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    Hi,

    I am in year 12 and getting ready to start my ucas preperation.
    We all know about University of Cambridge being the most prestigious and high acheiving but I want to know how it actually feels to be studying there.
    Im aiming for chemical engineering so can current students in Cambridge express your personal experience at Cambridge.
    How much work do you put in and do you het any time to socialise?
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    (Original post by Angeltiger59)
    Hi,

    I am in year 12 and getting ready to start my ucas preperation.
    We all know about University of Cambridge being the most prestigious and high acheiving but I want to know how it actually feels to be studying there.
    Im aiming for chemical engineering so can current students in Cambridge express your personal experience at Cambridge.
    How much work do you put in and do you het any time to socialise?
    Well I'm (going to be) a 4th year chemist, have quite a few friends in engineering, chemical engineering.

    Honestly, amount of work varies. Not only on the subject, but also on the person - their capabilities, their personality, etc. Some people are perfectionists or take great pride in all their work, even if its only for a supervision. Others (like me) believe that doing the minimum required is best so you can go and do other things. Engineering is of course a reasonably conceptual course - some people pick up and learn new things faster than others. These people get more free time. Some people really enjoy their work, some gradually start to get annoyed by their degree. There's also different philosophies. Whilst, I think, most people put work as their number 1 priority, some people have sport or another extra circular as their top priority and try to fit work around that.

    Let's talk numbers: if 3-4 A-Levels is roughly 20 school hours + 6-7 homework hours (per week) and then revision might go up to 40-50 hours. Then I think even doing the minimum for a degree is probably more than this. 1st year natsci is 40+ hours to do the minimum, and obviously if you are struggling and need to read notes again or go over things more then this will go up and up. If you are efficient, you can probably bring this down to 30 or so, but it's definitely "more" than school. You don't really have a day off work unless you are very good and efficient about doing assignments. Sometimes, your workload can spike or you missed some stuff and are trying to catch up or you have something important due in, or you are really struggling with a topic - in this case you might spend almost all week doing work.

    So yeah, depending on how clever/efficient/hard working/ how little you care/how many hours sleep you naturally need it's probably between 25-45 hours a week. 25 would be naughty, 45 would be excessive for most people (probably struggling to understand and needing extra time). Even a conservative estimate of total time is closer to 80 hours a week, so there is plenty of time for socializing and sport! But you have to be sensible. If you have 2 lectures + a workshop + a supervision tomorrow, you can't really go clubbing. Also, there might be a party later, but you've spent the whole day doing work so you might be a bit down. Going for a rowing outing might mean you miss the first 30 minutes of a lecture (this is probably fine though). Inevitably, you will find some good friends within your course because of how your time is divided.


    The key word in cambridge is efficiency (and probably damage limitation). You have 12 (difficult) problems to do - avoiding procrastination means this could maybe be less than 3 hours. But I've known people who get stuck (if you are badly stuck, move on) or spend the whole day at their desk "doing work" which should have been done ages ago. Another common scenario is you have 2 hours to do something which should take 5 hours - in this case you need to learn how to make it look like you put 5 hours work in This is the skill i am most proud of having.

    I may have painted a negative light of cambridge here. There is a reason terms are only 8 weeks long. By week 6-7, most people have had enough of work and are drained. At the end of week 8, it is common to go home and just sleep for a few days. Most of my friends would say they love and hate cambridge
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    (Original post by R T)
    Well I'm (going to be) a 4th year chemist, have quite a few friends in engineering, chemical engineering.

    Honestly, amount of work varies. Not only on the subject, but also on the person - their capabilities, their personality, etc. Some people are perfectionists or take great pride in all their work, even if its only for a supervision. Others (like me) believe that doing the minimum required is best so you can go and do other things. Engineering is of course a reasonably conceptual course - some people pick up and learn new things faster than others. These people get more free time. Some people really enjoy their work, some gradually start to get annoyed by their degree. There's also different philosophies. Whilst, I think, most people put work as their number 1 priority, some people have sport or another extra circular as their top priority and try to fit work around that.

    Let's talk numbers: if 3-4 A-Levels is roughly 20 school hours + 6-7 homework hours (per week) and then revision might go up to 40-50 hours. Then I think even doing the minimum for a degree is probably more than this. 1st year natsci is 40+ hours to do the minimum, and obviously if you are struggling and need to read notes again or go over things more then this will go up and up. If you are efficient, you can probably bring this down to 30 or so, but it's definitely "more" than school. You don't really have a day off work unless you are very good and efficient about doing assignments. Sometimes, your workload can spike or you missed some stuff and are trying to catch up or you have something important due in, or you are really struggling with a topic - in this case you might spend almost all week doing work.

    So yeah, depending on how clever/efficient/hard working/ how little you care/how many hours sleep you naturally need it's probably between 25-45 hours a week. 25 would be naughty, 45 would be excessive for most people (probably struggling to understand and needing extra time). Even a conservative estimate of total time is closer to 80 hours a week, so there is plenty of time for socializing and sport! But you have to be sensible. If you have 2 lectures + a workshop + a supervision tomorrow, you can't really go clubbing. Also, there might be a party later, but you've spent the whole day doing work so you might be a bit down. Going for a rowing outing might mean you miss the first 30 minutes of a lecture (this is probably fine though). Inevitably, you will find some good friends within your course because of how your time is divided.


    The key word in cambridge is efficiency (and probably damage limitation). You have 12 (difficult) problems to do - avoiding procrastination means this could maybe be less than 3 hours. But I've known people who get stuck (if you are badly stuck, move on) or spend the whole day at their desk "doing work" which should have been done ages ago. Another common scenario is you have 2 hours to do something which should take 5 hours - in this case you need to learn how to make it look like you put 5 hours work in This is the skill i am most proud of having.

    I may have painted a negative light of cambridge here. There is a reason terms are only 8 weeks long. By week 6-7, most people have had enough of work and are drained. At the end of week 8, it is common to go home and just sleep for a few days. Most of my friends would say they love and hate cambridge
    I have very bad social life curre tly due to my family being traditional and very restrictive. For me university will be literally be my ticket to freedom. Obviously I want to study but i also want a reasonably good social life.
    In terms of a happy social life and student satisfaction would you recommend cambridge.
    Btw thx for the info about the amount revision.
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    (Original post by Angeltiger59)
    I have very bad social life curre tly due to my family being traditional and very restrictive. For me university will be literally be my ticket to freedom. Obviously I want to study but i also want a reasonably good social life.
    In terms of a happy social life and student satisfaction would you recommend cambridge.
    Btw thx for the info about the amount revision.
    Yes, there is more than enough chance to get involved socially and have a good time. Student satisfaction is high here (work hard, play hard).

    The point of my post is trying to be realistic. A lot of applicants have loads of hobbies (playing an instrument, sport, socialising, etc) - you can't do all of this at uni if you're doing a science subject. You can definitely do a few, but you won't be able to play 2 sports and go to a lot of parties all the time and expect to be on top of all your academic work.

    My answer about recommending cambridge is complicated. If you can deal with the workload and stress, I recommend cambridge. This is the point of admissions - the staff will generally only give offers to people they are sure can handle it here. So basically, I recommend cambridge to offer holders, but not to everyone. Someone who can't get A*AA (minimum) at A-Level will have a miserable time here trying to keep up.
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    (Original post by R T)
    Yes, there is more than enough chance to get involved socially and have a good time. Student satisfaction is high here (work hard, play hard).

    The point of my post is trying to be realistic. A lot of applicants have loads of hobbies (playing an instrument, sport, socialising, etc) - you can't do all of this at uni if you're doing a science subject. You can definitely do a few, but you won't be able to play 2 sports and go to a lot of parties all the time and expect to be on top of all your academic work.

    My answer about recommending cambridge is complicated. If you can deal with the workload and stress, I recommend cambridge. This is the point of admissions - the staff will generally only give offers to people they are sure can handle it here. So basically, I recommend cambridge to offer holders, but not to everyone. Someone who can't get A*AA (minimum) at A-Level will have a miserable time here trying to keep up.
    Yh I understand now. It doe make sense. Different people will think different about Cambridge. So basically, if I get an offer I should go but if I don't than its just an indication that I wont be able to cooe with all the work.

    Thx for clearing my mind. I just wasnt sure if I would enjoy it if i was to go there. But Ill first I should wait see if I get an offer as tis will show if I can cope with it.

    Thz once again.
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    This is excellent advice for any future applicants. I was rejected for engineering last year and am glad. I have an engineering hobby which I love, takes me around the UK and am not prepared to compromise on. Cambridge didn't like this. You need to be prepared to give your all to Cambridge. Science subjects are time consuming, at Cambridge even more so.
    So I am ( hopefully subject to A2, still need the A* 's at other unis), going to study the same course at a top uni but where a little more time is available for engineering extra curricular and where it appears to be encouraged a little more.
    Think about what you want your university experience to be. If socialising/parties are a priority for example (and there is nothing wrong with that), then Cambridge will afford less time for that. Alternatively if you relish the thought of a VERY competitive academic environment where you will no longer be the best and will need to study for 30-40 hours per week, go for Oxbridge. I learnt so much going through the UCAS process last year and TSR offers good advice at times.
    1) look beneath the "hype" all unis advertise including Oxbridge;
    2) choose a course you are genuinely interested in, always course first, uni second.
    3) what do you want your experience to be. There really is no "one size fits all"
    Make SMART choices that suit you and best of luck.
 
 
 
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