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    Hi,
    I am in Year 12 and have been recently looking at whether to apply to Oxford or Cambridge for Maths. I initially looked at Cambridge, but now I am slightly concerned about the differences in application processes. For example, I plan to also apply to Warwick, and if all goes really well I may receive offers from both Cambridge and Warwick (setting them as firm and insurance offers). My problem then would be that both rely quite heavily on STEP - which I feel is quite risky, because at the moment the STEP paper is an unknown quantity (I have looked at past papers, but without C3/C4 knowledge I don't know exactly where I would stand with them). If instead I chose a different insurance offer which did not rely on STEP, I would feel that it was a missed opportunity to go to the very top Maths universities.

    On the other hand, if I applied to Oxford, I understand that the admissions test will have been done in November, so the offer by them would instead include A*s at A Level rather than STEP. I would still plan to take STEP, but at least then if it does not go well my offer does not heavily rely on it. So, my question is whether this is a thing I should be concerned about, or whether I should just worry about it nearer the time (I haven't even visited them yet, so I am jumping ahead a bit anyway)? If I did not meet firm and insurance offers requiring STEP, would I not be able to get a university place?

    Thanks
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    I don't honestly think what you've described is something to worry about that much. Cambridge won't make you an offer unless they think you have a reasonable chance of getting 11 in STEP II/III. The Warwick offer is considerably easier.

    You will probably be better able to judge the situation a bit closer to the time.
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    Cambridge --> Warwick --> Oxford
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    Oxford - Less chance of getting accepted but higher chance of meeting offer.
    Cambridge - Higher chance of getting accepted but harder to achieve offer.

    Warwick - Easier than the two above to get an offer but again hard to achieve it.

    Probably works out the same overall between Oxford and Cambridge so go where you like most.
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    (Original post by soutioirsim)
    Oxford - Less chance of getting accepted but higher chance of meeting offer.
    Cambridge - Higher chance of getting accepted but harder to achieve offer.

    Warwick - Easier than the two above to get an offer but again hard to achieve it.
    I assume you meant:

    Oxford - Less chance of getting an offer but higher chance of meeting offer.
    Cambridge - Higher chance of getting an offer but harder to achieve offer.
    Warwick - Easier than the two above to get an offer but again hard to achieve it.

    The Warwick offer is considerably easier than the Cambridge one (and considerably harder than the Oxford one - although that is because Oxford entrants will have already taken their hard exam (the entrance test)).
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    Cambridge is much better for maths, so it all depends on your confidence in maths. What're you getting UMS-wise in Maths/Further Maths? Feel confident about FP1/C2?
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    I have got full UMS in C1 and M1 so far - it is not necessarily confidence in maths generally I lack, but doing well in STEP feels more of an unknown quantity. After experiencing BMO1, I know that the more 'creative' papers which do not just rely on remembering methods like at A level can be much more tricky!
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I assume you meant:

    Oxford - Less chance of getting an offer but higher chance of meeting offer.
    Cambridge - Higher chance of getting an offer but harder to achieve offer.
    Warwick - Easier than the two above to get an offer but again hard to achieve it.

    The Warwick offer is considerably easier than the Cambridge one (and considerably harder than the Oxford one - although that is because Oxford entrants will have already taken their hard exam (the entrance test)).
    Sorry for asking, but isn't the entrance test taken by those who recieved an offer? Or viceversa? Or am I misunderstanding your post as it always happens? XD

    Thanks in advance for replying!
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    (Original post by RacingPro97)
    I have got full UMS in C1 and M1 so far - it is not necessarily confidence in maths generally I lack, but doing well in STEP feels more of an unknown quantity. After experiencing BMO1, I know that the more 'creative' papers which do not just rely on remembering methods like at A level can be much more tricky!
    Well I've heard that if you're good at picking up maths quickly, and especially if you got into BMO1, you will be fine with STEP. It's hard and requires a lot of practice but if you have the ability I've been told it's fine.
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    The courses at Ox and Cam are pretty similar. RichE summarised the similarities and differences here. As such, you might want to consider other things than the 'academics' when deciding on where you want to study, regardless of the offer. Warwick is, as far as I understand, a fair bit more flexible in terms of taking outside options than Ox or Cam, so that might impact your decision, but the pace and material covered is similar across all of the courses, at least by the end of the 3 or 4 years.
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    Cambridge is better for maths
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    (Original post by FFC94)
    Sorry for asking, but isn't the entrance test taken by those who recieved an offer? Or viceversa? Or am I misunderstanding your post as it always happens? XD
    For Oxford, you take the entrance test before you get an offer.
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    (Original post by Alison1992)
    Cambridge is better for maths
    My personal take is that Cambridge is not noticably better for maths unless you are going to be roughly in the top 10% of Cambridge undergrads. It's arguable Oxford is better if you're going to be in the bottom 50% of undergrads.

    And for what it's worth, my feeling on comparing the 1st year analysis exams at Oxford and Cambridge was that if anything the Oxford exams were harder.
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    (Original post by RacingPro97)
    Hi,
    I am in Year 12 and have been recently looking at whether to apply to Oxford or Cambridge for Maths. I initially looked at Cambridge, but now I am slightly concerned about the differences in application processes. For example, I plan to also apply to Warwick, and if all goes really well I may receive offers from both Cambridge and Warwick (setting them as firm and insurance offers). My problem then would be that both rely quite heavily on STEP - which I feel is quite risky, because at the moment the STEP paper is an unknown quantity (I have looked at past papers, but without C3/C4 knowledge I don't know exactly where I would stand with them). If instead I chose a different insurance offer which did not rely on STEP, I would feel that it was a missed opportunity to go to the very top Maths universities.

    On the other hand, if I applied to Oxford, I understand that the admissions test will have been done in November, so the offer by them would instead include A*s at A Level rather than STEP. I would still plan to take STEP, but at least then if it does not go well my offer does not heavily rely on it. So, my question is whether this is a thing I should be concerned about, or whether I should just worry about it nearer the time (I haven't even visited them yet, so I am jumping ahead a bit anyway)? If I did not meet firm and insurance offers requiring STEP, would I not be able to get a university place?

    Thanks
    I'm in 5th year (equivilent to year 12) too and I'm thinking of applying for Maths. I looked at both universities and did as much digging I could on both. When I weighed out the pro's and con's of each (just looking at the course) they were much the same. I think I'm going to end up choosing based on what will suit me better personally (by looking at things other than just the course). One might be better than the other but to get accepted to either is amazing.
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    (Original post by tulcod)
    Oxford simply isn't very well known for its mathematics, as especially its research isn't very leading. Warwick and Cambridge are about equal.
    You really are clueless. Oxford came top in the last RAE for Maths in the country. I think there are all sorts of other reasons why a prospective student might choose a uni but on the basis of research, Oxford came (narrowly) top.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    My personal take is that Cambridge is not noticably better for maths unless you are going to be roughly in the top 10% of Cambridge undergrads. It's arguable Oxford is better if you're going to be in the bottom 50% of undergrads.

    And for what it's worth, my feeling on comparing the 1st year analysis exams at Oxford and Cambridge was that if anything the Oxford exams were harder.
    Why would you aim to be in the bottom 50% of undergrads?
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    (Original post by Alison1992)
    Why would you aim to be in the bottom 50% of undergrads?
    I've no idea. I didn't suggest anyone should aim to be in the bottom 50%. But of course the reality is that half of Cambridge students are in the bottom 50% of Cambridge undergrads.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I've no idea. I didn't suggest anyone should aim to be in the bottom 50%. But of course the reality is that half of Cambridge students are in the bottom 50% of Cambridge undergrads.
    Glad to see your maths is solid
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    For Oxford, you take the entrance test before you get an offer.
    Really? So you take the test in November, while you're still studying? So everyone can take it? So strange!
    Anyway, thanks for your answer and sorry again for being OT!
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    That's my understanding, yes. I assume someone from Oxford will pipe up soon if I'm wrong!
 
 
 
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