got AAB at AS but the B grade was a fluke because of one paper and I did really well in my others (60/60 in Paper 1 History, pretty pleased and this is a true reflection of the usual standard of work I produce). Under the reforms, I don't think the strength of my other exams and the fluke underperformance will be sucessfully identified. I diccussed AS grades before, and now I'm just wondering about how important predictions are.

    (B is in the subject I'm applying for. One of the A* predictions is also in the subject I'm applying for, History, with strong references and written work etc to justify this. I've performed the highest in my cohort all Year 12, apart from in the AS exam but I was the only one to get full marks in a History paper, I just slipped up in Paper 2 which is extremely uncharacteristic. My teachers predicted me an A* because I am capable of acheving this, but I understand it is a big jump to have gotten a B and be predicted an A*)
    Online

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Hello Dr Spencer,

    I am applying for Chem Eng (via Nat Sci) and will take the NSAA soon. I wonder how important will the results of the NSAA be in the whole process of application, especially under the current situation that Science subjects are reformed and UMS of AS Levels of them are not available?

    Also, according to Churchill College's website, they claim they will "only use performance in admissions assessments positively, not negatively, i.e. no one will be ruled out of interview by their performance in an admissions assessment, but applicants who perform strongly in an assessment, but who otherwise we were not planning to call to interview, may be invited." Is this true for other colleges too?

    Thank you for your time.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    hi,

    I am very sorry this is not specific to Murray Edwards but I'm in a predicament!

    - teachers think i'm capable of 4 a stars at alevel (history, maths, latin, eng). I think im capable unless something seriously throws me off (I don't have any AS level though)
    - im applying for english and I'm worried about any offer inflations, although I know I'm on the right track to achieve my predictes
    should i be safe and lower or have 'better' grades ?
    Is there really any strategy?
    Online

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi! Thanks for creating this thread!
    I'm applying to study MML (French and Spanish post A-level)
    In my AS I got AAA(French, Spanish and Politics) and B in History (extenuating circumstances)
    I'm just on here as my two languages are unreformed so I have UMS - 99% in French so really happy but only 83% in Spanish :-( it was one of 2 As out of a huge class and my college has applied to have all orals remarked (long story).. Shall I put on my SAQ that the school is having the orals remoderated, should I get my teacher to put it in the reference or do I not mention it?
    Thanks for your help :-)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by EmilyJ1215)
    Hi,
    I do not have UMS in all of the subjects I am taking to A2 (only the subject I dropped and 2 of my current subjects carry UMS). Will this count against me in any way?

    I got a high B in the subject I dropped - will the lower UMS score (compared to those in which I got an A in) disadvantage me?
    We aren't going to hold against you that you are doing subjects that don't have UMS - it's not your fault A Levels have changed! Obviously where we have data we will look at it. The extent to which your B grade will be taken into account would depend on what the subject was and how relevant it is to the subject you wish to pursue at Cambridge compared with your other A Level subjects,
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zacken)
    Woot, glad to see you back! Settling into the new college well?
    Thanks, it's good to be back. Yes, settling in the new environment nicely, just been starting to unpack all my books and then it will really feel like home!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by mhopkins)
    Good evening Dr Spencer,
    Perhaps I am slightly premature to be commenting on this forum but I am in year 11 and try to find the most suitable sixth form. Statistics show you're much more likely to be accepted into Cambridge as an undergraduate coming from a grammar school (in 2014, roughly 200% higher acceptance rate from Grammar schools than state schools). Could you verify whether j have a higher chance of being accepted from a grammar school, having the same grades as one applying from a state school?
    Many thanks,
    Miranda
    Hello Miranda and thanks for your question. First, it's important to point out that Grammar schools are state schools, they are just different types of state schools to comprehensive and sixth form colleges. Because they are selective at entry, Grammar schools will often have a higher proportion of their students likely to hit Cambridge's entry requirements than many comprehensives and this is why they tend to have a higher success rate than other schools in the state sector. We do not favour particular types of schools, what we want to see is high achievement and potential. We will factor into those judgements the context of your schooling.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Hello again TSR. My name is Dr Andrew Spencer and I am the Admissions Tutor at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. Welcome to my tenth Ask an Admissions Tutor thread, this time in my new guise as Murray Edwards Admissions. The Christ's Admissions profile, which I ran for the last three years, will continue under my successor but for the next month before the application deadline for Cambridge, I'll be answering your questions here so please fire away.
    Hello!
    I achieved 2A*,5A and a B at GCSE's providing I went to a school with a low pass rate, I was diagnosed with an illness days before my exams started and one of my subject teachers left the school months before the exam.
    As i progressed to my A levels, i achieved 3 A grades in as maths,physics and economics. I am now predicted 3A* and have also picked up an AS in further maths ,self-taught, where I will be studying the modules of fp1,fp2 and m2. I have done a variety of work experience placements,summer schools and masterclasses. I have also committed to extra-curricular activities. I would like to read engineering at cambridge. From your experience, do you believe I am a competitive applicant?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Hello again TSR. My name is Dr Andrew Spencer and I am the Admissions Tutor at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. Welcome to my tenth Ask an Admissions Tutor thread, this time in my new guise as Murray Edwards Admissions. The Christ's Admissions profile, which I ran for the last three years, will continue under my successor but for the next month before the application deadline for Cambridge, I'll be answering your questions here so please fire away.
    Hello!
    I achieved 2A*,5A and a B at GCSE's providing I went to a school with a low pass rate, I was diagnosed with an illness days before my exams started and one of my subject teachers left the school months before the exam.

    As i progressed to my A levels, i achieved 3 A grades in as maths,physics and economics. I am now predicted 3A* and have also picked up an AS in further maths ,self-taught, where I will be studying the modules of fp1,fp2 and m2. I have done a variety of work experience placements,summer schools and masterclasses. I have also committed to extra-curricular activities. I would like to read engineering at cambridge. From your experience, do you believe I am a competitive applicant?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Blue.Bird)
    Is that the case for all colleges or do they have different views on applications for deferred places?
    I think that is a general attitude in Cambridge. I can't speak for every college and every DoS for every subject in Cambridge but we aren't going to turn away good deferred applicants, if we did just because they applied for deferred entry there wouldn't be much point in our offering deferred entry.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Hi I'm a year 12 student and I'm just looking to inquire whether a student with no extra-curricular activities would be at a disadvantage in the application process, as with applications to US universities. By the way, I have 12 A*s at GCSE if that would make any difference.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SteamboatMickey)
    Hello again!

    Just wondering the importance of predicted grades in light of the reforms? Mine are good and I'm proud of them (A*A*A). I could move the A up to an A* at any point according to the head of English Literature, though. I don't know if I should do this or if A*A*A would be good enough? I got AAB at AS but the B grade was a fluke because of one paper and I did really well in my others (60/60 in Paper 1 History, pretty pleased and this is a true reflection of the usual standard of work I produce). Under the reforms, I don't think the strength of my other exams and the fluke underperformance will be sucessfully identified. I diccussed AS grades before, and now I'm just wondering about how important predictions are.

    (B is in the subject I'm applying for. One of the A* predictions is also in the subject I'm applying for, History, with strong references and written work etc to justify this. I've performed the highest in my cohort all Year 12, apart from in the AS exam but I was the only one to get full marks in a History paper, I just slipped up in Paper 2 which is extremely uncharacteristic. My teachers predicted me an A* because I am capable of acheving this, but I understand it is a big jump to have gotten a B and be predicted an A*)
    In general predictions are not given a huge amount of weight. Where they contradict with an applicant's AS performance (as in your case), if there is a good explanation in the reference as to why the candidate has been predicted an A* when they received a B at AS then we can, and do, certainly factor that into our decision making. In general, however, predicions are not hugely helpful to us for two reasons: a) they are hypothetical by their very nature and, evidence shows, not very reliable; b) basically everyone who applies is predicted at least the offer level and usually above so they don;t really distinguish between candidates very effectively.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    In general predictions are not given a huge amount of weight. Where they contradict with an applicant's AS performance (as in your case), if there is a good explanation in the reference as to why the candidate has been predicted an A* when they received a B at AS then we can, and do, certainly factor that into our decision making. In general, however, predicions are not hugely helpful to us for two reasons: a) they are hypothetical by their very nature and, evidence shows, not very reliable; b) basically everyone who applies is predicted at least the offer level and usually above so they don;t really distinguish between candidates very effectively.
    Thank-you very much. I can understand why predictions aren't the most useful indicator, but I just wanted to make sure my predictions wouldn't reflect too badly on me. Thanks for your help!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ML8020)
    Hello Dr Spencer,

    I am applying for Chem Eng (via Nat Sci) and will take the NSAA soon. I wonder how important will the results of the NSAA be in the whole process of application, especially under the current situation that Science subjects are reformed and UMS of AS Levels of them are not available?

    Also, according to Churchill College's website, they claim they will "only use performance in admissions assessments positively, not negatively, i.e. no one will be ruled out of interview by their performance in an admissions assessment, but applicants who perform strongly in an assessment, but who otherwise we were not planning to call to interview, may be invited." Is this true for other colleges too?

    Thank you for your time.
    The Admissions Assessments will be part of the process both at the pre-interview and offer making stage. How important it's impossible to say at this stage as they haven't been used yet and it will almost certainly be differently important for different candidates depending on how well they do in them. Colleges will adopt slightly different attitudes to them in terms of using them for deciding on interviews and I can't speak for all colleges.
 
 
 
Today on TSR
Poll
Wake up and smell the...

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.