Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    s

    Hmmm, regarding the whole teamwork thing/ asking other students for help, it does seem to vary a bit between colleges (I guess depending if their DoS has encouraged them, or if there is a college subject society organising group study sessions) but up until this year I'd never done ANY group study or chatted about supervision questions with friends. It seemed like everyone was very into studying on their own - I'm sure if I went and asked someone for help they wouldn't mind, but there wasn't a general atmosphere/ feeling that encouraged it. It also didn't help that ...
    Actually no one encouraged or organised such a 'group' in my daughter and her friends' case. It all happened naturally and organically. Perhaps it's more to do with what sort of students happened to be there that determines the atmosphere.

    Also regarding support from college/DoS.....
    Again it'd probably depend quite a lot on what kind of 'person' your DoS is, too. My daughter and her fellow students on the same course was exteremely lucky that they had a very supportive DoS/fellows who valued interaction with students and were always there for them when extra help/advice was needed. (But not like watching over them every second as, at the end of the day, it's university, not kindergarten or school, you're expected to stand on your own feet. You are an adult. )

    But it wasn't only them. A few students I mentioned somewhere earlier who struggled with their study were on different subjects. The supports they got from their DOS/fellows were fantastic. I won't go into too much detail, but especially with one of them, she could have been expelled if it weren't for the support from her DOS.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Hmmm, out of interest which college were you at? I have friends at some of the richer colleges in town and it sounds like they also had a similar experience to you - good supervisors, a more school-like approach to teaching, and a more supportive atmosphere...
    I really don't think it's to do with location of colleges.....
    My daughter's college wasn't in the town and with average wealth among colleges .
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    Of course they don't. They physically don't have the room. And therefore the offer holders who do less well in STEP* miss out.
    *Because STEP has been shown to be a useful selection filter.

    The alternative is to do away with STEP, have a pre-interview test and then give far fewer offers. Like Oxford. That's a perfectly valid approach, and if applicants prefer that then they can always apply to The Other Place.

    I don't think you are getting my point and it is not the first time, although it is very clear. I guess you answer me to object to anything I say more than to respond to my comments.

    Let's leave it at that
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ComputerMaths97)
    First year Computer Scientist here (not quite Maths but I feel like there's no harm in adding my opinion :P)

    One main thing that jumped out at me the most is Cambridge really isn't what you'd expect. No matter how many times you read "the workload will be tough", you'll never truly be ready. The teaching and lectures truly isn't as "world class" as you'd expect. They massively over-exploit the fact that all the students are supposedly intelligent, and hence leave most the work to you. You never go over any idea or concept more than once in lectures. If you've ever heard a key word before in a lecture, or ever gone over a method, you should be able to understand it perfectly.

    It's very "here's a book, go read it, oh and here's some questions, do them". Although somehow they manage to fill your day with "teaching hours".

    A paragraph specific to Computer Science incase you'd rather skip it:
    We have these assignments called Ticks. Weekly coding exercises, done entirely in our own time, with a webpage prompting us. Now the huge issue I find with these are, they have tight deadlines, and go towards your final grade. So often you want to do some revision or go over course content but instead you're forced to complete an exercise, working through it slowly and painfully because you barely understand it all. Googling everything. Coding is a very tedious thing, let alone with deadlines, and being used for "learning". It's not a test of skill, it's there to "teach" you. But let me reiterate, you're entirely teaching yourself the course, they just tell you what you need to be able to do. It will be like "do this" and you have to go figure out what that means, what it does, how to do it and how to implement it into your own code. Although sometimes they help with some of these aspects. Also they go on and on about asking for help on the "help forum" but it takes hours for a response. Computer Science also has lots of messy courses, because of how fast the field is growing they keep changing the content, meaning they get it wrong. Some courses are just way too hard this year.

    Computer Science is 25% maths this year so I can focus a bit on that. The lectures are actually somehow slow and fast at the same time. Every lecture you feel like they're dragging on, taking forever to use simple techniques, but when you go to revise it and do questions on it, suddenly it's a million times tougher.

    At first, you're largely fooled with the "there's loads of support for you here" stuff, to make you not feel so insecure. But you'll quickly learn you're own your own, but if you're smart enough you'll have other people on your course. Sadly for me, I'm too busy trying to catch up with these guys with years of coding experience I can tell already they'd rather not spend their time helping me xD

    I'm not quite sure whether I regret it or not. I'm largely here because I'm competitive, but this place has killed my enthusiasm for being the best (or even being not the worst) because it feels impossible. This place is definitely massively overhyped, and therefore I'm going to assume the effect a Cambridge degree has in terms of employment does too. I think it's more to do with great people go to Cambridge, so of course they'll earn more, not the other way around.

    If you're not a superhuman, you'll most likely go through a confidence destroying phase, where you're spending every hour of every day working just to see you're miles behind everyone else.

    It's just inexplainable to anyone that hasn't experienced it. Yeah it's tough, but I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. I'd just be more lazy, waste more time. Yeah I enjoy a challenge but this is certainly too much.

    Oh and PS please do not be fooled by the "shorter more intense terms" you'll be studying the same amount out of term.

    Oh and if you were brought up like me (being able to value smaller things and skills) then you may get offended a lot xD When my lecturers say something like "them students studying a lesser course" I want to honestly get up and knock them out lol. Very elitist place, would not recommend unless you're absolutely brilliant, or motivated beyond compare
    I can relate to that as I am attending a school ''the envy of everyone'' but in reality is ''go and fetch''.
    Jack on YouTube has mentioned similar things regarding lectures and supervisions.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Personally, I've been most frustrated by the inequalities in supervisions at different colleges. I was pretty lucky in some modules, having a physics fellow at our college who was AMAZING - happily gave us extra long supervisions (even though he was only being paid for an hour), wrote out suggested answers to loads of past paper questions, and was super good at explaining things and working through example problems. However, I really didn't enjoy physics itself so didn't continue with it after first year. Many of my other supervisors mentioned "I'll just have to double check with your DoS about funding..." as an excuse for not providing extra supervisions beyond the bare minimum required, and I noticed they were much less keen to mark our independent work or set revision questions than for their other supervisees at richer colleges... We also almost exclusively got PhD students (even some from different specialisms, I had a physicist supervising me once for Biological Chemistry, a module he admitted after a few weeks actually failing as an undergrad...) supervising us, when other colleges brought in the lecturers or examiners to supervise their students. Of course, this is just my personal experience and university is more about learning stuff for yourself than being private tutored through your exams anyway, but it can feel incredibly frustrating when students at some other colleges seem to be spoon-fed everything.

    However, in third year Chemistry (and I'd guess it's similar in many other subjects), the department now has responsibility for sorting out supervisors for us - so this whole issue has massively improved for me this year. I'd guess in smaller subjects this may even be the case throughout the whole degree course.

    Hmmm, regarding the whole teamwork thing/ asking other students for help, it does seem to vary a bit between colleges (I guess depending if their DoS has encouraged them, or if there is a college subject society organising group study sessions) but up until this year I'd never done ANY group study or chatted about supervision questions with friends. It seemed like everyone was very into studying on their own - I'm sure if I went and asked someone for help they wouldn't mind, but there wasn't a general atmosphere/ feeling that encouraged it. It also didn't help that not many people at my college took the same modules, and we are miles away from the other colleges (where I didn't know anyone anyway). That being said, again it has changed a bit this year as I finally found a couple of good friends keen to hang out in the Chemistry cafe over lunch. Maybe I've just struggled, being more introverted, at getting to know the right people...

    Lol, interests of students...

    Your experiences are as valid as any others and very much appreciated. After all they first hand experiences.

    Thank you again

    Edit: Unfortunately some have a narrow vision and a self centered perspective of the world.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vincrows)
    Gregorius
    I would happily nominate your earlier post for Best Post of the Month.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jadeemma)
    I've received an offer from Cambridge for Maths and heard how demanding the course is and the amount of hard work required! Does anyone wish they went to a different Uni? Plus what are the parties and nights out like?
    I did maths at Cambridge from 2011-2015, and am now a PhD student in London. The course suited me very well and I found both the course itself and my experience at university immensely enjoyable.

    Here are some general comments about the course.

    Comments on the course:
    Usually about 30% of people get 1sts, 70-75% get 2.1s or higher, 90% 2.2s or higher, and 10% 3rds. The number of failures each year is nonzero but very small (in 2008 1st year exams there were about 5 failures out of 234 candidates.)
    Maths is unusual in that a fair few people (25% of candidates) do not get 2.1s, and there is some anecdotal evidence that this harms their job prospects, because some 'big city' employers do a blanket filter where you need to get a 2.1 or higher. I suspect that these percentages are more maths-specific than Cambridge-specific though. (In English and History, for example, the vast majority of people at Cambridge get 2.1 or higher, although I do not know the exact statistics.)

    External examiners are usually of the opinion that it is harder for a mathematician to get a 1st at Cambridge than elsewhere, but about equally hard to get a 2.1.

    It is very difficult to know which group of candidates you will end up being in. The best predictor is your mark in STEP III, but of course you don't have that yet. I would say that if you enjoy preparing for STEP, then you will enjoy and do well in the course. (This doesn't mean that you won't find STEP very hard - I certainly did!)

    The course itself offers the most choice out of any university in the UK, including Oxford. You can see the diversity of courses on offer in the undergraduate Tripos here:
    https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra.../coursesIA.pdf
    https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra.../coursesIB.pdf
    https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra.../coursesII.pdf

    Note, however, that all of these courses are mathematical in nature (here, mathematics includes things like statistics and theoretical physics.) It is not possible to do things like 'maths-with-French', like it is at, say, Warwick. (But if you do want to practise your French, there's probably a society for that - see below.)



    Social life:

    There is time to have a social life - indeed those people who shut themselves up in their room do not always get better marks!

    Mathmos tend to have very diverse personalities; some never go clubbing, others go all the time. However, since you will live in a college, it is likely that many of your friends will not be mathematicians. There are about 5 nightclubs in Cambridge, which I only went to very occasionally, and loads of pubs, which I went to fairly frequently.

    There are also lots of societies - I did punting, orchestra and rowing (in 1st year only), and went to the pub/college bar with my friends reasonably often. There are also lots of posh dinners (so-called 'formals') to go to, and at the end of the year most colleges hold a big party where everybody goes in black tie. These parties do cost like £150 to go to though, so it's not possible to go to meany unless you save up / are wealthy. Basically, if you name any hobby (including Tiddlywinks!), there will probably be a society at Cambridge which does it.

    University College London also has a very large and diverse group of societies, but in my opinion the social side of Cambridge was nicer because you had the college community as well as the university community.

    Speaking of college communities, some previous posters have spoken about inequalities between colleges. Regrettably, this is the case. For example, in 1st year some colleges (e.g. Queens') offer additional classes on the problem sheets to students, and some don't. The inequalities do tend to even out in 3rd year though, where 90% of the time your supervisor is a PhD student.

    This post is getting a bit long now, so I'll end by repeating how much I enjoyed my experience there. Feel free to quote me if you want answers to specific questions.
    ToB
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by theOldBean)
    External examiners are usually of the opinion that it is harder for a mathematician to get a 1st at Cambridge than elsewhere, but about equally hard to get a 2.1.
    So all of those people on TSR who keep going on about how a 2.2 or 3rd at Ox/Cam is better than a 1st at a Russell Group clearly don't know what they are talking about.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by auburnstar)
    So all of those people on TSR who keep going on about how a 2.2 or 3rd at Ox/Cam is better than a 1st at a Russell Group clearly don't know what they are talking about.
    Correct

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by auburnstar)
    So all of those people on TSR who keep going on about how a 2.2 or 3rd at Ox/Cam is better than a 1st at a Russell Group clearly don't know what they are talking about.
    The average Cambridge maths student has 1,1 in STEP. Around 20% of them get 2.2s.

    That would not happen at most universities.

    External examiners actively encourage high and low grades being awarded within each university to "differentiate the cohort".
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by theOldBean)
    I did maths at Cambridge from 2011-2015, and am now a PhD student in London. The course suited me very well and I found both the course itself and my experience at university immensely enjoyable.

    Here are some general comments about the course.

    Comments on the course:
    Usually about 30% of people get 1sts, 70-75% get 2.1s or higher, 90% 2.2s or higher, and 10% 3rds. The number of failures each year is nonzero but very small (in 2008 1st year exams there were about 5 failures out of 234 candidates.)
    Maths is unusual in that a fair few people (25% of candidates) do not get 2.1s, and there is some anecdotal evidence that this harms their job prospects, because some 'big city' employers do a blanket filter where you need to get a 2.1 or higher. I suspect that these percentages are more maths-specific than Cambridge-specific though. (In English and History, for example, the vast majority of people at Cambridge get 2.1 or higher, although I do not know the exact statistics.)

    External examiners are usually of the opinion that it is harder for a mathematician to get a 1st at Cambridge than elsewhere, but about equally hard to get a 2.1.

    It is very difficult to know which group of candidates you will end up being in. The best predictor is your mark in STEP III, but of course you don't have that yet. I would say that if you enjoy preparing for STEP, then you will enjoy and do well in the course. (This doesn't mean that you won't find STEP very hard - I certainly did!)

    The course itself offers the most choice out of any university in the UK, including Oxford. You can see the diversity of courses on offer in the undergraduate Tripos here:
    https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra.../coursesIA.pdf
    https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra.../coursesIB.pdf
    https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra.../coursesII.pdf

    Note, however, that all of these courses are mathematical in nature (here, mathematics includes things like statistics and theoretical physics.) It is not possible to do things like 'maths-with-French', like it is at, say, Warwick. (But if you do want to practise your French, there's probably a society for that - see below.)



    Social life:

    There is time to have a social life - indeed those people who shut themselves up in their room do not always get better marks!

    Mathmos tend to have very diverse personalities; some never go clubbing, others go all the time. However, since you will live in a college, it is likely that many of your friends will not be mathematicians. There are about 5 nightclubs in Cambridge, which I only went to very occasionally, and loads of pubs, which I went to fairly frequently.

    There are also lots of societies - I did punting, orchestra and rowing (in 1st year only), and went to the pub/college bar with my friends reasonably often. There are also lots of posh dinners (so-called 'formals' to go to, and at the end of the year most colleges hold a big party where everybody goes in black tie. These parties do cost like £150 to go to though, so it's not possible to go to meany unless you save up / are wealthy. Basically, if you name any hobby (including Tiddlywinks!), there will probably be a society at Cambridge which does it.

    University College London also has a very large and diverse group of societies, but in my opinion the social side of Cambridge was nicer because you had the college community as well as the university community.

    Speaking of college communities, some previous posters have spoken about inequalities between colleges. Regrettably, this is the case. For example, in 1st year some colleges (e.g. Queens' offer additional classes on the problem sheets to students, and some don't. The inequalities do tend to even out in 3rd year though, where 90% of the time your supervisor is a PhD student.

    This post is getting a bit long now, so I'll end by repeating how much I enjoyed my experience there. Feel free to quote me if you want answers to specific questions.
    ToB
    I was quite relieved to read this - I'd started to think I was the only one who'd enjoyed themselves greatly! You and other posters do make valid points about supervision: I think I was lucky with mine, but I certainly remember gripes about variability in quality.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    The average Cambridge maths student has 1,1 in STEP. Around 20% of them get 2.2s.

    That would not happen at most universities.

    External examiners actively encourage high and low grades being awarded within each university to "differentiate the cohort".
    But surely using the full range of marks is far more preferable and meaningful that bunching everyone around the 57-72 range?
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I "think" what I conclude from recent posts is that, as with any university, one's experience is a very individual thing. That is why I always say " forget the hype any uni puts out there", you must go with your gut instinct when you visit.

    I do agree with @jneill though re statistical evidence about interviews. I have never read anything yet that convinces me it isn't the most important part of the application process. It would be nice to see data re candidates scoring low marks at interview but still being awarded places ( please post if it is available). More than happy to be proved wrong here, I have no evidence and just experience of mine. Would be nice to be wrong.

    I also take @ melanie_leconte point as well. Cambridge AT's ( from the bit I have read) are ready to admit the applications process can always be improved, wish other unis were as transparent😜. As someone who has SLIGHTLY felt the wrath of TSR members in the past for daring to critique Cambridge, I would say that I welcome all points politely and respectfully made.😀

    To the OP who asked the question " do you regret going to Cambridge?". Firstly well done on your offer👍👍. But no one can and should give you an answer on what to do. Do your research. Do YOU like the course/Cambridge? How important is socialising/ partying to YOU? Trust me I know students who have dropped out of uni already for not considering their choice carefully.

    No uni is perfect, including Cambridge. Choose wisely but limit your expectations of what it will be like when you start uni. Best wishes.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by 210555)
    I do agree with @jneill though re statistical evidence about interviews. I have never read anything yet that convinces me it isn't the most important part of the application process. It would be nice to see data re candidates scoring low marks at interview but still being awarded places ( please post if it is available). More than happy to be proved wrong here, I have no evidence and just experience of mine. Would be nice to be wrong.
    It's hard to have a definitive answer to this for the reason that the interview often isn't scored on it's own. But here's a FOI response showing some applicants with an "average interview score" below 7 but strong UMS (ah those where the days... ) getting offers. Whereas others with a 6-7 score AND weaker UMS not getting offers. And some with high interview scores (>8) and lower UMS also getting offers. So from the limited data available it does show the process is holistic.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...20outcomes.pdf

    Edit: here's a chart of the data

    Attachment 613802

    Caveats: this is a very small sample, only one course at one college, Correlation =/= causation etc etc.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    It's hard to have a definitive answer to this for the reason that the interview often isn't scored on it's own. But here's a FOI response showing some applicants with an "average interview score" below 7 but strong UMS (ah those where the days... ) getting offers. Whereas others with a 6-7 score AND weaker UMS not getting offers. And some with high interview scores (>8) and lower UMS also getting offers. So from the limited data available it does show the process is holistic.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...20outcomes.pdf

    Edit: here's a chart of the data

    Attachment 613802

    Caveats: this is a very small sample, only one course at one college, Correlation =/= causation etc etc.
    what is it with you and your detailed charts jneill, you should make graphs as a career xDD

    I wish there were more concrete details on what they are looking for at interview. sure there's the obvious stuff like engaging in debate, seeming enthusiastic, being able to show wider reading/able to do problems etc but there's really nothing that shows or explains how they mark a 7 versus an 8 or a 6 versus a 5.

    would you think in the case of someone w AABB at AS and no GCSE even the best interview could not "redeem" them so to speak?
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by auburnstar)
    what is it with you and your detailed charts jneill, you should make graphs as a career xDD
    I do. Well it's a key part of my job...

    would you think in the case of someone w AABB at AS and no GCSE even the best interview could not "redeem" them so to speak?
    Not at all. I've seen a TSR member with AABD (and pretty terrible GCSEs) get a Cambridge offer (and subsequently a place). But that will depend on the course - this was for maths, and for maths all that is really important is the maths...
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    But that will depend on the course - this was for maths, and for maths all that is really important is the maths...
    Actually that what I've thought and wholeheartedly believed until the 12th of this month. For Maths not all that is really important is the Maths.


    Edit: Please stop saying that because some have believed you and their pain is enormous and hard to witness.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    Actually that what I've thought and wholeheartedly believed until the 12th of this month. For Maths not all that is really important is the Maths.


    Edit: Please stop saying that because some have believed you and their pain is enormous and hard to witness.
    Are you also telling Cambridge ATs to stop advising that maths is the most important thing for a maths applicant?

    Murray Edwards Admissions
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...&postcount=356

    And a whole thread about Maths admissions by a Maths interviewer for Peterhouse Admissions :
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...2&postcount=33
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...6&postcount=44
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...6&postcount=78
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Reality Check)
    But surely using the full range of marks is far more preferable and meaningful that bunching everyone around the 57-72 range?
    It depends on what you're trying to achieve.

    If you want to "spread out" the Cambridge students, then yes it's preferable.

    If you want a grading system that allows fair comparisons to be made between graduates of different universities, then I'd say it isn't preferable.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    Are you also telling Cambridge ATs to stop advising that maths is the most important thing for a maths applicant?
    No just to you to stop saying that for maths ALL that is really important is the maths..I am sorry I don't have time to go through all the references to previous threads but I don't remember ever any of the Cambridge ATs saying ''ALL''.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What newspaper do you read/prefer?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.