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Making up for low AS grades at UCAS application

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    Hi, average under-performing AS student here who treated AS like GCSE. Could you offer some advice please?

    Expecting:
    A Maths
    A Computer Science
    B/C Physics
    B-D Further Maths

    Not planning to drop any. I was getting Us until I started working harder about March, so I'm hoping that working 50 hour weeks next year I can get A's and A*'s, but my AS grades won't be a good indicator of that, and there's no winter exams now for me to prove myself.

    I was going for AAAA this year and I'm in the Oxbridge tutor group, so I've made a right embarrassment of myself. I was looking at Cambridge/Imperial/Warrick for Computer Science W/& Mathematics, but evidently my AS grades won't be supporting that. What's the best option for me to get into the best university that I can, assuming that I achieve the stated A-Level grades?

    There's plenty that can support my application such as STEP, extra-curricular coding/scripting/Project Euler etcetera, wide academic reading, I'm state schooled, and from a neighbourhood with poor progression, but the grades are the problem.

    - Suck it up and go to a more average uni, upgrade for MSc. Looking at other applicants it looks like King's is an option.
    - Third year? Don't see that going well with Unis or being necessary, but could take extra subjects, self-teaching additional further could look good? Alternatively, take completely different subjects and say that I retook because of a change of interests rather than terrible results!
    - Reapply after first year Uni? Sounds expensive.
    - Apply to Unis above what my AS grades support with the intention of entering the pool/extra or being contacted again after my grades are submitted? That's my favoured plan at the moment.

    Thanks so much in advance, I've really messed up and don't have many ideas.
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    Well if you're expecting those grades then you've got nothing to worry about (except maybe not being able to get an offer from Cambridge). Everybody applies to unis above what their AS grades are.

    Come back after results day.
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    Thanks, I will do.

    Is there any way I can still get a Cambridge offer? I know with such a poor result in further that's the final nail for this year, but is there any way I can utilize a third year if I work my spherical danglers off? I'm doing four this year, what if I fitted full additional further and chemistry A-Levels in next year with maybe an AS or EPQ for good measure? Then if I could get a killer step result next year I would have it before applying? If there's a way to do it through hard work, I'll do it, however insane?
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    Hi, average under-performing AS student here who treated AS like GCSE. Could you offer some advice please?

    Expecting:
    A Maths
    A Computer Science
    B/C Physics
    B-D Further Maths

    Not planning to drop any. I was getting Us until I started working harder about March, so I'm hoping that working 50 hour weeks next year I can get A's and A*'s, but my AS grades won't be a good indicator of that, and there's no winter exams now for me to prove myself.

    I was going for AAAA this year and I'm in the Oxbridge tutor group, so I've made a right embarrassment of myself. I was looking at Cambridge/Imperial/Warrick for Computer Science W/& Mathematics, but evidently my AS grades won't be supporting that. What's the best option for me to get into the best university that I can, assuming that I achieve the stated A-Level grades?

    There's plenty that can support my application such as STEP, extra-curricular coding/scripting/Project Euler etcetera, wide academic reading, I'm state schooled, and from a neighbourhood with poor progression, but the grades are the problem.

    - Suck it up and go to a more average uni, upgrade for MSc. Looking at other applicants it looks like King's is an option.
    - Third year? Don't see that going well with Unis or being necessary, but could take extra subjects, self-teaching additional further could look good? Alternatively, take completely different subjects and say that I retook because of a change of interests rather than terrible results!
    - Reapply after first year Uni? Sounds expensive.
    - Apply to Unis above what my AS grades support with the intention of entering the pool/extra or being contacted again after my grades are submitted? That's my favoured plan at the moment.

    Thanks so much in advance, I've really messed up and don't have many ideas.
    You could retake your weakest (UMS wise) units? However this will only really work if you missed a grade you should have got.

    For example, say you were predicted to get a strong A in C1 yet came out with a high B. It is likely your teachers will predict you the grade which you were working towards providing you retake. However, if your teachers were expecting you to get a B and you got a B but want to retake - in my school's case, they won't predict higher.
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    Thanks, I will do.

    Is there any way I can still get a Cambridge offer? I know with such a poor result in further that's the final nail for this year, but is there any way I can utilize a third year if I work my spherical danglers off? I'm doing four this year, what if I fitted full additional further and chemistry A-Levels in next year with maybe an AS or EPQ for good measure? Then if I could get a killer step result next year I would have it before applying? If there's a way to do it through hard work, I'll do it, however insane?
    To be honest, if you get B or worse in FM at AS-level I think making a successful Cambridge application would be a stretch.

    But applying post A-level is certainly an option. If you really want to go down that route keep in mind that there's still no guarantee you will get a Cambridge offer. If you have a strong plan B then that's fine...

    There's absolutely no point loading up more A-levels though. It's quality not quantity for Cambridge (or any university for that matter).
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    (Original post by jneill)
    To be honest, if you get B or worse in FM at AS-level I think making a successful Cambridge application would be a stretch.

    But applying post A-level is certainly an option. If you really want to go down that route keep in mind that there's still no guarantee you will get a Cambridge offer. If you have a strong plan B then that's fine...

    There's absolutely no point loading up more A-levels though. It's quality not quantity for Cambridge (or any university for that matter).
    It's not that it's too much for me, I didn't work hard enough, I need some solid academic results to prove myself. Would <=B or worse this year hold me back permanently?

    By applying post A-Level, do you mean to try and get Cambridge worthy results this year, expect to be turned down, take another round of subjects and reapply? Or simply not apply this year, but apply next year? What should I do in the intervening time is the question, really.

    That's unfortunate, if that was an option I'd leap at it.

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    It's not that it's too much for me, I didn't work hard enough, I need some solid academic results to prove myself. Would <=B or worse this year hold me back permanently?

    By applying post A-Level, do you mean to try and get Cambridge worthy results this year, expect to be turned down, take another round of subjects and reapply? Or simply not apply this year, but apply next year? What should I do in the intervening time is the question, really.

    That's unfortunate, if that was an option I'd leap at it.

    Thanks!
    There's no harm in applying this year - the worst that would happen is you get an early rejection, and you never know. And yes you can re-apply next year. But this is all supposition. It would be better to have the conversation AFTER you get your AS results.

    And applying post A-level means you apply in your gap year with results already achieved. It might be an idea to do something "useful" during the gap year and taking AFM could be one thing, but there's no point adding extra A-levels for the sake of it.
    Also if you do apply post A-level you would ideally need to exceed the typical offer (For CompSci w/Maths that's A*A*A, 1,1 in STEP II & III) to be competitive.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    There's no harm in applying this year - the worst that would happen is you get an early rejection, and you never know. And yes you can re-apply next year. But this is all supposition. It would be better to have the conversation AFTER you get your AS results.

    And applying post A-level means you apply in your gap year with results already achieved. It might be an idea to do something "useful" during the gap year and taking AFM could be one thing, but there's no point adding extra A-levels for the sake of it.
    Also if you do apply post A-level you would ideally need to exceed the typical offer (For CompSci w/Maths that's A*A*A, 1,1 in STEP II & III) to be competitive.
    Of course I'll keep seeking advice and further opinions, but going by what you're saying I'll definitely apply this year. It would be worth if for lots of reasons, other than just seeing the place I would have the experience of an interview. (Though would it not be worth applying to Oxford this year? I heard that Oxbridge loves taking each other's better rejects as a form of one-upmanship, I don't know how true that is?)

    I think AFM would be a sensible thing to do, maybe I'd take an EPQ too to show off some fancy mathematical computation but nought else if there's no point. I'd spend some time working on computational mathematics and programming, maybe some MOOCS or similar so I had something to show for it.

    That sounds like a horrible offer to have to try and one-up as a re-applicant, but it is what it is. If I was in that ballpark then I'd hope I'd be no worse off for choice of Universities than I'd be otherwise for 2017 entry.

    What sort of results would I be expected to achieve this year to be a competitive re-applicant? Should I really be getting S grades in STEP? I don't mean to sound like a slacker by asking for the minimum, but rather I'm worried about what is actually possible.

    Thanks again, I'm really grateful for your insight.
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    Hi, average under-performing AS student here who treated AS like GCSE. Could you offer some advice please?

    Expecting:
    A Maths
    A Computer Science
    B/C Physics
    B-D Further Maths

    Not planning to drop any. I was getting Us until I started working harder about March, so I'm hoping that working 50 hour weeks next year I can get A's and A*'s, but my AS grades won't be a good indicator of that, and there's no winter exams now for me to prove myself.

    I was going for AAAA this year and I'm in the Oxbridge tutor group, so I've made a right embarrassment of myself. I was looking at Cambridge/Imperial/Warrick for Computer Science W/& Mathematics, but evidently my AS grades won't be supporting that. What's the best option for me to get into the best university that I can, assuming that I achieve the stated A-Level grades?

    There's plenty that can support my application such as STEP, extra-curricular coding/scripting/Project Euler etcetera, wide academic reading, I'm state schooled, and from a neighbourhood with poor progression, but the grades are the problem.

    - Suck it up and go to a more average uni, upgrade for MSc. Looking at other applicants it looks like King's is an option.
    - Third year? Don't see that going well with Unis or being necessary, but could take extra subjects, self-teaching additional further could look good? Alternatively, take completely different subjects and say that I retook because of a change of interests rather than terrible results!
    - Reapply after first year Uni? Sounds expensive.
    - Apply to Unis above what my AS grades support with the intention of entering the pool/extra or being contacted again after my grades are submitted? That's my favoured plan at the moment.

    Thanks so much in advance, I've really messed up and don't have many ideas.
    If you are expecting those than its very good. Your AS grades don't matter a lot its your predicted grades and personal statement you should worry about. All the best on results day :P
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    Of course I'll keep seeking advice and further opinions, but going by what you're saying I'll definitely apply this year. It would be worth if for lots of reasons, other than just seeing the place I would have the experience of an interview. (Though would it not be worth applying to Oxford this year? I heard that Oxbridge loves taking each other's better rejects as a form of one-upmanship, I don't know how true that is?)
    Yes it would be a good learning experience at least (and as I said, you never know). If you get to interview then you will also do the CSAT (admissions test) which can help improve your chances.

    No, there's no point trying to play off Cambridge and Oxford. If you prefer the Oxford course, apply there from the start. If you prefer Cambridge apply there. The admissions processes are subtly different and I think you'd do better having a potentially "dry run" with the university you actually want to go to.

    I think AFM would be a sensible thing to do, maybe I'd take an EPQ too to show off some fancy mathematical computation but nought else if there's no point. I'd spend some time working on computational mathematics and programming, maybe some MOOCS or similar so I had something to show for it.
    Yep - that's all good. Even AFM may not be necessary if you are doing MOOCS etc.

    That sounds like a horrible offer to have to try and one-up as a re-applicant, but it is what it is. If I was in that ballpark then I'd hope I'd be no worse off for choice of Universities than I'd be otherwise for 2017 entry.
    The offer only includes STEP because you are adding the "w/Maths" bit. And there's a chance of being moved across to the non w/Maths options if you don't meet the STEP requirement. (That's not guaranteed and depends on the college.)

    What sort of results would I be expected to achieve this year to be a competitive re-applicant? Should I really be getting S grades in STEP? I don't mean to sound like a slacker by asking for the minimum, but rather I'm worried about what is actually possible.
    No, getting 1,1 would be competitive enough. Although there's a possibilty they might ask you to also get a S in any STEP paper in your gap year. Again, it depends on the college and their view of cruel and unusual treatment

    Thanks again, I'm really grateful for your insight.
    No problem

    And have a look at the 2017 Applicants thread...
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=3164815
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    Hey, I'm back!

    Right:
    A Maths
    A Computer Science
    B Further Maths
    B Physics

    Not massively great UMS, I edged the maths to be honest. Somehow I got a B in both C1 and C2, no idea what happened there.

    Any point applying to Cambridge this year? I'm not enthusiastic about waiting another year to reapply, so unless I don't get any offers I like this year, I'll take somewhere else. I mean, I'm pretty sure the answer there is no, but I'd like to hear it said.

    I'm interested in Cambridge, Imperial, Warwick, Bath, and Durham. I know the first two are a bit of a stretch, but do you think my AS grades will get me (an) offer/s from the latter three? I have no doubt I can meet those types of offer, I went from U, E, D grades to A and B in a couple months by working harder and I've got the pace set for this coming year.

    And what about Imperial? Have I a chance there?

    So three questions please. Is a Cambridge app 100% pointless this year, does it seem reasonable that I might get some offers from War/Bat/Dur and do I have a chance with Imperial? Thanks!
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    Hey, I'm back!

    Right:
    A Maths
    A Computer Science
    B Further Maths
    B Physics

    Not massively great UMS, I edged the maths to be honest. Somehow I got a B in both C1 and C2, no idea what happened there.

    Any point applying to Cambridge this year? I'm not enthusiastic about waiting another year to reapply, so unless I don't get any offers I like this year, I'll take somewhere else. I mean, I'm pretty sure the answer there is no, but I'd like to hear it said.

    I'm interested in Cambridge, Imperial, Warwick, Bath, and Durham. I know the first two are a bit of a stretch, but do you think my AS grades will get me (an) offer/s from the latter three? I have no doubt I can meet those types of offer, I went from U, E, D grades to A and B in a couple months by working harder and I've got the pace set for this coming year.

    And what about Imperial? Have I a chance there?

    So three questions please. Is a Cambridge app 100% pointless this year, does it seem reasonable that I might get some offers from War/Bat/Dur and do I have a chance with Imperial? Thanks!
    Your FM is the issue. I think Cambridge would be a long shot, and probably also Imperial. Offers are likely from Warwick & Bath. Durham can be, um, idiosyncratic...
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Your FM is the issue. I think Cambridge would be a long shot, and probably also Imperial. Offers are likely from Warwick & Bath. Durham can be, um, idiosyncratic...
    It's bad, unfortunately. Could I do it again it wouldn't happen, but that's what I'm stuck with. Disappointing to hear, what do you call a long shot? I'm quite happy to throw one or two if there's a 5% chance. I've seen Imperial make some offers to AABC candidates, but I assume that's with an A in further.

    As for Durham, do you mean they can be a bit odd? I've noticed them making some offers to low-ball candidates and rejecting top ones; I assume this is at-least partly to do with their weighting system based on college performance.

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    It's bad, unfortunately. Could I do it again it wouldn't happen, but that's what I'm stuck with. Disappointing to hear, what do you call a long shot? I'm quite happy to throw one or two if there's a 5% chance. I've seen Imperial make some offers to AABC candidates, but I assume that's with an A in further.

    As for Durham, do you mean they can be a bit odd? I've noticed them making some offers to low-ball candidates and rejecting top ones; I assume this is at-least partly to do with their weighting system based on college performance.

    Thanks!
    Cambridge gives you another "chance to shine" via its CSAT test, so maybe it could be your super-optimistic choice.

    I'm not an expert on Durham's processes...

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    (Original post by jneill)
    Cambridge gives you another "chance to shine" via its CSAT test, so maybe it could be your super-optimistic choice.

    I'm not an expert on Durham's processes...

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    I did forget about the CSAT, you raise a very good point. It's a thing that exists, even if the chances of my getting anything out of it aren't in my favour, when are they with Cambridge? At-least an interview gets me to see the place. I think I'll chance it applying to those 5 and in the case that I don't get any offers I'd rather reapply than settle for somewhere inferior.

    Massive thanks!
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    I did forget about the CSAT, you raise a very good point. It's a thing that exists, even if the chances of my getting anything out of it aren't in my favour, when are they with Cambridge? At-least an interview gets me to see the place. I think I'll chance it applying to those 5 and in the case that I don't get any offers I'd rather reapply than settle for somewhere inferior.

    Massive thanks!
    The CSAT is taken on the day of interview. But they do interview most (approx 80%) applicants.

    https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/admissions/...missions-test/

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    I'm really set on Cambridge; I have to try my hardest or I'm going to always feel a failure.

    My January mocks were ADUU and it was months after them I realized how stupid I was being and got my grades to what I did, I'm sure I can be of the best standard. I've been getting into college at opening time and staying till closing time since about March and that's how I got from ADUU to AABB, so I'm confident that by doing that all the way through next year I can get a smattering of A's and A*s, but I won't have an offer.

    I'll be taking STEP, MAT and AEA. If I achieved, say, A*A*AA and 1,1 could I be a competitive reapplicant? I'd be showing a clear trend in my ability from GCSE onwards. I want to try and get the £2k together for that residential you hate so much next year, because anything that can help is worth every penny to me.

    It's pretty obvious I shouldn't get an offer with my AS but reapplying with the right A2 seems to be the last chance I have for undergraduate. As we discussed in June, I'd be looking at-least to take AFM and a relevant EPQ in that third year. It would also be sensible to have a crack at the BMO.

    And if I want to do that, should I apply this year? I'm concerned if I turn down Bath/Warwick/Durham offers this year that I won't get them again. Only if I got an Imperial offer I might be stupid not to take it, but I don't really like London that much. I also feel that I'd have a better chance going for straight Cam Computer Science this year and maybe even next year too, but that makes my personal statement really awkward if I apply for the joint degree elsewhere.

    Thanks so much, sorry for being a pain. Is it still a possible plan, or am I being silly?
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    And if I want to do that, should I apply this year? I'm concerned if I turn down Bath/Warwick/Durham offers this year that I won't get them again. Only if I got an Imperial offer I might be stupid not to take it, but I don't really like London that much. I also feel that I'd have a better chance going for straight Cam Computer Science this year and maybe even next year too, but that makes my personal statement really awkward if I apply for the joint degree elsewhere.

    Thanks so much, sorry for being a pain. Is it still a possible plan, or am I being silly?
    I'd be very surprised if you didn't get offers again from the same universities if you reapply. They don't hold grudges...

    And your PS should be aimed at the other universities. Cambridge gets the SAQ with a specific PS.

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    I'm glad to hear that. I was under the impression that universities would be less obliged to make an offer had I previously rejected them, so I think I got confused and maybe that's only had I firmed them.

    I was under the impression that the PS SAQ was less important seeing as it's not compulsory, but I'll definitely try and make the best use of it, thanks for saying so.

    I'd like to ask one last thing if you don't mind, do you think that a reapplication after A2 is realistic? I'm about ready to go for it, but I'd like to hear that it isn't a fool's errand, at-least for what one of those might be when Cambridge is so competitive just to begin with.
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    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    I'm really set on Cambridge; I have to try my hardest or I'm going to always feel a failure.

    My January mocks were ADUU and it was months after them I realized how stupid I was being and got my grades to what I did, I'm sure I can be of the best standard. I've been getting into college at opening time and staying till closing time since about March and that's how I got from ADUU to AABB, so I'm confident that by doing that all the way through next year I can get a smattering of A's and A*s, but I won't have an offer.

    I'll be taking STEP, MAT and AEA. If I achieved, say, A*A*AA and 1,1 could I be a competitive reapplicant? I'd be showing a clear trend in my ability from GCSE onwards. I want to try and get the £2k together for that residential you hate so much next year, because anything that can help is worth every penny to me.

    It's pretty obvious I shouldn't get an offer with my AS but reapplying with the right A2 seems to be the last chance I have for undergraduate. As we discussed in June, I'd be looking at-least to take AFM and a relevant EPQ in that third year. It would also be sensible to have a crack at the BMO.

    And if I want to do that, should I apply this year? I'm concerned if I turn down Bath/Warwick/Durham offers this year that I won't get them again. Only if I got an Imperial offer I might be stupid not to take it, but I don't really like London that much. I also feel that I'd have a better chance going for straight Cam Computer Science this year and maybe even next year too, but that makes my personal statement really awkward if I apply for the joint degree elsewhere.

    Thanks so much, sorry for being a pain. Is it still a possible plan, or am I being silly?
    (Original post by dragonzrmetal)
    I'm glad to hear that. I was under the impression that universities would be less obliged to make an offer had I previously rejected them, so I think I got confused and maybe that's only had I firmed them.

    I was under the impression that the PS SAQ was less important seeing as it's not compulsory, but I'll definitely try and make the best use of it, thanks for saying so.

    I'd like to ask one last thing if you don't mind, do you think that a reapplication after A2 is realistic? I'm about ready to go for it, but I'd like to hear that it isn't a fool's errand, at-least for what one of those might be when Cambridge is so competitive just to begin with.
    You need to quote me otherwise I may miss your post

    If you reapply with A*A*AA and 1,1 then yes you would be competitive for Cambridge. (But there's no guarantees... )

    But please think VERY carefully about spending £2k on a residential...
 
 
 
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