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    Hello everyone, congratulations to all who have received offers, commiserations to those who have not and best of luck (and apologies) to those few of you who are still waiting.

    Every year we have an internal review of the Admission round at Cambridge and last year my predecessor at Christ's used this forum to elicit general feedback on our process from students who had gone through it. The feedback was very helpful to us in (we hope) improving things, so I wanted to follow his example this year.

    I am not in a position to provide feedback on individual applications or say why you didn't get in but rather this is an opportunity for you to say if there are things about the process that might be improved and make comments I can then pass on. I will also try to explain some things which might seem odd about the process.

    The thread will be open for a week and I will then report back to my colleagues with good points. Thank you for your points and also for the applications.
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    Good morning. Welcome back!

    I understand you're with a standard-age college now, but there's been a few threads/posts by applicants to mature colleges last few days. Some of us tried to help them with our limited knowledge on mature colleges, but if you can please add/correct some info that would be helpful for them when you have time, that'd be very much appreciated. There aren't many people in this forum who are versed in how mature colleges work.

    I'm leaving the forum now (and just about going out) so I can't link you to those posts, but I'm sure our always-reliable @jneill can assist you in that.

    Thank you both. (And bye!)
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    I just wanted to say that I was very impressed with how the university handled the introduction of the new admissions assessments. I took the NSAA and was pleasantly surprised that the specimen paper provided an accurate representation of what the real test would be like in terms of difficulty. Unlike the Oxford tests, the question style and language used was familiar to an A-level student meaning that the assessment was accessible to all students without having to do extensive preparation.

    My only suggestion for improvement would be to take more care over the pagination - I did questions 2 and 4 in Section 2 and both of these required turning back a page in the booklet to answer subsequent parts.

    Out of interest, how extensively were the assessment results used this year?
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    Good morning. Welcome back!

    I understand you're with a standard-age college now, but there's been a few threads/posts by applicants to mature colleges last few days. Some of us tried to help them with our limited knowledge on mature colleges, but if you can please add/correct some info that would be helpful for them when you have time, that'd be very much appreciated. There aren't many people in this forum who are versed in how mature colleges work.

    I'm leaving the forum now (and just about going out) so I can't link you to those posts, but I'm sure our always-reliable @jneill can assist you in that.

    Thank you both. (And bye!)
    I'll see what I can do - Lucy Cavendish Admissions does still have a presence here, but any pointers from jneill would of course be appreciated, as always!
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    I'll see what I can do - Lucy Cavendish Admissions does still have a presence here, but any pointers from jneill would of course be appreciated, as always!
    Ha ha! This one (and there are some others by the same OP ) https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4509920


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    (Original post by Forecast)
    I just wanted to say that I was very impressed with how the university handled the introduction of the new admissions assessments. I took the NSAA and was pleasantly surprised that the specimen paper provided an accurate representation of what the real test would be like in terms of difficulty. Unlike the Oxford tests, the question style and language used was familiar to an A-level student meaning that the assessment was accessible to all students without having to do extensive preparation.

    My only suggestion for improvement would be to take more care over the pagination - I did questions 2 and 4 in Section 2 and both of these required turning back a page in the booklet to answer subsequent parts.

    Out of interest, how extensively were the assessment results used this year?
    It's difficult to generalize across colleges and subjects, but I think it is fair to say that the assessment results were used with some caution in most cases. At Christ's, we did use them in shortlisting - to support de-selection where there was other evidence that a candidate would not be competitive within our gathered field, but also as the basis for a call of interview when a candidate had done much better than their academic profile would lead us to expect. They were not a significant factor in determining who received an offer.
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    I would appreciate it if there was a little bit more transparency about how different colleges use the BMAT. It seems information on this website gleaned through numerous candidates emailing admissions officers is somewhat outdated, and the website for Medicine admissions at Cambridge seems to suggest a common criteria for all colleges. However, what I've seen is a few colleges will directly reject applicants below a certain BMAT score even prior to interview, when a similar BMAT score (say in the high 5s) would be enough for an offer at other colleges.

    It seems like it might be good if colleges were to publish the average BMAT scores of succesful applicants people might be more aware of the discrepancy between requirements at different colleges are more likely to apply to places where they have a better chance of admission.
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    (Original post by Percypig17)
    I would appreciate it if there was a little bit more transparency about how different colleges use the BMAT. It seems information on this website gleaned through numerous candidates emailing admissions officers is somewhat outdated, and the website for Medicine admissions at Cambridge seems to suggest a common criteria for all colleges. However, what I've seen is a few colleges will directly reject applicants below a certain BMAT score even prior to interview, when a similar BMAT score (say in the high 5s) would be enough for an offer at other colleges.

    It seems like it might be good if colleges were to publish the average BMAT scores of succesful applicants people might be more aware of the discrepancy between requirements at different colleges are more likely to apply to places where they have a better chance of admission.
    It's actually quite rare for a college to de-select (i.e. reject before interview) a British or EU applicant wholly on the basis of their BMAT score; it usually comes into play only where there are other elements of the candidate's application to suggest that he or she might not be competitive within the gathered field. It is used a little more extensively in assessing non-EU applicants, as we have very few places to offer such applicants, and therefore tend to interview a smaller proportion.

    Having said that, I do take your point and will pass it on.
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    One thing... it seems one or 2 colleges had problems emailing their decisions. Of course technical problems occur and that's understandable, but it would be helpful if colleges could update their websites and/or social media confirming the problem and giving an ETA for a resolution.

    It would reassure affected applicants and probably reduce the number of phone calls to the colleges asking what is happening...

    In a similar vein, and fully respecting that colleges are different entities and do things differently, it would also be helpful if all colleges were clear on who will or won't receive an email or letter and when they can be expected (subject to royal mail, etc, etc). This should be announced (online and/or social media) at least a couple of days in advance of Decision Day. Just helps set expectations for everyone
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    (Original post by jneill)
    One thing... it seems one or 2 colleges had problems emailing their decisions. Of course technical problems occur and that's understandable, but it would be helpful if colleges could update their websites and/or social media confirming the problem and giving an ETA for a resolution.

    It would reassure affected applicants and probably reduce the number of phone calls to the colleges asking what is happening...

    In a similar vein, and fully respecting that colleges are different entities and do things differently, it would also be helpful if all colleges were clear on who will or won't receive an email or letter and when they can be expected (subject to royal mail, etc, etc). This should be announced (online and/or social media) at least a couple of days in advance of Decision Day. Just helps set expectations for everyone
    Good points, fully taken!
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    Overall I thought everything was generally :yy:. But I think it would be more fair to candidates if they eventually found out the results of their admissions assessments, as obviously happens with the LNAT etc. I think this would help people reflect better on their skills in such a difficult paper, and motivate them to think what went wrong/right regardless of whether they got in or not. It also adds a certain level of transparency, which for those especially at state schools, would help illuminate what often seem strange decisions by the university. Obviously I think it would be a good idea for these results to become available post-decisions, so as not to cause any unnecessary stress.

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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    Hello everyone, congratulations to all who have received offers, commiserations to those who have not and best of luck (and apologies) to those few of you who are still waiting.

    Every year we have an internal review of the Admission round at Cambridge and last year my predecessor at Christ's used this forum to elicit general feedback on our process from students who had gone through it. The feedback was very helpful to us in (we hope) improving things, so I wanted to follow his example this year.

    I am not in a position to provide feedback on individual applications or say why you didn't get in but rather this is an opportunity for you to say if there are things about the process that might be improved and make comments I can then pass on. I will also try to explain some things which might seem odd about the process.

    The thread will be open for a week and I will then report back to my colleagues with good points. Thank you for your points and also for the applications.
    Feedback given to students regarding their rejection takes too long and often times is vague. So if something can be done about that, then it would be great.
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    In general, it seemed pretty professional.

    There was one pretty small thing that I (as a parent) picked up on - There was some concern about the fairness of the architecture assessment/essay across different colleges - in some, the porters gave a tip-off as to what the drawing was going to be of, and in another case the invigilator looked up (on Google) a key term that was part of the essay. In my view, it's unlikely that either of these things actually affected results, but it did result in "raised eyebrows".

    There was perhaps an inconsistency in "friendliness" of interviewers across different colleges. Again, not at all convinced that this was significant.
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    Related to decisions emails: I was pooled to another college (and happily, accepted), but I haven't received the rejection email from my applying college. Should I wait any longer, or can I ask for feedback now?

    In order to solve this issues with delayed mails, wouldn't it be more productive if colleges would make an online portal in which each applicant can review his applying profile, with all the information he would've received in a mail? Interview scores/remarks, admission test marks etc?
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    Warn applicants the SAQ photo will be with them for the entire duration of their studies if they are successful

    And maybe provide some more info about Open Offers - extending this beyond medicine was a great innovation this year but I don't *think* there is anything about it on the Cambridge site. It seems worthy of a Press Release
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    (Original post by zpx)
    Related to decisions emails: I was pooled to another college (and happily, accepted), but I haven't received the rejection email from my applying college. Should I wait any longer, or can I ask for feedback now?
    No. If you have an offer at all then that's the feedback

    Successful applicants (wether pooled or not) don't get feedback.
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    It's difficult to generalize across colleges and subjects, but I think it is fair to say that the assessment results were used with some caution in most cases. At Christ's, we did use them in shortlisting - to support de-selection where there was other evidence that a candidate would not be competitive within our gathered field, but also as the basis for a call of interview when a candidate had done much better than their academic profile would lead us to expect. They were not a significant factor in determining who received an offer.
    Thank you for doing this thread, whilst useful for yourselves it is useful for future applicants as well. Was the caution due to these assessments being new? I know you take a "holistic" approach but are they likely to be a more significant factor in future years?
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    (Original post by Obiejess)
    Overall I thought everything was generally :yy:. But I think it would be more fair to candidates if they eventually found out the results of their admissions assessments, as obviously happens with the LNAT etc. I think this would help people reflect better on their skills in such a difficult paper, and motivate them to think what went wrong/right regardless of whether they got in or not. It also adds a certain level of transparency, which for those especially at state schools, would help illuminate what often seem strange decisions by the university. Obviously I think it would be a good idea for these results to become available post-decisions, so as not to cause any unnecessary stress.

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    I think there is still some discussion as to how and when to release the results of the admissions assessments, since some elements are marked in colleges, rather than centrally, or by an external examination board. So in this sense they are somewhat different to the LNAT and feed into a more holistic appraisal, which can seem strange if you are expecting a straightforward "cut-off" point. (Even where we use a centrally administered assessment like the ELAT, we may well be more interested in the content of the script than the quantitative scores awarded.) But I agree that it would be helpful to candidates to receive some form of feedback, post-decisions, and will pass this point on.
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    I personally am very happy with how the ELAT was handled. I would prefer if colleges kept to using the ELAT as less about the marks and more about the ideas and way of thinking the applicant showcased.

    Also candidates should not be allowed to sit outside their interview room but they often overhear things which maybe beneficial for their interview.

    Apart from those two points, the whole process is exhausting but also very fun and enjoyable if handled correctly!
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    (Original post by thewinelake)
    In general, it seemed pretty professional.

    There was one pretty small thing that I (as a parent) picked up on - There was some concern about the fairness of the architecture assessment/essay across different colleges - in some, the porters gave a tip-off as to what the drawing was going to be of, and in another case the invigilator looked up (on Google) a key term that was part of the essay. In my view, it's unlikely that either of these things actually affected results, but it did result in "raised eyebrows".

    There was perhaps an inconsistency in "friendliness" of interviewers across different colleges. Again, not at all convinced that this was significant.
    Thank you, this is useful to know. I'd agree that these things are unlikely to affect outcomes (especially where drawing is concerned - if a candidate doesn't have the necessary technical competence, knowing the subject-matter in advance doesn't help much!), but they could affect how people feel about those outcomes.
 
 
 
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