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    hi everyone.

    I'm very keen on applying to cambridge and doing all i can to try and get a place! i havent decided whether it would be the right place to spend the best years of my life but this threads about the preparation for getting in.

    I'm considering MML at Cambridge, French and German (more interested in the linguistics side of things rather than literature). I got 5A*s and 5As at GCSE which isn't particularly special at the public school i'm at but i think i could get 4 A's at AS level. with the languages, i've got the better grades so hopefully i'm not disadvantaged too much. (also doing A2 french this year).

    So I've just been presented with 6 french books and 6 german ones to read over the summer to broaden my knowledge etc. It seems nasty having worked all year to not get the deserved summer break.. anyway my french is better than my german and i will struggle to get through them efficiently. I reckon theyre only giving me all this to look good and i'm hoping it will but the real test will be the interview where they give you a poem..

    I was just wondering what you think about preparation for oxbridge.. is it better to read these books in their original language or to get the english translation? Anything else you want to bring up would be appreciated.

    thanks,

    peperharow
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    :hello: I'm also considering MML at Cambridge, but in my case, it will be French and ab-initio Spanish. I wouldn't worry about your GCSE grades; they're certainly not the most important part of the application process, especially for something like languages, which isn't that competitive compared to subjects like English, law and medicine. Basically if you have mostly As and a few A*s, it will help, but it's not the end of the world if you don't. My GCSE grades are low by Cambridge standards (see signature) but I'm also hoping for 4 As at AS, so I'm thinking I might as well give it a go.

    I plan to do pretty much the same as you in terms of interview preparation. I have 3 French novels, 2 Spanish novels (in translation obviously) and 2 history books, 1 on the French revolution and 1 on the Spanish civil war. I'm going to have a go at reading the original novels for French just because it'll be a challenge and it'll help to improve my language skills, but really it's more about analysing the texts, so you can read them in translation if you want. They won't know.
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    thanks for the reply kellywood. i agree that it would be better to do what one can - reading the books in their language - to improve the language skills, as you said. apparently it's vital to know your grammar inside out so it'd be useful for that at least.

    my sisters at durham (saw it on your list), at hatfield, and having an amazing time so i'm kinda interested in following her steps.. i go through phases of really wanting to go for it and then realising how unlikely it is to get in and what a waste of the summer it could turn out to be. but i guess we'd be strong durham applicants with all the work we've done trying for cambridge.
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    (Original post by peperharow)
    thanks for the reply kellywood. i agree that it would be better to do what one can - reading the books in their language - to improve the language skills, as you said. apparently it's vital to know your grammar inside out so it'd be useful for that at least.

    my sisters at durham (saw it on your list), at hatfield, and having an amazing time so i'm kinda interested in following her steps.. i go through phases of really wanting to go for it and then realising how unlikely it is to get in and what a waste of the summer it could turn out to be. but i guess we'd be strong durham applicants with all the work we've done trying for cambridge.
    Who cares if you're unlikely to get in? I'm statistically less likely than you to get in, given my GCSE grades, but if we never try, we'll never know! It won't be a waste of a summer either as even if we don't get in to Cambridge, we'd be more prepared for uni wherever we end up.
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    Read the books in their orginal language - translations are bad - if you end up reading French then translating everything into English you're about a fraction slower, which means you end up losing the flow of a conversation, which means you end up looking like an idiot. Read the stuff in their original language, check out any words you don't know, but keep to the original language. I don't do languages I do sciences A-Level - but being Chinese I went through a stage where my English was utter crap and reading definitely helps immensely! You'll improve in your languages a lot better that way I reckon. Surround yourself with stuff of that language - music, TV, conversations etc - it's why people improve so drastically when they move to the native country of whatever language they're trying to learn Start using it, you start improving and it becomes instinctive.

    I'd go for Cambridge if I were you, since you wanna go there. As Kellywood says, who cares if the odds were against you? And you can't lose by reading all those books even if you get rejected cus it'll help you with the rest of your application. It's worth applying if it's where you wanna be - I got rejected from Cambridge for NatSci and no way do I regret it - I tried. It wasn't a waste of time nor a waste of space cus I had wanted to go there. It was all that mattered in the end and the only reason why I applied.

    Although be warned - don't set your heart on Cambridge Took me 6 months to get over my rejection I wanted to go that badly!
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    Definitely go for it! Ok, you might not get in, but if you don't apply you certainly won't get in. Plus I really enjoyed my interview week at Oxford (though I think you only get a day at Cambridge), and it's great practice for interviews at other universities, especially as it's way more stressful than anywhere else.
    Back to the languages, MML looks really exciting, I'm quite jealous! Have a go at reading the books in their original languages, and if you decide it's too hard (especially for a long hot summer), try a translation and then go back to the foreign. Don't feel bad if you can't cope with the original text at first, my French is pretty good (currently doing A level exams, hoping for an A) but I still read so much more slowly in French than in English.
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    thanks everyone,

    ive taken german, maths (basically - C2 on monday) and economics AS so far, which went fine. The French A2's obviously more of a challenge; i have the unit 5 topic and text on wednesday, l'avare and boule de suif, then the final unit 6 the following tuesday.

    i'm slowly becoming more confident of the fact that i'll have already taken my A2 by the time the interview comes up so with luck i could be better than some people taking it. but i'm definitely motivated now with all this support to at least attempt..!
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    (Original post by peperharow)
    thanks everyone,

    ive taken german, maths (basically - C2 on monday) and economics AS so far, which went fine. The French A2's obviously more of a challenge; i have the unit 5 topic and text on wednesday, l'avare and boule de suif, then the final unit 6 the following tuesday.

    i'm slowly becoming more confident of the fact that i'll have already taken my A2 by the time the interview comes up so with luck i could be better than some people taking it. but i'm definitely motivated now with all this support to at least attempt..!
    Plus you'll probably get an offer based on 2 grades as you'll already have done French, so less pressure for next year.
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    sounds better and better, just need to guarantee an A for it! still have no idea which way it'll swing. i feel quite comfortable but if i did get a B i'd be a bit frustrated - as i won't have some free lessons next year! although i suppose it would help to do the AEA scheme to show more promise..
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    Definitely read them in the original language
    If nothing else it'll improve your language skills
    Try to get a lot of grammar practice in too
    I wouldn't expect you to read all those 12 books but make sure you read at least 1 in each language... preferably 2 or 3
    Start more than 1 at onec then you can say in your application you are currently redaing X Y and Z and by interview in December you'll have actually read them

    If you want any other advice PM Richy Rich - he's in my Deutsch class and is gonna do MML French and Spanish this coming year
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    (Original post by peperharow)
    sounds better and better, just need to guarantee an A for it! still have no idea which way it'll swing. i feel quite comfortable but if i did get a B i'd be a bit frustrated - as i won't have some free lessons next year! although i suppose it would help to do the AEA scheme to show more promise..
    I'm sure you'll get an A You should definitely consider doing an AEA, if only to keep up with your French before you start your degree. If you've done A2 a year early, I'd say you have a pretty good shot at a merit or distinction. Be wary of putting it on your UCAS form though- Cambridge might be really mean and include it in your offer.
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    Having done your a level early, you are is very strong position. When i went for interview at Cam no-one had done any of their language exams early. It is however important to keep up your french.
    I would definitely recommend doing AEA French, it's a really good challenge This year i've forgotten sooo much french because i havent had any lessons- i couldnt even remember how to conjugate "aller" yesterday :eek:

    As for the literature, personally, i wouldnt read too many books in French (i didn't). Reading for vocabulary building is very different from reading for a cambridge interview. Interview questions on literature wont centre on how much you understood i.e translated what you read, but rather how you analyse it- they don't really make any allowances just because its in French. You have to think about the book, as if it were a english lit. interview. And its much easier to think critically about a book, having read it in English. Reading lots of books in French, takes a long time just to work out the plot, let only the nuances of the writing! Plus, you can get through more books. They will never know whether you read it in French or translation.
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    thanks richie, you've advised me wisely before and more's coming now! i really will go for the AEA french i think, but i have heard of cambridge requiring a distinction in it as part of an offer.. which is pressurising.

    i'll just read 3 of each in english and a few in the target language (both french and german) to improve my grammar and vocab. i'm applying for the Deloitte scholar's scheme as well so it might be a busy period up ahead :eek:

    :tsr:
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    I wrote about my interviews in German and Russian (at Oxford, Magdalen College) in another thread. It might give you guys some kind of idea as to what questions they might ask... copy and paste time! The only thing to note is that Oxford places a high emphasis on literature, whereas at Cambridge, I think you're more free to decide between things like literature / culture / history etc.

    I applied to Magdalen College, Oxford, and I had 3 interviews and 3 written tests (quite heavy going; happened over a period of 5 days).

    The tests I had were German grammar, French grammar (which I specifically opted to do; thought if I did well in it, it would look good - if I did badly, it probably wouldn't be taken into account as I didn't apply for French there) and a Language Aptitude test for beginner's Russian. I thought the French test was very difficult (doubt, in the end, that it helped my application much), but that the German was more accessible (I reckon they make the French more difficult on purpose to discriminate effectively between a large number of candidates; many more people do French than German...) The language aptitude test was quite good fun (or, at least, it would have been if I wasn't worried and stressed at the time).

    As far as interviews go, my first was about Russian literature; I was given a short-ish poem to read through prior to the interview and I completely failed to understand what the poem was going on about and was constantly getting gently corrected by the very kind professor. Then we talked about a book I'd read (Crime and Punishment) - about the themes, the ending; the usual kind of things; this second half of the interview went better...

    My second interview was for Russian language (but I hadn't looked at the language really before - I'd learnt to read the Cyrillic script but that was it). That time, I was interviewed by 2 people, which was a little daunting at first, but not overly unpleasant as both of the interviewers were really good at putting me at ease (it's their job to do so, after all...) Then, I talked about the language aptitude test a little, but they didn't hint as to whether I'd done badly or well in it, and I had to repeat a few phrases (and then a whole sentence), parrot-fashion that were said to me. That was a little nerve-racking.

    My third interview was for German and it was right at the end of the day - 6:00! My interviewer was understandably tired, but we talked about literature that I'd read (but he flat-out refused to talk about anything I'd done as coursework) and he asked me one question in German (have you ever been to Germany); which he said I answered well.

    The thing about M Lang courses at Oxford is that there's a real emphasis on literature; I think they're not very worried about your linguistic capabilities (as long as there's some there) but they really want to know whether you have a drive and an urge to read and study literature. That's the one thing that I'd stress about interviews, certainly from my point of view.
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    (Original post by peperharow)
    hi everyone.

    I'm very keen on applying to cambridge and doing all i can to try and get a place! i havent decided whether it would be the right place to spend the best years of my life but this threads about the preparation for getting in.

    I'm considering MML at Cambridge, French and German (more interested in the linguistics side of things rather than literature). I got 5A*s and 5As at GCSE which isn't particularly special at the public school i'm at but i think i could get 4 A's at AS level. with the languages, i've got the better grades so hopefully i'm not disadvantaged too much. (also doing A2 french this year).

    So I've just been presented with 6 french books and 6 german ones to read over the summer to broaden my knowledge etc. It seems nasty having worked all year to not get the deserved summer break.. anyway my french is better than my german and i will struggle to get through them efficiently. I reckon theyre only giving me all this to look good and i'm hoping it will but the real test will be the interview where they give you a poem..

    I was just wondering what you think about preparation for oxbridge.. is it better to read these books in their original language or to get the english translation? Anything else you want to bring up would be appreciated.

    thanks,

    peperharow
    The most important aspect about applications to Oxbridge is to go and have a look at the place before you start any preparations!

    There is absolutely no point in pursuing a course of action unless you are sure you want to achieve the goal. It might be that during the visit (as early as Year 11) you do not get the right 'vibes' that this is where you want to spend at least 3 years of your life - Oxbridge is not for everybody so check it out first.

    addendum: Cambridge state they might only use AEA's as part of an alternative offer - with the exception of Christ's college who may include an AEA as part of a conditional offer in any subject.
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    thanks again to everyone for the info.

    ive now got another issue to think about - as i'm studying languages, i'm not sure what the best thing to do next year is. If I get the A in French this year then i will have completed the A-level and don't obviously need to do more there. i'll have german, maths and economics left to do. but if i wanted to do an AEA in french then i'm could have lessons in french next year for it and drop the economix (which i dont like and is badly taught anyway). this would also maintain/improve my language skills for the interview..

    this does all depend on my french grade but i'm trying to be optimistic.

    btw the system is such that i couldn't drop economics and just do maths and german. i'd also rather not continue with all four again next year. is economics a valuable subject for MML at universities? and is it necessary to have a chance in applying for the Deloitte scheme?

    hope this is kinda clear :cool:
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    (Original post by peperharow)
    thanks again to everyone for the info.

    ive now got another issue to think about - as i'm studying languages, i'm not sure what the best thing to do next year is. If I get the A in French this year then i will have completed the A-level and don't obviously need to do more there. i'll have german, maths and economics left to do. but if i wanted to do an AEA in french then i'm could have lessons in french next year for it and drop the economix (which i dont like and is badly taught anyway). this would also maintain/improve my language skills for the interview..

    this does all depend on my french grade but i'm trying to be optimistic.

    btw the system is such that i couldn't drop economics and just do maths and german. i'd also rather not continue with all four again next year. is economics a valuable subject for MML at universities? and is it necessary to have a chance in applying for the Deloitte scheme?

    hope this is kinda clear :cool:
    I have no idea what the Deloitte scheme is so I can't advise you there, but I say if you want to drop economics and do AEA French, do it. There's no point carrying on with a subject you don't enjoy, and keeping up with your French is obviously a lot more important.
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    I was stuck with the same kind of decision. I did 5 AS, 1 by distance learning and didn't intend to drop any for A Level. But I'd had some problems going to my lessons (long story!) and it was hard doing History without having any lessons! My language teachers were suggesting AEAs to me (possibly as I complained French was too easy, what this has to do with Spanish, I don't know!) so I could either do AEAs or carry on with History. So...I decided to drop History as it's less relevant and to do AEAs and GCSE Italian as it's a better way to prepare for uni and was a useful way to use my frees! But I wouldn't suggest doing this many AEAs...although I'm happy doing them, it will be a lot of pressure and top unis only ask for 3As, they care more about who you are not what you know...
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    Hi, I'll probably be applying for MML at Cambridge this year - French and ab initio Russian. My plan is to read a few books in French (which so far I'm doing with the English translation next to me to make sure I don't miss anything, not to mention a dictionary!), a few Russian books in translation and some history books.

    The main thing that's worrying me is that at school we're not doing any French literature - so I'll have to work everything out by myself. Can anyone explain to me what tense French literature is written in? It's something I've never seen before and it isn't in my grammar book!

    Also, about AEAs, do you need to know extra stuff, or can you just use what you already know from the A level course? No one has mentioned one so far, so I'm not sure if my school does them...
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    (Original post by Allyria)
    Hi, I'll probably be applying for MML at Cambridge this year - French and ab initio Russian. My plan is to read a few books in French (which so far I'm doing with the English translation next to me to make sure I don't miss anything, not to mention a dictionary!), a few Russian books in translation and some history books.

    The main thing that's worrying me is that at school we're not doing any French literature - so I'll have to work everything out by myself. Can anyone explain to me what tense French literature is written in? It's something I've never seen before and it isn't in my grammar book!

    Also, about AEAs, do you need to know extra stuff, or can you just use what you already know from the A level course? No one has mentioned one so far, so I'm not sure if my school does them...

    Technically you are not supposed to know nay extra to do AEA french, but in practice you do. For example the literary will be written in the past historic and generally it requires a greater vocabulary and a very solid grammar knowledge

    Older literature is written uses the past historic tense. It has the same meaning as the past tense, but its quite a literary style. So instead of était and avait, you would normally see "fut" and "eut". Similar instead of pluperfect tense you might see the past anterior, which is just the past historic plus the past participle.
    So for example if you wanted to write - he went to bed as soon as they had left- in literary form, you would say, il se coucha des qu'ils furent partis.

    You might also see the use of the imperfect subjunctive, so "fusse" and "eusse". If you get stuck use this site-

    www.verbix.com/languages/french.shtml
 
 
 
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