I'm currently in my 5th and final year of my MSci physics undergraduate course and have been struggling to decide whether to apply for a Theoretical Physics PhD or to take a year out first to "recharge". Unfortunately I have left it quite late to apply to most places and my most desirable next step in academia is Part III of the Tripos at Cambridge, which is a long shot. Do you think its a bad idea to take a gap year before applying for such a strenuous degree? I have spoken to people who have applied for theory phd's and they pretty much say that it will be considered a bad thing as you really need to be up-to-date with the mathematics that is required for doing a theoretical physics phd.
I have read in other forums that it can be a good thing to have a gap year but I'm not so sure for my case.
What should I do?