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    (Original post by Disco2000)
    I don't think there is a zero chance with lower UMS.

    But clearly the lower the UMS the less chance of an offer. Anyone who has done any research knows this, and anyone who has listened to a Cambridge admissions talk will have been told it. But 20% of remarked scripts are shown to have been marked incorrectly, so all I'm saying is that it's not the most accurate measure. Which is presumably why no other university places so much emphasis on UMS but relies more on grades and in Oxford's case many more admissions tests.

    If a company produced goods, 20% of which were known to be faulty, they'd soon go out of business. The exam boards are getting it wrong to the same extent year after year
    yet Cambridge are relying on UMS to produce all sorts of averages (SUMS, best 3, most relevant 3) and then sorting applicants into quintiles based on those averages. If they're not playing a significant role in their decision-making why do they bother to do it?
    Ok I'll withdraw now.

    But just to remind you that most (85%+) get interviews, and that's a key source of information for the admissions process. Cambridge interviews much more than Oxford.

    Yes UMS has a part to play, and yes they produce a worksheet with lots of averages on it, but it's not the only, or the most important, part of process that Cambridge invests many hours per applicant on. With multiple people reviewing each application. It's a human & holistic process.

    Maybe Christ's Admissions can do a better job of reassuring you
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Ok I'll withdraw now.

    But just to remind you that most (85%+) get interviews, and that's a key source of information for the admissions process. Cambridge interviews much more than Oxford.

    Yes UMS has a part to play, and yes they produce a worksheet with lots of averages on it, but it's not the only, or the most important, part of process that Cambridge invests many hours per applicant on. With multiple people reviewing each application. It's a human & holistic process.

    Maybe Christ's Admissions can do a better job of reassuring you
    I think you are mistaken if you think we need reassuring. I am a Cambridge Economics Graduate, JNeil is a parent of a student. I think we both repeatedly stress that UMS are not the sole determinant of admissions but it is also a mistake to underestimate how the best candidates tend to have highUMS and high interviews scores and those with low UMS lower interview scores.. Most of the outliers in terms of high UMS no offer and low UMS offer have specific reasons for this.


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    Surely the point is that Grades are derived from UMS. An error in UMS marking can produce a more significant change in Grade

    Not necessarily at AS. 80 UMS and 99 UMS would give the same grade but would lead to very different UMS averages. How many people remark an A just to get their UMS up given the cost/inaccuracy in the marking?
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    (Original post by Colmans)
    I think you are mistaken if you think we need reassuring. I am a Cambridge Economics Graduate, JNeil is a parent of a student. I think we both repeatedly stress that UMS are not the sole determinant of admissions but it is also a mistake to underestimate how the best candidates tend to have highUMS and high interviews scores and those with low UMS lower interview scores.. Most of the outliers in terms of high UMS no offer and low UMS offer have specific reasons for this.


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    You quoted me not Disco2000

    Their concern is, I think, that
    a) 20% of papers are marked wrongly by the exam boards
    b) Cambridge relies on UMS for its admissions
    c) therefore 20% of its admissions are wrong
    d) Cambridge shouldn't rely on a product that is 20% faulty

    (I'm probably paraphrasing unfairly but I'm sure s/he will correct me... )
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    (Original post by Colmans)
    I think you are mistaken if you think we need reassuring. I am a Cambridge Economics Graduate, JNeil is a parent of a student. I think we both repeatedly stress that UMS are not the sole determinant of admissions but it is also a mistake to underestimate how the best candidates tend to have highUMS and high interviews scores and those with low UMS lower interview scores.. Most of the outliers in terms of high UMS no offer and low UMS offer have specific reasons for this.


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    It was JNeil that mentioned reassurance.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    You quoted me not Disco2000

    Her concern is, I think, that
    a) 20% of papers are marked wrongly by the exam boards
    b) Cambridge relies on UMS for its admissions
    c) therefore 20% of its admissions are wrong
    d) Cambridge shouldn't rely on a product that is 20% faulty

    (I'm probably paraphrasing unfairly but I'm sure she will correct me... )
    You are paraphrasing unfairly, as I'm sure you realise. I've tried very hard not to make my argument as simplistic as you've reduced it to. So thanks for that.
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    (Original post by Disco2000)
    You are paraphrasing unfairly, as I'm sure you realise. I've tried very hard not to make my argument as simplistic as you've reduced it to. So thanks for that.
    Correct my mistakes then.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Correct my mistakes then.
    c) therefore 20% of its admissions are wrong

    I haven't said this anywhere.

    It's far more likely that good candidates will be put off from applying because their UMS doesn't put them in a strong position, often because of one subject. As I think I said, I'm sure interviews can iron out discrepancies but that's not much help if a candidate doesn't apply in the first place.

    The system as it stands obviously works well for Cambridge and they get enough great applicants every year to maintain their position as one of the best universities in the world.

    I was just wondering whether stories such as the OP's, and the stats regarding the inaccuracy of marking gave Christ's AT pause for thought. That's all.
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    (Original post by Disco2000)

    c) therefore 20% of its admissions are wrong

    I haven't said this anywhere.

    It's far more likely that good candidates will be put off from applying because their UMS doesn't put them in a strong position, often because of one subject. As I think I said, I'm sure interviews can iron out discrepancies but that's not much help if a candidate doesn't apply in the first place.

    The system as it stands obviously works well for Cambridge and they get enough great applicants every year to maintain their position as one of the best universities in the world.

    I was just wondering whether stories such as the OP's, and the stats regarding the inaccuracy of marking gave Christ's AT pause for thought. That's all.
    And you think admission people at Cambridge aren't aware at all that sort of things can happen very occasionally? Do you honestly think the OP's case really came as a complete surprise to them??
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    a fundamental point is being overlooked here - 20% of remarks are wrong, not 20% of all ums marks. Clearly there is selection bias as you wont pay for a remark unless you think it's wrong. As remarks are usually only a small percentage of awarded grades the true error rate is a lot smaller. If 25% of papers are remarked the error rate is 5%, if 5% are remarked the error rate is 1%. If .5% are remarked the error rate in 0.1%. So not surprising if Cambridge dont worry too much about AS remarks - which can be completed before selection for interview anyway.
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    (Original post by parentlurker)
    a fundamental point is being overlooked here - 20% of remarks are wrong, not 20% of all ums marks. Clearly there is selection bias as you wont pay for a remark unless you think it's wrong. As remarks are usually only a small percentage of awarded grades the true error rate is a lot smaller. If 25% of papers are remarked the error rate is 5%, if 5% are remarked the error rate is 1%. If .5% are remarked the error rate in 0.1%. So not surprising if Cambridge dont worry too much about AS remarks - which can be completed before selection for interview anyway.
    Hmm, I don't know the remark stats at all (and have assumed Disco's 20% is correct - which I normally wouldn't in a discussion like this - so my bad for that).

    But devils advocate...

    Disco is referring to remarked papers that have UMS changes, rather than full grade changes. Importantly, you don't get a refund unless the remark leads to a full grade improvement.

    Therefore someone with a low A is less likely to pay for a remark when it might only improve their chances at one uni, and they may also be concerned it may actually drop a full grade, which would affect their 4 other uni choices.


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    (Original post by Disco2000)
    Do stories like the OP's (and many other examples on TSR of remarks resulting in drastically altered grades, as well as the official figures that show 20% of remarks result in a mark change) make you question the importance Cambridge place on UMS? I know you'll say that every application is looked at holistically but every presentation I've been in regarding Cambridge admissions has always stressed the importance of UMS in the application procedure.

    In other words, is a large part of the Cambridge admissions procedure out-sourced to the notoriously unreliable markers for the exam boards?
    I don't think it makes us question the fact that UMS is a good predictor for performance at Cambridge - all the research shows that it is as, indeed, is grade performance at A2 (the more A*s you get the better the averages person does). UMS is not perfect by any means, however, and we are very much aware of that which is why we try to get as much information as possible about candidates to give them the opportunity to show strength in a number of areas.

    Cases like these do give one pause for thought and are very healthy reminders that A Level marking can be unreliable at times. It would be foolish of us, though, to discount those who have done really well because somehow less will not have got the mark that they deserved. Unfortunately this does have the side effect that some people are put off from applying because of the emphasis we place on UMS and that is certainly unfortunate but we do our best to stress the roundedness of our admissions processes. I would never claim that our processes our perfect, they simply aren't - we turn away thousands of people who have done really well at A Level or equivalent and who probably would have done well at Cambridge but we do our best to try to make the best possible decision that we can given all the information that we have at the time at which we make it.
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    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Or maybe if you had done better in the first place and not put yourself in a position where a few marks could make the difference between making your offer and missing it...
    My History coursework was moderated down by 18 marks? If it had stayed where it was I could have got a low D and still got an A? Considering my teachers still maintain my History exam paper was poorly marked and remarked (they've had multiple people look at it), and considering it was the exam I worked the hardest for I don't really feel like I was putting myself in any position?
    For History I literally: recorded the whole text book and listened to it on repeat, planned every past exam question there ever was, did timed exams, memorised key facts, went over all my past essays and worked out exactly what I was doing wrong. I used the exact same revision techniques I did last year when I got 99 UMS on the paper, but got a C this time around. And before anyone suggests I misread a question or mixed up technique or something - I DIDN'T. My teachers and others have literally gone over my paper, and can't what is wrong with it. My friend, who got full UMS, and I compared our answers as soon as we came out and we wrote nearly identical things. Like we revised together, write very similar things, and there was SUCH a gap between our marks so I don't really think it's a case of doing better.

    And for Spanish - I was expecting a B! I'd had an absolute crisis in the exam. So I was happy with my mark, but the fact I was 1 off an A* was more a 'Oh let's see' sort of thing!
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    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Or maybe if you had done better in the first place and not put yourself in a position where a few marks could make the difference between making your offer and missing it...
    ... ???like wat?? soz but how obtuse can you get??
    1) How do you think that an evidently conscientious and hardworking student would deliberately 'put [themselves] in a position' like this? Don't blame the victim m8
    2) No one goes into an exam knowing the exact mark they're going to come out with - I think what this thread has shown us is how little control we as students have over the outcome of our results, irrespective of how hard we actually worked for them. I for one was given a C grade on a paper that I was predicted an A* for - you can never tell!!
    3) 'done better' I'M SORRY DID YOU READ THAT SHE GOT A*A*A??those grades are a reflection of what she should have got 'in the first place'...
    4) also maybe if the exam board had 'done better in the first place' there wouldn't be this thread on tsr???
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    I don't think it makes us question the fact that UMS is a good predictor for performance at Cambridge - all the research shows that it is as, indeed, is grade performance at A2 (the more A*s you get the better the averages person does). UMS is not perfect by any means, however, and we are very much aware of that which is why we try to get as much information as possible about candidates to give them the opportunity to show strength in a number of areas.

    Cases like these do give one pause for thought and are very healthy reminders that A Level marking can be unreliable at times. It would be foolish of us, though, to discount those who have done really well because somehow less will not have got the mark that they deserved. Unfortunately this does have the side effect that some people are put off from applying because of the emphasis we place on UMS and that is certainly unfortunate but we do our best to stress the roundedness of our admissions processes. I would never claim that our processes our perfect, they simply aren't - we turn away thousands of people who have done really well at A Level or equivalent and who probably would have done well at Cambridge but we do our best to try to make the best possible decision that we can given all the information that we have at the time at which we make it.
    Thank you very much for this.

    No system is 100% perfect how much you try to make it so, but the important thing is that you're well aware the system has some flaw, as ANY system is bound to have, and you're working to make the whole selection process as fair as possible without compromising the quality of intake, which is assuring. And that's all we need to know, as far as I'm concerned.
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    I don't think it makes us question the fact that UMS is a good predictor for performance at Cambridge - all the research shows that it is as, indeed, is grade performance at A2 (the more A*s you get the better the averages person does). UMS is not perfect by any means, however, and we are very much aware of that which is why we try to get as much information as possible about candidates to give them the opportunity to show strength in a number of areas.

    Cases like these do give one pause for thought and are very healthy reminders that A Level marking can be unreliable at times. It would be foolish of us, though, to discount those who have done really well because somehow less will not have got the mark that they deserved. Unfortunately this does have the side effect that some people are put off from applying because of the emphasis we place on UMS and that is certainly unfortunate but we do our best to stress the roundedness of our admissions processes. I would never claim that our processes our perfect, they simply aren't - we turn away thousands of people who have done really well at A Level or equivalent and who probably would have done well at Cambridge but we do our best to try to make the best possible decision that we can given all the information that we have at the time at which we make it.
    Thank you for this. I don't think I've said anywhere that those who have done really well don't deserve their places and I certainly didn't mean to imply this. Nor have I said that Cambridge get 20% of their admissions wrong, as JNeill incorrectly paraphrased. I was simply interested to know whether admissions tutors are aware of the remark statistics and if so if this ever made them question the reliance on UMS, which you have answered.

    As you say, a process such as this can never be perfect and I guess it gets it right enough of the time to make it acceptable.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Hmm, I don't know the remark stats at all (and have assumed Disco's 20% is correct - which I normally wouldn't in a discussion like this - so my bad for that).

    But devils advocate...

    Disco is referring to remarked papers that have UMS changes, rather than full grade changes. Importantly, you don't get a refund unless the remark leads to a full grade improvement.

    Therefore someone with a low A is less likely to pay for a remark when it might only improve their chances at one uni, and they may also be concerned it may actually drop a full grade, which would affect their 4 other uni choices.


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    Thank you for this, yes this is exactly what I was saying. The stats regarding remarks are correct (for 2014) although obviously one can't extrapolate from them that 20% of all marks are wrong because we can't know that (and I never claimed this was the case)
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    (Original post by Disco2000)
    Thank you for this, yes this is exactly what I was saying. The stats regarding remarks are correct (for 2014) although obviously one can't extrapolate from them that 20% of all marks are wrong because we can't know that (and I never claimed this was the case)
    Did you also see the Christ's Admissions Tutor's reply above?

    Edit to add: I presume after all this you will be applying to Cambridge?!
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    Dude. This is horrible. Good luck with whatever happens next.
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    I'm actually jealous :rofl: a gap year with a place next year would be awesome.

    Not jealous of what you went through however!

    Glad it worked out
 
 
 

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