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Four things that unis think matter more than league tables 08-12-2016
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    (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.
    What about predictions below the offer level? e.g. AAA for A*A*A (with AS/mocks in line with the prediction).
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    Economics applicant here.
    Murray Edwards Admissions,
    I was ill for my last 3 exams in A2 and they were all very close to each other. Does being ill and having a fairly horrible exam time table be a good enough reason to justify the very low grade I got on those 3 papers or do I have to just deal with it?
    For example: I had 2 Economics papers last year which both required us to learn the whole syllabus, the one on Monday I got about 90%, but then the one on Wednesday the same week I got a horrible and unbelievable grade(d). Both papers required the exact same knowledge, its not like some other exam boards where they split the course into half and have a different paper for each.

    Anyways, does having a,a,a,d in a subject make it look as if 'im good but I messed up a paper' or as if 'im a weak student due to low average and inconsistency' since the average is dragged down because of one module? What is the view of Cambridge admissions on this sort of grades?

    Lastly and most importantly, could I make up for it in the new Pre-Interview exam? What about the written assessment which some colleges require? Can I use those to show my potential or will I probably be rejected for being inconsistent?
    (I am consistent and it can be seen across all my other papers, but this happened on the very last few days of my exams so 3 papers, one from each subject, unfortunately got ruined.)
    Spoiler:
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    Note: When I was in A2 I got an interview from Cambridge, but I was placed in winter pool and finally rejected. I have the grades A*A*A*AB in Maths, Further Maths, Persian, Physics and Economics (B is 1 mark to an A).
    I was predicted an A* in Economics and again I believe I am predicted an A* this year.
    Is it worth anything if my college mentions something on this in the reference? I just dont know if I am considered as an applicant with extenuating circumstances or not, since to be honest it wasnt too much of a big deal at the time, but once I saw the results I realised it had effected my exams very badly somehow, but it was too late to do anything about it.

    Thanks for making this thread.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    What about predictions below the offer level? e.g. AAA for A*A*A (with AS/mocks in line with the prediction).
    This might not help, but incase if it does, my friend was doing 3 intensive subjects so she was new and teachers didnt know her well and had predicted her AAA, however she managed to get an offer from Oxford for A*AA. I am also interested to know how Cambridge views low prediction for subjects with higher requirement.
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    (Original post by unknowntsr)
    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?
    You needn't worry, we don;t do 'offer inflation' based on predictions. If you were to receive a higher offer than the standard offer, it would be after careful consideration of your whole application and not because we made a decision based on high predictions.
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    (Original post by Frenchspanish101)
    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 :-)
    Hello and thanks for your question. You should mention it in the SAQ (there's a box for telling us anything else you think we should now), then send through the change in marks (if there is one) as soon as you get it.
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    (Original post by line90)
    Hello Dr Spencer,

    Im applying to study economics, having taken Maths, Further Maths, Physics (linear) and Economics at AS-level. I have lost only 2 UMS across all M & FM modules and got a rough equivalent of 97% in Physics (as calculated by my sixth form due to lack of UMS), 100% in the first economics paper and 72% in the second paper. I am particularly worried about the last result, as it is a subject that I am planning to study.

    Being an international studying in Wales, I want enquire how exactly the average is going to be calculated for economics and whether my disaster module will affect my application and to what degree? How unusual it is for the applicants to get lower A's on their chosen subjects?

    Thank you for your time
    Hello and thank you for your questions. You won't have an average in the old way as you don;t have three unreformed subjects. Your results will be looked at individually and in detail. Obviously a score of 72 in one Economics paper is not great but within the context of your other Economics score and your Maths modules, it is likely to be seen as an outlier. You should still be a competitive applicant on paper. It's not unusual for candidates to have a bad module, even on the subject they are applying for and still to be successful.
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    (Original post by Hamza Rashid)
    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?
    There's clear progression from GCSE to AS Level and we will take into account the extenuating circumstances around your GCSE. If you achieved a strong A in Maths and Physics then you will be a good candidate. Most successful candidates will have the full A2 in FM so try to ensure that you do at least M2 in the AS FM you are doing.
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    (Original post by DavMax15)
    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.
    Not having extra-curricular activities will make no difference to your application. We are not like the US and focus only on academic considerations when making offers. We like to see super-curricular activity (things outside the class that are academic) but things like DofE, sports, music and drama are not part of our processes.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    What about predictions below the offer level? e.g. AAA for A*A*A (with AS/mocks in line with the prediction).
    If candidates are predicted below the offer level then they are best advised not to apply as most successful candidates exceed the offer by at least one A*.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    If candidates are predicted below the offer level then they are best advised not to apply as most successful candidates exceed the offer by at least one A*.
    Thought so

    Thanks.
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    Is there anyway Cambridge can infer a student messed up in an exam, if the subject is reformed?

    Seriously worried as I'm applying with AAB, but I got 60/60 in my paper 1 exam and messed up in paper 2. It's a total outlier, and if you look at the standard of work I produce it definitely exceeds a B grade standard. I know I should just calm down and see where this application takes me, but I can't stop beating myself up about it, especially as it's in the subject I'm applying for. I have strong A grade performances in every other AS Exam, there's just no way to see under the reforms, I feel like that B grade is going to drastically hold me back and have an impact on my application. Sorry I keep asking, I'm just overly-concerned I suppose. I'm going to need a miracle to stand a chance

    My underperformance is because of my medical issues which are very complex and serious. Also, my college are assessing me for extra time because of this. These issues impacted my GCSE performance severely as well, and this will be covered via an ECF form. The paper 2 AS history underperformance is wildly out of character.
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    (Original post by SteamboatMickey)
    Is there anyway Cambridge can infer a student messed up in an exam, if the subject is reformed?

    Seriously worried as I'm applying with AAB, but I got 60/60 in my paper 1 exam and messed up in paper 2. It's a total outlier, and if you look at the standard of work I produce it definitely exceeds a B grade standard. I know I should just calm down and see where this application takes me, but I can't stop beating myself up about it, especially as it's in the subject I'm applying for. I have strong A grade performances in every other AS Exam, there's just no way to see under the reforms, I feel like that B grade is going to drastically hold me back and have an impact on my application. Sorry I keep asking, I'm just overly-concerned I suppose. I'm going to need a miracle to stand a chance
    Your referee can mention it.
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    (Original post by Fbiemad)
    Economics applicant here.
    Murray Edwards Admissions,
    I was ill for my last 3 exams in A2 and they were all very close to each other. Does being ill and having a fairly horrible exam time table be a good enough reason to justify the very low grade I got on those 3 papers or do I have to just deal with it?
    For example: I had 2 Economics papers last year which both required us to learn the whole syllabus, the one on Monday I got about 90%, but then the one on Wednesday the same week I got a horrible and unbelievable grade(d). Both papers required the exact same knowledge, its not like some other exam boards where they split the course into half and have a different paper for each.

    Anyways, does having a,a,a,d in a subject make it look as if 'im good but I messed up a paper' or as if 'im a weak student due to low average and inconsistency' since the average is dragged down because of one module? What is the view of Cambridge admissions on this sort of grades?

    Lastly and most importantly, could I make up for it in the new Pre-Interview exam? What about the written assessment which some colleges require? Can I use those to show my potential or will I probably be rejected for being inconsistent?
    (I am consistent and it can be seen across all my other papers, but this happened on the very last few days of my exams so 3 papers, one from each subject, unfortunately got ruined.)
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Note: When I was in A2 I got an interview from Cambridge, but I was placed in winter pool and finally rejected. I have the grades A*A*A*AB in Maths, Further Maths, Persian, Physics and Economics (B is 1 mark to an A).
    I was predicted an A* in Economics and again I believe I am predicted an A* this year.
    Is it worth anything if my college mentions something on this in the reference? I just dont know if I am considered as an applicant with extenuating circumstances or not, since to be honest it wasnt too much of a big deal at the time, but once I saw the results I realised it had effected my exams very badly somehow, but it was too late to do anything about it.

    Thanks for making this thread.
    Hello and thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about the circumstances affecting your exam. Your school should send us an ECF, that gives us the context and then we can make a judgement on your results based on that. With 3 A*s (2 in Maths and FM) you will be a good candidate regardless of one very poor module in Economics. Certainly, a good performance in the Economics pre-interview assessment will help but you should be a good candidate anyway, especially if your Maths UMS is high.
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    (Original post by SteamboatMickey)
    Is there anyway Cambridge can infer a student messed up in an exam, if the subject is reformed?

    Seriously worried as I'm applying with AAB, but I got 60/60 in my paper 1 exam and messed up in paper 2. It's a total outlier, and if you look at the standard of work I produce it definitely exceeds a B grade standard. I know I should just calm down and see where this application takes me, but I can't stop beating myself up about it, especially as it's in the subject I'm applying for. I have strong A grade performances in every other AS Exam, there's just no way to see under the reforms, I feel like that B grade is going to drastically hold me back and have an impact on my application. Sorry I keep asking, I'm just overly-concerned I suppose. I'm going to need a miracle to stand a chance

    My underperformance is because of my medical issues which are very complex and serious. Also, my college are assessing me for extra time because of this. These issues impacted my GCSE performance severely as well, and this will be covered via an ECF form. The paper 2 AS history underperformance is wildly out of character.
    Yes, through the reference or through an ECF. There's nothing more you can do about the grade now, so concentrate on looking forward and not beating yourself up about it. If you have a positive attitude towards the application and see what happens then you are much more likely to do well. If it doesn't happen this year then there is always next year if you do well in your exams next year and meet or exceed the offer.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Hello and thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about the circumstances affecting your exam. Your school should send us an ECF, that gives us the context and then we can make a judgement on your results based on that. With 3 A*s (2 in Maths and FM) you will be a good candidate regardless of one very poor module in Economics. Certainly, a good performance in the Economics pre-interview assessment will help but you should be a good candidate anyway, especially if your Maths UMS is high.
    Thanks a lot, this gave me hope...

    By the way, would you recommend me to take either STEP 1 or AEA Maths? Is it worth doing them for an Economics applicant?
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    (Original post by Fbiemad)
    Thanks a lot, this gave me hope...

    By the way, would you recommend me to take either STEP 1 or AEA Maths? Is it worth doing them for an Economics applicant?
    It's not necessary to do STEP or AEA Maths, no. You can do it if you want for the practice of pure and stats Maths but doing the qualification isn't going to strengthen your application, not without the result in hand anyway.
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    Hi Murray Edwards, I am an international student from China studying in the UK and planning to apply for Economics in Cambridge.

    I did a full A-level mathematics (C1-4,S1,M1) and got UMS 97%, AS Economics UMS 96%, AS Biology 95%. I will be taking the whole Further Maths module, A2 Economics and Biology this year. I took the unreformed exams as my school adopted the WJEC board. My teacher told me that my UMS is sufficient for obtaining an interview, but I am rather worried.

    This is because I am from China and my English is not really fluent (IELTS score 7.5). As a result, I think I will underperform in the essay session of the Economics Admission Assessment and the interview (if I got one). It is sometimes difficult to express myself in a second language. May I know how important is the admission assessment and the interview will count towards my application? Will I be disadvantaged concerning the language barriers?

    Thank you for your reply.
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    Hello Cambridge Admissions, please read spoiler.
    Spoiler:
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    I wanted to ask regarding how disabilities are viewed at Cambridge. I have a slow processing speed and because of it I get a bit of extra time in exams. However I also find it hard to prepare for exams when there are many of them too close to each other, but there is nothing colleges can do about that.
    I wanted to know whether stating that I have this condition/disability in my application is a wise thing to do. I perform amazingly when I have fair amount of time to revise for a subject, but when I have exam clashes or many exams within a few days, I under-perform. I know many normal students have issues with timing and all that (usually due to bad time management), but since I have a slow processing speed, the issue effects me when I try to study subjects which require more memorising, even with good time management.
    Anyways, I was planning to apply for Cambridge and I did not know if I should mention this or not.

    From one side, if I do mention it, it will help me to be treated fairly as well as explaining why a few exams marks are oddly low relative to my application in general. But, at the same time I feel like mentioning this will most certainly get me rejected since why would a top university like Cambridge even take someone who is slow and cant manage to do all the work in time pressure... Having searched about the courses, I know its very time pressured and the terms are shorter than other universities, making it even more challenging for someone like me. So thinking logically, I think admissions will probably think its for my own good not to come to their course since I might find timing problems.

    I know universities are probably forced by law to treat students equally, but I want a very very honest answer and that's why I am asking this here instead of emailing colleges directly.
    I have decent grades, so even without mentioning it I "might" have a chance, but I probably wont be seen as competitive as the very top students since some/few of my exams didnt go anywhere near as good as I could have achieved.

    I would be really thankful if you could give me an advise. Apologies for the long question.
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    (Original post by profileradian)
    May I know how important is the admission assessment and the interview will count towards my application? Will I be disadvantaged concerning the language barriers?

    Thank you for your reply.
    You aren't going to get a straightforward answer to this, because one doesn't exist. Different colleges place different weights on interviews, but they all use it as part of a holistic assessment of you. Nobody has sat the admissions assessment yet so nobody can say how colleges will use the results from those - and again, different colleges will use it differently.

    The best thing for you to do at this stage is to just apply and see where it gets you, keeping a positive outlook throughout. Your UMS will stand you in good stead.
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    (Original post by profileradian)
    Hi Murray Edwards, I am an international student from China studying in the UK and planning to apply for Economics in Cambridge.

    I did a full A-level mathematics (C1-4,S1,M1) and got UMS 97%, AS Economics UMS 96%, AS Biology 95%. I will be taking the whole Further Maths module, A2 Economics and Biology this year. I took the unreformed exams as my school adopted the WJEC board. My teacher told me that my UMS is sufficient for obtaining an interview, but I am rather worried.

    This is because I am from China and my English is not really fluent (IELTS score 7.5). As a result, I think I will underperform in the essay session of the Economics Admission Assessment and the interview (if I got one). It is sometimes difficult to express myself in a second language. May I know how important is the admission assessment and the interview will count towards my application? Will I be disadvantaged concerning the language barriers?

    Thank you for your reply.
    (Original post by Zacken)
    The best thing for you to do at this stage is to just apply and see where it gets you, keeping a positive outlook throughout. Your UMS will stand you in good stead.
    And your teacher is correct about your UMS - you will definitely have an interview because your average UMS is >=93.
 
 
 
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