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    Okay so at this point I'm honestly desperate, and I really really really wanna get into Cambridge (please don't tell me about other universities, I know about them). I was optimistic before, but one of the people on TSR has done 6 A levels (just like I'm doing right now), got very high marks for maths and physics and still got rejected. Like honestly what do these people want? I'm doing nine modules this year plus the three sciences, and i'm planning to drop bio and continue to do nine more modules; something tells me this is not enough for them. So can I do STEP at the end of this year? If I can, should I? Will it help me at all when I apply to Cambridge next year?

    EDIT: I'm planning to apply for the maths tripos with physics.
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    For which subject?
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    Okay so at this point I'm honestly desperate, and I really really really wanna get into Cambridge (please don't tell me about other universities, I know about them). I was optimistic before, but one of the people on TSR has done 6 A levels (just like I'm doing right now), got very high marks for maths and physics and still got rejected. Like honestly what do these people want? I'm doing nine modules this year plus the three sciences, and i'm planning to drop bio and continue to do nine more modules; something tells me this is not enough for them. So can I do STEP at the end of this year? If I can, should I? Will it help me at all when I apply to Cambridge next year?
    Whilst grades can form a very large proportion of their decisions, it's also advisable to note that there is severe competition for each place and you also need to perform well at interview to be able to get an offer. Doing so many A Levels doesn't necessarily guarantee/increase your chances of getting a place. What's most important this year is to get your AS UMS as high as possible, preferably in the mid 90s in order to secure an offer from Cambridge. Whilst gaining high marks in STEP may be beneficial if you do well, it will only do you harm if you were to take on too much and risk doing badly in your AS exams. It also depends what degree you're looking to go into, and whether you'll even need STEP for it.
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    (Original post by Magnesium)
    Whilst grades can form a very large proportion of their decisions, it's also advisable to note that there is severe competition for each place and you also need to perform well at interview to be able to get an offer. Doing so many A Levels doesn't necessarily guarantee/increase your chances of getting a place. What's most important this year is to get your AS UMS as high as possible, preferably in the mid 90s in order to secure an offer from Cambridge. Whilst gaining high marks in STEP may be beneficial if you do well, it will only do you harm if you were to take on too much and risk doing badly in your AS exams. It also depends what degree you're looking to go into, and whether you'll even need STEP for it.
    I don't even consider the maths I'm taking as extra, maths is my strong suit here, and that's why I'm doing nine modules; plus I'm studying more maths in my free time for the fun of it. I'm sure I'll get very high marks in that. I'm planning to do theoretical physics (first year maths, then switch to natural sciences), although that might change; also I'm definitely planning to get a masters and then go on to do a phd.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    For which subject?
    oh sorry, I thought I mentioned it, the maths tripos, with physics (maybe).
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    oh sorry, I thought I mentioned it, the maths tripos, with physics (maybe).
    I've just received an offer from Cambridge, and I can tell you what I think.

    At the end of the day, there is no formula to guarantee an offer. I think they're looking for well-rounded people. People that have performed well academically, but also experienced life a bit, if you get what I mean? If you get as far as an interview, you've got to show them HOW you're thinking through the problem they give you, rather than just being able to do it. Sometimes I think they prefer people that can talk through a problem and maybe not quite get the right answer, than people that get it correct with no explanation. That's the picture I've built up anyway, from personal experience and by talking to others.

    Hope I was helpful in some way.
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    (Original post by Fanta4TheBanter)
    I've just received an offer from Cambridge, and I can tell you what I think.

    At the end of the day, there is no formula to guarantee an offer. I think they're looking for well-rounded people. People that have performed well academically, but also experienced life a bit, if you get what I mean? If you get as far as an interview, you've got to show them HOW you're thinking through the problem they give you, rather than just being able to do it. Sometimes I think they prefer people that can talk through a problem and maybe not quite get the right answer, than people that get it correct with no explanation. That's the picture I've built up anyway, from personal experience and by talking to others.

    Hope I was helpful in some way.
    That's the thing, I don't mind the interview; I just don't want to get rejected before they even get to interview me, that's the thing I'm worried about most. My gcse's are horrible, but I know I'll do a million times better in the A levels. Btw what do you think about taking the step ahead of time?
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    That's the thing, I don't mind the interview; I just don't want to get rejected before they even get to interview me, that's the thing I'm worried about most. My gcse's are horrible, but I know I'll do a million times better in the A levels. Btw what do you think about taking the step ahead of time?
    As mentioned in an earlier post, if doing STEP this year is going to compromise your AS's then hold off. I'd also wait, just to see if the course/college you want to apply to even requires STEP. However, at the end of the day it's your decision; you've got to do what you think is best for you!
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    Okay so at this point I'm honestly desperate, and I really really really wanna get into Cambridge (please don't tell me about other universities, I know about them). I was optimistic before, but one of the people on TSR has done 6 A levels (just like I'm doing right now), got very high marks for maths and physics and still got rejected. Like honestly what do these people want? I'm doing nine modules this year plus the three sciences, and i'm planning to drop bio and continue to do nine more modules; something tells me this is not enough for them. So can I do STEP at the end of this year? If I can, should I? Will it help me at all when I apply to Cambridge next year?

    EDIT: I'm planning to apply for the maths tripos with physics.
    6 A levels are completely unnecessary for Cambridge and don't guarantee anything. It's a bit like saying "if I do 23 GCSEs will it improve my chances?" or "if I took 463 SATs exams at primary school, do I have a better chance?"

    Cambridge are looking for raw ability in a subject, for which strong performance in 3 A levels is perfectly sufficient, plus a keen interest in the subject you want to study - extra-curricular study, willingness to read widely or tackle difficult / non-standard problems etc.

    As others have said, if you are confident of a strong performance (grade 1 or above) in STEP without compromising your AS levels then go for it, but even this isn't necessary in itself - the majority of offer holders haven't taken STEP early as far as I'm aware (it isn't even realistic for schools where they teach AS Maths and AS FM together in Year 12!).
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    (Original post by davros)
    6 A levels are completely unnecessary for Cambridge and don't guarantee anything. It's a bit like saying "if I do 23 GCSEs will it improve my chances?" or "if I took 463 SATs exams at primary school, do I have a better chance?"

    Cambridge are looking for raw ability in a subject, for which strong performance in 3 A levels is perfectly sufficient, plus a keen interest in the subject you want to study - extra-curricular study, willingness to read widely or tackle difficult / non-standard problems etc.

    As others have said, if you are confident of a strong performance (grade 1 or above) in STEP without compromising your AS levels then go for it, but even this isn't necessary in itself - the majority of offer holders haven't taken STEP early as far as I'm aware (it isn't even realistic for schools where they teach AS Maths and AS FM together in Year 12!).
    See that's the thing, how do I show them that I have that ability! I mean I'm doing multivariable calculus along with my AS levels (I consider that my hobby tbh), and maths has always been extremely easy for me at school and I get the concepts very quickly; but again, how do I show them that?
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    Doing STEP II & III beforehand and getting at least a 1,1 will likely lead to an unconditional offer. The biggest downside to doing STEP is if you spend lots of time preparing and then do poorly. Then you are also likely to impact how well you do in other things.

    Given your description of what you are doing now, you shouldn't worry about getting an interview for maths. They try to interview everybody who has a reasonable chance of getting an offer. And you'll probably have no trouble getting an offer if you get top marks in the relevant subjects and do okay in the interview -- you make it sound as though these things won't be hard for you.

    So what are you worrying about? Certainly if you tend to worry then an unconditional offer would be a great thing for you, so that would be an incentive to do STEP before you apply. Don't spend any more time preparing than you can easily afford, and if your marks are bad you needn't report them.

    And one general observation: if your classes are extremely easy you are taking the wrong classes. In the long term, you will be much better off if you challenge yourself. In that context, perhaps STEP is a good challenge.
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    (Original post by Fanta4TheBanter)
    I've just received an offer from Cambridge, and I can tell you what I think.

    At the end of the day, there is no formula to guarantee an offer. I think they're looking for well-rounded people. People that have performed well academically, but also experienced life a bit, if you get what I mean? If you get as far as an interview, you've got to show them HOW you're thinking through the problem they give you, rather than just being able to do it. Sometimes I think they prefer people that can talk through a problem and maybe not quite get the right answer, than people that get it correct with no explanation. That's the picture I've built up anyway, from personal experience and by talking to others.

    Hope I was helpful in some way.
    I'm not well rounded, pretty academic focused and I still got an offer. Though I'd agree with the 2nd part, they aren't interested how quickly or even if you get the answer right, but how you think and how you respond to their advice/help. So basically, how well you'd do with their supervisions system of teaching. OP I wouldn't recommend doing STEP unless you're certain you can get very high marks (1s or Ss) as otherwise it may count against you.
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    (Original post by TVIO)
    I'm not well rounded, pretty academic focused and I still got an offer. Though I'd agree with the 2nd part, they aren't interested how quickly or even if you get the answer right, but how you think and how you respond to their advice/help. So basically, how well you'd do with their supervisions system of teaching. OP I wouldn't recommend doing STEP unless you're certain you can get very high marks (1s or Ss) as otherwise it may count against you.
    Congrats on the offer! Which college and what subject, if you don't mind me asking? 😊
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    (Original post by Fanta4TheBanter)
    Congrats on the offer! Which college and what subject, if you don't mind me asking? 😊
    You too! Churchill Computer Science with Maths. What about yourself?
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    (Original post by TVIO)
    You too! Churchill Computer Science with Maths. What about yourself?
    Nice! Engineering at Sidney Sussex for me! Still on a high from receiving the offer to be honest!
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    (Original post by Fanta4TheBanter)
    Nice! Engineering at Sidney Sussex for me! Still on a high from receiving the offer to be honest!
    Ooh excellent, I so nearly applied for engineering. Have you got the dreaded STEP then?
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    See that's the thing, how do I show them that I have that ability! I mean I'm doing multivariable calculus along with my AS levels (I consider that my hobby tbh), and maths has always been extremely easy for me at school and I get the concepts very quickly; but again, how do I show them that?
    If you get very high marks in your AS levels and excellent predictions for your A levels (A*A*A or above) then you already stand a very good chance of getting an interview.

    STEP I is certainly a possibility at the end of year 12 provided you've covered all the relevant content by then; AEA is another possibility and only requires C1-C4 knowledge. Getting a high grade in either of these in addition to the above achievements would go a long way to getting you an interview and would be far more relevant than piling up additional A levels IMHO.
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    (Original post by davros)
    If you get very high marks in your AS levels and excellent predictions for your A levels (A*A*A or above) then you already stand a very good chance of getting an interview.

    STEP I is certainly a possibility at the end of year 12 provided you've covered all the relevant content by then; AEA is another possibility and only requires C1-C4 knowledge. Getting a high grade in either of these in addition to the above achievements would go a long way to getting you an interview and would be far more relevant than piling up additional A levels IMHO.
    Tbh I'm not too happy either about taking biology, it isn't really affecting my maths or physics at all, it's just i'm not sure I could get an A in it. Also I have forgotten about the fact that I need to do stats to do the STEP (and I'm doing that next year). I've never heard of AEA, I'll look it up right now. Thanks!
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    Tbh I'm not too happy either about taking biology, it isn't really affecting my maths or physics at all, it's just i'm not sure I could get an A in it. Also I have forgotten about the fact that I need to do stats to do the STEP (and I'm doing that next year). I've never heard of AEA, I'll look it up right now. Thanks!
    I think AEA is still running this year - there've been several aborted attempts to phase it out recently!

    It's a similar exam to STEP - 3 hours in duration with about 7 or 8 extended questions on C1-C4 only BUT all questions are mandatory unlike STEP where you can get full marks with 6 out of 13 questions. Some people prefer STEP for this reason, but if you're a 'serious' Cambridge applicant then you shouldn't have any fear of AEA!

    And as you say, to give yourself a 'decent' shot at STEP you'll want either M1-M2 or S1-S2 under your belt as well as the pure stuff so you have a reasonable choice of questions.
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    (Original post by gagafacea1)
    Also I have forgotten about the fact that I need to do stats to do the STEP (and I'm doing that next year).
    No, you don't. Most people taking STEP don't answer any of the stats questions. In fact many get by with just answering pure maths questions, also ignoring mechanics. Knowing these things gives you more choices but is certainly not required.
 
 
 
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