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    Hello all, and thanks for taking the time to read this.

    So I'm sure we can all agree that A - Level reforms certainly took us by surprise, whether for better or for worse I'm not sure. In my case I want to apply for Natural Science at Cambridge, a University who bases their admission process around the whole AS examination period, which has now been scrapped (Cheers Gove ). Cambridge highly advise students to still do AS exams, however my school won't let it happen for various reasons, and is sticking to the 2 year period.

    Ultimately my aim here is to present the best application for Cambridge I can deliver, and whereas before I could of shown a great academic upward trajectory with my AS exams, that's no longer an easy option.

    So I'm faced with a choice, either I take the AS exams externally at another institution that does them, provided I get all the content covered (I'm confident that I know my stuff), and perhaps do it right so that Cambridge see intuition and what-not, or I wait it out, get my A2 results and other relevant grades and apply a year later, waiting much longer but with a more complete application. I'm not disadvantaged in anyway, but there's a chance to look better to admissions tutors, and "do it for Cambridge".

    Before anyone asks I've asked Cambridge themselves and even they're not sure, so does anyone have any advice, or is in a similar situation?

    Thanks in Advance
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
    Hello all, and thanks for taking the time to read this
    ....
    Before anyone asks I've asked Cambridge themselves and even they're not sure, so does anyone have any advice, or is in a similar situation?

    Thanks in Advance
    Cheers for the tag. But the answer is I (and I imagine the other tagees) don't know! Sorry... but as you say yourself Cambridge hasn't yet announced what their own plans are - and probably won't until early next year at the earliest.

    Personally I wouldn't recommend going external to your school's planned exam regime. There's no point. The majority of applicants will all be in the same position.

    And you will still have Maths modules to take in Y12 (I presume...)

    Also to your 2nd option, of applying post-A2, again that's unnecessary. Just apply in Y13 as normal. *If* you are rejected then sure, apply again post A2.
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
    Hello all, and thanks for taking the time to read this.

    So I'm sure we can all agree that A - Level reforms certainly took us by surprise, whether for better or for worse I'm not sure. In my case I want to apply for Natural Science at Cambridge, a University who bases their admission process around the whole AS examination period, which has now been scrapped (Cheers Gove ). Cambridge highly advise students to still do AS exams, however my school won't let it happen for various reasons, and is sticking to the 2 year period.

    Ultimately my aim here is to present the best application for Cambridge I can deliver, and whereas before I could of shown a great academic upward trajectory with my AS exams, that's no longer an easy option.

    So I'm faced with a choice, either I take the AS exams externally at another institution that does them, provided I get all the content covered (I'm confident that I know my stuff), and perhaps do it right so that Cambridge see intuition and what-not, or I wait it out, get my A2 results and other relevant grades and apply a year later, waiting much longer but with a more complete application. I'm not disadvantaged in anyway, but there's a chance to look better to admissions tutors, and "do it for Cambridge".

    Before anyone asks I've asked Cambridge themselves and even they're not sure, so does anyone have any advice, or is in a similar situation?

    Thanks in Advance
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    Cambridge will announce about the details of changes they're making in their selection method/process sometime early next year, so probably you can decide what to do after the announcement. Until then, I don't think anyone can guess what may be a good strategy.
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
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    I wouldn't worry (I know that's easier said than done). There are going to be lots of people in your position, and Cambridge aren't going to setup a system which lets large numbers of bright students who would thrive at Cambridge slip through the gaps.

    Remember also that Cambridge interview over 80% of applicants (the 20% they don't interview will often not even go on to get AAA at A level).

    I have to agree with jneill though - I definitely wouldn't change schools or when you sit your exams based on trying to improve your chances (it almost certainly won't help).
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Cambridge hasn't yet announced what their own plans are - and probably won't until early next year at the earliest.
    I'm not sure that Cambridge know what their own plans are yet...
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    (Original post by jneill)
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    Argh, the frustration!! :P

    But you're probably correct, I thought perhaps if I tried to take advantage of this 'sudden change' Cambridge would recognise the motivation to be a student there, but it is rather irrational.

    Thanks as always Jneill!
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
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    I suppose, it's not helped by the fact that there's so much split debate between what to do!

    Thank you very much for the advice however, I shall have to wait and observe!
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
    I'm not sure that Cambridge know what their own plans are yet...
    They do. One of the ATs confirmed they have decided, but won't be formally announcing what the decision is until early next year.

    (I don't know why they are delaying the announcement - maybe they want Admissions staff to focus on this round of applications so they are done and dusted first.).
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    (Original post by jneill)
    They do. One of the ATs confirmed they have decided, but won't be formally announcing what the decision is until early next year.

    (I don't know why they are delaying the announcement - maybe they want Admissions staff to focus on this round of applications so they are done and dusted first.).
    Ah interesting (although I guess they need to have decided, not least since prospectuses will be designed and printed before too long!)

    There's also the risk of it confusing some of those currently in the process of applying (or at least their teachers/parents).
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
    Ah interesting (although I guess they need to have decided, not least since prospectuses will be designed and printed before too long!)

    There's also the risk of it confusing some of those currently in the process of applying (or at least their teachers/parents).
    Yes, to both!
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
    Ah interesting (although I guess they need to have decided, not least since prospectuses will be designed and printed before too long!)

    There's also the risk of it confusing some of those currently in the process of applying (or at least their teachers/parents).
    (Original post by jneill)
    Yes, to both!
    Perhaps into more of a discussion based topic, but I really don't see the Governments aim in all this! What are they trying to achieve with the so-called 'reclaimation' of the older, supposedly 'better' education? It just seems they're making hasty decisions, perhaps to level with international competitors...
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
    Perhaps into more of a discussion based topic, but I really don't see the Governments aim in all this! What are they trying to achieve with the so-called 'reclaimation' of the older, supposedly 'better' education? It just seems they're making hasty decisions, perhaps to level with international competitors...
    The Conservatives want a return to "conservative" education, with fewer public exams - so killing ASs in favour of old-style linear A-levels are central to that.

    And only Cambridge (really) used ASs as a key admissions decision factor (via UMS) and the other unis didn't put up much of a fight to retain them. So Cambridge's voice in support was lost.
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    I doubt Cambridge would let the changes hinder them; you should be OK if you put a killer application in.

    But that is just common sense; whether they go for this or not is different question totally
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    (Original post by jneill)
    The Conservatives want a return to "conservative" education, with fewer public exams - so killing ASs in favour of old-style linear A-levels are central to that.

    And only Cambridge (really) used ASs as a key admissions decision factor (via UMS) and the other unis didn't put up much of a fight to retain them. So Cambridge's voice in support was lost.
    Ah, well there's a lot of sides to this I suppose. What's your opinion on the whole thing?
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
    Ah, well there's a lot of sides to this I suppose. What's your opinion on the whole thing?
    I think ASs are a good step up from the very broad range of GCSEs towards the final "specialisation" of 3 (or 4) A-Levels. And also a helpful set of exams especially for those who did less well at GCSE and can show academic improvement at AS.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    I think ASs are a good step up from the very broad range of GCSEs towards the final "specialisation" of 3 (or 4) A-Levels. And also a helpful set of exams especially for those who did less well at GCSE and can show academic improvement at AS.
    Precisely!^^ Ah well, we shall have to wait to see what they'll come up with!

    I'll stop pestering you now !
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
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    (Original post by vincrows)
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    (Original post by jneill)
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    (Original post by Andy98)
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    Sorry to resurrect the past as it were, but there's been a development in the "news from Cambridge". I attended the Physics Masterclass at Cam today, and the lecturers were asked on the matter of AS reforms and GCSE relevance etc. From what they said, it seems that Cambridge is inevitably putting "more weight" on these factors, i.e. GCSE (with more tests) for those who don't take the exams, thus reverting to the more oxford style of admissions. Though this wasn't official and Cambridge actually hasn't said yet as a collective (I think), that doesn't bode too well for those who can show potential at A - Level, but sadly didn't as much at GCSE, thus it becomes a disadvantage in my application.

    As it happens an undergrad who was helping there said he got an offer with appalling GCSE's, but luckily for him times were less stringent. So I'm quite stressed out as to whether to apply with predicted grades etc. with everyone else, but with a less strong application, or wait for post a - level and get my results then, with a higher chance of success (provided all goes well).

    What do you think chaps? It's such a difficult situation...
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
    Sorry to resurrect the past as it were, but there's been a development in the "news from Cambridge". I attended the Physics Masterclass at Cam today, and the lecturers were asked on the matter of AS reforms and GCSE relevance etc. From what they said, it seems that Cambridge is inevitably putting "more weight" on these factors (with more tests) for those who don't take the exams, thus reverting to the more oxford style of admissions. Though this wasn't official and Cambridge actually hasn't said yet as a collective (I think), that doesn't bode too well for those who can show potential at A - Level, but sadly didn't as much at GCSE, thus it becomes a disadvantage in my application.

    As it happens an undergrad who was helping there said he got an offer with appalling GCSE's, but luckily for him times were less stringent. So I'm quite stressed out as to whether to apply with predicted grades etc. with everyone else, but with a less strong application, or wait for post a - level and get my results then, with a higher chance of success (provided all goes well).

    What do you think chaps? It's such a difficult situation...
    Great info. Thanks!
    I was thinking it's inevitable they'll have to use more admission tests, so no surprise there.
    Will be interesting to see how much the present admission formula changes next year, especially how much it will be like Oxford's, or will it still be quite different from theirs.

    Thanks again for taking time and let us know.
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    Great info. Thanks!
    I was thinking it's inevitable they'll have to use more admission tests, so no surprise there.
    Will be interesting to see how much the present admission formula changes next year, especially how much it will be like Oxford's, or will it still be quite different from theirs.

    Thanks again for taking time and let us know.
    Aha, no problem^^ But what do you think I should do personally?
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    (Original post by Pilate VII)
    Sorry to resurrect the past as it were, but there's been a development in the "news from Cambridge"

    ....

    What do you think chaps? It's such a difficult situation...
    I think my original advice still applies...

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