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    Hi, I'm a year 12 student currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Product Design (the OCR one that's actually worth something) for AS plus the EPQ. I have a few questions about applying to uni, specifically Cambridge, which I think I have at least a chance of getting into.

    1) Do I have to take Further Maths for A2?
    I like Product Design way more, and I know the Cambridge FM way more, but is there some middle ground, such as taking FP2 as a standalone module? (I think my school does S2 and S3 for the other two modules for FM A2 anyway, so I won't be missing much)

    2) How much do Cambridge - or indeed any other good uni such as Imperial of Bath - care about the EPQ?
    Or should I basically ditch it and focus on my A levels?

    3) How much do Cambridge or any others care about extracurricular stuff?
    I'm probably going to be Grade 6 Trumpet and near to black belt Karate by the time I apply, and I run philosophy club at my school as well as helping out with D&T club and tutoring Year 11s in Physics, Maths, History and Engineering GCSEs.

    4) How theoretical is the course?
    I've heard some say Cambridge's Engi course is all equations and no actual design and manufacture, but the uni itself says it's not. Would I be better off going to a place like Bath if I would prefer a more practical course?

    5) How much do they care about work experience?
    I did 2 weeks in a garage in year 10 and that was pretty ****, but there's a possibility my school could line me up with a summer job with a company that makes satellites.

    These are all the ones I can think of right now, thanks in advance for any replies.
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    I'd strongly recommend you apply for Headstart courses for next summer - these will give you a much better feel for what's important and help you make decisions about what to continue in Yr 13.

    It's worth remembering that Cambridge don't offer Mech Eng - they offer general engineering and you get to specialise later on. It'd be a good idea to do more research into the topics covered at cambridge compared to a dedicated mech eng course to understand if that difference is something that would suit you.

    http://www.etrust.org.uk/headstart/apply-online

    Looking at cambridge's website they're unlikely to look kindly on an applicant who hasn't take the opportunity to take FM A level. There's a lot of stuff about self studying AS FM if your school don't offer it - so an assumption that if your school offers FM you should take it up in full.

    For EPQ - it's really useful for PS material if you do a topic relevant to your subject - but it isn't likely to be included in offers.

    EC stuff varies between universities - You'll have to do your own research into the universities you want to apply to to find out what they're weighting is for EC activities. Subject related super curriculars will always be more useful though.

    Work experience isn't usually required - it's tough to get relevant experience for engineering. What is needed is some example of group project working - most engineering degrees (and jobs) will include a large amount of group projects so proof that you can work well in a team to solve problems is valuable material for your PS.
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    I'm already looking at Headstart actually - it's a good sign that we both came to the same conclusion.

    I'm OK with a general engineering course, a bit of variety can't be too awful, even if some of it is electronics.

    I read that too, but since the only modules they really want people to focus on are P, FP and M, why would they want me to waste time on modules that I'll barely use? I think that - assuming all goes well - I'll either get A*A*A* in Maths, Physics and Product Design or A*A*A in Maths, Physics and Further Maths. Which of those would be better?

    Most other Unis like it and it'll be helpful in the long run so I'll probably stick with it. Out of interest, why wouldn't they include it as a bonus? Some unis lower their offer by one grade if you do well in the EPQ.

    Fair enough.

    I did NCS last summer. I guess that counts as group work.
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    Hi, I'm a year 12 student currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Product Design (the OCR one that's actually worth something) for AS plus the EPQ. I have a few questions about applying to uni, specifically Cambridge, which I think I have at least a chance of getting into.

    1) Do I have to take Further Maths for A2?
    I like Product Design way more, and I know the Cambridge FM way more, but is there some middle ground, such as taking FP2 as a standalone module? (I think my school does S2 and S3 for the other two modules for FM A2 anyway, so I won't be missing much)
    You need at least AS FM, and ideally A2 for Cambridge. Concentrate on Mechanics modules.

    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    2) How much do Cambridge - or indeed any other good uni such as Imperial of Bath - care about the EPQ?
    Or should I basically ditch it and focus on my A levels?
    It wouldn't be part of your offer. But that's not to say you should drop it.

    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    3) How much do Cambridge or any others care about extracurricular stuff?
    I'm probably going to be Grade 6 Trumpet and near to black belt Karate by the time I apply, and I run philosophy club at my school as well as helping out with D&T club and tutoring Year 11s in Physics, Maths, History and Engineering GCSEs.
    Extracurriculars are not relevant for Cambridge.

    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    4) How theoretical is the course?
    I've heard some say Cambridge's Engi course is all equations and no actual design and manufacture, but the uni itself says it's not. Would I be better off going to a place like Bath if I would prefer a more practical course?
    It's fully accredited. Bath would not be much more "practical".

    Note that you choose your actual specialisation during the 2nd year - until then all modules are compulsory and give you a "general" engineering foundation. Also, many Cambridge students actually change their mind from their originally intended specialisation.

    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    5) How much do they care about work experience?
    I did 2 weeks in a garage in year 10 and that was pretty ****, but there's a possibility my school could line me up with a summer job with a company that makes satellites.
    Work experience is not required. But if you can get some then, sure, go for it.
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    I read that too, but since the only modules they really want people to focus on are P, FP and M, why would they want me to waste time on modules that I'll barely use? I think that - assuming all goes well - I'll either get A*A*A* in Maths, Physics and Product Design or A*A*A in Maths, Physics and Further Maths. Which of those would be better?
    They have been known to give A*A*A offers with the A*s specified in FM and Physics. This is effectively an A*A*A* offer...

    Also, Engineers do use statistics in real life so S modules can be useful... And D modules may help for EEE. But, yes Mechanics is most useful.
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    The one thing that Cambridge seems to care more about than any other uni is AS levels and your individual module grades.The average over the three most relevant subjects (which in your case is Maths, Further Maths and Physics) will be really important to them. If you get an average of 93% you'll be compulsory pooled and if you get around 95% or higher you'll stand a very very very good chance. So the best thing you can do is ace the exams. Do some C1 and C2 past papers every now and then, even in like March when you probably haven't looked at the book in a couple of months as those exams are your best chance to get 100's and increase the average. I know this seems really early to tell you about AS exams but I wish I knew how important they were when I did them.
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    So what would be the disadvantages of doing the FP2 module by itself then? I'd probably get better grades overall, and end up with a bonus module that they will take notice of. S2 and S3, while useful in a few situations, don't really seem like they would be worth the time and effort.

    "It's fully accredited. Bath would not be much more "practical".

    Why not? Bath's course is mainly coursework, with a far greater emphasis on labs. Why would being fully accredited make it less practical?

    Also, how can you get an A*A*A offer with A*s in Physics and FM? They line up the modules so that your grade in M is always equal to or better than FM.
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    Also, how can you get an A*A*A offer with A*s in Physics and FM? They line up the modules so that your grade in M is always equal to or better than FM.
    That's why I said it is basically an A*A*A* offer.

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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    "It's fully accredited. Bath would not be much more "practical".

    Why not? Bath's course is mainly coursework, with a far greater emphasis on labs.
    Yes Cambridge uses exams more that coursework/labwork. But you do get 8 hours of lab work per week.

    But don't underestimate the academic emphasis of any leading engineering uni's course. Although, for sure, Cambridge *is* more academically focussed than most.
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    Wait, are you talking about offers with 4 A2s?
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    Wait, are you talking about offers with 4 A2s?
    The typical Cambridge offer, as you probably know, is A*A*A. But they are likely to specify which three if you are offering four. i.e. they will prioritise Maths, FM & Physics. Some colleges do sometimes make a 4 A2 offer - and that would be A*A*AA - again they are likely to specifiy the A*s in Maths and Physics.

    Also some colleges may include a 1 in STEP I in the offer.

    PS. Please quote people if you are looking for a reply.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    The typical Cambridge offer, as you probably know, is A*A*A. But they are likely to specify which three if you are offering four. i.e. they will prioritise Maths, FM & Physics. Some colleges do sometimes make a 4 A2 offer - and that would be A*A*AA - again they are likely to specifiy the A*s in Maths and Physics.
    I'm just confused as to what you mean by an A*A*A offer with A* in FM and Physics. How can a person taking only 3 A2s get that arrangement of grades?

    Also, would the FP2 standalone (if I did it) be included in any offers? Cambridge look at individual module UMS, so it would have to be noticed by someone.
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    I'm just confused as to what you mean by an A*A*A offer with A* in FM and Physics. How can a person taking only 3 A2s get that arrangement of grades?

    Also, would the FP2 standalone (if I did it) be included in any offers? Cambridge look at individual module UMS, so it would have to be noticed by someone.
    I have, twice, said an A*A*A offer with the A* required in FM and Physics is effectively an A*A*A* offer. I agree it's unlikely to get an A in Maths and an A* in FM. So if Cambridge is asking you to get an A* in FM, by implication they also expect you to get an A* in Maths too. Note, I dont know if all colleges ask for the A* in FM - but Christ's, for one, is likely to.

    If you took FP2 early (in Y12) it would be noticed in your application and included in your Maths UMS averages (they average all your Maths & FM modules together for your application). It wouldn't make your actual offer any lower though.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    I have, twice, said an A*A*A offer with the A* required in FM and Physics is effectively an A*A*A* offer. I agree you can't get an A in Maths and an A* in FM. So if Cambridge is asking you to get an A* in FM, by implication they also expect you to get an A* in Maths too. Note, I dont know if all colleges ask for the A* in FM - but Christ's, for one, is likely to.If you took FP2 early (in Y12) it would be noticed in your application and included in your Maths UMS averages (they average all your Maths & FM modules together for your application). It wouldn't make your actual offer any lower though.

    Oh! So you're saying that it wouldn't be an A*A*A offer at all, it would just be a disguised A*A*A*. That makes more sense.


    So, my alternatives are:
    1. Do FM, have a less enjoyable Y12, probably get a lower grade but have a more realistic chance of Cambridge
    2. Do PD, have a more enjoyable Y12, probably get a higher grade but have a lower chance of Cambridge
    3. Do PD and FP2 standalone (FP2 will almost certainly be in Y13), have a more enjoyable yet also more intense Y13, and probably still end up with a lower chance of Cambridge.

    Damn.
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    As far as I'm aware, you can get an A* in FM and an A in maths if your average of C3 and C4 is less than 90.
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    camb is less practical
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    what's the point of doing one standalone module?
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    Oh! So you're saying that it wouldn't be an A*A*A offer at all, it would just be a disguised A*A*A*. That makes more sense.


    So, my alternatives are:
    1. Do FM, have a less enjoyable Y12, probably get a lower grade but have a more realistic chance of Cambridge
    2. Do PD, have a more enjoyable Y12, probably get a higher grade but have a lower chance of Cambridge
    3. Do PD and FP2 standalone (FP2 will almost certainly be in Y13), have a more enjoyable yet also more intense Y13, and probably still end up with a lower chance of Cambridge.

    Damn.
    My son took M&FM and Physics to A2 but Art only to AS. He dropped Art after AS to focus on the other 3 (plus STEP). He got a Cambridge offer.
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    What grades did he get?

    Btw, was this for Architecture? I heard they had a ridiculous acceptance rate (like 10% or something)
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    (Original post by Beelzebob14)
    What grades did he get?

    Btw, was this for Architecture? I heard they had a ridiculous acceptance rate (like 10% or something)
    Engineering. He got A*A*A but the A was in Physics and needed to be an A*. He also got 1 in STEP I so they admitted him. And a high A in Art at AS.

    Architecture has a (slightly) lower acceptance rate but only A*AA offers. A difference is the need to have a good portfolio.
 
 
 
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