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    Hi

    I went to the Cambridge open day yesterday and, naturally, fell in love with the place. I'm a year 12 student; however, I'm worried about my AS exams that I took this summer. I feel as though some of them were okay, but am concerned that i'll have to resit quite a few to reach Cambridge's standards.

    My GCSEs were only 8 As and 3Bs due to extenuating circumstances which my school have said that they are more than happy to inform the university of whenever I choose to apply.

    That said, I have been predicted 3 A*s and 1 A at A Level - Geography, Biology and English Lang with the A in French. In addition, my EPQ has been estimated at being an A* level.

    Alongside all of the relevant travelling, volunteering and placements that I plan on doing, I think that I'll have a really strong application to all of my universities - one of the reasons that I'm taking a gap year is that most relevant work experience placements occur in term time.

    I'm also studying for an AS Level in Chemistry this year, which I've been predicted an A in. During my gap year I will undoubtedly study for a few more AS levels (maybe Economics and Maths), because I simply love learning.

    With everything considered, what do you think my chances or getting into Cambridge actually are?
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    Well you had a difficult year at AS but you also had a poor year at GCSE as well.
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    It also depends on what you're hoping to apply for.
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    (Original post by Old_Simon)
    Well you had a difficult year at AS but you also had a poor year at GCSE as well.
    This was due to circumstances beyond my control that, as previously stated, my school are aware of. I've discussed this at open days with admissions tutors and as long as my A Levels are good, then they may be able to overlook them.
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    (Original post by Calllu-m)
    It also depends on what you're hoping to apply for.
    Geography
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    Geography
    Geography will still be challenging to get in, but not as challenging as subjects like law, history, English and HSPS. You'll need to stand out with your PS and make sure you get at least A*AA at A level
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    (Original post by Calllu-m)
    Geography will still be challenging to get in, but not as challenging as subjects like law, history, English and HSPS. You'll need to stand out with your PS and make sure you get at least A*AA at A level
    Hmm, at Selwyn yesterday the admissions tutor told me that post-A Level applicants are only likely to receive an offer if they have 2 or more A*s, as this is what most successful candidates get.

    My main concerns are my GCSEs and whether I need to resit more than one AS level ... :/
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    First of all - don't panic til you actually have your results, you never know! :P

    I'm coming at this as a person who had good GCSEs (8A*, 2A), but didn't get anywhere near the AS requirements for a solid Cambridge application - I ended up with 2B, 2A - and one of those As was only 82 UMS, so pretty much a scrape.

    I applied post A-level with 3A*s and I'm starting this October.

    So from my experience the answer is that yeah, you still have everything to play for - but you need to do the absolute best you can in the A2 exams, because you're trying to get them to overlook your AS grades.

    Also - I only did one retake. If you have at least a B, there's actually not much point retaking - because an A* overall needs 80% average and 90% in the A2 exam, an A at AS will make exactly zero difference to you achieving an A*. And as a post-A-level student you would need at least one A*, and probably 2 - according to the Admissions Tutor at my College this time last year. So if you're revising for retakes you're actually wasting time you could be spending on your A*. (It should also be mentioned that they're not especially keen on retakes anyway so much better to just show you can achieve in the A2's rather than redoing AS's...)

    I hope some of this helps, and good luck with your results!!
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    Hmm, at Selwyn yesterday the admissions tutor told me that post-A Level applicants are only likely to receive an offer if they have 2 or more A*s, as this is what most successful candidates get.

    My main concerns are my GCSEs and whether I need to resit more than one AS level ... :/
    GCSEs aren't as weighted heavily at Cambridge as they are Oxford, so if you get the aforementioned 2A*s 1 A then you should be okay. If your circumstances are extenuating then that will work in your favour and the GCSEs may be viewed more leniently. The thing is with Oxbridge is nobody is a "dead-cert" candidate, and therefore it never hurts to apply, as sometimes the more unlikely candidates will get offers. I would look at other universities that you like, and not put all your eggs in one basket.
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    (Original post by rae-79)
    First of all - don't panic til you actually have your results, you never know! :P

    I'm coming at this as a person who had good GCSEs (8A*, 2A), but didn't get anywhere near the AS requirements for a solid Cambridge application - I ended up with 2B, 2A - and one of those As was only 82 UMS, so pretty much a scrape.

    I applied post A-level with 3A*s and I'm starting this October.

    So from my experience the answer is that yeah, you still have everything to play for - but you need to do the absolute best you can in the A2 exams, because you're trying to get them to overlook your AS grades.

    Also - I only did one retake. If you have at least a B, there's actually not much point retaking - because an A* overall needs 80% average and 90% in the A2 exam, an A at AS will make exactly zero difference to you achieving an A*. And as a post-A-level student you would need at least one A*, and probably 2 - according to the Admissions Tutor at my College this time last year. So if you're revising for retakes you're actually wasting time you could be spending on your A*. (It should also be mentioned that they're not especially keen on retakes anyway so much better to just show you can achieve in the A2's rather than redoing AS's...)

    I hope some of this helps, and good luck with your results!!
    Reading this has absolutely made my morning! Thank you so much. Which college do you have a place at and for which subject? If you dont mind me asking of course.

    I needed the reassurance that all was not lost before I work solidly for the next year at school, plus my gap year. What kind of thing did you do on your gap year?
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    (Original post by Calllu-m)
    GCSEs aren't as weighted heavily at Cambridge as they are Oxford, so if you get the aforementioned 2A*s 1 A then you should be okay. If your circumstances are extenuating then that will work in your favour and the GCSEs may be viewed more leniently. The thing is with Oxbridge is nobody is a "dead-cert" candidate, and therefore it never hurts to apply, as sometimes the more unlikely candidates will get offers. I would look at other universities that you like, and not put all your eggs in one basket.
    Durham, LSE, St. Andrews and Edinburgh I think
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    Durham, LSE, St. Andrews and Edinburgh I think
    I applied to Durham, Edinburgh and St Andrews and go to St Andrews so if you want advice on any of the universities, or geography at St Andrews (my flatmate does geography) I'm happy to answer questions
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    Reading this has absolutely made my morning! Thank you so much. Which college do you have a place at and for which subject? If you dont mind me asking of course.

    I needed the reassurance that all was not lost before I work solidly for the next year at school, plus my gap year. What kind of thing did you do on your gap year?
    Very glad I could help - I remember being in your position, after all! Yeah, knowing you still have a shot definitely helps - just don't stake your all on it, you never know what will happen.

    I'm doing English in October. Unfortunately I haven't had an especially exciting gap year - I've worked 5 months, applied for uni, done an EPQ and been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder so that was that *sigh* tbh currently all my efforts are going into trying to get well enough that I'm capable of functioning when I'm there xD (and to think I thought now I would finally just have to worry about doing the darn course... xD)
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    (Original post by Calllu-m)
    GCSEs aren't as weighted heavily at Cambridge as they are Oxford, so if you get the aforementioned 2A*s 1 A then you should be okay. If your circumstances are extenuating then that will work in your favour and the GCSEs may be viewed more leniently. The thing is with Oxbridge is nobody is a "dead-cert" candidate, and therefore it never hurts to apply, as sometimes the more unlikely candidates will get offers. I would look at other universities that you like, and not put all your eggs in one basket.
    I.e) The guy who got 7A*s at A-Level and got rejected by Oxford.
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    (Original post by Frank the Tankk)
    I.e) The guy who got 7A*s at A-Level and got rejected by Oxford.
    So essentially what youre saying here is, that even though an applicant may have an incredibly academic record, if they dont have the 'whole package' so to speak, then they're just as likely to be rejected
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    So essentially what youre saying here is, that even though an applicant may have an incredibly academic record, if they dont have the 'whole package' so to speak, then they're just as likely to be rejected
    Exactly. At a place like Oxford, everyone will have excellent grades. So they can admit whoever they like...if you come across as someone they'd like to teach and someone who'd benefit from the way they teach then that's how you'll get accepted.
    Funnily enough, I go to his ex-school...He got a full scholarship for Stanford University in the US so he isn't exactly doing poorly lol.
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    (Original post by Frank the Tankk)
    Exactly. At a place like Oxford, everyone will have excellent grades. So they can admit whoever they like...if you come across as someone they'd like to teach and someone who'd benefit from the way they teach then that's how you'll get accepted.
    Funnily enough, I go to his ex-school...He got a full scholarship for Stanford University in the US so he isn't exactly doing poorly lol.
    This is exactly why I want to take a gap year, (as well as the assurance that I have grades that stand a chance in the admissions process), so that I can use my time to travel and experience the subject! I dont plan on going on a year long holiday haha

    Probably will apply for 2017 entry as I also want to take two more A Levels - I've always fancied maths and economics, but obviously was limited by school timetabling.

    Haha no he isn't at all! The US looks like an excellent place to study x
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    This is exactly why I want to take a gap year, (as well as the assurance that I have grades that stand a chance in the admissions process), so that I can use my time to travel and experience the subject! I dont plan on going on a year long holiday haha

    Probably will apply for 2017 entry as I also want to take two more A Levels - I've always fancied maths and economics, but obviously was limited by school timetabling.

    Haha no he isn't at all! The US looks like an excellent place to study x
    Sounds like a lot of work...better you than me haha. Good luck
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    (Original post by HannahRudd-19)
    This is exactly why I want to take a gap year, (as well as the assurance that I have grades that stand a chance in the admissions process), so that I can use my time to travel and experience the subject! I dont plan on going on a year long holiday haha

    Probably will apply for 2017 entry as I also want to take two more A Levels - I've always fancied maths and economics, but obviously was limited by school timetabling.

    Haha no he isn't at all! The US looks like an excellent place to study x
    I think you mean 2016 entry if you do A2 next year and then take a gap year
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    (Original post by Calllu-m)
    I think you mean 2016 entry if you do A2 next year and then take a gap year
    Nah 2017, probably won't apply until I have the results for the A Levels I decide to do in my gap year. I'm in no rush to go to uni
 
 
 
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