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    The context for this question is my hopes to apply for an Oxbridge university, specifically Cambridge, so please can you try and cater responses for Cambridge (if the two differ at all on this subject).

    I am on track to get many A*s at my GCSEs and hope to continue this into A-Level. Assuming I have the appropriate standard of qualifications for the Cambridge course which I'd like to apply for (Natural Sciences), what else do I require to be a successful applicant. Cambridge state that they mainly care about your academic ability, but many accounts and anecdotal evidence suggest that actually this is very important, for instance those often repeated stories of relative who had 6 A*s at A-Level but didn't get a place, etc.

    I currently manage and participate in the school's debating society. I plan to also complete the extended project next year. Are these "extracurricular" activities combined with the required grades 'enough' to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    TL;DR Assuming my grades are perfect, are there other things required to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    Many thanks.
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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    The context for this question is my hopes to apply for an Oxbridge university, specifically Cambridge, so please can you try and cater responses for Cambridge (if the two differ at all on this subject).

    I am on track to get many A*s at my GCSEs and hope to continue this into A-Level. Assuming I have the appropriate standard of qualifications for the Cambridge course which I'd like to apply for (Natural Sciences), what else do I require to be a successful applicant. Cambridge state that they mainly care about your academic ability, but many accounts and anecdotal evidence suggest that actually this is very important, for instance those often repeated stories of relative who had 6 A*s at A-Level but didn't get a place, etc.

    I currently manage and participate in the school's debating society. I plan to also complete the extended project next year. Are these "extracurricular" activities combined with the required grades 'enough' to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    TL;DR Assuming my grades are perfect, are there other things required to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    Many thanks.
    TL;DR No.

    To expand, ECs are not interesting to Cambridge. Super Curriculars (ECs that are directly relevant to your intended course) can be helpful, but are not required.

    A passion (or at the very least, a strong interest) in your subject is all that is required on top of your academics.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    TL;DR No.

    To expand, ECs are not interesting to Cambridge. Super Curriculars (ECs that are directly relevant to your intended course) can be helpful, but are not required.

    A passion (or at the very least, a strong interest) in your subject is all that is required on top of your academics.
    Thanks for your help. Will make sure to excel at my chosen subjects, and will do some super curricular activities!
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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    The context for this question is my hopes to apply for an Oxbridge university, specifically Cambridge, so please can you try and cater responses for Cambridge (if the two differ at all on this subject).

    I am on track to get many A*s at my GCSEs and hope to continue this into A-Level. Assuming I have the appropriate standard of qualifications for the Cambridge course which I'd like to apply for (Natural Sciences), what else do I require to be a successful applicant. Cambridge state that they mainly care about your academic ability, but many accounts and anecdotal evidence suggest that actually this is very important, for instance those often repeated stories of relative who had 6 A*s at A-Level but didn't get a place, etc.

    I currently manage and participate in the school's debating society. I plan to also complete the extended project next year. Are these "extracurricular" activities combined with the required grades 'enough' to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    TL;DR Assuming my grades are perfect, are there other things required to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    Many thanks.
    Two words: extra reading

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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    Two words: extra reading

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    Thank you. I'll do this. Certainly.
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    My son's school told him to make his personal statement 80% academic, and 20% EC, mostly for the other Unis on his UCAS. They were of the view, like others have said, that Oxbridge want you to be good at your chosen subject and demonstrate passion for it. He applied for Maths at Oxford, but the same applies - quotes from teachers at his school who were graduates of Oxford and Cambridge included 'they won't care if you did DoE or were captain of the 1st XI, they just want you to be really good at Maths'.
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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    Thanks for your help. Will make sure to excel at my chosen subjects, and will do some super curricular activities!
    (Original post by cheshiremum)
    My son's school told him to make his personal statement 80% academic, and 20% EC, mostly for the other Unis on his UCAS. They were of the view, like others have said, that Oxbridge want you to be good at your chosen subject and demonstrate passion for it. He applied for Maths at Oxford, but the same applies - quotes from teachers at his school who were graduates of Oxford and Cambridge included 'they won't care if you did DoE or were captain of the 1st XI, they just want you to be really good at Maths'.
    This is a good point - Oxbridge might not care about ECs but some other unis do (Durham for one).

    So an 80:20 in your standard PS is absolutely fine, and Cambridge won't mind. They ask you to (optionally) complete an extra PS anyway in the SAQ they send you when you apply.
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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    The context for this question is my hopes to apply for an Oxbridge university, specifically Cambridge, so please can you try and cater responses for Cambridge (if the two differ at all on this subject).

    I am on track to get many A*s at my GCSEs and hope to continue this into A-Level. Assuming I have the appropriate standard of qualifications for the Cambridge course which I'd like to apply for (Natural Sciences), what else do I require to be a successful applicant. Cambridge state that they mainly care about your academic ability, but many accounts and anecdotal evidence suggest that actually this is very important, for instance those often repeated stories of relative who had 6 A*s at A-Level but didn't get a place, etc.

    I currently manage and participate in the school's debating society. I plan to also complete the extended project next year. Are these "extracurricular" activities combined with the required grades 'enough' to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    TL;DR Assuming my grades are perfect, are there other things required to be a successful Cambridge applicant?

    Many thanks.
    I remember reading a prospectus of theirs. Unless the extra-curricular activities are related to the course you're applying to, then they hardly give a sh*t. Those people with 100% UMS or close most likely did bad on the entrance exams (e.g. BMAT) or did bad in the interview.
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    (Original post by champ_mc99)
    I remember reading a prospectus of theirs. Unless the extra-curricular activities are related to the course you're applying to, then they hardly give a sh*t. Those people with 100% UMS or close most likely did bad on the entrance exams (e.g. BMAT) or did bad in the interview.
    Correct!

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    They say they want to know if you can think. They are going to ask (very) searching questions. And come back to them to see if you can think more deeply. Also they will weigh up whether you will benefit from the opportunities they offer. So, although ECs as such are not specified they will help you to broaden your outlook and expand your horizons. If all you know about is your A level syllabus you may be in trouble.

    Somewhere on the Cambridge site there are example interviews. Very helpful.

    Also there used to be details of their 'flagging' scheme. So they flag anyone who they think has achieved in exceptional circumstances - eg spent time in care, come from an under performing school or one with no previous Cambridge candidates etc. Lots of people get excellent A level results. They are after the very best - will you stand out?
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    All I can offer is our experience. My daughter did related ECs in her field (archaeology in Israel) and her experience of real work gave her very original essay ideas, about which they questioned her at length at interview. In our opinion, her experience was key to her getting an offer. She did plenty of unrelated ECs and did not mention them.
 
 
 
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