I'm hoping to do natural sciences at Cambridge but I'm only doing ALevel biology and chemistry. I feel like I have many other redeeming qualities that they might also consider and I have portfolios and projects related to biology work experience and computer science to prove it. How much will my lack of a maths ALevel hinder my chances?
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 15072017 18:49

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 15072017 18:53
Do you only do two A levels ??
And also Doonesbury and Reality Check are better qualified than me to answer. 
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 15072017 19:01
(Original post by bobby147)
Do you only do two A levels ??
And also Doonesbury and Reality Check are better qualified than me to answer. 
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 15072017 22:30
(Original post by Ammimi)
I'm hoping to do natural sciences at Cambridge but I'm only doing ALevel biology and chemistry. I feel like I have many other redeeming qualities that they might also consider and I have portfolios and projects related to biology work experience and computer science to prove it. How much will my lack of a maths ALevel hinder my chances?
Until this year, you would have taken EMB (Elementary Maths for Biologists), but now you take a modified version of the common firstyear maths course for NatScis, maths/mathematical biology, which involves 2040 hours of selfstudy. 
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 5
 24072017 13:18
(Original post by Reality Check)
You don't have to have maths A level at certain colleges for biological NatSci, but it restricts your choices. It's not possible to do physical natsci without Maths A Level, and it's extremely unusual to only have 2 maths/science A levels and be admitted for NatSci.
Until this year, you would have taken EMB (Elementary Maths for Biologists), but now you take a modified version of the common firstyear maths course for NatScis, maths/mathematical biology, which involves 2040 hours of selfstudy.
At the moment, I'm considering taking chemistry, physics & geography, but would you advise that I should take maths instead (maths isn't my strongest subject though)? However, do you think that if I take mathematical biology and do self study, it would compensate with A level maths? 
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 24072017 13:42
(Original post by Alicezworld)
So if I want to study Physical NatSci, A level maths is compulsory then?
At the moment, I'm considering taking chemistry, physics & geography, but would you advise that I should take maths instead (maths isn't my strongest subject though)? However, do you think that if I take mathematical biology and do self study, it would compensate with A level maths?
To optimise chances of acceptance for Biological Natsci, it is very beneficial to have Maths alongside Biology and Chemistry. 
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 24072017 13:50
(Original post by Alicezworld)
So if I want to study Physical NatSci, A level maths is compulsory then?
At the moment, I'm considering taking chemistry, physics & geography, but would you advise that I should take maths instead (maths isn't my strongest subject though)? However, do you think that if I take mathematical biology and do self study, it would compensate with A level maths?
Mathematical Biology is just that  it's for students taking Biological NatSci with a Maths A level. If you are choosing to do physical NatSci rather than Biological NatSci, then you will study the "Mathematics" paper in your first year (IA) and for this you need A level maths and have done well in it.
Maths is an integral part of NatSci at Cambridge, and particularly so for Physical NatSci. If you don't like maths, or don't feel that you'd want to have it as a large part of your degree, then you should think carefully as to whether Natural Sciences at Cambridge really is the right course for you.
http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...1a#mathematicsLast edited by Reality Check; 24072017 at 13:53. 
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 24072017 14:00
(Original post by Alicezworld)
So if I want to study Physical NatSci, A level maths is compulsory then?
At the moment, I'm considering taking chemistry, physics & geography, but would you advise that I should take maths instead (maths isn't my strongest subject though)? However, do you think that if I take mathematical biology and do self study, it would compensate with A level maths?
As Reality Check said, it's unusual a candidate with only 2 STEM subjects get an offer for natsci at Cambridge but it does happen. However, for a candidate who wants to go physics natsci route, they'd naturally expect you to have a solid foundation in maths. Not having Alevel maths would put you in extremely uncompetitive position. 
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 24072017 14:09
(Original post by Inister)
I don't know why you'd want to do Physical Natsci if Maths wasn't a strong point for you  or even Physics ALevel, for that matter. You'd need Maths, Physics and likely Further Maths too for good chances of admission.
To optimise chances of acceptance for Biological Natsci, it is very beneficial to have Maths alongside Biology and Chemistry.
Despite saying maths isn't my strongest point, I do like the subject though and if advised, I would take it because I heard that it is recommended to do physics with maths, but I have also heard that it is manageable without maths if I take physics... 
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 24072017 14:19
(Original post by Reality Check)
A level maths is compulsory for physical NatSci, yes. You've got muddled between the options at Cambridge I think.
Mathematical Biology is just that  it's for students taking Biological NatSci with a Maths A level. If you are choosing to do physical NatSci rather than Biological NatSci, then you will study the "Mathematics" paper in your first year (IA) and for this you need A level maths and have done well in it.
Maths is an integral part of NatSci at Cambridge, and particularly so for Physical NatSci. If you don't like maths, or don't feel that you'd want to have it as a large part of your degree, then you should think carefully as to whether Natural Sciences at Cambridge really is the right course for you.
http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...1a#mathematics
However, since you're an advisor, do you think it would be possible to take all three sciences instead of maths to study NatSci? Or of course, maths has to be taken even though the entry requirement states at least 2 science/maths? 
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 24072017 14:23
(Original post by Alicezworld)
Thank you for your confirmation. Yes, like I've already said, despite saying maths isn't my strongest subject (probably because of insuffient practice), I do like the subject and would consider it for a level.
However, since you're an advisor, do you think it would be possible to take all three sciences instead of maths to study NatSci? Or of course, maths has to be taken even though the entry requirement states at least 2 science/maths?
As for your other two A level choices, the natural choices would be physics and chemistry. And you've already said you like them, so that's ideal. Were you to choose a fourth A level (not strictly necessary, but many Physical NatSci candidates do now offer one), then Further Maths would be the ideal choice. It would make your IA Maths course much easier, and also (were you to do well at FM) allow you to choose either Route A or Route B for Maths at IA.
Hopefully, this post is clear enough to show you that one of your A level choices needs to be mathematics if you wish to apply for physical NatSci at Cambridge, and is highly advised for all universities where you intend to study a physical science.Last edited by Reality Check; 24072017 at 14:24. 
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 24072017 14:33
(Original post by Reality Check)
If you're considering Physical NatSci, then one of your choices should be Mathematics. I think this would stand you in good stead for all physical science courses at various universities, not just for Cambridge. But, if you want to do physical NatSci at Cambridge, then Mathematics at A level is mandatory.
As for your other two A level choices, the natural choices would be physics and chemistry. And you've already said you like them, so that's ideal. Were you to choose a fourth A level (not strictly necessary, but many Physical NatSci candidates do now offer one), then Further Maths would be the ideal choice. It would make your IA Maths course much easier, and also (were you to do well at FM) allow you to choose either Route A or Route B for Maths at IA.
Hopefully, this post is clear enough to show you that one of your A level choices needs to be mathematics if you wish to apply for physical NatSci at Cambridge, and is highly advised for all universities where you intend to study a physical science. 
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 24072017 15:40
(Original post by Alicezworld)
This has indeed cleared my misunderstandings, thank you so much!
Especially universities like Cambridge and other top RG universities don't even consider applicants without maths for their Physics course, are very strong in them. Because you need it and many successful applicants offer FM, too.
If the reason why you chose those Alevels but not Maths is because you're not as strong in Maths as in them, I strongly advice you to reassess if Physics is a right course for you to study at university.
Note: FYI
On their Department of Physics website, it also states Alevel maths is essential. I
http://www.natsci.tripos.cam.ac.uk/p...nts/admissions
 "Physics  Essential: A Level Mathematics, and either Physics or Further Mathematics (with three units of mechanics); Useful: AS/A Level Further Mathematics."

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 24072017 16:19
(Original post by vincrows)
I really can't stress enough importance of Maths for Physics. It's not because of a university's entry requirement but because you just can't do Physics without being very good at Maths. As simple as that. If you know anyone who are reading/have read Physics at university level, maybe it's a good idea to ask them how much Maths it involves.
Especially universities like Cambridge and other top RG universities don't even consider applicants without maths for their Physics course, are very strong in them. Because you need it and many successful applicants offer FM, too.
If the reason why you chose those Alevels but not Maths is because you're not as strong in Maths as in them, I strongly advice you to reassess if Physics is a right course for you to study at university.
Note: FYI
On their Department of Physics website, it also states Alevel maths is essential. I
http://www.natsci.tripos.cam.ac.uk/p...nts/admissions
 "Physics  Essential: A Level Mathematics, and either Physics or Further Mathematics (with three units of mechanics); Useful: AS/A Level Further Mathematics."
But now that I've heard Maths is essential with physics at a level, I will re consider my a level options for that matter.
*Also, yes, one can be less strong in maths, but with practice, they can change that. So really, things aren't set in stone unless one does more practice...Last edited by Alicezworld; 24072017 at 16:24. Reason: *Also, yes one can be less strong in maths, but with practice, you can change that. So really, things aren't set in stone un 
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 15
 24072017 17:22
(Original post by Alicezworld)
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I completely understand that physics requires maths. However, I didn't say that I wanted to study physics solely as a subject at University, I'm considering Physical NatSci because it's a broad course and allows me to do both chemistry and physics but also other subjects like Earth sciences which is also offered within NatSci. So I'm not trying to restrict myself in just doing one course like physics, but I get to explore other courses.
But now that I've heard Maths is essential with physics at a level, I will re consider my a level options for that matter.
*Also, yes, one can be less strong in maths, but with practice, they can change that. So really, things aren't set in stone unless one does more practice...
Hope you can change your Alevel choice AND improve your maths in one year when it;s time to submit your application, but meanwhile it's good to see if there're other possible options.
For example, Geography at Cambridge, focusing on Physical/Environmental geography papers (though you must choose at least one human geography paper in first & second year) can be an ideal course for someone with Alevels like yours, especially if you're interested in Earth Science. Have a look at choices of tripos papers here.
http://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/courseguide/ 
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 24072017 17:47
(Original post by vincrows)
You can't solely do physics at Cambridge, anyway, as their natsci course is designed so that you need to cover all sciences first then narrow it down gradually. But you said in your first post you wanted to do Physics natsci, so I assume Physics is the main subject you want to focus on, right? As long as that's the case you need to prove you're very strong in maths.
Hope you can change your Alevel choice AND improve your maths in one year when it;s time to submit your application, but meanwhile it's good to see if there're other possible options.
For example, Geography at Cambridge, focusing on Physical/Environmental geography papers (though you must choose at least one human geography paper in first & second year) can be an ideal course for someone with Alevels like yours, especially if you're interested in Earth Science. Have a look at choices of tripos papers here.
http://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/courseguide/
Thanks, I would just need to consolidate GCSE maths if I was to take A level Maths I guess. In fact, I haven't even started my A levels yet  just getting some advice at the moment.
So, have you/ do you currently study NatSci at Cambridge?
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