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

    8
    ReputationRep:
    I'm in year 12 and want to study linguistics at (hopefully) Cambridge. I have the opportunity to do Spanish AS independently as my Spanish is already at a good level (teacher is impressed with my work) but I'm not sure I'll want to be taking it to A2 - I'm also studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and the Welsh Baccalaureate. I've already done French AS, so I'm also doing French A2 this year. The entries for Spanish AS need to be in tomorrow.

    Would Cambridge mind if I did Spanish AS and then dropped it for A2, considering it is (to some extent) related to my chosen degree course? Plus Maths, FM and Physics are 3 very similar A2 subjects. Should I enter for Spanish? What would you advise for someone in my situation?
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    I'm in year 12 and want to study linguistics at (hopefully) Cambridge. I have the opportunity to do Spanish AS independently as my Spanish is already at a good level (teacher is impressed with my work) but I'm not sure I'll want to be taking it to A2 - I'm also studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and the Welsh Baccalaureate. I've already done French AS, so I'm also doing French A2 this year. The entries for Spanish AS need to be in tomorrow.

    Would Cambridge mind if I did Spanish AS and then dropped it for A2, considering it is (to some extent) related to my chosen degree course? Plus Maths, FM and Physics are 3 very similar A2 subjects. Should I enter for Spanish? What would you advise for someone in my situation?
    Ask a couple of Cambridge colleges - e.g. Peterhouse Admissions or Christ's Admissions


    Personally I think it would look a little odd to be applying for a linguistics course without taking your language to full A-level. Hold on, you say you will have French to full A-level? In which case you're probably good to go.

    PS. I've moved your thread to the Cambridge forum.
    • Official TSR Representative
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    I'm in year 12 and want to study linguistics at (hopefully) Cambridge. I have the opportunity to do Spanish AS independently as my Spanish is already at a good level (teacher is impressed with my work) but I'm not sure I'll want to be taking it to A2 - I'm also studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and the Welsh Baccalaureate. I've already done French AS, so I'm also doing French A2 this year. The entries for Spanish AS need to be in tomorrow.

    Would Cambridge mind if I did Spanish AS and then dropped it for A2, considering it is (to some extent) related to my chosen degree course? Plus Maths, FM and Physics are 3 very similar A2 subjects. Should I enter for Spanish? What would you advise for someone in my situation?
    For Linguistics we don't have any essential subjects so provided you're on track for A*AA you could make a good application. However, subjects aren't just about keeping us happy, they're also about setting yourself up to do well at whichever university you go to. Maths is useful, as are languages. Having Spanish to a good level will help you out, but not having it to A2 won't be a dealbreaker.

    The most important thing is to get A*AA in year 13 and to do as well as you can in your Spanish AS and French A2 this year.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Hey! I'm a Cambridge offer holder for Linguistics. For context, I only study 3 A Levels and none of them are languages, and I still got an offer. The main thing is that you get the grades to get in, and if doing an extra AS Level means you get AAABB or something in your AS Levels, or miss out on an A* at A2, you won't have gained anything and will actually miss out on your chance. If you're doing French already, you don't need to take another language for the sake of it because you genuinely won't gain anything from it. If you think you can juggle, what, 5 AS Levels? and still get all As, go for it, but I'd definitely be wary of doing it because you might actually negatively impact your chances at Cambridge.

    If you have any questions about Linguistics at Cambridge, I'm more than happy to help. I study English Literature, English Language and History, and last year I did Classics. (I also speak French)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    For Linguistics we don't have any essential subjects so provided you're on track for A*AA you could make a good application. However, subjects aren't just about keeping us happy, they're also about setting yourself up to do well at whichever university you go to. Maths is useful, as are languages. Having Spanish to a good level will help you out, but not having it to A2 won't be a dealbreaker.

    The most important thing is to get A*AA in year 13 and to do as well as you can in your Spanish AS and French A2 this year.
    Thank you for your response. So Cambridge considers Maths, Further Maths and Physics (+Welsh Baccalaureate) as an acceptable combination of A2-levels? I ask because I know some universities don't consider Maths and FM to be separate, or don't think that this combination has a sufficiently high workload.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    Thank you for your response. So Cambridge considers Maths, Further Maths and Physics (+Welsh Baccalaureate) as an acceptable combination of A2-levels? I ask because I know some universities don't consider Maths and FM to be separate, or don't think that this combination has a sufficiently high workload.
    Yes Maths and FM are considered as separate A-levels.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    Personally I think it would look a little odd to be applying for a linguistics course without taking your language to full A-level. Hold on, you say you will have French to full A-level? In which case you're probably good to go.
    Would you say, then, in your opinion, that it would look better if I didn't have Spanish at all than if I just had an AS and not an A2? I know you're not Cambridge so you can't really answer for definite, I'd just like your opinion since I know you help out a lot on these forums
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    Would you say, then, in your opinion, that it would look better if I didn't have Spanish at all than if I just had an AS and not an A2? I know you're not Cambridge so you can't really answer for definite, I'd just like your opinion since I know you help out a lot on these forums
    No I wouldn't say that at all. It's fine to just take Spanish to AS, and French to full A-level.

    But don't listen to me... Peterhouse have given the guidance you need.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    For Linguistics we don't have any essential subjects so provided you're on track for A*AA you could make a good application. However, subjects aren't just about keeping us happy, they're also about setting yourself up to do well at whichever university you go to. Maths is useful, as are languages. Having Spanish to a good level will help you out, but not having it to A2 won't be a dealbreaker.

    The most important thing is to get A*AA in year 13 and to do as well as you can in your Spanish AS and French A2 this year.
    Might I ask how important you would say doing Spanish AS would be for me? I'm concerned about it impacting my other grades and I have the option not to continue with it if I don't want to. I got almost 95% UMS in my French AS, if that's relevant, and have very strong GCSEs.
    • Official TSR Representative
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    Might I ask how important you would say doing Spanish AS would be for me? I'm concerned about it impacting my other grades and I have the option not to continue with it if I don't want to. I got almost 95% UMS in my French AS, if that's relevant, and have very strong GCSEs.
    It's not very important. Remember our assessment is holistic notbased on a tick list of particular A levels, UMS etc.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
    It's not very important. Remember our assessment is holistic notbased on a tick list of particular A levels, UMS etc.
    One final query - I'd like to keep the possibility of studying modern languages/an ab initio language. However, if I were to apply now, linguistics is what I would apply for. Would it therefore be more useful to continue with Spanish (more relevant to modern languages, and I've only got one modern language subject other than this - maths, FM, etc. aren't really related to modern languages) or with Physics (a science subject, and useful for linguistics)?
    • Official TSR Representative
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    One final query - I'd like to keep the possibility of studying modern languages/an ab initio language. However, if I were to apply now, linguistics is what I would apply for. Would it therefore be more useful to continue with Spanish (more relevant to modern languages, and I've only got one modern language subject other than this - maths, FM, etc. aren't really related to modern languages) or with Physics (a science subject, and useful for linguistics)?
    If you're also interested in MML then this is a decision only you can make but you can ask for advice from your teachers/parents/supporter.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by armyoctopus)
    One final query - I'd like to keep the possibility of studying modern languages/an ab initio language. However, if I were to apply now, linguistics is what I would apply for. Would it therefore be more useful to continue with Spanish (more relevant to modern languages, and I've only got one modern language subject other than this - maths, FM, etc. aren't really related to modern languages) or with Physics (a science subject, and useful for linguistics)?
    TBH I'd say Spanish is more relevant than Physics in either scenario. Maths & FM gives you the sciencey background you seem to want for Linguistics.

    But it also depends on which subjects you most enjoy and will do well in. Pick those.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    hey! I am also applying for Linguistics 2018 and currently debating whether to drop an A2 too. I currently do Maths, Chemistry, Ancient Greek, Music and IB SL German (basically an AS but a free syllabus so I've tailored mine to be very linguistics orientated). I am considering dropping Music just because I think I will have more time to do better in the other subjects and hopefully come out with slightly higher grades than the ones I'm currently getting! It's not really a relevant subject for the course although I am very interested in how music affects language learning and might mention this in PS... I'm so torn though because I love Music and basically been doing it my whole life but it's definitely the subject I find hardest and has the biggest workload so taking it off would be so so so much easier. If I keep i hope it won't ruin any Cambridge chances! Any advice? (I'm applying for organ scholarships so I could be at a slight disadvantage if I take it off...) Also, i was wondering how much previous knowledge Cambridge expect generally because I have done some focussed research in quite small and specific areas and have a limited understand in some others but if I reached interview and they asked about something that I knew very little about, would they be more interested in creative answers that aren't necessarily correct but are reasonable and backed up well enough or the person being really knowledgeable and knowing the topics very well so they could build on almost anything asked without running the risk of getting it horribly wrong?
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sophied24)
    hey! I am also applying for Linguistics 2018 and currently debating whether to drop an A2 too....
    Hiya, I'm the offer holder for Linguistics for 2017 entry so hopefully I can help you.

    Those are some great A Levels there! Maths, Greek and German will probably be most useful to you out of all of them so it would be worth trying to get high marks there. If you feel like doing music will hinder your performance in those subjects, I would recommend dropping it in order to focus on other more relevant subjects. However, if you really love music it's always something you can do in your free time without devoting an entire a level to the study of it? Keeping it on won't ruin your chances unless it negatively impacts everything else, but dropping it definitely definitely could positively affect your chances because it would allow you to spend more time revising for the AA, learning bits and bobs for the interview and getting that A*AA!

    Onto your next question... I did a lot, a lot of reading before my interview and it paid off big time! They won't at all expect you to understand the intricasies of X Bar theory or be able to recite the entire IPA, but they want to see that you can think in the way they'll be forcing you to. This would include having insight into nuanced differences in meaning eg the semantic differences between 'mother', 'father's wife' and 'birth giver' or something, or looking for phonetic change in things like written and spoken language etc. It's worth reading around different theories and schools of thought like Chomsky and his UG and gaining an awareness of the debates and controversies which exist in areas like language change, language acquisition, localisation of language in the brain etc. Some books I can recommend:
    - The Language Instinct (Pinker)
    - Linguistics: An Introduction (McGregor)
    - Words and Rules (Pinker)
    - How Language Works (Crystal)
    - The Unfolding of Language (Deutscher)
    - Language Acquisition (Myszor)
    - The Seeds of Speech (Aitchison)
    Big names you might want to know would be Pinker (v controversial, sort of bums it off Chomsky, psycholinguistics), Chomsky (just wow, lots of theories, absolute game changer), David Crystal (daddy), Aitchison (v interesting and accessible, psycholinguist, nice ideas about language change using some great metaphors), Dan Everett (sets up a nice debate against Chomsky, field researcher, super interesting) etc. They will not, NOT expect a knowledge of all their theories and won't even expect you to name drop anyone in particular but say they ask about some of the key characteristics of child language acquisition, it's always good to throw in maybe some contrasting ideas so saying something like "children tend to acquire nouns first leading to a prevalent noun bias in speech acquisition which is explained through the theories of Piaget and cognitive development, through which the child is presumed to acquire language through the lens of egocentrism and therefore it's understandable that they'd pick up concrete noun words first because they're most accessible and understandable in the child's world view". They could ask about issues in semantics eg ambiguity as a result of bad phrasing, or talk about garden path sentences like "time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana" in which there's ostensible grammatical parallelism but the deeper structures, if you were to make a syntax tree, are completely different as flies is a verb in the first and a noun in the second ("time (Subject) flies (Verb) like an arrow (Complement probably idk), fruit flies (Subject) like (Verb) a banana (Object)". It's useful to know words like subject verb object complement noun phrase etc because it just makes stuff easier to explain? However, they'd just be looking for you to explain why the sentence is interesting and so if you can spot why then that's just good enough. You could probs talk about the idea of conditioning which is a big thing in linguistics; have you heard that test where someone says 'say silk... spell silk... spell it backwards... say silk again... what do cows drink?' and like 99% of people will say 'milk' because they've been phonetically conditioned? (Try it on your family/friends, it's great fun!) They'll sort of push you to look deeper at the problems they give you, but none of it is really really specific or whatever.

    If you want to talk to me about applying for linguistics, I'm more than happy to help you go over drafts of a personal statement, talk through applying etc if you want any help at this stage!

    By the way, I do only 3 A Levels at the moment, dropped one after AS - English Lit, Lang and History. Whilst most people to be fair do take four or so, it definitely didn't work against me and it means hopefully I'll be able to put all my effort into those three and come out with A*AA!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by blue2337)
    Hiya, I'm the offer holder for Linguistics for 2017 entry so hopefully I can help you.

    Those are some great A Levels there! Maths, Greek and German will probably be most useful to you out of all of them so it would be worth trying to get high marks there. If you feel like doing music will hinder your performance in those subjects, I would recommend dropping it in order to focus on other more relevant subjects. However, if you really love music it's always something you can do in your free time without devoting an entire a level to the study of it? Keeping it on won't ruin your chances unless it negatively impacts everything else, but dropping it definitely definitely could positively affect your chances because it would allow you to spend more time revising for the AA, learning bits and bobs for the interview and getting that A*AA!

    Onto your next question... I did a lot, a lot of reading before my interview and it paid off big time! They won't at all expect you to understand the intricasies of X Bar theory or be able to recite the entire IPA, but they want to see that you can think in the way they'll be forcing you to. This would include having insight into nuanced differences in meaning eg the semantic differences between 'mother', 'father's wife' and 'birth giver' or something, or looking for phonetic change in things like written and spoken language etc. It's worth reading around different theories and schools of thought like Chomsky and his UG and gaining an awareness of the debates and controversies which exist in areas like language change, language acquisition, localisation of language in the brain etc. Some books I can recommend:
    - The Language Instinct (Pinker)
    - Linguistics: An Introduction (McGregor)
    - Words and Rules (Pinker)
    - How Language Works (Crystal)
    - The Unfolding of Language (Deutscher)
    - Language Acquisition (Myszor)
    - The Seeds of Speech (Aitchison)
    Big names you might want to know would be Pinker (v controversial, sort of bums it off Chomsky, psycholinguistics), Chomsky (just wow, lots of theories, absolute game changer), David Crystal (daddy), Aitchison (v interesting and accessible, psycholinguist, nice ideas about language change using some great metaphors), Dan Everett (sets up a nice debate against Chomsky, field researcher, super interesting) etc. They will not, NOT expect a knowledge of all their theories and won't even expect you to name drop anyone in particular but say they ask about some of the key characteristics of child language acquisition, it's always good to throw in maybe some contrasting ideas so saying something like "children tend to acquire nouns first leading to a prevalent noun bias in speech acquisition which is explained through the theories of Piaget and cognitive development, through which the child is presumed to acquire language through the lens of egocentrism and therefore it's understandable that they'd pick up concrete noun words first because they're most accessible and understandable in the child's world view". They could ask about issues in semantics eg ambiguity as a result of bad phrasing, or talk about garden path sentences like "time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana" in which there's ostensible grammatical parallelism but the deeper structures, if you were to make a syntax tree, are completely different as flies is a verb in the first and a noun in the second ("time (Subject) flies (Verb) like an arrow (Complement probably idk), fruit flies (Subject) like (Verb) a banana (Object)". It's useful to know words like subject verb object complement noun phrase etc because it just makes stuff easier to explain? However, they'd just be looking for you to explain why the sentence is interesting and so if you can spot why then that's just good enough. You could probs talk about the idea of conditioning which is a big thing in linguistics; have you heard that test where someone says 'say silk... spell silk... spell it backwards... say silk again... what do cows drink?' and like 99% of people will say 'milk' because they've been phonetically conditioned? (Try it on your family/friends, it's great fun!) They'll sort of push you to look deeper at the problems they give you, but none of it is really really specific or whatever.

    If you want to talk to me about applying for linguistics, I'm more than happy to help you go over drafts of a personal statement, talk through applying etc if you want any help at this stage!

    By the way, I do only 3 A Levels at the moment, dropped one after AS - English Lit, Lang and History. Whilst most people to be fair do take four or so, it definitely didn't work against me and it means hopefully I'll be able to put all my effort into those three and come out with A*AA!

    Omg thank you so much! I didn't really expect a reply so quickly and in so much detail! Well done for your offer - which college are you hoping to go to? It sounds like you worked really hard and totally deserved your place and thank you so much for all the tips! I have actually done a little bit of reading (the Crystal book you mentioned and Language Instinct and this other book which isn't very academic but very enjoyable called Planet World by J.P. Davidson). Thing is, I am a VERY slow reader (probably not what Cambridge want) so I've preferred reading articles and experiments instead. They are so varied and can be very interesting. I have just submitted an essay for the Newnham MML prize so that required a lot of research but that was primarily the benefits of learning more than one language. I am hoping to do the Trinity one too in summer but I'm not a massive fan of the question. If I do decide to give it a go, it should hopefully mean that I can look into a completely different area which will always be useful. However, there is plenty that you've mentioned that I should look into more!

    In terms of subjects, I am actually considering Oxbridge organ scholarships so again, Music is beneficial in that sense but it's all very much up in the air! I'm considering lots of things but I doubt I will end up dropping anything. To be honest, I would have been happy to do any of my GCSE subjects at A level so it was a struggle first choosing what to drop and now dropping even more would feel even worse! I should probably wait to see what my predictions will be after mocks and then decide.

    I recently had a look at the sample AA and i was not expecting it to be like it was at all - especially the statistics and data analysis section! I will definitely need to look into this more because if I tried the paper now my mark would probably be horrifically low! I have come across garden path sentences etc but just for fun. I hadn't really looked into how they are different, more just arguing over what we thought the correct meaning was!

    Thank you for the offer about PS etc, I might take you up on that when I start writing it but it hasn't really crossed my mind much recently. Doing the organ scholarships actually does mean that my Linguistics interview will be in September so I should probably start thinking about writing my PS soon because everything needs to be done a bit earlier for me. I don't want to interfere with your revision etc so we'll see what happens.

    Good luck for your exams soon - hopefully they'll all go well!
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sophied24)
    Omg thank you so much! I didn't really expect a reply so quickly and in so much detail! Well done for your offer - which college are you hoping to go to? It sounds like you worked really hard and totally deserved your place and thank you so much for all the tips! I have actually done a little bit of reading (the Crystal book you mentioned and Language Instinct and this other book which isn't very academic but very enjoyable called Planet World by J.P. Davidson). Thing is, I am a VERY slow reader (probably not what Cambridge want) so I've preferred reading articles and experiments instead. They are so varied and can be very interesting. I have just submitted an essay for the Newnham MML prize so that required a lot of research but that was primarily the benefits of learning more than one language. I am hoping to do the Trinity one too in summer but I'm not a massive fan of the question. If I do decide to give it a go, it should hopefully mean that I can look into a completely different area which will always be useful. However, there is plenty that you've mentioned that I should look into more!

    In terms of subjects, I am actually considering Oxbridge organ scholarships so again, Music is beneficial in that sense but it's all very much up in the air! I'm considering lots of things but I doubt I will end up dropping anything. To be honest, I would have been happy to do any of my GCSE subjects at A level so it was a struggle first choosing what to drop and now dropping even more would feel even worse! I should probably wait to see what my predictions will be after mocks and then decide.

    I recently had a look at the sample AA and i was not expecting it to be like it was at all - especially the statistics and data analysis section! I will definitely need to look into this more because if I tried the paper now my mark would probably be horrifically low! I have come across garden path sentences etc but just for fun. I hadn't really looked into how they are different, more just arguing over what we thought the correct meaning was!

    Thank you for the offer about PS etc, I might take you up on that when I start writing it but it hasn't really crossed my mind much recently. Doing the organ scholarships actually does mean that my Linguistics interview will be in September so I should probably start thinking about writing my PS soon because everything needs to be done a bit earlier for me. I don't want to interfere with your revision etc so we'll see what happens.

    Good luck for your exams soon - hopefully they'll all go well!
    Haha it's okay, it's not often that I find other hopeful linguists! And I remember being in your position this time last year and it was so tricky to find information!

    I applied to Clare but got pooled to Newnham and am so thankful that I did! It's a beautiful college and the linguistics dept there is really strong so I'm over the moon. It's always worth looking at the department within a college and seeing whether their interests line up with yours? When I applied to Clare I didn't realise that the DoS there was fully interested in phonetics whereas my interest lies in semantics and pragmatics. Do you have any areas you find more interesting than others? That's okay about being a slow reader - practice makes perfect! There are some really good magazines etc out there like Babel, plus online podcasts etc like the history of the english language and linguisticisms. I looked at the Newn and Trin essay questions out of interest and I love the Trinity one, just because I'm so interested in historical attitudes towards language change, it's utterly fascinating once you get into it.

    You're right to think about mocks and how they reflect on your performance etc. Also, you honestly won't have to choose until after you sit your AS exams (if you still do those?) so perhaps just see how things go in terms of revision for summer exams. You might find that a subject you previously found easy has become a lot harder!

    The AA is quite difficult but essentially there are 3 sections: decoding a language, data analysis, and an extended essay. You can practice the language section by trying UKLO past problems which is essentially what you'll get in the AA, or looking at the AAs on the Oxford website. In terms of data analysis, it's difficult but it's just a case of practicing and learning about the different types of charts/data representations etc -- I haven't done maths since GCSE and I found it alright. The extended essay isn't something they want you to have explicit knowledge about, it's just to test how you approach an unknown subject and how well and how creatively you can respond to a prompt!

    I'm more than happy to help with anything in particular, just send me a private message or whatever and I'll do my best to help!
 
 
 
  • 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
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • 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.