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    I applied to study Maths at Imperial, Warwick, Bath, Bristol, and Oxford. I was rejected by Oxford and have offers from the rest. I did not get interviewed by Oxford, I think this was because my GCSE's and MAT score was too low. You've probably all heard this before, but I genuinely had a bad day during the MAT. I scored 116 (best score in my college ever) in the Senior Maths Challenge and 28 in the British Maths Olympiad Round 1. I am unsure whether what I would like to do. I always liked the idea of going to Oxford as its where I grew up and live. However, upon my rejection from Oxford, I am unsure if its worth reapplying. Here is some contextual knowledge:
    GCSE(s): 9A 2A* (A* in Maths and Further Maths)
    AS Levels: AAAA in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry
    A-Level predictions: A*A*A*A*
    Senior Maths Challenge score: 116
    British Maths Olympiad Round 1 score: 28

    I gather that I probably have less of a chance to get into Oxford the second time around, as they will be expecting much greater things from a student who has had one extra year to prepare compared to the rest of applicants. I had an idea in mind, but I am not sure if its feasible: Maybe, I could accept an offer from Imperial or Warwick and defer entry until next year. By then I will have my A-Level results, and I could reapply to Oxford with these - hopefully encouraging - grades. If I were to be rejected a second time round, could I then take my deferred place for Imperial/Warwick? Is it worth taking a year out? It's not like I would be doing nothing - I'd most likely complete some extension modules on A-Level Maths, take part in some more maths competitions, I could even retake some of my modules just to show that I'm not forgetting everything (I had heard Oxford specifically do not like Maths applicants taking a 'gap' year because Maths at Oxford is so demanding and they might forget everything from A-level!). Long story short, looking for some friendly advice.
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    I applied to study Maths at Imperial, Warwick, Bath, Bristol, and Oxford. I was rejected by Oxford and have offers from the rest. I did not get interviewed by Oxford, I think this was because my GCSE's and MAT score was too low. You've probably all heard this before, but I genuinely had a bad day during the MAT. I scored 116 (best score in my college ever) in the Senior Maths Challenge and 28 in the British Maths Olympiad Round 1. I am unsure whether what I would like to do. I always liked the idea of going to Oxford as its where I grew up and live. However, upon my rejection from Oxford, I am unsure if its worth reapplying. Here is some contextual knowledge:
    GCSE(s): 9A 2A* (A* in Maths and Further Maths)
    AS Levels: AAAA in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry
    A-Level predictions: A*A*A*A*
    Senior Maths Challenge score: 116
    British Maths Olympiad Round 1 score: 28

    I gather that I probably have less of a chance to get into Oxford the second time around, as they will be expecting much greater things from a student who has had one extra year to prepare compared to the rest of applicants. I had an idea in mind, but I am not sure if its feasible: Maybe, I could accept an offer from Imperial or Warwick and defer entry until next year. By then I will have my A-Level results, and I could reapply to Oxford with these - hopefully encouraging - grades. If I were to be rejected a second time round, could I then take my deferred place for Imperial/Warwick? Is it worth taking a year out? It's not like I would be doing nothing - I'd most likely complete some extension modules on A-Level Maths, take part in some more maths competitions, I could even retake some of my modules just to show that I'm not forgetting everything (I had heard Oxford specifically do not like Maths applicants taking a 'gap' year because Maths at Oxford is so demanding and they might forget everything from A-level!). Long story short, looking for some friendly advice.
    Now I can't say I'm an expert- you should look this up and confirm this elsewhere- but Oxford aren't too nice about year redoers. My girlfriend was rejected because she had to take a year out for MEDICAL reasons despite achieving extremely high ELAT scores.

    (Also, Oxford are quite biased towards GCSE grades compared to Cam, and you can't change those now)

    It seems like you would benefit more reapplying to Cambridge. Since you are redoing a year, one of your strong points will be A level performance, so apply to Cambridge where you can boast about your UMS scores, which you can't in Oxford.

    In eithe case make sure you are productive in your gap year. Good luck.
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    I had an idea in mind, but I am not sure if its feasible: Maybe, I could accept an offer from Imperial or Warwick and defer entry until next year. By then I will have my A-Level results, and I could reapply to Oxford with these - hopefully encouraging - grades. If I were to be rejected a second time round, could I then take my deferred place for Imperial/Warwick?
    No. If you reapply to Oxford then your deferred place at Imperial or Warwick automatically disappears.

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    (Original post by Abscissa)
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    It's definitely possible to just have a bad day for the MAT. I certainly did, and followed it up with a bad few days at interview. I wasn't sure I'd be reapplying because Warwick is an excellent place to study maths, so I held onto my Warwick offer until I had my A level results and then ended up making a successful second application (but this time for chemistry instead of maths). As ageshallnot said, you can't hold on to a deferred offer if you're making a second UCAS application, so you will have to decide at somepoint whether to risk losing a place at Warwick/Imperial just to take a second shot at Oxford.

    As far as application strength and expectations are concerned, I'm not sure the expectations are that much higher for second timers. For my chemistry interviews, I was asked the same questions as the other candidates and got in because I did better than enough of the others. One point to note (which you'll probably have noticed from the MAT) is that the questions are more a test of how well you can think than an inspection of what mathematical techniques you already know. The maths itself tends to be reasonably simple and it's a question of whether you can apply these simple ideas to more and more complicated problems. I wouldn't recommend retaking modules, as your offer won't depend on those retakes and it might look a bit like you are only willing to demonstrate that you can do something you've already done. It would be much better to cover some bridging material, such as these problem sets from Oxford, to show that you are still serious about making progress.

    In the end, I decided to reapply because I knew I could do better having been through the process once and for a different subject that I seemed better-suited for. If you're confident that you can do better (and from your background and what you've said, it sounds like you could), a reapplication is worth considering. But you've got until August to decide, so don't rush into it and, for the time being, focus on getting the best grades you can this summer. Good luck!

    (Original post by LibertyMan)
    Now I can't say I'm an expert- you should look this up and confirm this elsewhere- but Oxford aren't too nice about year redoers. My girlfriend was rejected because she had to take a year out for MEDICAL reasons despite achieving extremely high ELAT scores.
    You mentioned "year redoers" — is that what you mean? There's a big difference between having a gap year and redoing a year. I know a number of people (myself included) who applied after finishing school and got in for a mix of subjects (not maths but my school had no maths reapplicants and I didn't know many mathmos at Oxford either). Did the feedback specifically mention the year out as a problem? It seems like a very strange reason to reject someone, especially(?) for something where a year out is clearly not going to have a serious detrimental effect on your academic ability.

    It seems like you would benefit more reapplying to Cambridge. Since you are redoing a year, one of your strong points will be A level performance, so apply to Cambridge where you can boast about your UMS scores, which you can't in Oxford.
    Not redoing a year, taking a gap year. You can (and should!) have teachers mention your UMS results in the reference if they're good.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    It's definitely possible to just have a bad day for the MAT. I certainly did, and followed it up with a bad few days at interview. I wasn't sure I'd be reapplying because Warwick is an excellent place to study maths, so I held onto my Warwick offer until I had my A level results and then ended up making a successful second application (but this time for chemistry instead of maths). As ageshallnot said, you can't hold on to a deferred offer if you're making a second UCAS application, so you will have to decide at somepoint whether to risk losing a place at Warwick/Imperial just to take a second shot at Oxford.

    As far as application strength and expectations are concerned, I'm not sure the expectations are that much higher for second timers. For my chemistry interviews, I was asked the same questions as the other candidates and got in because I did better than enough of the others. One point to note (which you'll probably have noticed from the MAT) is that the questions are more a test of how well you can think than an inspection of what mathematical techniques you already know. The maths itself tends to be reasonably simple and it's a question of whether you can apply these simple ideas to more and more complicated problems. I wouldn't recommend retaking modules, as your offer won't depend on those retakes and it might look a bit like you are only willing to demonstrate that you can do something you've already done. It would be much better to cover some bridging material, such as these problem sets from Oxford, to show that you are still serious about making progress.

    In the end, I decided to reapply because I knew I could do better having been through the process once and for a different subject that I seemed better-suited for. If you're confident that you can do better (and from your background and what you've said, it sounds like you could), a reapplication is worth considering. But you've got until August to decide, so don't rush into it and, for the time being, focus on getting the best grades you can this summer. Good luck!



    You mentioned "year redoers" — is that what you mean? There's a big difference between having a gap year and redoing a year. I know a number of people (myself included) who applied after finishing school and got in for a mix of subjects (not maths but my school had no maths reapplicants and I didn't know many mathmos at Oxford either). Did the feedback specifically mention the year out as a problem? It seems like a very strange reason to reject someone, especially(?) for something where a year out is clearly not going to have a serious detrimental effect on your academic ability.



    Not redoing a year, taking a gap year. You can (and should!) have teachers mention your UMS results in the reference if they're good.
    Yes. Oxford is insane.

    You can show your UMS to Oxford via a reference but in Cambridge you fill out a form that details exactly which modules you did and your UMS in them, which is good for showing your specific skills. Plus, they care about UMS quite a bit.

    Again, look into the stories of people doing gap years / redoing years, whatever, and what their experience is. Run google through and through.
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    I applied to study Maths at Imperial, Warwick, Bath, Bristol, and Oxford. I was rejected by Oxford and have offers from the rest.

    Long story short, looking for some friendly advice.
    Can't speak for Oxford but some of the Cambridge colleges are fine with gap year applicants for Maths. Notably Queens', but there's others too (I can find the list if you want it). You would have to do well at STEP though...

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    I was once in a similar position to you (albeit with Cambridge instead of Oxford), but I then decided to go with ICL. Tbh I just thought I'd be wasting a year by reapplying. Although a PG offer has made up for it, I do regret the decision I made at the time

    Since you can't do any better than a full-house of A* grades, I'm of the opinion that it'd be worth reapplying should you get those grades in summer (especially if you intend to do other Maths-related stuff in your year out)

    It's all down to you, but I hope this helps
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    (Original post by LibertyMan)
    Yes. Oxford is insane.

    You can show your UMS to Oxford via a reference but in Cambridge you fill out a form that details exactly which modules you did and your UMS in them, which is good for showing your specific skills. Plus, they care about UMS quite a bit.

    Again, look into the stories of people doing gap years / redoing years, whatever, and what their experience is. Run google through and through.
    UMS will be disappearing shortly anyway because of the removal of AS levels. Oxford take a holistic approach to applications and will consider your UMS if you include it.

    You can't lump gap years and redoing years together through 'gap years / redoing years' - they are not the same thing. Redoing years means you need an extra year to complete the education, gap years mean you do something else or something additional in that time.

    It may come as a shock to you to know that the people you're replying to actually have very good knowledge concerning the Oxford admissions process and that googling for stories isn't a very good way of gaining accurate information.
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    (Original post by LibertyMan)
    Jesus Christ I'm just trying to help, I've said several times for you mentally inexperienced people to consult other sources because I don't have a full picture of Oxford admissions.

    Doing a gap year for academic reasons such as getting bad results or failing an application has a negative stigma attached to it- are you really arguing that there isn't?
    What I'm trying to explain to you, is that the people you have responded to are not 'mentally inexperienced' and DO have a full picture of Oxford admissions.

    If you do a gap year because you got bad results, and then repeat any papers to improve your grades - then that is not a gap year. That is re-doing a year. Failing to get into a University and then re-applying the next year has no negative stigma attached. People do gap years for various reasons and universities will be unaware if you applied the previous year, unless you apply to the same university again. Even then the chances are they won't notice amongst the many applications they receive.
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    (Original post by Lucilou101)
    People do gap years for various reasons and universities will be unaware if you applied the previous year, unless you apply to the same university again. Even then the chances are they won't notice amongst the many applications they receive.
    And even if they do notice, they're unlikely to care. Universities are looking for the best students they can get, after all.

    (Original post by Indeterminate)
    Also, you can always defer entry to ICL/Warwick, so you've got nothing to lose by doing so!
    As was mentioned above, you can't hold onto UCAS offers and make a fresh application the next year. If you make a new application, your old application and any offers for deferred entry that you might have accepted are lost.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    And even if they do notice, they're unlikely to care. Universities are looking for the best students they can get, after all.



    As was mentioned above, you can't hold onto UCAS offers and make a fresh application the next year. If you make a new application, your old application and any offers for deferred entry that you might have accepted are lost.
    Of course! My brain mustn't have been working very well last night :facepalm:
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    Hi guys, sorry for not replying, I have been very busy. Thank you for all your comments, they have really given some food for thought. In conclusion I think I will be reapplying to Oxford, it would be a shame to give up on a long term goal of mine, and I think the risk is justified. I will be sitting STEP II and III this year, and after completing my A-Levels I will be taking some more A-Level Maths modules (although I've nearly done all of them already!). Does anybody have any suggestions for what I can do during my 'gap year' (not really a gap year, going to be studying at the same rate I am now)?. Generally, I will be doing more STEP papers, BMO1/2 papers and generally refining my mathematical / problem solving ability.
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    Hi guys, sorry for not replying, I have been very busy. Thank you for all your comments, they have really given some food for thought. In conclusion I think I will be reapplying to Oxford, it would be a shame to give up on a long term goal of mine, and I think the risk is justified. I will be sitting STEP II and III this year, and after completing my A-Levels I will be taking some more A-Level Maths modules (although I've nearly done all of them already!). Does anybody have any suggestions for what I can do during my 'gap year' (not really a gap year, going to be studying at the same rate I am now)?. Generally, I will be doing more STEP papers, BMO1/2 papers and generally refining my mathematical / problem solving ability.
    i think BMO1/02, STEP I-III and the rest of the additional further maths course should keep you quite busy

    you could do AEA if you wanted aswell, although it wouldn't be very time consuming considering you'll be doing STEP

    maybe you could tutor maths also, you could make a little bit of money next year

    best of luck though
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    (Original post by DylanJ42)
    i think BMO1/02, STEP I-III and the rest of the additional further maths course should keep you quite busy

    you could do AEA if you wanted aswell, although it wouldn't be very time consuming considering you'll be doing STEP

    maybe you could tutor maths also, you could make a little bit of money next year

    best of luck though
    Hopefully I don't flop the MAT this time. Yes, I might do some tutoring, I have been asked by some of my mums friends to tutor their children before, but have always been too busy.
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    Hopefully I don't flop the MAT this time. Yes, I might do some tutoring, I have been asked by some of my mums friends to tutor their children before, but have always been too busy.
    what did you get this year? (i got rejected pre interview )

    tutoring seems like a nice way to make money, plus you get to revise some useful gcse stuff (eg circle theorems i think) which may be useful
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    I applied to study Maths at Imperial, Warwick, Bath, Bristol, and Oxford. I was rejected by Oxford and have offers from the rest. I did not get interviewed by Oxford, I think this was because my GCSE's and MAT score was too low. You've probably all heard this before, but I genuinely had a bad day during the MAT. I scored 116 (best score in my college ever) in the Senior Maths Challenge and 28 in the British Maths Olympiad Round 1. I am unsure whether what I would like to do. I always liked the idea of going to Oxford as its where I grew up and live. However, upon my rejection from Oxford, I am unsure if its worth reapplying. Here is some contextual knowledge:
    GCSE(s): 9A 2A* (A* in Maths and Further Maths)
    AS Levels: AAAA in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry
    A-Level predictions: A*A*A*A*
    Senior Maths Challenge score: 116
    British Maths Olympiad Round 1 score: 28

    I gather that I probably have less of a chance to get into Oxford the second time around, as they will be expecting much greater things from a student who has had one extra year to prepare compared to the rest of applicants. I had an idea in mind, but I am not sure if its feasible: Maybe, I could accept an offer from Imperial or Warwick and defer entry until next year. By then I will have my A-Level results, and I could reapply to Oxford with these - hopefully encouraging - grades. If I were to be rejected a second time round, could I then take my deferred place for Imperial/Warwick? Is it worth taking a year out? It's not like I would be doing nothing - I'd most likely complete some extension modules on A-Level Maths, take part in some more maths competitions, I could even retake some of my modules just to show that I'm not forgetting everything (I had heard Oxford specifically do not like Maths applicants taking a 'gap' year because Maths at Oxford is so demanding and they might forget everything from A-level!). Long story short, looking for some friendly advice.
    Sorry to hear about your situation. If you're set on Oxbridge, there is no reason you couldn't get there (also nice to meet a follow BMO'er). I'd re-apply to Cambridge though (and get really good UMS in your A2s) and STEP I this summer if possible - I was in a really good position for interview as I did STEP I early (and did well). Asking the admissions tutors at Oxford, they don't care about STEP at all for some reason. In short, you'll need to make a commitment to work hard and be focussed, but it's definitely achievable.
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    (Original post by klegend02)
    Sorry to hear about your situation. If you're set on Oxbridge, there is no reason you couldn't get there (also nice to meet a follow BMO'er). I'd re-apply to Cambridge though (and get really good UMS in your A2s) and STEP I this summer if possible - I was in a really good position for interview as I did STEP I early (and did well). Asking the admissions tutors at Oxford, they don't care about STEP at all for some reason. In short, you'll need to make a commitment to work hard and be focussed, but it's definitely achievable.
    I've been doing some STEP past papers recently, but apparently the more recent papers are a lot harder... Any tips for preparing?
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    I've been doing some STEP past papers recently, but apparently the more recent papers are a lot harder... Any tips for preparing?
    Do loads of past papers. Don't trust the solutions on TSR as unless they're by someone reputable (eg the legendary DFranklin or SimonM) they're probably wrong. There are some absolutely hilarious mistakes. Tbh BMO'ers usually do well on STEP as they understand what it means to actually write out a proof etc.
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    (Original post by klegend02)
    Do loads of past papers. Don't trust the solutions on TSR as unless they're by someone reputable (eg the legendary DFranklin or SimonM) they're probably wrong. There are some absolutely hilarious mistakes. Tbh BMO'ers usually do well on STEP as they understand what it means to actually write out a proof etc.
    Would you say its better to do the papers timed under exam conditions (choosing my best 6 questions etc) or going through all the questions, not timed obviously, until you get completely stuck (then I'd refer to a solution for a hint)
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    (Original post by Abscissa)
    Would you say its better to do the papers timed under exam conditions (choosing my best 6 questions etc) or going through all the questions, not timed obviously, until you get completely stuck (then I'd refer to a solution for a hint)
    Latter initially (but don't look at the solutions, ever) then former closer to exams.
 
 
 
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