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    Hey everyone,

    I'm just about to start year 13, and I'm trying to decide between whether to apply for Cambridge or Oxford. I'm currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry at a crappy state comprehensive, and want to study Physics, or possibly PhysNatSci. At GCSE I achieved 8A*, an A^ (F. Maths), and 3 A's. I also have an A in Punjabi AS. For reference, this year I took external exams for Maths and Further Maths, averaging 99 UMS across all modules.

    I took part in UNIQ earlier this year, and although I really enjoyed my time at Oxford, there was no point where I felt it was the be all and end all, in that, I'm not certain I definitely want to apply there. I wanted to ask what factors people take into consideration when deciding between the two, and what the differences in atmosphere are between them. I've had a look at both admissions tests, and although the Cambridge one looked easier, I understand they place an emphasis on UMS. Do they expect >95 UMS in every module for each A level?

    Thanks for any advice in advance
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    (Original post by AlphaQuark)
    Hey everyone,

    I'm just about to start year 13, and I'm trying to decide between whether to apply for Cambridge or Oxford. I'm currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry at a crappy state comprehensive, and want to study Physics, or possibly PhysNatSci. At GCSE I achieved 8A*, an A^ (F. Maths), and 3 A's. I also have an A in Punjabi AS. For reference, this year I took external exams for Maths and Further Maths, averaging 99 UMS across all modules.

    I took part in UNIQ earlier this year, and although I really enjoyed my time at Oxford, there was no point where I felt it was the be all and end all, in that, I'm not certain I definitely want to apply there. I wanted to ask what factors people take into consideration when deciding between the two, and what the differences in atmosphere are between them. I've had a look at both admissions tests, and although the Cambridge one looked easier, I understand they place an emphasis on UMS. Do they expect >95 UMS in every module for each A level?

    Thanks for any advice in advance
    The Ask Peterhouse guys often say that the UMS thing is a bit of an exaggeration. For your course, as NatSci and Physics are probably quite different in terms of structure, the most important thing for you is to choose the course you like the best.*
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    Check out applytocambridge.com - the alternative prospectus written by the students themselves!
    Also we're going to be running a Q&A session on twitter with current students on Sunday at 9pm, search the hashtag #CambTweet (and #OxTweet!). We'll answer any questions you have, asap, just tweet at the account or use the hashtag. If you're not around then we'll also answer back any other time too

    As for choosing between the two, try to visit both (there are some open days this month, though you can go any time!) as that will help you get a feel for both places and see what you prefer. Also check the course structure and content because these can be quite varied between the two, as with between universities in general, especially between straight physics and natsci.

    I study languages so can't help much, as Oxford didn't let me do the combination I wanted to so I never looked there. If you have UMS Cambridge will want to see it, and you're are superb especially if you're from a poor school (know them feels haha). They don't expect 95+ in every module, there aren't even actually any set requirements in terms of UMS but obviously the better you do the better chance you have. Certainly give it a shot! The admissions process is also very holistic, taking into account what kind of schooling you've had and whether you're from a low participation area for going to uni, and if your school sends many people to oxbridge, for example (there are other 'flags' too - they make the process fairer).

    I hope this has helped, and if you have any more questions I'll be happy to try and answer them!
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    (Original post by AlphaQuark)
    Do they expect >95 UMS in every module for each A level?
    No. And applicants now won't have UMS in reformed (linear) AS/A-levels anyway. Your maths is important and, as you know, very strong.

    Look carefully at the courses, and try to visit Cambridge, to help make a decision.

    It's the courses that are important, not the sometimes subtle differences between admissions procedures.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    No. And applicants now won't have UMS in reformed (linear) AS/A-levels anyway. Your maths is important and, as you know, very strong.

    Look carefully at the courses, and try to visit Cambridge, to help make a decision.

    It's the courses that are important, not the sometimes subtle differences between admissions procedures.
    I've actually spent the evening looking at the courses and comparing the two, and decided that I prefer the pure Physics course at Oxford. Thank you, the advice was really helpful :3
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    (Original post by AlphaQuark)
    I've actually spent the evening looking at the courses and comparing the two, and decided that I prefer the pure Physics course at Oxford. Thank you, the advice was really helpful :3
    Good luck at the other place

    (PS. I think you should still visit Cambridge... just to be sure )
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    Have you looked at the Maths with Physics option at Cambridge? You do the Physics of first year Natural Sciences alongside 3/4 of the mathematical tripos. It's a harder option (and requires STEP for admission, a big factor) but is the best route a physicist can take at Cambridge.
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    (Original post by AlphaQuark)
    I've actually spent the evening looking at the courses and comparing the two, and decided that I prefer the pure Physics course at Oxford. Thank you, the advice was really helpful :3
    Glad it helped!
 
 
 
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