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    The last few years have been absolute hell for me. Most of my friends are at university, whereas I am still finishing off my A-levels. Unfortunately at the start of L6, I became extremely ill. I had several enlarged lymph nodes and suffered from chronic fatigue. All the symptoms pointed to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. I had to have several operations, and although the results came back negative the first time, the nodes grew back, and it was only after the third biopsy that lymphoma was ruled out. As you can imagine this had an adverse effect on my exam performance. I have sat my exams in dribs and drabs, often in sets of 3. I only have 3 more exams left to sit, and am on track to achieving A*A*A grades. Thankfully I have fully recovered, and the cause turned out to be something completely benign. I just wondered if anyone had any advice on whether it was worth applying to Cambridge, with my module results being as follows?

    Economics- Unit 1 96% , Unit 2 87%, Unit 3 98%, Unit 4 87%
    Geography - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 - 90% --Units 3 and 4 to be sat in Summer
    Politics - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 85% Unit 3 81% Unit 4 87%
    History AS Unit 1 96% Unit 2 - to be sat in Summer

    Currently the average UMS is about 89% - not really 'sitting comfortable over 90%', that Cambridge states most of its applicants have reached. Do you think the fact that its taken 3 years to complete my exams would put me at a significant disadvantage? Obviously my circumstances would be explained in my application?
    ALSO, I have achieved an A* in Economics, at 365/400 UMS. Do you think I should resit Unit 3? Im confident that I can achieve better than 87%, but my school think that an A* is an A*.

    Sorry this is so lengthy, but am in a tough situation here!
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    (Original post by thewaldorf)
    The last few years have been absolute hell for me. Most of my friends are at university, whereas I am still finishing off my A-levels. Unfortunately at the start of L6, I became extremely ill. I had several enlarged lymph nodes and suffered from chronic fatigue. All the symptoms pointed to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. I had to have several operations, and although the results came back negative the first time, the nodes grew back, and it was only after the third biopsy that lymphoma was ruled out. As you can imagine this had an adverse effect on my exam performance. I have sat my exams in dribs and drabs, often in sets of 3. I only have 3 more exams left to sit, and am on track to achieving A*A*A grades. Thankfully I have fully recovered, and the cause turned out to be something completely benign. I just wondered if anyone had any advice on whether it was worth applying to Cambridge, with my module results being as follows?

    Economics- Unit 1 96% , Unit 2 87%, Unit 3 98%, Unit 4 87%
    Geography - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 - 90% --Units 3 and 4 to be sat in Summer
    Politics - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 85% Unit 3 81% Unit 4 87%
    History AS Unit 1 96% Unit 2 - to be sat in Summer

    Currently the average UMS is about 89% - not really 'sitting comfortable over 90%', that Cambridge states most of its applicants have reached. Do you think the fact that its taken 3 years to complete my exams would put me at a significant disadvantage? Obviously my circumstances would be explained in my application?
    ALSO, I have achieved an A* in Economics, at 365/400 UMS. Do you think I should resit Unit 3? Im confident that I can achieve better than 87%, but my school think that an A* is an A*.

    Sorry this is so lengthy, but am in a tough situation here!
    What's tough? You've got great marks, if anything you illness will make them more sympathetic - overall this just sounds like bragging to me..
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    (Original post by mad-marek)
    What's tough? You've got great marks, if anything you illness will make them more sympathetic - overall this just sounds like bragging to me..
    No..i'm really not bragging! Most successful Cambridge applicants have UMS scores of above 95%. Mine are significantly below this, and I've have 3 years to complete them.
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    Cambridge have a special access scheme that you can apply through if you have mitigating circumstances


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    (Original post by thewaldorf)
    The last few years have been absolute hell for me. Most of my friends are at university, whereas I am still finishing off my A-levels. Unfortunately at the start of L6, I became extremely ill. I had several enlarged lymph nodes and suffered from chronic fatigue. All the symptoms pointed to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. I had to have several operations, and although the results came back negative the first time, the nodes grew back, and it was only after the third biopsy that lymphoma was ruled out. As you can imagine this had an adverse effect on my exam performance. I have sat my exams in dribs and drabs, often in sets of 3. I only have 3 more exams left to sit, and am on track to achieving A*A*A grades. Thankfully I have fully recovered, and the cause turned out to be something completely benign. I just wondered if anyone had any advice on whether it was worth applying to Cambridge, with my module results being as follows?

    Economics- Unit 1 96% , Unit 2 87%, Unit 3 98%, Unit 4 87%
    Geography - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 - 90% --Units 3 and 4 to be sat in Summer
    Politics - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 85% Unit 3 81% Unit 4 87%
    History AS Unit 1 96% Unit 2 - to be sat in Summer

    Currently the average UMS is about 89% - not really 'sitting comfortable over 90%', that Cambridge states most of its applicants have reached. Do you think the fact that its taken 3 years to complete my exams would put me at a significant disadvantage? Obviously my circumstances would be explained in my application?
    ALSO, I have achieved an A* in Economics, at 365/400 UMS. Do you think I should resit Unit 3? Im confident that I can achieve better than 87%, but my school think that an A* is an A*.

    Sorry this is so lengthy, but am in a tough situation here!
    As someone who holds an offer for geography, with a good interview I'd be really confident that you'd be getting in. Indeed it would be much easier for you to have done it than me, especially given your extenuating circumstances.

    These were my AS results:

    Geography - 94%
    Maths - 88%
    History - 83%
    Physics - 62% (Low C) - although I had an explanation for why this was so low.

    I only had two modules that were above 90% UMS; that was geography unit 1 which was 120/120, and in maths C1 was 94/100. The rest were lower As; and I got BCD in my physics AS units. So my UMS average over my top 3 was only 88.3%, yours is higher plus you have extenuating circumstances, plus you've already got an A* and look as if you're on track to get at least A*A*AA overall. A2 units are much harder to get over 90% in.

    I felt my interview went well though, and I got a straight offer (wasn't pooled or anything). The offer rate for geography is usually around 40%, so evidently it's not exactly the most competitive of subjects. So don't stress, and I don't think you should resit economics, definitely not. I think given you've got A*A already, they'll probably ask for AA if they give you an offer, although your case is quite complicated so who knows.

    Good luck! Hopefully i'll see you there next year
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    (Original post by Bulbasaur)
    As someone who holds an offer for geography, with a good interview I'd be really confident that you'd be getting in. Indeed it would be much easier for you to have done it than me, especially given your extenuating circumstances.

    These were my AS results:

    Geography - 94%
    Maths - 88%
    History - 83%
    Physics - 62% (Low C) - although I had an explanation for why this was so low.

    I only had two modules that were above 90% UMS; that was geography unit 1 which was 120/120, and in maths C1 was 94/100. The rest were lower As; and I got BCD in my physics AS units. So my UMS average over my top 3 was only 88.3%, yours is higher plus you have extenuating circumstances, plus you've already got an A* and look as if you're on track to get at least A*A*AA overall. A2 units are much harder to get over 90% in.

    I felt my interview went well though, and I got a straight offer (wasn't pooled or anything). The offer rate for geography is usually around 40%, so evidently it's not exactly the most competitive of subjects. So don't stress, and I don't think you should resit economics, definitely not. I think given you've got A*A already, they'll probably ask for AA if they give you an offer, although your case is quite complicated so who knows.

    Good luck! Hopefully i'll see you there next year
    Hey, thanks for the advice, very reassuring! Congratulations on getting a place, thats fantastic. If you don't mind me asking, how did the interviews go? I'm much more of a human geographer, who sometimes finds the physical side a little dry.
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    (Original post by thewaldorf)
    Hey, thanks for the advice, very reassuring! Congratulations on getting a place, thats fantastic. If you don't mind me asking, how did the interviews go? I'm much more of a human geographer, who sometimes finds the physical side a little dry.
    No problem And thanks!

    Well there was basically one physical and one human one. The college I applied to (Fitzwilliam) handles geography applications slightly differently; they send you (long) articles a couple weeks in advance of the interview for you to basically get to grips with and then you get a 30 minute session discussing it with them. But at other colleges they'll probably give you an article or something around 30 minutes before your interview and that won't be the main part of it.

    There's plenty of info out there about what to expect in the interview so I won't go into all of that, but yeah I'm more of a human geographer too but the physical geography interview was fine - it was mostly based on climate change anyway.
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    (Original post by thewaldorf)
    The last few years have been absolute hell for me. Most of my friends are at university, whereas I am still finishing off my A-levels. Unfortunately at the start of L6, I became extremely ill. I had several enlarged lymph nodes and suffered from chronic fatigue. All the symptoms pointed to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. I had to have several operations, and although the results came back negative the first time, the nodes grew back, and it was only after the third biopsy that lymphoma was ruled out. As you can imagine this had an adverse effect on my exam performance. I have sat my exams in dribs and drabs, often in sets of 3. I only have 3 more exams left to sit, and am on track to achieving A*A*A grades. Thankfully I have fully recovered, and the cause turned out to be something completely benign. I just wondered if anyone had any advice on whether it was worth applying to Cambridge, with my module results being as follows?

    Economics- Unit 1 96% , Unit 2 87%, Unit 3 98%, Unit 4 87%
    Geography - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 - 90% --Units 3 and 4 to be sat in Summer
    Politics - Unit 1 87% Unit 2 85% Unit 3 81% Unit 4 87%
    History AS Unit 1 96% Unit 2 - to be sat in Summer

    Currently the average UMS is about 89% - not really 'sitting comfortable over 90%', that Cambridge states most of its applicants have reached. Do you think the fact that its taken 3 years to complete my exams would put me at a significant disadvantage? Obviously my circumstances would be explained in my application?
    ALSO, I have achieved an A* in Economics, at 365/400 UMS. Do you think I should resit Unit 3? Im confident that I can achieve better than 87%, but my school think that an A* is an A*.

    Sorry this is so lengthy, but am in a tough situation here!
    I really don't think you should worry about your grades, especially with your extenuating circumstances. I got an offer from a highly competitive subject, Human Social Political Sciences with less severe extenuating circumstances than you. My UMS was 84 percent average, probably one of the lowest UMS of those applying to Cambridge and still managed to get an offer. Also, remember that your extenuating circumstances are not the only factor that is taken into account, they do take seriously your area that you are living in currently, the school you go to, and if you have been in care. For me, they took into account my area, the fact that I had been in care and my extenuating circumstances.

    It is also important when you and/or your school are filling out your extenuating circumstances form that you find the right balance, you don't want to make it sound too severe. I was advised by my school, to show that some of my past issues were resolving themselves. It is also wise to be prepared in the interview for what they may ask you about your extenuating circumstnaces. My extenuating circumstances were based on my early life, being in care and the impact of stress. They were a bit concerned about how I would manage the effect of stress in Cambridge and how I would manage my workload effectively without having a mental blockage. They did seem concerned in the interview but I managed to come up with solutions. I do know that yours is more of a medical problem, but it is important to be aware of what questions they may ask around it.

    Seriously, don't worry about your UMS. To be honest it is important to have an open mind when applying to Cambridge and have an optimistic attitude. You have really good UMS considering your circumstances and if you do a cracking interview, you have a really good chance of gaining offer. Even with the extenuating circumstnaces, on paper I was on the lower end academically but I managed to distinguish myself with the interview.
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    (Original post by thewaldorf)
    No..i'm really not bragging! Most successful Cambridge applicants have UMS scores of above 95%. Mine are significantly below this, and I've have 3 years to complete them.
    That is just not true.
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    (Original post by illusionz)
    That is just not true.
    Well that was a slight exaggeration on his behalf, but I think the median is around 93-94%, obviously subject dependent (I would guess for geography it would be more like 91-92%).
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    (Original post by Bulbasaur)
    Well that was a slight exaggeration on his behalf, but I think the median is around 93-94%, obviously subject dependent (I would guess for geography it would be more like 91-92%).
    That is also a little too high, in the past everyone that i have known to have gone to cambridge has scored around 90%. Although this sounds a bit low, cambridge do not just look for outstanding exam results. They look for people's experiences and other factors like their ability to remain calm under pressure, their thought processes and even the way they conduct themselves. For example, they favour people who have done work experience relating to their subject or even other activities outside of school. Cambridge is a very odd uni to apply to, i have known people who have taken 8 A-levels and scored almost full marks in all of them and they have been rejected. Be positive and wait for your interview, Im sure you'll do well! Good luck!
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    It doesn't say ANYWHERE on the Cambridge site about 'sitting comfortably over 90.' In fact, it says not to worry about 90-95 ums, just submit what you have and let them make a decision. You'll be fine You've done incredibly well.
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    (Original post by grammar12)
    That is also a little too high, in the past everyone that i have known to have gone to cambridge has scored around 90%. Although this sounds a bit low, cambridge do not just look for outstanding exam results. They look for people's experiences and other factors like their ability to remain calm under pressure, their thought processes and even the way they conduct themselves. For example, they favour people who have done work experience relating to their subject or even other activities outside of school. Cambridge is a very odd uni to apply to, i have known people who have taken 8 A-levels and scored almost full marks in all of them and they have been rejected. Be positive and wait for your interview, Im sure you'll do well! Good luck!
    Well, the Cambridge website does say pretty much exactly what I said. Also I notice you say 'in the past', grade inflation is occuring so I guess the average applicant probably has higher UMS now. I agree, they look for far more than simply UMS but take this little extract from the site:

    (Original post by Cambridge)

    In the last admissions round, the average Cambridge applicant scored about 90 per cent on this measure, while the average successful Cambridge applicant scored nearer 95 per cent. Note that both these figures are averages – applicants don’t need to have achieved a certain score in every module and aren’t required to achieve 90 per cent or above in all modules. There were successful Cambridge applicants who had UMS averages in their best/most relevant three subjects below 90 per cent.
    http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergrad.../thefacts.html

    I mean yeah you can get in with a lot less than that (I only got 88% and managed to get a place), but this piece of text is what is causing people to think in this way, despite the actual intended message being quite the opposite (i.e. give it a try even if your UMS isn't as high as they're quoting).
 
 
 
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