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    Hi TSR,

    This is my first post, so please forgive me if I've started this thread in the wrong area and apologise beforehand for the ridiculous length of this post

    So I thought I'd ask this question so as to get some opinions and advice on what you think is the best way to proceed with in my current situation. I think it would be a good idea if I gave you a bit of background information before I continue.

    Due to some medical problems I had around Year 8, my parents (who are Indian) decided to send me to India, to live with my uncle and aunt for a change of location, and also because my relatives urged them to do so. And so, I spent two-and-a-half years studying and staying there. In this time, I recovered mostly from my health problems, but due to the, for want of a better phrase - 'harsher' environment, I began to perform poorly in my academic pursuits. Prior to this, I think I was a fairly able student, but more importantly I believe I had an engagement and enthusiasm towards my education.

    Now living with my aunt and uncle was extremely challenging for me then because I struggled to accept their views, particularly because they believed that as my elders they were superior to me in every aspect and so refused to treat me like an equal or to permit me any decisions or control over things like how often I could call my parents, etc.

    Moreover, due to the nature of my medical problems, they often told me I was abnormal, and so the only way for me to 'get better' was to obey them.
    Although I understood that what they did was with the best intentions, it was very frustrating to be shut down on a constant basis. Also because they told me that I would be finishing my education in India with them, and would only go back home to England by the time I had finished my degree in an Indian university, I began to have a very negative view on education. It may be useful to note that as they were the oldest members in my family, they were at the head of the family hierarchy and so they pretty much had the final say in family matters - not to mention the lack of contact with my parents pushed me towards believing them.

    Faced with the prospect of another 5-8 years living under their roof, my view on school changed drastically; I began performing poorly in my subjects and I was constantly failing tests, and exams. But what felt worse, was my gradual loss in interest for learning - something that I had always enjoyed before. Now in hindsight, if I had been more rational and sensible, I could have at least made more of an effort in class. But as is the folly of youth, I did not. What really broke me in terms of my enthusiasm towards education was, the condemnation of my teachers and peers. My poor grades meant that teachers condemned me as being 'good for nothing and a waste of space' and would openly curse me and my future (this is a very serious thing for a teacher to do in India). My classmates treated me as if I was a disease and avoided talking to me in the presence of teachers.

    After a while, through some opportunities to talk to my parents I managed to convince them to let me come back home. And so began my recovery, so to speak. I joined secondary school at the end of Year 10. From there I tried to catch up with all of the education I'd missed over here. While I had recovered mostly from my problems, I still had a lot of anxiety and stress related mental health issues and I developed a gaming addiction on top of this. This almost ruined my GCSE grades, but with the help of my wonderful brother, I was able to quit cold turkey. Overall I got 2 As, 2 Bs and 3 Cs, managing to pass everything but by no means an amazing achievement

    It was only in Year 12 that I began to regain my interest in learning and looking towards a future and it has been over this year that I can truly say I've put these health concerns behind. I developed a keen interest in Law, and have been set on following a career in it ever since. I discovered a passion for Politics that I never knew I had - in fact, my group and I made it to the National Finals of the European Youth Parliament Debate in June! I've also done some work experience at a local law firm and explored my interests in different branches of law. I stumbled upon the Undergraduate Law course offered at Cambridge and fell in love with it, the content and nature of the course is exactly what I want to pursue at university. However, due to some poor choices I made early in the year, I put myself at a disadvantage for Economics, which I have done the exam for, and am awaiting results for.

    To the crux of the question, in the event that I get a bad grade in Economics but an A in AS Gov. & Politics and further A* predicted grades in English Literature and History through internal exams and bolstered by recommendations by teachers in my university application, do I stand a realistic chance of getting a chance to get an interview with Cambridge?


    Hopefully someone out here in this beautiful forum has made it to the end of my rambling and is willing to weigh in!

    P.S. I also plan to do an EPQ next year, just thought I'd mention it
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    (Original post by Krabby Paddy)
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    It's difficult to say, as your extenuating circumstances aren't overly typical - and not something that could easily be explained in your UCAS reference. I think they'll still warrant a mention, particularly as you had a change of location, but it won't necessarily be enough to offset your GCSE results. So I think it's probably worth waiting until after you have completed your A levels before applying (so taking a gap year) and getting the best grades you possibly can, as then you'd have a good chance at getting an interview - showing clear progression from your GCSE results, to AS, to A level shows you'd be a good student. If you get less than AAAB this year I'd advise against applying until you've completed your A levels, as the extenuating circumstances - anxiety and location changing - may not be viewed as impacting your AS results, so they might not be viewed positively by Cambridge.

    Essentially, I think you'd have a chance, just consider carefully which year you apply, particularly if your AS results aren't the very top grades.
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    Are you doing AS's in English Lit and History? If you get 3 A's at AS I think you have a reasonable chance at getting an interview. If your only AS results in October will be an A in Politics and a bad grade in Economics, I think your chances of getting an interview applying in 2016 would be low, and I agree with the advice to wait until you have completed your A-levels before applying (if you have A*AA or higher at that point).
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    My advice: you'll always have a chance of getting an interview if you apply!
    Your circumstances may be taken into consideration but ultimatly Cambridge want to see good grades (and they look at GCSEs less than Oxford). So make sure you have excellent AS/A2 grades, a good PS/report from teacher, and you'lll have a good chance
    Remember next de-select yourself!!
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    (Original post by doctorwhofan98)
    It's difficult to say, as your extenuating circumstances aren't overly typical - and not something that could easily be explained in your UCAS reference. I think they'll still warrant a mention, particularly as you had a change of location, but it won't necessarily be enough to offset your GCSE results. So I think it's probably worth waiting until after you have completed your A levels before applying (so taking a gap year) and getting the best grades you possibly can, as then you'd have a good chance at getting an interview - showing clear progression from your GCSE results, to AS, to A level shows you'd be a good student. If you get less than AAAB this year I'd advise against applying until you've completed your A levels, as the extenuating circumstances - anxiety and location changing - may not be viewed as impacting your AS results, so they might not be viewed positively by Cambridge.

    Essentially, I think you'd have a chance, just consider carefully which year you apply, particularly if your AS results aren't the very top grades.
    Hi, thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it
    I was considering taking a gap year in such a situation, it's good to know that this might be a suitable route to take depending on the circumstances. I understand that my situation might not be viewed very positively, but the anxiety and location changing were a part of the medical problem I was talking about (I decided against going into too much detail on TSR as it is quite personal). But I see your point. On the subject of applying, if I drop Economics, would that have any impact on my application chances? In that event, I would replace it with an EPQ but I was just wondering what you thought. Thanks again!
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    (Original post by sweeneyrod)
    Are you doing AS's in English Lit and History? If you get 3 A's at AS I think you have a reasonable chance at getting an interview. If your only AS results in October will be an A in Politics and a bad grade in Economics, I think your chances of getting an interview applying in 2016 would be low, and I agree with the advice to wait until you have completed your A-levels before applying (if you have A*AA or higher at that point).
    Unfortunately not my school charges all students who want to the AS exams, who passed the mock exams. Thanks for your advice, it seems like taking a gap year might be the best way forward!
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    (Original post by Zara0526)
    My advice: you'll always have a chance of getting an interview if you apply!
    Your circumstances may be taken into consideration but ultimatly Cambridge want to see good grades (and they look at GCSEs less than Oxford). So make sure you have excellent AS/A2 grades, a good PS/report from teacher, and you'lll have a good chance
    Remember next de-select yourself!!
    Hi, thanks for the reassurance! I think I might wait until results and then if I haven't gotten a strong enough grade in Economics then I'll probably take a gap year. Definitely, I'm going to push myself in Year 13 to work harder
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    Ask on an Oxbridge thread - but I think Oxford look at GCSEs less and entrance exams more...so depending on what you want to study Oxford might be a better bet (in my opinion not quite as pretty as Cambridge, but still pretty good), so like a previous poster said, you might be best applying there OR wait, get your A2s and apply after that - with actual results - and either mention your 'mitigating factors' in your statement, or get your academic reference to do it. Work hard, stay focused, and remember that there are lots of other very good Unis.
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    (Original post by Krabby Paddy)
    I stumbled upon the Undergraduate Law course offered at Cambridge and fell in love with it, the content and nature of the course is exactly what I want to pursue at university. However, due to some poor choices I made early in the year, I put myself at a disadvantage for Economics, which I have done the exam for, and am awaiting results for.

    To the crux of the question, in the event that I get a bad grade in Economics but an A in AS Gov. & Politics and further A* predicted grades in English Literature and History through internal exams and bolstered by recommendations by teachers in my university application, do I stand a realistic chance of getting a chance to get an interview with Cambridge?

    P.S. I also plan to do an EPQ next year, just thought I'd mention it
    So you want to read Law.

    And you think you are on target for A*A*A at A-level.

    In that case it is reasonably likely you would get called to interview (approx 80% of applicants are called to interview). You would also do the Cambridge Law Test.

    And then who knows...

    There's nothing to lose by applying in the next cycle for 2017 entry. And if it doesn't work out then you can always apply again in a gap year with excellent A-level results in hand. (If you really want to - there are, of course plenty of other good universities, not just Cambridge, that offer Law.)
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    (Original post by jneill)
    So you want to read Law.

    And you think you are on target for A*A*A at A-level.

    In that case it is reasonably likely you would get called to interview (approx 80% of applicants are called to interview). You would also do the Cambridge Law Test.

    And then who knows...

    There's noting to lose by applying in the next cycle for 2017 entry. And if it doesn't work out then you can always apply again in a gap year with excellent A-level results in hand. (If you really want to - there are, of course plenty of other good universities, not just Cambridge, that offer Law.)

    Hi there, thanks for the help

    I think it's very possible for me to achieve an A in Gov. & Pol, and if I get an A in History and English Literature in the internal exams then my teachers will give me an A* predicted grade which I can hopefully follow through with in Year 13. Because of the spec reforms for A-levels, the new specification for History and English Lit means that I have to do the exams for the whole two years at the end of Year 13. And so my main concern was whether I would even make it to the interview stage!

    I guess it all depends on what my results are, *fingers crossed*
    And I agree there are definitely plenty of other good universities, but the I love the course offered at Cambridge and that's not to say that I would rule out other universities
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    (Original post by Krabby Paddy)
    Hi, thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it
    I was considering taking a gap year in such a situation, it's good to know that this might be a suitable route to take depending on the circumstances. I understand that my situation might not be viewed very positively, but the anxiety and location changing were a part of the medical problem I was talking about (I decided against going into too much detail on TSR as it is quite personal). But I see your point. On the subject of applying, if I drop Economics, would that have any impact on my application chances? In that event, I would replace it with an EPQ but I was just wondering what you thought. Thanks again!
    I just noticed from another post that you're not doing AS levels in two of your subjects - predicted grades are often inflated by many schools (I know people who got Cs/Ds at AS yet predicted As/Bs for no reason), so it may be harder to show your academic capabilities with only a couple of AS subjects, unless they're both good As.

    As for dropping economics, most people only do 3 A levels so that wouldn't disadvantage you. But doing an EPQ wouldn't put you at any advantage really so it's probably best to focus on your three A levels if your school lets you.

    As someone noted, Cambridge does interview most people who apply for law, so doing brilliantly at interview and the law test could get you an offer, regardless of existing grades/circumstances. So I think wait until results day for the relevant subjects and see what grades you have, and then ideally, on an open day, try and speak to a Cambridge tutor and see if they'll comment on your chances. I think it's still best waiting until after completing your A levels before applying, but ultimately there's nothing stopping you applying in consecutive years, so it may well be worth applying while in year 13. It really depends on whether you want to risk it, but I'm sure you'll at least get to the interview stage - then it's just a matter of the interview.
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    (Original post by doctorwhofan98)
    I just noticed from another post that you're not doing AS levels in two of your subjects - predicted grades are often inflated by many schools (I know people who got Cs/Ds at AS yet predicted As/Bs for no reason), so it may be harder to show your academic capabilities with only a couple of AS subjects, unless they're both good As.

    As for dropping economics, most people only do 3 A levels so that wouldn't disadvantage you. But doing an EPQ wouldn't put you at any advantage really so it's probably best to focus on your three A levels if your school lets you.

    As someone noted, Cambridge does interview most people who apply for law, so doing brilliantly at interview and the law test could get you an offer, regardless of existing grades/circumstances. So I think wait until results day for the relevant subjects and see what grades you have, and then ideally, on an open day, try and speak to a Cambridge tutor and see if they'll comment on your chances. I think it's still best waiting until after completing your A levels before applying, but ultimately there's nothing stopping you applying in consecutive years, so it may well be worth applying while in year 13. It really depends on whether you want to risk it, but I'm sure you'll at least get to the interview stage - then it's just a matter of the interview.

    Ah okay, that was also a concern I had. In terms of inflating grades, my school is in the top 25% grades-wise nationally, and so I thought that they might be more reputable (plus my teachers would never bump up predicted grades). But of course I'm no expert and so I could be completely wrong

    I think in the event that I don't secure an A in Economics, then the best route might be to consider a gap year. In regards to the EPQ, would it not be useful in terms of demonstrating a passion/interest in the field that I'd be applying for? (if I was to an EPQ then I would do an essay-based one on Law)

    That's good to hear, I was really afraid I would be ruled out even before I got to an interview because of the high entry requirements and ability of fellow candidates. I wasn't aware that Cambridge interview most of their applicants, so that's a relief in some ways. And I'll definitely try and get some opinions on the Open Day itself! Thanks so much for the help
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    (Original post by cheshiremum)
    Ask on an Oxbridge thread - but I think Oxford look at GCSEs less and entrance exams more...so depending on what you want to study Oxford might be a better bet (in my opinion not quite as pretty as Cambridge, but still pretty good), so like a previous poster said, you might be best applying there OR wait, get your A2s and apply after that - with actual results - and either mention your 'mitigating factors' in your statement, or get your academic reference to do it. Work hard, stay focused, and remember that there are lots of other very good Unis.
    I thought it might be a better idea to post it in the university-specific forum area
    Oh really? I'd always been informed that it was Oxford that placed more emphasis on GCSE results. Although I would also like to apply to Oxford, I prefer the structure of the course itself at Cambridge. Plus I am only allowed to apply to one of the two! It will probably boil down to what I get on results day, hopefully I can meet the needed grades. Thanks for the advice
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    (Original post by Krabby Paddy)
    I thought it might be a better idea to post it in the university-specific forum area
    Oh really? I'd always been informed that it was Oxford that placed more emphasis on GCSE results. Although I would also like to apply to Oxford, I prefer the structure of the course itself at Cambridge. Plus I am only allowed to apply to one of the two! It will probably boil down to what I get on results day, hopefully I can meet the needed grades. Thanks for the advice
    That's fair enough - if you prefer the course at Cambridge, and that's where you actually want to go, that's where you should apply! And yes, I'm not sure what the balance of looking at GCSEs is by course - some courses (I think) care more about subject specific entrance tests. Good luck with it, and do remember that it isn't the end of the world if you don't get an offer.
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    (Original post by cheshiremum)
    That's fair enough - if you prefer the course at Cambridge, and that's where you actually want to go, that's where you should apply! And yes, I'm not sure what the balance of looking at GCSEs is by course - some courses (I think) care more about subject specific entrance tests. Good luck with it, and do remember that it isn't the end of the world if you don't get an offer.
    Definitely! I'd also heard that at Oxford they use a formulaic system to narrow down candidates, although I'm not 100% sure and they might also use this at Cambridge. Thanks so much, and yes of course, there are plenty of good universities out there
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    (Original post by Krabby Paddy)
    Definitely! I'd also heard that at Oxford they use a formulaic system to narrow down candidates, although I'm not 100% sure and they might also use this at Cambridge. Thanks so much, and yes of course, there are plenty of good universities out there
    No admissions selection formulas at Cambridge... they look at every application holistically.

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    (Original post by jneill)
    No admissions selection formulas at Cambridge... they look at every application holistically.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Oh that's a relief! :^_^:
 
 
 
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