Oxford or Cambridge for Physics/natural sciences?

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hellomynameisr
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Hi everyone,

So I recently found out that Cambridge does not offer a standalone Physics degree and so you must go through the natural science route and then specialise in year 2. I am quite confused on which university to apply to next year ( I am in year 12).

I really enjoy Physics and would like to definitely study it at university at either Oxford or Cambridge. However, I do not know which one to go for

I am studying maths, further maths, physics, history and economics at AS and hope to carry maths, fm and physics to A2. I am predicted all A/A*s in my a levels and in my GCSEs I got 3 A*s and 6As.

Do you think I'd have a chance at oxbridge and if so, which is the better option?
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BJack
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If you just want to study physics, you should probably go for Oxford. If you want the opportunity to study a range of things, go for Cambridge. Have a look at what else you'd have to study in first year at Cambridge and see if it appeals to you or not. There is a lot to be said for keeping your options open by going for nat sci at Cambridge but if you're definitely set on physics and aren't interested in doing any geology (say), then Oxford would be the better choice.
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Somadiner
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I do not mean to demoralise you but to get into cambridge 6A* in GCSEs and A*A*A is required as a bare minimum. Some other people do get selected with worse requirements than that but they are EXTREMELY lucky, maybe because of their interviews.
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hellomynameisr
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(Original post by BJack)
If you just want to study physics, you should probably go for Oxford. If you want the opportunity to study a range of things, go for Cambridge. Have a look at what else you'd have to study in first year at Cambridge and see if it appeals to you or not. There is a lot to be said for keeping your options open by going for nat sci at Cambridge but if you're definitely set on physics and aren't interested in doing any geology (say), then Oxford would be the better choice.
Yeah, I need to research more about each course. Also I am off to Cambridge next week for the shadowing scheme for natural sciences so this will be a good opportunity to talk to current students
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hellomynameisr
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(Original post by Somadiner)
I do not mean to demoralise you but to get into cambridge 6A* in GCSEs and A*A*A is required as a bare minimum. Some other people do get selected with worse requirements than that but they are EXTREMELY lucky, maybe because of their interviews.
I haven't seen those requirements before ever lol. Plus a few year 13s in my school got offers from Oxbridge and they didn't have better GCSEs than me. Also I think they take into consideration the area that I'm from and the type of school I attend (state) so this may give me an advantage as I performed amongst the highest in my year.
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Doones
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(Original post by Somadiner)
I do not mean to demoralise you but to get into cambridge 6A* in GCSEs and A*A*A is required as a bare minimum. Some other people do get selected with worse requirements than that but they are EXTREMELY lucky, maybe because of their interviews.
No they don't.

But yes, A*A*A is the typical sciences offer.
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Doones
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(Original post by hellomynameisr)
Hi everyone,

So I recently found out that Cambridge does not offer a standalone Physics degree and so you must go through the natural science route and then specialise in year 2. I am quite confused on which university to apply to next year ( I am in year 12).

I really enjoy Physics and would like to definitely study it at university at either Oxford or Cambridge. However, I do not know which one to go for

I am studying maths, further maths, physics, history and economics at AS and hope to carry maths, fm and physics to A2. I am predicted all A/A*s in my a levels and in my GCSEs I got 3 A*s and 6As.

Do you think I'd have a chance at oxbridge and if so, which is the better option?
You may already know this but first year NatSci at Cambridge looks like this:

Choose three out of these options :
* Biology of Cells
* Chemistry
* Computer Science
* Earth Sciences
* Evolution and Behaviour
* Materials Science
* Physics
* Physiology of Organisms

Plus one of:
* Mathematics
* Mathematical Biology
* Elementary Mathematics for Biologists

Alternatively you can apply to Maths with Physics and then transfer to the NatSci Tripos in year 2 allowing you to concentrate on physics (taking Physics A & B + Maths). If you choose that route you would need to meet a STEP II + III offer due to the Maths component.
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Kvothe the Arcane
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At the end of the day, it will depend on whether you want to study Physics or Natural Sciences.
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Serine Soul
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(Original post by Somadiner)
I do not mean to demoralise you but to get into cambridge 6A* in GCSEs and A*A*A is required as a bare minimum. Some other people do get selected with worse requirements than that but they are EXTREMELY lucky, maybe because of their interviews.
No you don't

OP if you wanna do straight Physics, Oxford

If you wanna do Physics with some other modules on the side, Cambridge
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Serine Soul
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(Original post by Stillnotcool)
Even if you don't get straight A's still give it a shot!
Yep! I got AAAB at AS and got an offer

Also OP, if your school allows you to take AS exams, be sure to concentrate on getting high UMS in Maths/FM/Physics :yep:
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hellomynameisr
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(Original post by enaayrah)
Yep! I got AAAB at AS and got an offer

Also OP, if your school allows you to take AS exams, be sure to concentrate on getting high UMS in Maths/FM/Physics :yep:
Oh thats really good! What uni and course did you go for? and what subjects did you do?
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Serine Soul
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(Original post by hellomynameisr)
Oh thats really good! What uni and course did you go for? and what subjects did you do?
Cambridge Natural Sciences (applied for biochem elsewhere)

Bio, Chem and Maths (took Lit at AS and got a B)
Feel free to ask other questions!
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samb1234
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(Original post by hellomynameisr)
Hi everyone,

So I recently found out that Cambridge does not offer a standalone Physics degree and so you must go through the natural science route and then specialise in year 2. I am quite confused on which university to apply to next year ( I am in year 12).

I really enjoy Physics and would like to definitely study it at university at either Oxford or Cambridge. However, I do not know which one to go for

I am studying maths, further maths, physics, history and economics at AS and hope to carry maths, fm and physics to A2. I am predicted all A/A*s in my a levels and in my GCSEs I got 3 A*s and 6As.

Do you think I'd have a chance at oxbridge and if so, which is the better option?
Reasons I applied to nat sci rather than straight physics:

1. Nat sci allows you to try new subjects/subjects you wouldn't normally take at degree level. Yes, the chances are that I'll still end up specialising in physics, but at the end of the day for a year you essentially get to trial various things. Worst case scenario you don't like them very much and after ghe first year you drop them anyway and take physics a physics b maths, best case you really enjoy them and maybe even continue on with them.

2. I felt that the cambridge admissions system was more predictable - oxfords emphasis on admissions tests means that a lot of people from my school in the past didn't get in when they almost certainly should have. Obviously the cambridge process will have to change so bear that in mind.

3. I preferred cambridge as a place, just personal preference tbh.

Finally, on the whether you can apply question a lot of it is just having the confidence in yourself that you can do it. Work hard towards exams, develop your interest in the subject etc etc and if you do that than why shouldn't you stand a chance, and even so you have 5 choices on ucas anyway so it really doesn't matter if you didn't get an offer.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by hellomynameisr)
Hi everyone,

So I recently found out that Cambridge does not offer a standalone Physics degree and so you must go through the natural science route and then specialise in year 2. I am quite confused on which university to apply to next year ( I am in year 12).

I really enjoy Physics and would like to definitely study it at university at either Oxford or Cambridge. However, I do not know which one to go for

I am studying maths, further maths, physics, history and economics at AS and hope to carry maths, fm and physics to A2. I am predicted all A/A*s in my a levels and in my GCSEs I got 3 A*s and 6As.

Do you think I'd have a chance at oxbridge and if so, which is the better option?
Well, it depends on which course you'd prefer. Do you want to study a range of sciences for a couple of years before specialising or are you confident that you want to specialise in Physics? Take a look at the specific modules offered by the respective universities.
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Tmr77
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(Original post by Serine Soul)
Cambridge Natural Sciences (applied for biochem elsewhere)

Bio, Chem and Maths (took Lit at AS and got a B)
Feel free to ask other questions!
what did you get at GCSE?
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Serine Soul
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(Original post by Tmr77)
what did you get at GCSE?
5A*s and 6As
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Greenarrow123
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(Original post by Serine Soul)
5A*s and 6As
I live in the netherlands and i dont quite understand the british grades, can anyone rate an A* and an A from a range of 1 to 10? Thanks
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TheNicholas
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(Original post by greenarrow123)
i live in the netherlands and i dont quite understand the british grades, can anyone rate an a* and an a from a range of 1 to 10? Thanks
a* 9/10
a 8/10
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Greenarrow123
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I live in the Netherlands, and i dont quite understand the british grades, can anyone explain what an A* and an A are on a range from 1 to 10? Thanks
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TheNicholas
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(Original post by Greenarrow123)
I live in the Netherlands, and i dont quite understand the british grades, can anyone explain what an A* and an A are on a range from 1 to 10? Thanks
I've replied above
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