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Four things that unis think matter more than league tables 08-12-2016
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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.
    Getting 7.5 in IELTS and 96% in Economics shows your English is good. Believe in yourself
    How can you underperform due to English being your second language (like many others) in the essay if you got 96% in the same essay subject...
    Only maybe speaking might be a problem in the interview, but having personally experienced the Economics interview at Cambridge, it is more about what you think than the language (kind of). Also, depends on the college, but some colleges have a bit on Economics and then the rest is problem solving, which requires less english.
    Once again, seeing your results I doubt your english is weak.
    Also, as others said you will get an interview as your grades are high.
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    Hello and thank you for answering our questions,

    I will be applying for engineering at Cambridge and I did 5 A levels and got 5 A'S in maths further maths chemistry, physics and biology. I have now dropped biology and am continuing the 4 others to full A level. my maths modules are really high with the exception of FP1 which I got a C in, how much will this affect me? and I also need to mention I self taught 2 of the further maths modules and I started further maths 5 months after other students in my school(late February) so I not only learnt further maths on my own but had to do so in a short amount of time.and I also have a big extenuating circumstance attached to my applications as this is my first year in the UK. I came from an African country not well known for its education. and to do so I studied my IGCSEs at home without a teacher.my teachers have said I am the top student in a class of 25 strong students in each of my 5 subjects.

    with all this in mind how strong of an applicant am I?
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    HI Dr Spencer,
    Thanks a lot for doing this!
    I am looking to study history (although not at Murray Edwards, sorry!) and I have a few queries. I am a post A-Level applicant, currently on a gap year. For reference, my grades are A*AA (EPQ A*), with the A* in history
    (UMS AS: 98.5% History, 100% Government and Politics, 88% Economics
    UMS A2: 94.5% History, 85% Government and Politics, 88.5% Economics).
    1) do you consider UMS for the whole A-level when a student has done both AS and A2, or do you consider only the AS, or A2, by itself?
    2) as my UMS has dipped slightly from AS (96%) to A2 (89%), is that a cause for concern for admissions?
    3) do you have any rough idea what the % of successful history applicants at Cambridge is who have only got A*AA?
    4) is the admissions test a positive assessment (i.e. people with subpar grades get interviewed because they do well in the admissions test) or is a negative one (i.e. similar to the HAT where you are eliminated if you do badly)? What kind of % are you looking for in the test, or is it heavily dependent on what other people get? - essentially how much does the admissions test count for?
    5) based on my results, do you think there is a realistic chance I could get in or would you, if you were me, apply to the 'other place' as there's a higher probability of success?
    6) do the interviews vary across colleges a lot for history?
    7) and are interviews (generally) based more on personal statement or unfamiliar material?

    Thanks!
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    Hi,

    I have a question about declaring grades. If I have taken AS exams for Further Maths and Maths, do I then enter them both as pending A-levels and then under each one write the module grade for three modules each? The results were given on my sheet separately for each module and my school won't be certificating or cashing them in as I am continuing both to A2. Therefore, I can't enter them as AS grades.
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    Hi Dr Spencer,

    GCSEs did not go well for me. I only achieved 3 A*s, 7 As and a B. However, at A-level I achieved an A* in mathematics fast track (The A-level is done in one year instead two) and 2 As in Chemistry and Biology. This means I am predicted 3 A*s for Biology, Chemistry and Further Maths.

    Do I still stand a chance bearing in mind my GCSE results?
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    (Original post by A*ornothing)
    Hi Dr Spencer,

    GCSEs did not go well for me. I only achieved 3 A*s, 7 As and a B. However, at A-level I achieved an A* in mathematics fast track (The A-level is done in one year instead two) and 2 As in Chemistry and Biology. This means I am predicted 3 A*s for Biology, Chemistry and Further Maths.

    Do I still stand a chance bearing in mind my GCSE results?
    Cambridge doesnt value GCSE grades that much based on what I know. Therefore, you are completely fine.
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    (Original post by Fbiemad)
    Cambridge doesnt value GCSE grades that much based on what I know. Therefore, you are completely fine.
    GCSE is not unimportant for medicine which op is applying for.
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    (Original post by A*ornothing)
    Hi Dr Spencer,

    GCSEs did not go well for me. I only achieved 3 A*s, 7 As and a B. However, at A-level I achieved an A* in mathematics fast track (The A-level is done in one year instead two) and 2 As in Chemistry and Biology. This means I am predicted 3 A*s for Biology, Chemistry and Further Maths.

    Do I still stand a chance bearing in mind my GCSE results?
    Would help if you edit in which course you're applying for and UMS you have as well as GCSE subjects/grades.m
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    Will there be any way for you to know raw marks from reformed AS results? Are they going to be part of the SAQ or is it up to students to ask a teacher to mention it in a reference?
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    (Original post by jneill)
    It might be worth including your age
    What do you mean by that? Do they not accept applicants other than people who is currently 18 ?
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    (Original post by Overses)
    What do you mean by that? Do they not accept applicants other than people who is currently 18 ?
    No, no. It was just that the OP indicated they were considerably younger than 18 in a post on a different thread - which I felt added useful context to their question.

    To be clear: Cambridge welcomes any applicants who will be 18 or older at the time of entry (and sometimes a bit younger).
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    (Original post by jneill)
    No, no. It was just that the OP indicated they were considerably younger than 18 in a post on a different thread - which I felt added useful context to their question.

    To be clear: Cambridge welcomes any applicants who will be 18 or older at the time of entry (and sometimes a bit younger).
    If you are too old , don't you have to apply to mature college?
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    (Original post by Overses)
    If you are too old , don't you have to apply to mature college?
    No. Mature students can apply to "standard" age colleges if they wish.

    And the "standard" colleges are paired up with "mature" colleges to assist them when assessing mature applicants.
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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.
    Hello and thank you for your questions. Well done on your results thus far, you will certainly be strong on paper. Try not to worry too much about the assessment and the interview. Yes, they are important but you should go into them with the confidence of a strong paper application. You have already achieved the necessary IELTS score so the assessment and interview will hopefully not pose too much of a problem in terms of your English.

    Obviously the interview and assessment are primarily academic exercises but they do offer us an opportunity to ensure that your English is of sufficient quality to undertake the course.

    It's impossible to say exactly how important the interviews and assessment will be because it will be different for each candidate. The important thing is that the whole application is assessed before a decision is made.
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    (Original post by EconomicsMaths)
    Hello Cambridge Admissions, please read spoiler.
    Spoiler:
    Show
    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.
    Hello and thank you for your question. You are always going to be better off by revealing any disabilities, than by concealing them. Knowing what they are allows us to contextualise your results and also to put systems in place to ensure that your application and, if you are successful, your time at Cambridge goes smoothly.

    Obviously, you need to think carefully about whether Cambridge is going to offer you the right sort of university experience in order to do well. Terms are short and intense and exams very often close together (two three-hour exams on the same day not being unusual) and usually packed into a two or three-week period. There are things that can be done to mitigate this but not to eliminate it, so think carefully about whether the positives of the Cambridge experience will outweigh this potential negative.

    One of the things we think about is suitability for the course but if we think you are a good student then we have plenty of support that can be put in place for any disability.
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    Hi Dr Spencer,

    I am considering applying for mathematics at Cambridge.

    My AS results were as follows:
    Mathematics - A
    Further Mathematics - A
    Physics - A
    Chemistry - A
    Electronics - A

    And my individual module scores for maths were:

    Maths (293/300) 97.7%
    Core 1 - 93
    Core 2 - 100
    Mechanics 1 - 100

    Further Maths (295/300) 98.3%
    Further Pure 1 - 99
    Statistics 1 - 99
    Mechanics 2 - 97

    Extra Modules:
    Decision 1 - 96
    Mechanics 3 - 93
    Mechanics 4 - 66

    I am predicted A*A*A*A* for the end of A2.

    My concern is the Mechanics 4 score will count against me. How much could this hinder my application?

    Many thanks,
    Cryptokyo
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    Hi Dr Spencer,

    My question is regarding predicted grades and the use of them for Oxbridge. Are those with higher predicted grades looked on better than those who have just scraped the entrance requirements? I am currently predicted A*A*A* but was wondering how important this is. Many thanks
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    I have some more questions on the COPA and UCAS:
    Under Qualifications on the COPA, should I list regents examination scores? Regents are exams administered only in New York state, and they are much easier than their Advanced Placement Equivalent. Therefore, I only listed my AP and ACT scores.
    Under Education for question 3.1, also for the COPA, do I need to list courses that are not advanced placement or above? Like Studio Art and French to satisfy graduation requirements.
    Also for question E3.1, should i select "other" for subject and input the title of my course? Because I don't know how to assign subject for most of my courses.
    For the UCAS form, should I include regents examination scores for my education?
    Many thanks.
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    (Original post by davozgenius)
    Hello and thank you for answering our questions,

    I will be applying for engineering at Cambridge and I did 5 A levels and got 5 A'S in maths further maths chemistry, physics and biology. I have now dropped biology and am continuing the 4 others to full A level. my maths modules are really high with the exception of FP1 which I got a C in, how much will this affect me? and I also need to mention I self taught 2 of the further maths modules and I started further maths 5 months after other students in my school(late February) so I not only learnt further maths on my own but had to do so in a short amount of time.and I also have a big extenuating circumstance attached to my applications as this is my first year in the UK. I came from an African country not well known for its education. and to do so I studied my IGCSEs at home without a teacher.my teachers have said I am the top student in a class of 25 strong students in each of my 5 subjects.

    with all this in mind how strong of an applicant am I?
    You sound like you will be a good applicant on paper at this stage. It's important not to stress too much about a single module score. We will look closely at all the information you have and if there is one anomalous score then it will be treated like that unless other information comes along to undermine that assumption.
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    (Original post by cjcarr)
    HI Dr Spencer,
    Thanks a lot for doing this!
    I am looking to study history (although not at Murray Edwards, sorry!) and I have a few queries. I am a post A-Level applicant, currently on a gap year. For reference, my grades are A*AA (EPQ A*), with the A* in history
    (UMS AS: 98.5% History, 100% Government and Politics, 88% Economics
    UMS A2: 94.5% History, 85% Government and Politics, 88.5% Economics).
    1) do you consider UMS for the whole A-level when a student has done both AS and A2, or do you consider only the AS, or A2, by itself?
    2) as my UMS has dipped slightly from AS (96%) to A2 (89%), is that a cause for concern for admissions?
    3) do you have any rough idea what the % of successful history applicants at Cambridge is who have only got A*AA?
    4) is the admissions test a positive assessment (i.e. people with subpar grades get interviewed because they do well in the admissions test) or is a negative one (i.e. similar to the HAT where you are eliminated if you do badly)? What kind of % are you looking for in the test, or is it heavily dependent on what other people get? - essentially how much does the admissions test count for?
    5) based on my results, do you think there is a realistic chance I could get in or would you, if you were me, apply to the 'other place' as there's a higher probability of success?
    6) do the interviews vary across colleges a lot for history?
    7) and are interviews (generally) based more on personal statement or unfamiliar material?

    Thanks!
    Hello and thank you for your questions and good to know of your interest in History. You don't have to be interested in Murray Edwards to ask!

    1) Yes, UMS is considered (where it is available) for the whole A Level, not just for AS or A2.

    2) Yes, falling away from AS to A2 is a little bit of a concern. It's not unusual, however, for this to happen as A2 is significantly harder than AS. You have done very well in History and sustained your strength there for the most part so that will be a good thing in your History application.

    3) No, I don't have data on that. Most successful post A Level applicants, however, will have exceeded the offer.

    4) The admissions assessment will be used in conjunction with the rest of the application. It won't be used as a filter in the same way as the HAT and other Oxford tests to reduce the field to 2.5-3 applicants per place. We are committed to interviewing a similar proportion to that in the past (c.80%). As it has never been used yet, it's impossible to say how every college in every subject is going to use the assessments but the important thing to stress is that all will use it in sensible conjunction with other information. There's certainly no cut off mark.

    5) I would say that your chances at Cambridge are not bad but you aren't going to be one of the stronger candidates on paper. If you do well in the assessment and the interviews (which you are more likely to get at Cambridge) then I can certainly see you getting an offer. If these elements of the application match your achieved results, however, then you would be marginal for a place if that makes sense. I'm reluctant to say too much about Oxford as I can't speak for them. I expect, though, that your performance in the HAT will be an important element and so you need to think about how you feel you'll do in that. Your A Levels are good but not so good that they will feel they can disregard a poor performance in the HAT.

    6 & 7) The format doesn't change greatly between colleges. The accepted pattern is two interviews, one based on your submitted essays and PS and the other on a source or sources.

    I hope this helps and best of luck in your decision and application.
 
 
 
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