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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    There's so much for everyone to think about during the round and no one makes mistakes deliberately. I've made plenty of mine. In the end, as the situation at Hertford College Oxford shows, it's very much there but for the grace of God go I. All we can do each year is try collectively to make as few mistakes as possible.
    Yup agreed!

    But when errors or omissions occur it would be helpful for the college to acknowledge it on social media or whatever. Hopefully it would stop worried students, parents, teachers from calling to ask where their email has gone

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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    There's so much for everyone to think about during the round and no one makes mistakes deliberately. I've made plenty of mine. In the end, as the situation at Hertford College Oxford shows, it's very much there but for the grace of God go I. All we can do each year is try collectively to make as few mistakes as possible.
    Has it ever been the case of giving the wrong sort of offer or in the wrong subject? Or god forbid, accepting someone and then having UCAS reject them?
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    (Original post by auburnstar)
    Has it ever been the case of giving the wrong sort of offer or in the wrong subject? Or god forbid, accepting someone and then having UCAS reject them?
    UCAS has nothing to do with the actual offers. They are just the messenger.

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    (Original post by jneill)
    UCAS has nothing to do with the actual offers. They are just the messenger.

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    No I knew that but I meant in terms of like, technology failure xD
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    (Original post by auburnstar)
    Has it ever been the case of giving the wrong sort of offer or in the wrong subject? Or god forbid, accepting someone and then having UCAS reject them?
    This is the stuff that keeps us awake at night and why emailing decisions will never be our top priority - we need to get things right before we can communicate them.

    I'm happy to say that we did manage to email everyone the result of their application on the 12th.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    There's so much for everyone to think about during the round and no one makes mistakes deliberately. I've made plenty of mine. In the end, as the situation at Hertford College Oxford shows, it's very much there but for the grace of God go I. All we can do each year is try collectively to make as few mistakes as possible.
    I may be going to sound quite blunt and rude, I'm sure I will. So sincere apology in advance. Please forgive me. I'm hoping you've known me well enough now I'm not the world's most polite & gentle person..... and I bite, sometimes.(I mean often)

    Is it really a human mistake? Isn't there a minute produced after meetings from which one can make a check list so that you can avoid a problem like this?I’m aware and in full respect for the effort you’ve been putting in every year to improve the procedure/method for admission process, including communication with applicants. And some problems can happen totally unexpected and are unavoidable, like technical problems. But I think the problem we’re talking here is not one of them. It was one of a new change you made from this cycle, having learnt from past experiences. And you have told us and assured us in this forum numerous times that all colleges have agreed to send decision by emails to all non-UK candidates. ‘Helpers’ like @jneill and myself have embraced your decision wholeheartedly and advised nervously-waiting candidates to be more patient in the hope that it would give them some assurance and, perhaps more importantly, to reduce the number of phone calls/emails from those worried candidates/parents which would inevitably slow down your operation even more.

    I understand there’re lots of issues to discuss about at AT Forum and I realize admission process is much, much more complicated than anybody outside can even imagine, but how to send decisions to which type of candidates is, to me, rather basic yet very important issue to be missed. I would understand it if it were a case of a few non-UK candidates slipped through a net, but in those particular cases with Caius (and perhaps a few others, too?), the whole college seems to have forgotten/ignored what you’d all agreed at Forum, judging from how they officially state on their website. Having been told one thing and expecting it then being treated differently is maybe even worse than not being told at all and not knowing what should be expected.

    Spoiler:
    Show


    A simple check list can avoid a simple human/operational error like that, I believe. My favourite evidence of how check list works and saves. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/jan/14/health



    As I started , there’s another issue I want to raise, again, in regard to communication with candidates, in this case with re-interviewees.

    We all thought it was a brilliant idea when you decided to send out decisions to all candidates (direct applicants and poolees) on a same day, except for re-interviewees. It greatly reduced the number of poolees agonizing over Winter Pool period, with each decision used to come out sporadically over many days. That is a huge improvement. However, that left a small minority of re-interviewees still experiencing exactly the same thing. In some cases, it was even worse as it seems some re-interviewees were told at the time of re-interview or in reply to their email/telephone inquiry post re-interview that a decision will be notified by a certain day, which did not happen in many cases. There seems to have been a quite a few over-promising going on this year by some colleges in this matter.

    Again, I do understand there’s a lot of complicated things going on behind the scene before you make a final decision on re-interviewees, sometimes involving DoSes of a few courses/colleges, but most candidates do not know that.

    So my suggestion is to either tell all the re-interviewees more clearly that the decision can take up to [insert a date which you think would take up to the latest] or send out all re-interviewees decisions on a same day as publicly announced (for re-interviewees’ results).

    Lastly, I think some colleges need to learn how to make better use of social media. All colleges have twitter/FB accounts now. And some colleges are quite good at sending out updated info to candidates, especially when they were experiencing some troubles in communicating with them on decisions this year. But most others who were having some issues in sending out decisions didn’t utilize the good communication tools they already have. Just one short tweet or FB message to tell them they were having a problem (or even just to tell them all letters/emails were sent out safely) could have saved candidates/parents from anxiety and have avoided lots of phone calls/emails the admission people had to deal with on top of sorting out the problems. Even when their whole computer system is down, surely someone (authorized) can use their mobile to log on to the college’s account and post a message.....or not?

    Again, I sincerely apologize for my bluntness in delivering my comment this way. Hope our time here have told you already how blunt and direct and rude I can be........

    Kindest regards, Honest......
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    Christ's Admissions I remember from my days at Cambridge that Christ's was one of the few colleges to make 'Matriculation Offers' - is that still the case?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Christ's Admissions I remember from my days at Cambridge that Christ's was one of the few colleges to make 'Matriculation Offers' - is that still the case?
    No.
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    I may be going to sound quite blunt and rude, I'm sure I will. So sincere apology in advance. Please forgive me. I'm hoping you've known me well enough now I'm not the world's most polite & gentle person..... and I bite, sometimes.(I mean often)

    Is it really a human mistake? Isn't there a minute produced after meetings from which one can make a check list so that you can avoid a problem like this?I’m aware and in full respect for the effort you’ve been putting in every year to improve the procedure/method for admission process, including communication with applicants. And some problems can happen totally unexpected and are unavoidable, like technical problems. But I think the problem we’re talking here is not one of them. It was one of a new change you made from this cycle, having learnt from past experiences. And you have told us and assured us in this forum numerous times that all colleges have agreed to send decision by emails to all non-UK candidates. ‘Helpers’ like @jneill and myself have embraced your decision wholeheartedly and advised nervously-waiting candidates to be more patient in the hope that it would give them some assurance and, perhaps more importantly, to reduce the number of phone calls/emails from those worried candidates/parents which would inevitably slow down your operation even more.

    I understand there’re lots of issues to discuss about at AT Forum and I realize admission process is much, much more complicated than anybody outside can even imagine, but how to send decisions to which type of candidates is, to me, rather basic yet very important issue to be missed. I would understand it if it were a case of a few non-UK candidates slipped through a net, but in those particular cases with Caius (and perhaps a few others, too?), the whole college seems to have forgotten/ignored what you’d all agreed at Forum, judging from how they officially state on their website. Having been told one thing and expecting it then being treated differently is maybe even worse than not being told at all and not knowing what should be expected.

    Spoiler:
    Show


    A simple check list can avoid a simple human/operational error like that, I believe. My favourite check list. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/jan/14/health



    As I started , there’s another issue I want to raise, again, in regard to communication with candidates, in this case with re-interviewees.

    We all thought it was a brilliant idea when you decided to send out decisions to all candidates (direct applicants and poolees) on a same day, except for re-interviewees. It greatly reduced the number of poolees agonizing over Winter Pool period, with each decision used to come out sporadically over many days. That is a huge improvement. However, that left a small minority of re-interviewees still experiencing exactly the same thing. In some cases, it was even worse as it seems some re-interviewees were told at the time of re-interview or in reply to their email/telephone inquiry post re-interview that a decision will be notified by a certain day, which did not happen in many cases. There seems to have been a quite a few over-promising going on this year by some colleges in this matter.

    Again, I do understand there’s a lot of complicated things going on behind the scene before you make a final decision on re-interviewees, sometimes involving DoSes of a few courses/colleges, but most candidates do not know that.

    So my suggestion is to either tell all the re-interviewees more clearly that the decision can take up to [insert a date which you think would take up to the latest] or send out all re-interviewees decisions on a same day as publicly announced (for re-interviewees’ results).

    Lastly, I think some colleges need to learn how to make better use of social media. All colleges have twitter/FB accounts now. And some colleges are quite good at sending out updated info to candidates, especially when they were experiencing some troubles in communicating with them on decisions this year. But most others who were having some issues in sending out decisions didn’t utilize the good communication tools they already have. Just one short tweet or FB message to tell them they were having a problem (or even just to tell them all letters/emails were sent out safely) could have saved candidates/parents from anxiety and have avoided lots of phone calls/emails the admission people had to deal with on top of sorting out the problems. Even when their whole computer system is down, surely someone (authorized) can use their mobile to log on to the college’s account and post a message.....or not?

    Again, I sincerely apologize for my bluntness in delivering my comment this way. Hope our time here have told you already how blunt and direct and rude I can be........

    Kindest regards, Honest......
    You've raised quite a number of points here, not all of which I'm fully equipped to answer, though I'll do my best.

    I don't know exactly what happened at Caius, and I haven't heard from any Caius EU applicants directly; everything that has been raised here is second-hand, and as I've noted in a post on claims regarding offer levels, sometimes TSR users do exaggerate (especially when there is a great deal of emotional investment at stake). I can certainly make a general point about communication to my colleagues, but if there are genuine and serious concerns about the treatment of individual applicants, then I recommend that those involved raise those concerns through the appropriate formal channel.

    With respect to human error, I'm afraid my (personal) view is that this is the downside of a very human admissions process. Every successful applicant to Cambridge has, on average, 16-18 hours of staff time and much care and energy expended on their application, and in most colleges this is to some extent a labour of love - Admissions Offices are not heavily staffed or resourced and many of those involved in the Admissions process have other responsibilities. When people are working 14-hour days (as my team and I were during the Admissions Round), and liaising with literally dozens of assessors, then sometimes, things don't progress exactly as we would wish. But we do the best we can, and I'm sure that is the case at Caius too. It is of course unfortunate when applicants have to wait a day or two more than they would like for a decision, but if that means the decision is the right decision, and that they have benefited fully from a process within which they are much more than the "numbers" they might be in a slicker, more centralized, better-oiled machine, then it may be worth it.

    On a related point, I must stress that Cambridge colleges are legally autonomous, self-governing institutions. We work together by consensus, because we think that makes for a fairer, more transparent, and more equitable system, but neither Murray Edwards Admissions, nor Peterhouse Admissions nor I can "enforce" policy, and we are not in a position to instruct another college on how they should be using social media. We will make recommendations, and one of those recommendations will certainly relate to communicating the time-frames for re-interview decisions, but we can't guarantee that every colleague at every college will be able to implement those recommendations, fully, in the very next Admissions cycle. We can only hope and trust that most will, and that, incrementally, the system will improve for everyone involved.
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    You've raised quite a number of points here, not all of which I'm fully equipped to answer, though I'll do my best.

    I don't know exactly what happened at Caius, and I haven't heard from any Caius EU applicants directly; everything that has been raised here is second-hand, and as I've noted in a post on claims regarding offer levels, sometimes TSR users do exaggerate (especially when there is a great deal of emotional investment at stake). I can certainly make a general point about communication to my colleagues, but if there are genuine and serious concerns about the treatment of individual applicants, then I recommend that those involved raise those concerns through the appropriate formal channel.

    With respect to human error, I'm afraid my (personal) view is that this is the downside of a very human admissions process. Every successful applicant to Cambridge has, on average, 16-18 hours of staff time and much care and energy expended on their application, and in most colleges this is to some extent a labour of love - Admissions Offices are not heavily staffed or resourced and many of those involved in the Admissions process have other responsibilities. When people are working 14-hour days (as my team and I were during the Admissions Round), and liaising with literally dozens of assessors, then sometimes, things don't progress exactly as we would wish. But we do the best we can, and I'm sure that is the case at Caius too. It is of course unfortunate when applicants have to wait a day or two more than they would like for a decision, but if that means the decision is the right decision, and that they have benefited fully from a process within which they are much more than the "numbers" they might be in a slicker, more centralized, better-oiled machine, then it may be worth it.

    On a related point, I must stress that Cambridge colleges are legally autonomous, self-governing institutions. We work together by consensus, because we think that makes for a fairer, more transparent, and more equitable system, but neither Murray Edwards Admissions, nor Peterhouse Admissions nor I can "enforce" policy, and we are not in a position to instruct another college on how they should be using social media. We will make recommendations, and one of those recommendations will certainly relate to communicating the time-frames for re-interview decisions, but we can't guarantee that every colleague at every college will be able to implement those recommendations, fully, in the very next Admissions cycle. We can only hope and trust that most will, and that, incrementally, the system will improve for everyone involved.
    Very well put.

    The admissions round and particularly the time around the Pool and the posting date are quite hectic times in admissions with high-stakes decisions and administration. Teams are generally stretched pretty thin with several critical things to juggle. When things start to go off-track teams prioritise the most important things, making sure decisions and conditions are entered correctly into UCAS and in the offer letter, as these form the basis of a binding contract between an applicant and the College. This inevitably means that communication with applicants is a lower priority - if we have to chose then we'd rather be told off by Admissions Forum or applicants than by UCAS. The longer term goal is obviously to ensure that sufficient resources are available to admissions teams and things don't get stretched quite so thin so communication and administration can both happen in the way that we'd like. Given that one of the most important resources is time, another alternative would be to delay the posting date but I think we'd all agree that this would be even more stressful to applicants.
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    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    You've raised quite a number of points here, not all of which I'm fully equipped to answer, though I'll do my best.

    I don't know exactly what happened at Caius, and I haven't heard from any Caius EU applicants directly; everything that has been raised here is second-hand, and as I've noted in a post on claims regarding offer levels, sometimes TSR users do exaggerate (especially when there is a great deal of emotional investment at stake). I can certainly make a general point about communication to my colleagues, but if there are genuine and serious concerns about the treatment of individual applicants, then I recommend that those involved raise those concerns through the appropriate formal channel.

    With respect to human error, I'm afraid my (personal) view is that this is the downside of a very human admissions process. Every successful applicant to Cambridge has, on average, 16-18 hours of staff time and much care and energy expended on their application, and in most colleges this is to some extent a labour of love - Admissions Offices are not heavily staffed or resourced and many of those involved in the Admissions process have other responsibilities. When people are working 14-hour days (as my team and I were during the Admissions Round), and liaising with literally dozens of assessors, then sometimes, things don't progress exactly as we would wish. But we do the best we can, and I'm sure that is the case at Caius too. It is of course unfortunate when applicants have to wait a day or two more than they would like for a decision, but if that means the decision is the right decision, and that they have benefited fully from a process within which they are much more than the "numbers" they might be in a slicker, more centralized, better-oiled machine, then it may be worth it.

    On a related point, I must stress that Cambridge colleges are legally autonomous, self-governing institutions. We work together by consensus, because we think that makes for a fairer, more transparent, and more equitable system, but neither Murray Edwards Admissions, nor Peterhouse Admissions nor I can "enforce" policy, and we are not in a position to instruct another college on how they should be using social media. We will make recommendations, and one of those recommendations will certainly relate to communicating the time-frames for re-interview decisions, but we can't guarantee that every colleague at every college will be able to implement those recommendations, fully, in the very next Admissions cycle. We can only hope and trust that most will, and that, incrementally, the system will improve for everyone involved.
    Thank your very much for your response. I fully understand what you're saying, including colleges being autonomous institutions, not 'departments' that are under a 'Head Office' of the university.
    However, isn't it fair to expect at least what all admission tutors have agreed at the forum will be implemented as agreed, especially as we were told in more than one occasions that all non-UK candidates would receive their decision by email this year. And as far as I'm aware, this change of policy this year was made because of many problems candidates overseas encountered in previous years didn't receive their result for days. The change was made precisely to remedy that AND we were told about the change. So, it's a bit baffling a college/s not following what they had agreed at the forum. (And they publicly state on their website they send all decisions by post. So this is not a few human mistakes made which caused a few non-uk candidates slipped through their net, as I explained in my earlier post)
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    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    Very well put.

    The admissions round and particularly the time around the Pool and the posting date are quite hectic times in admissions with high-stakes decisions and administration. Teams are generally stretched pretty thin with several critical things to juggle. When things start to go off-track teams prioritise the most important things, making sure decisions and conditions are entered correctly into UCAS and in the offer letter, as these form the basis of a binding contract between an applicant and the College. This inevitably means that communication with applicants is a lower priority - if we have to chose then we'd rather be told off by Admissions Forum or applicants than by UCAS. The longer term goal is obviously to ensure that sufficient resources are available to admissions teams and things don't get stretched quite so thin so communication and administration can both happen in the way that we'd like. Given that one of the most important resources is time, another alternative would be to delay the posting date but I think we'd all agree that this would be even more stressful to applicants.
    Can you please read my post again carefully and see particular points in particular cases I'm talking about?
    I do understand all the difficulties you mentinend and I'm sure you know I've been here long enough and have my personal experiences with Cambridge to have learnt about those things. And I'm raising the points from the prospective of someone who are aware of those things and your position.
    Thank you.
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    I may be going to sound quite blunt and rude, I'm sure I will. So sincere apology in advance. Please forgive me. I'm hoping you've known me well enough now I'm not the world's most polite & gentle person..... and I bite, sometimes.(I mean often)

    Is it really a human mistake? Isn't there a minute produced after meetings from which one can make a check list so that you can avoid a problem like this?I’m aware and in full respect for the effort you’ve been putting in every year to improve the procedure/method for admission process, including communication with applicants. And some problems can happen totally unexpected and are unavoidable, like technical problems. But I think the problem we’re talking here is not one of them. It was one of a new change you made from this cycle, having learnt from past experiences. And you have told us and assured us in this forum numerous times that all colleges have agreed to send decision by emails to all non-UK candidates. ‘Helpers’ like @jneill and myself have embraced your decision wholeheartedly and advised nervously-waiting candidates to be more patient in the hope that it would give them some assurance and, perhaps more importantly, to reduce the number of phone calls/emails from those worried candidates/parents which would inevitably slow down your operation even more.

    I understand there’re lots of issues to discuss about at AT Forum and I realize admission process is much, much more complicated than anybody outside can even imagine, but how to send decisions to which type of candidates is, to me, rather basic yet very important issue to be missed. I would understand it if it were a case of a few non-UK candidates slipped through a net, but in those particular cases with Caius (and perhaps a few others, too?), the whole college seems to have forgotten/ignored what you’d all agreed at Forum, judging from how they officially state on their website. Having been told one thing and expecting it then being treated differently is maybe even worse than not being told at all and not knowing what should be expected.

    Spoiler:
    Show



    A simple check list can avoid a simple human/operational error like that, I believe. My favourite evidence of how check list works and saves. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/jan/14/health




    As I started , there’s another issue I want to raise, again, in regard to communication with candidates, in this case with re-interviewees.

    We all thought it was a brilliant idea when you decided to send out decisions to all candidates (direct applicants and poolees) on a same day, except for re-interviewees. It greatly reduced the number of poolees agonizing over Winter Pool period, with each decision used to come out sporadically over many days. That is a huge improvement. However, that left a small minority of re-interviewees still experiencing exactly the same thing. In some cases, it was even worse as it seems some re-interviewees were told at the time of re-interview or in reply to their email/telephone inquiry post re-interview that a decision will be notified by a certain day, which did not happen in many cases. There seems to have been a quite a few over-promising going on this year by some colleges in this matter.

    Again, I do understand there’s a lot of complicated things going on behind the scene before you make a final decision on re-interviewees, sometimes involving DoSes of a few courses/colleges, but most candidates do not know that.

    So my suggestion is to either tell all the re-interviewees more clearly that the decision can take up to [insert a date which you think would take up to the latest] or send out all re-interviewees decisions on a same day as publicly announced (for re-interviewees’ results).

    Lastly, I think some colleges need to learn how to make better use of social media. All colleges have twitter/FB accounts now. And some colleges are quite good at sending out updated info to candidates, especially when they were experiencing some troubles in communicating with them on decisions this year. But most others who were having some issues in sending out decisions didn’t utilize the good communication tools they already have. Just one short tweet or FB message to tell them they were having a problem (or even just to tell them all letters/emails were sent out safely) could have saved candidates/parents from anxiety and have avoided lots of phone calls/emails the admission people had to deal with on top of sorting out the problems. Even when their whole computer system is down, surely someone (authorized) can use their mobile to log on to the college’s account and post a message.....or not?

    Again, I sincerely apologize for my bluntness in delivering my comment this way. Hope our time here have told you already how blunt and direct and rude I can be........

    Kindest regards, Honest......
    Don't worry, I know how blunt you can be and it's a good thing! You are raising important issues and we all need to think in admissions how our decisions affect our applicants and their experience of the Cambridge applications process, which is a stressful thing in which people have invested a lot of time and hopes.

    I can't add too much to what Christ's Admissions and Peterhouse Admissions have said. The fault in the miscommunication and misinformation here lies partly at my door in trusting that all colleges had absorbed the message from two years ago that all non-UK applicants needed to be informed. My suspicion (and I can't speak for Caius so I may be completely wrong) is that they understood the message to be all non-EU applicants needed to be contacted by email and that this is where the human error occurred. We perhaps need to get better in ensuring that all admissions offices and not just admissions tutors are informed and then reminded about agreed changes to our processes.

    Your idea about an agreed date for informing re-interviewees is an interesting one and one that merits further discussion about the best way and time to communicate to re-interviewees.
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    (Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
    Don't worry, I know how blunt you can be and it's a good thing! You are raising important issues and we all need to think in admissions how our decisions affect our applicants and their experience of the Cambridge applications process, which is a stressful thing in which people have invested a lot of time and hopes.

    I can't add too much to what Christ's Admissions and Peterhouse Admissions have said. The fault in the miscommunication and misinformation here lies partly at my door in trusting that all colleges had absorbed the message from two years ago that all non-UK applicants needed to be informed. My suspicion (and I can't speak for Caius so I may be completely wrong) is that they understood the message to be all non-EU applicants needed to be contacted by email and that this is where the human error occurred. We perhaps need to get better in ensuring that all admissions offices and not just admissions tutors are informed and then reminded about agreed changes to our processes.

    Your idea about an agreed date for informing re-interviewees is an interesting one and one that merits further discussion about the best way and time to communicate to re-interviewees.
    Thank you very much for your reply and sorry again for my bad manner. I blame English being my second language......on top of my forceful personality!
    I'm still not convinced, though, it was a purely because of simple operational human error. I'm the best specimen in the world that a human can make silly mistakes, but I was quite alarmed in the case of caius this year because of what they informed their candidates regarding the method of communication, if it was a case of communication breakdown between the AT who agreed on the method at the forum and their admission stuff who wasn't there, a check-list, based on a minute from the forum meetings , would easily avoid a repetition of problem like that, and that's all I was saying.

    Thank you.
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    One more thing to be noted is maybe give students more time in the NSAA(can only speak for that as it's the only one I've sat). A better test of intelligence, in my opinion, would be to see if someone can solve a hard problem rather than several easier ones in a very short amount of time. What is your say, Christ's Admissions?
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    (Original post by Student1256)
    One more thing to be noted is maybe give students more time in the NSAA(can only speak for that as it's the only one I've sat). A better test of intelligence, in my opinion, would be to see if someone can solve a hard problem rather than several easier ones in a very short amount of time. What is your say, Christ's Admissions?
    To be honest, I feel having many short questions is better for a test setting as it tests applicants' fluency and grasp of current knowledge, and no one question will weigh too heavily on the test. How applicants deal with fewer, more complex questions could vary very much depending on stress, etc. and an applicant who could normally solve the harder question might find himself stumped when taking the test on a bad day. Having highly-weighted questions could also disproportionately affect students studying different syllabi/learning topics in a different order.

    The complex questions, I feel, are better left for interviews
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    (Original post by Student1256)
    One more thing to be noted is maybe give students more time in the NSAA(can only speak for that as it's the only one I've sat). A better test of intelligence, in my opinion, would be to see if someone can solve a hard problem rather than several easier ones in a very short amount of time. What is your say, Christ's Admissions?
    I'm not a Natural Scientist but I will certainly pass that view on, along with the one expressed by Infested (always good to have a variety of opinions)!
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    (Original post by Infested)
    To be honest, I feel having many short questions is better for a test setting as it tests applicants' fluency and grasp of current knowledge, and no one question will weigh too heavily on the test. How applicants deal with fewer, more complex questions could vary very much depending on stress, etc. and an applicant who could normally solve the harder question might find himself stumped when taking the test on a bad day. Having highly-weighted questions could also disproportionately affect students studying different syllabi/learning topics in a different order.

    The complex questions, I feel, are better left for interviews
    (Original post by Christ's Admissions)
    I'm not a Natural Scientist but I will certainly pass that view on, along with the one expressed by Infested (always good to have a variety of opinions)!
    Although @infested has a point, the same argument can be made about the opposite side. You argue a bad day would mean a student can't solve a difficult question but it's just as possible to have a bad day on which you can't solve things that fast under such pressure and would find it more suitable to expressing your intelligence by solving a More complex question in a more relaxed setting. IMO I'd prefer less time pressure so I can show off my depth of knowledge and understanding rather than just speed.
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    (Original post by Student1256)
    Although @infested has a point, the same argument can be made about the opposite side. You argue a bad day would mean a student can't solve a difficult question but it's just as possible to have a bad day on which you can't solve things that fast under such pressure and would find it more suitable to expressing your intelligence by solving a More complex question in a more relaxed setting. IMO I'd prefer less time pressure so I can show off my depth of knowledge and understanding rather than just speed.
    Isn't that why half the marks were for quick easier questions and the over half was two tougher questions?

    I personally thought it was a pretty fair test designed to reward both students who can handle high pressure and time limits as well as students who can think outside the box.
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    (Original post by hiq)
    Isn't that why half the marks were for quick easier questions and the over half was two tougher questions?

    I personally thought it was a pretty fair test designed to reward both students who can handle high pressure and time limits as well as students who can think outside the box.
    I agree with this. I've also heard that half the challenge of the NatSci course itself is the sheer amount of work and having time to fit everything in - being very fluent with the basics can only be a positive thing in this regard.
 
 
 
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