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When/how to study for STEP etc etc Watch

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    (Original post by EnglishMuon)
    most importantly: avoid martin liebeck sources at all cost. he is fiendish fool who indulges on the souls of the hopeful
    What sources are you referring to here?
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
    I was saying earlier, reading about Oxford's last cycle, nobody without full FM got an offer, let alone in. I'd expect nearly all without full FM had no choice.
    Do you have a link for this? Pretty certain it's not true.
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
    Regarding state/private, blunt truth is there's no extra credit given to those from worse backgrounds. They demand strong performance there and then.
    When I was there, it was pretty clear some allowance was made for people from worse backgrounds. It's certainly arguable they don't make enough allowance, but they certainly make some.
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    (Original post by RichE)
    Do you have a link for this? Pretty certain it's not true.
    https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/system/fi...ack%202016.pdf says that:

    1270 applicants were studying A-levels in the UK (1199 in 2015). Of these, 95% were taking Further Mathematics as a full A-level. Of the 64 applicants who weren’t taking Further Maths as a full A-level, 7 were short-listed for interview, and none were offered places.
    It's of course possible (even likely) that people not taking FM A-level did significantly worse on the MAT and interview and so it's hard to isolate how big a factor not doing FM was.
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
    You told me about a 3.7% drop for the private schooled. True, I was telling him about Oxford too and why it may suit his position more. He will still sit a test whilst he's at Cambridge before his interviews, and yes STEP is post-offer unless you apply afterwards. Ultimately it's up to him.
    3.7 percentage points. That's a 10% change.

    A post qualification applicant may still receive an offer conditional on STEP even if they have taken it before.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    When I was there, it was pretty clear some allowance was made for people from worse backgrounds. It's certainly arguable they don't make enough allowance, but they certainly make some.
    How? You get a score for MAT, or Cam pre-interview test, then scores for your interviews. I don't think you get a score on your application/ums once you've made it to interviews. They make a total score for you and take the top x %. Borderline people used to get a 3rd interview, not sure if they still do.

    The best I've heard of is letting in someone who missed 1, 1 in STEP by a few marks when they were self-teaching a lot and went to a comp (years ago).
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    (Original post by RichE)
    Do you have a link for this? Pretty certain it's not true.
    From the OxfordFeedback for 2016:
    1270 applicants were studying A-levels in the UK (1199 in 2015). Of these, 95% were taking Further Mathematics as a full A-level. Of the 64 applicants who weren’t taking Further Maths as a full A-level, 7 were short-listed for interview, and none were offered places.

    Better in 2015:
    1475 applicants were studying A-levels (1317 in 2014). Of these, 95% were taking Further Mathematics as a full A-level. Of the 73 applicants who weren’t taking Further Maths as a full A-level, 14 were short-listed for interview, and 3 were offered places.

    But not in 2014:
    1317 applicants were studying A-levels. Of these, 96% were taking Further Mathematics as a full A-level. Of the 54 applicants who weren’t taking Further Maths as a full A-level, 7 were short-listed for interview, and none were offered places.

    It's all here:
    http://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-here...dmissions-test
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
    How? You get a score for MAT, or Cambridge pre-interview test, then scores for your interviews. I don't think you get a score on your application/ums once you've made it to interviews. They make a total score for you and take the top x %.
    Round about when I went to Cambridge, they actually had a documentary where they showed the post-interview discussion/evaluation. Which of course could have been affected by the presence of cameras, but the key thing was that it was definitely a discussion about how they felt candidates would do at Cambridge (under the supervision system, etc), it wasn't a purely numerical evaluation. Definitely not a "take the top x%". [This is the kind of thing I could imagine changing under "fairness" doctrines, but in the real world I can see there being lots of other things you want to balance besides exam scores].

    Looking at the people in my year, and what they got asked for, there was definitely some variation based on the school system you came from (in particular, quite a bit of leniency regarding schools that didn't offer FM. But I suspect that's much rarer now, given how much material has moved from M to FM over the last 3 decades).
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
    They will have done worse and therefore got rejected, it's not like they'd reject someone with 75% on MAT over someone with 65% because their school doesn't offer full FM, or even if they didn't pick it. But it reinforces my point, considerations or 'shifting' is mostly a myth, especially where Maths (and Physics) is concerned.
    They'll have done worse overall, but it wouldn't at all surprise me to find there was someone who scored in the "possible offer" range (*) in MAT but not doing FM raised significant concerns (both in terms of material and commitment to the subject).

    (*) E.g. if your MAT score was in the range where 30% get an offer, I could see "oh, and he's not doing FM" bringing that 30% down to something like 10%.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
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    So from what i've gathered, I'm royally screwed. I'm okay with learning FM+single maths all in one year (SOUNSD RRLY FUN ACTUALLY), but combining THAT with my other subjects I feel like I'm a ded man walking. I know its bad that I'm deciding between the two based on the likelyhood of being accepted but it feels like rn ive put myself in this messed up position lol.

    To be competitive, I should complete the full Maths A-level and apply to Oxford, taking the MAT in november??? I didn't get an A* in my GCSE maths, if I do well in the MAT, will they care abt my maths grade?

    With Cambridge, Fitzwilliam college website (and the email I received), says single maths students are considered and a usual offer is 1,1 in STEP I and II. But its prob a v v v low chance of being accepted looooool.

    SO WHAT DO?

    Or does it not matter where I apply bc my true mathematical failures will be thoroughly exploited in the interview - if i even get to that stage...

    I've just looked at a MAT paper and I could actually understand and answer the few questions I attempted (still, I looked forward and was like w0t). I'm going to try to convince my school to let me drop Chemistry so I'm left with Maths, FM, and computer science. If school are like gtfo then RIP to my life idk what im gonna do. But yeah, thanks for the help everyone. Now I know my dreams r shattered xoxo (JK )

    I'm so confused tho fml
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    Round about when I went to Cambridge, they actually had a documentary where they showed the post-interview discussion/evaluation. Which of course could have been affected by the presence of cameras, but the key thing was that it was definitely a discussion about how they felt candidates would do at Cambridge (under the supervision system, etc), it wasn't a purely numerical evaluation. Definitely not a "take the top x%". [This is the kind of thing I could imagine changing under "fairness" doctrines, but in the real world I can see there being lots of other things you want to balance besides exam scores].

    Looking at the people in my year, and what they got asked for, there was definitely some variation based on the school system you came from (in particular, quite a bit of leniency regarding schools that didn't offer FM. But I suspect that's much rarer now, given how much material has moved from M to FM over the last 3 decades).
    That's very different to the last 15 years or so. Oxford link says it all. Maybe Oxford is worse than Cam on this topic, but I think it's pretty black/white and systematic there too.

    I've never heard of a quiet, autistic type who couldn't articulate himself, but met the A-Level and STEP requirements, get rejected either. The 'well rounded', 'suited to the system' thing is another big myth.
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    (Original post by Nyquist)
    So from what i've gathered, I'm royally screwed. I'm okay with learning FM+single maths all in one year (SOUNSD RRLY FUN ACTUALLY), but combining THAT with my other subjects I feel like I'm a ded man walking. I know its bad that I'm deciding between the two based on the likelyhood of being accepted but it feels like rn ive put myself in this messed up position lol.
    If you were to ask around, I think most Cambridge undergraduates would say self-teaching FM A-level in a year is really not a big deal relative to STEP.

    My honest feeling is that FM is realistically a prerequisite for doing a Maths degree at a high end university (certainly Cambridge, which I know well, but probably for many other universities). Without it you will be playing a lot of catch up, and I suspect there'll be a lot of 'blind spots' where lecturers won't even be aware that they're assuming something that is only on the FM syllabus. As ever, it doesn't mean it's impossible, but it's making things a lot harder, and it makes you a much riskier proposition from the POV of the admissions staff. Certainly people without FM found the first term much harder when I was at Cambridge, and that was before so much material was shifted from M to FM.

    To be competitive, I should complete the full Maths A-level and apply to Oxford, taking the MAT in november??? I didn't get an A* in my GCSE maths, if I do well in the MAT, will they care abt my maths grade?
    If you do well, I'd expect that to counteract the GCSE score. Again, honesty requires me to say that it would be very unusual to do well in the MAT without an A* at GCSE.

    With Cambridge, Fitzwilliam college website (and the email I received), says single maths students are considered and a usual offer is 1,1 in STEP I and II. But its prob a v v v low chance of being accepted looooool.
    It would be interesting to know the circumstances in which they do this - whether it's only to people where they school cannot offer FM (or even help with FM). I'd say a '1' in STEP I is a pretty easy grade for a realistic Cambridge applicant.

    SO WHAT DO?

    Or does it not matter where I apply bc my true mathematical failures will be thoroughly exploited in the interview - if i even get to that stage...

    I've just looked at a MAT paper and I could actually understand and answer the few questions I attempted (still, I looked forward and was like w0t). I'm going to try to convince my school to let me drop Chemistry so I'm left with Maths, FM, and computer science.
    Will that allow you to do FM in a year? Personally I would keep Chemistry as much as possible, try to find a way of your school helping you self-study FM, and see how you go. Look to start the FM material over this summer holiday. Provided you are on point in your general maths material, you should find vast chunks of FM come down to "oh, I just need to learn 6 equations for this module and remember how to solve these 3 types of problems. I can do that in 3 days".

    I'm not sure how well regarded Computer Science is as a degree, so going to M,FM + CS may not look that good either, I'm afraid.
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    (Original post by Nyquist)
    To be competitive, I should complete the full Maths A-level and apply to Oxford, taking the MAT in november? I didn't get an A* in my GCSE maths, if I do well in the MAT, will they care abt my maths grade?

    With Cambridge, Fitzwilliam college website (and the email I received), says single maths students are considered and a usual offer is 1,1 in STEP I and II. But its prob a v v v low chance of being accepted looooool.

    SO WHAT DO?

    Or does it not matter where I apply bc my true mathematical failures will be thoroughly exploited in the interview - if i even get to that stage...

    I've just looked at a MAT paper and I could actually understand and answer the few questions I attempted (still, I looked forward and was like w0t). I'm going to try to convince my school to let me drop Chemistry so I'm left with Maths, FM, and computer science
    If you want to do Maths, Further Maths and Computing then you should go for it. It doesn't sound like you're committed to or on-track for A*'s in Chem or Physics.

    As for Ox or Cam, it's a personal decision and down to you. There's a test you'll sit at Cam before interviews, but at least you're likely to be interviewed. Also think about which uni you'd prefer generally.

    But if you think you can do well in MAT (like 65%+) then maybe go for that. Your GCSE's aren't that important, can say that categorically; MAT is.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I'm not sure how well regarded Computer Science is as a degree, so going to M,FM + CS may not look that good either, I'm afraid.
    ? CompSci is a well regarded degree.

    And for a maths application Maths & FM & anything is fine. Physics is obviously the common 3rd A-level but it's really not required. Computing OR Computer Science A-level are fine.
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    Someone at my school did 8 maths exams at the end of year 13. You should definitely self study some more maths modules over the summer and then do some mock tests at school when you come back to show that you're serious and have the ability. The modules to study would depend on what your school is doing in terms of modules and how they run the maths and further maths courses. If they do as for both in year 12 then you'll just have to study the modules they normally do at as over summer.
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
    That's very different to the last 15 years or so. Oxford link says it all.
    I'm not really sure how you can say that. From that link, some candidates get offers after scoring below 50 on the MAT, some score over 70 and don't even get asked to interview. So there's clearly other filtering going on beyond MAT score. The report also says that

    a final meeting of tutors at which the strongest unplaced applicants are collectively discussed and open offers are made by the Admissions Group.
    seems to indicate quite clearly that it is not a black and white numerical process.

    I've never heard of a quiet, autistic type who couldn't articulate himself, but met the A-Level and STEP requirements, get rejected either.
    There's some selection bias here, since many who get rejected won't ever take STEP as a consequence. But since my admissions tutor expressly said "we don't care about you being rounded, just whether you're good at maths" the main point stands. But that's a rather different question from whether the university makes allowances for your background - then you'd be looking for a response like "We don't care about you not being very good at vector algebra if you've had to self teach it" (*).

    (*) Again, in my experience, they'll make allowances, but they'll be pretty small allowances.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    ? CompSci is a well regarded degree.
    Sorry, I meant A-level. And from what you're saying, the A-level is reasonably well regarded, in which case I stand corrected anyhow.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
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    (Original post by Physics Enemy)
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
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    thanks sm for the info + help everyone!! so i should definitely complete FM to A-level. I'll try to get as much content covered as possible over the summer and if my school tell me to gtfo its time to cry

    tbh getting rid of chemistry would be a DREAM COME TRUE!!!!! welll i'm not bad at it, I think i'd get an A, but i don't have any motivation for it - especially knowing my future prob lies within maths. sooo left w 2 fav subjects damn i sure do hope my school let me do that, i'll call them tomorrow.

    i'll update everyone on what happens, so it seems oxford is the best option
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    Sorry, I meant A-level. And from what you're saying, the A-level is reasonably well regarded, in which case I stand corrected anyhow.
    Ha!

    Yep Computing and Computer Science are fine. IT can be less well regarded. But as I said, *any* 3rd A-level is fine (except GS, Critical Thinking).
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    so it seems oxford is the best option
    Quack quack oops...
 
 
 
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