Post Assessments, pre-interview Admissions Tutor thread Watch

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Murray Edwards Admissions
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Hello all. Having discussed things with other colleges involved in TSR, we agreed that it would be a good idea to run a thread like this to try to offer reassurance and general advice to candidates between the admissions assessments and the interviews.

I can't discuss the content of the Admissions Assessments so please don't ask nor can I say for certain how colleges are going to be using them in their decision making.

The purpose of the thread is to provide general advice and reassurance about the process between now and the start of the interviews in early December, so if you have a query please do send it. I will try to answer as quickly as possible but please bear in mind that things are busy at the moment in Cambridge admissions offices so have patience and I promise to get back to you. I can't answer on behalf of colleges other than Murray Edwards but I can provide some advice or at least a window into the way colleges behave so don;t feel you have to be Murray Edwards applicant in order to ask. A lot of the time, though, the answer will be 'email your college and ask!'

Good luck to everyone involved and do please ask away...
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Obiejess
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What is the estimated 'window' in which we are likely to hear from our college?

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(Original post by Obiejess)
What is the estimated 'window' in which we are likely to hear from our college?

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It sort of depends which subject you have applied for. If your subject has a pre-interview assessment then you will not hear anything before 14 November (unless your application is invalid). The Section 1 results of the pre-interview assessments arrive on that date (the Section 2s have been arriving in colleges since Friday) and colleges will begin contacting students from that date. I expect that most students (except Medics and Vets for whom the BMAT comes out later) will have heard by Tuesday 22 November. That is the timetable to which we are working at here at Murray Edwards and I would think that most colleges will be working within that window give or take a day or so.

Subjects without a pre-interview assessment could hear any time. Many colleges will want to get information out to students in these subjects before they deal with those subjects with pre-interview assessments, so I expect that many students in these subjects will have heard by the end of this week or early next week.
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
It sort of depends which subject you have applied for. If your subject has a pre-interview assessment then you will not hear anything before 14 November (unless your application is invalid). The Section 1 results of the pre-interview assessments arrive on that date (the Section 2s have been arriving in colleges since Friday) and colleges will begin contacting students from that date. I expect that most students (except Medics and Vets for whom the BMAT comes out later) will have heard by Tuesday 22 November. That is the timetable to which we are working at here at Murray Edwards and I would think that most colleges will be working within that window give or take a day or so.

Subjects without a pre-interview assessment could hear any time. Many colleges will want to get information out to students in these subjects before they deal with those subjects with pre-interview assessments, so I expect that many students in these subjects will have heard by the end of this week or early next week.
Okay, thank you

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What information are ATs looking at to invite for interview? Is it just grades and AA scores or will you have looked at everyone's personal statement and SAQ forms too? Is contextual data also considered at this stage?
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Oh the Byrony!
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Is it more likely that I'll receive a response via post or through an email? (So I can match my frantic checking accordingly haha)

Also, have you got any advice for interview nerves?
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What are the deadliest sins that an applicant might commit during an interview?
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
Hello all. Having discussed things with other colleges involved in TSR, we agreed that it would be a good idea to run a thread like this to try to offer reassurance and general advice to candidates between the admissions assessments and the interviews.

I can't discuss the content of the Admissions Assessments so please don't ask nor can I say for certain how colleges are going to be using them in their decision making.

The purpose of the thread is to provide general advice and reassurance about the process between now and the start of the interviews in early December, so if you have a query please do send it. I will try to answer as quickly as possible but please bear in mind that things are busy at the moment in Cambridge admissions offices so have patience and I promise to get back to you. I can't answer on behalf of colleges other than Murray Edwards but I can provide some advice or at least a window into the way colleges behave so don;t feel you have to be Murray Edwards applicant in order to ask. A lot of the time, though, the answer will be 'email your college and ask!'

Good luck to everyone involved and do please ask away...
I ask this with the full understanding that different colleges handle admissions in their own way, and I would love your angle on this. I am a post-qualification IB applicant for Economics. As it is a highly competitive course, I'd like to have your insight so that I can have realistic expectations of my chances.

I applied from overseas and have already had the benefit of undergoing my interview in my home country back in October. My IB score is 45 with my HL subjects being Biology, Chemistry, and Math, and I took English, Chinese, and Economics at SL. From your experience, how are post-qualification candidates generally viewed against those applying with predicted scores? Many admissions tutors have commented before on the unreliability of predicted grades, so a candidate with solid qualifications should seem to be a more bankable choice for the college. Do you observe higher rates of success for candidates who have already attained their grades as a result of this (and not to mention the self-selection that occurs where generally only those with good enough grades apply)?

Or do some admissions teams take a different approach, whereby the achieved grades of post-qualification candidates are not given so much importance, and candidates were assessed as though they were applying with predicted grades? I could see some justification in this as colleges can be assured of the final grades of their applicants when their offers are conditional.

Lastly, from your perspective, what are the usual pitfalls that could occur (e.g. within interviews, admissions assessments) in the application of an IB candidate like me, with 45 points, that would be serious enough to discourage you from making an offer?

Thank you for doing this.
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(Original post by domaths)
What information are ATs looking at to invite for interview? Is it just grades and AA scores or will you have looked at everyone's personal statement and SAQ forms too? Is contextual data also considered at this stage?
We'll be looking at everything we can at this stage (with the exception, at a few colleges, of Section 2 of the pre-interview assessments). So, yes, the information on the SAQ, the personal statement and contextual data will be looked at before decisions are made.
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Hi, I am an underage international applicant and my mom would like to go with me if I were to be interviewed at Cambridge. However, based on what I've read, I expect some sort of time delay in getting my mom's UK visas as she will not be provided with a letter from the University conferring an added ease in getting her visas. Would there be some sort of leniency in choosing our interview dates in my case? Also, should the inevitable happen and my mother would not be granted her visa in time, does Cambridge allow Skype interviews? If all prospects of getting my mother a visa is exhausted, I might still persuade her to let me go myself
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(Original post by Oh the Byrony!)
Is it more likely that I'll receive a response via post or through an email? (So I can match my frantic checking accordingly haha)

Also, have you got any advice for interview nerves?
Most likely email, though you may get an old-fashioned letter as well.

In terms of nerves, try to prepare as best you can for the things over which you have some control (any submitted written work, your assessment if the college has told you they're going to use it at interview [most won't], your PS and things mentioned on it). Try unfamiliar problems, however might best suit your subject (poems for English, mathematical problems for Engineering etc.). Keep up with the news if your subject appears in it.

Finally, remember that we are going to try to get the best out of you and that it will be tough but, hopefully, enjoyable.
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
We'll be looking at everything we can at this stage (with the exception, at a few colleges, of Section 2 of the pre-interview assessments). So, yes, the information on the SAQ, the personal statement and contextual data will be looked at before decisions are made.
Thank you, about section 2 of the pre-interview assessments are these being marked by colleges or have they been/are they being marked externally? If this is different per subject could you answer for economics specifically please
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Kvothe the Arcane
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Just a comment. Can I just say what a great thing it is for you and the admissions staff to be creating and maintaining these threads.
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(Original post by Student1256)
What are the deadliest sins that an applicant might commit during an interview?
It's fine to get things wrong - don't worry about that, we expect that and we want you to try. Try to explain your thinking, that always helps.

In terms of 'sins', having prepared material that you are determined to talk about come what may, either in a 'speech' or crowbarring the material into multiple answers is a bit worrying in terms of intellectual flexibility. The other, very common problem is not answering the question you're asked but rather the one you want to have been asked. Listen carefully to the question and ask for clarification if you're not sure what the interviewer wants.
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(Original post by domaths)
Thank you, about section 2 of the pre-interview assessments are these being marked by colleges or have they been/are they being marked externally? If this is different per subject could you answer for economics specifically please
Section 2 is being marked internally by colleges to a mark scheme provided by the relevant department.
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I forgot to send off the fee status questionnaire before the deadline (didn't even realise we had one!!!) and have just sent it off today - will this make my application invalid?? (I'm applying to Clare)
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(Original post by Infested)
I ask this with the full understanding that different colleges handle admissions in their own way, and I would love your angle on this. I am a post-qualification IB applicant for Economics. As it is a highly competitive course, I'd like to have your insight so that I can have realistic expectations of my chances.

I applied from overseas and have already had the benefit of undergoing my interview in my home country back in October. My IB score is 45 with my HL subjects being Biology, Chemistry, and Math, and I took English, Chinese, and Economics at SL. From your experience, how are post-qualification candidates generally viewed against those applying with predicted scores? Many admissions tutors have commented before on the unreliability of predicted grades, so a candidate with solid qualifications should seem to be a more bankable choice for the college. Do you observe higher rates of success for candidates who have already attained their grades as a result of this (and not to mention the self-selection that occurs where generally only those with good enough grades apply)?

Or do some admissions teams take a different approach, whereby the achieved grades of post-qualification candidates are not given so much importance, and candidates were assessed as though they were applying with predicted grades? I could see some justification in this as colleges can be assured of the final grades of their applicants when their offers are conditional.

Lastly, from your perspective, what are the usual pitfalls that could occur (e.g. within interviews, admissions assessments) in the application of an IB candidate like me, with 45 points, that would be serious enough to discourage you from making an offer?

Thank you for doing this.
If you have excellent results, which you do, then you're going to be in a strong position. We will weigh up as many factors as we can when making a decision but some academic results are always going to be a very significant part of that. 45 points is the best score you can get in the IB and achieved by a tiny proportion of entrants worldwide, so you can't have done better in that very important element. Other parts of the application would therefore need to be considerably weaker in order to move you out of the running for a place.

Post qualification applicants with very high grades achieved have a generally very god rate of admission as they are a known quantity in terms of their results where predictions aren't.
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(Original post by fontaine97)
Hi, I am an underage international applicant and my mom would like to go with me if I were to be interviewed at Cambridge. However, based on what I've read, I expect some sort of time delay in getting my mom's UK visas as she will not be provided with a letter from the University conferring an added ease in getting her visas. Would there be some sort of leniency in choosing our interview dates in my case? Also, should the inevitable happen and my mother would not be granted her visa in time, does Cambridge allow Skype interviews? If all prospects of getting my mother a visa is exhausted, I might still persuade her to let me go myself
It's very difficult to be flexible about interview times in December. Colleges are having to co-ordinate the diaries of usually four interviewers, all of whom are busy people. They will have other commitments at this time (academic conferences, research, interviewing for more than college or more than one subject, the fast-approaching Christmas vacation) and therefore it is often very hard to accommodate individual requests. We try hard to do so but usually it needs to fit within our parameters rather than yours.

It's rare for colleges to do Skype interviews but not unknown. If candidates are eligible for compulsory pooling (on the basis of their AS, A2 or IB results), colleges will place candidates in the pool if they can't get a visa and offer an interview in January along with another interview at a different college if others are interested.

Your best bet is to persuade your mother to let you go without her.
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(Original post by Kvothe the Arcane)
Just a comment. Can I just say what a great thing it is for you and the admissions staff to be creating and maintaining these threads.
Thank you. We want to do our best to help applicants as much as we can through the process and hopefully people will find this useful.
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(Original post by florabowen)
I forgot to send off the fee status questionnaire before the deadline (didn't even realise we had one!!!) and have just sent it off today - will this make my application invalid?? (I'm applying to Clare)
You'll have to ask Clare but I wouldn't have thought so.
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