How come I have a higher chance of getting into oxbridge with A-level chemistry

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ZdYnm8vuNR
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I was playing around with https://www.ucas.com/advisers/offer-rate-calculator/ and found out that you are more likely to get into oxbridge with: [To do Computer Science]

Maths
Further Maths
Physics
Chemistry

than

Maths
Further Maths
Physics
Computer science

Why is this the case? Surely doing Comp sci serves as proof that you are invested in computer science and like it?

With chemistry you have a 42% chance to get into Cambridge for comp sci, and with computer science A level you only have a 38% chance.
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black1blade
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That is such a small difference that it's not very statistically relevant. Computer science a-level isn't an academic requirement for the computer science course at cambridge and you can still be interested in computer science in other ways. There is also a computer science with natsci option so perhaps that's why slightly greater % with chem get in idk.
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by black1blade)
That is such a small difference that it's not very statistically relevant. Computer science a-level isn't an academic requirement for the computer science course at cambridge and you can still be interested in computer science in other ways. There is also a computer science with natsci option so perhaps that's why slightly greater % with chem get in idk.
4% sounds like quite the difference
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Claree
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
I was playing around with https://www.ucas.com/advisers/offer-rate-calculator/ and found out that you are more likely to get into oxbridge with: [To do Computer Science]

Maths
Further Maths
Physics
Chemistry

than

Maths
Further Maths
Physics
Computer science

Why is this the case? Surely doing Comp sci serves as proof that you are invested in computer science and like it?

With chemistry you have a 42% chance to get into Cambridge for comp sci, and with computer science A level you only have a 38% chance.
I guess there are other ways besides doing CompSci A level of showing your interest in the subject e.g. coding in your free time. Probably not all schools offer CompSci A level, whereas I expect all would offer Chemistry - so there's probably a larger data set of people with the combo including Chemistry. Is CompSci a relatively new A level? (If there is a small sample size of people taking the combo with CompSci A level, then the difference may not be statistically significant.)

Chemistry would be seen as a hard academic science A level, so taking it instead of CompSci shouldn't hinder your application. That's not to say that computer science A level isn't. Like CompSci, Chemistry also involves applying maths and problem solving.

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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by Claree)
I guess there are other ways besides doing CompSci A level of showing your interest in the subject e.g. coding in your free time. Probably not all schools offer CompSci A level, whereas I expect all would offer Chemistry - so there's probably a larger data set of people with the combo including Chemistry. Is CompSci a relatively new A level? (If there is a small sample size of people taking the combo with CompSci A level, then the difference may not be statistically significant.)

Chemistry would be seen as a hard academic science A level, so taking it instead of CompSci shouldn't hinder your application. That's not to say that computer science A level isn't. Like CompSci, Chemistry also involves applying maths and problem solving.

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I guess, its just sad that I love Computer science (and thats why I want to do it at uni) and thus will do it at A level and that that makes me disadvantaged to study it further on.
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isiah dd
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
I guess, its just sad that I love Computer science (and thats why I want to do it at uni) and thus will do it at A level and that that makes me disadvantaged to study it further on.
when are the stats from? I doubt this will actually affect your chances of getting in, it's just that more people with chemistry got in that particular year. It won't make you disadvantaged maybe just the pool of applicants with chemistry was better than computer science and since it's mostly taught from first principles at uni the computer science a level isn't a requirement
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by isiah dd)
when are the stats from? I doubt this will actually affect your chances of getting in, it's just that more people with chemistry got in that particular year. It won't make you disadvantaged maybe just the pool of applicants with chemistry was better than computer science and since it's mostly taught from first principles at uni the computer science a level isn't a requirement
Re-read my post, I said the stats are from the UCAS website
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Faction Paradox
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
I guess, its just sad that I love Computer science (and thats why I want to do it at uni) and thus will do it at A level and that that makes me disadvantaged to study it further on.
It won't, most of the Cambridge CS offer holders I've talked to have got CS A Level, with the most common set being Maths, Further Maths, CS and Physics.
You are less likely to get an offer by choosing a subject you'll enjoy less and perform less well in just because one set of stats (which make no claims of high precision) say it will give you a tiny extra chance, than if you choose the subjects you think you'll perform better in and enjoy more

Even if I took the difference in percentage as meaning something, I'd say it's most likely to mean that the people who take Chem instead of CS are slightly more self selecting than those who take CS, as I said by most common set of A levels by far is Maths, Further Maths, CS and Physics, and having that set of subjects is going to make some people more confident of their chances of getting an offer, however if you take Chem instead of CS, you probably will have to be more confident in your skills to bother applying as your subjects aren't the "traditional" set
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K-Man_PhysCheM
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
I was playing around with https://www.ucas.com/advisers/offer-rate-calculator/ and found out that you are more likely to get into oxbridge with: [To do Computer Science]

Maths
Further Maths
Physics
Chemistry

than

Maths
Further Maths
Physics
Computer science

Why is this the case? Surely doing Comp sci serves as proof that you are invested in computer science and like it?

With chemistry you have a 42% chance to get into Cambridge for comp sci, and with computer science A level you only have a 38% chance.
That's not much of a difference, and the stats probably don't come from a fair sample (eg chemistry A-level sample size is possibly much smaller than compsci sample size). We also don't know how passionate each sample were for computer science. Some students may have been strongly encouraged into studying computer science by their parents when really they were not very interested in it and hence were not made offers, while many of those who did chemistry may not have been able to do computer science A-level at their Sixth Form and yet spent much of their free time doing coding projects, solving problems and reading books about computer science.

Giving purely anecdotal evidence, I know three people who applied to Cambridge this year to study computer science.
Two of them did maths, further maths, physics and computer science A-levels and they were both made offers.
The third did maths, further maths, physics and chemistry and did NOT receive an offer.

Now, anecdotal "evidence" doesn't say much but if you are a good fit for the Cambridge computer science course then you will have a good chance of receiving an offer regardless of which of those two A-level choices you make.
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by K-Man_PhysCheM)
That's not much of a difference, and the stats probably don't come from a fair sample (eg chemistry A-level sample size is possibly much smaller than compsci sample size). We also don't know how passionate each sample were for computer science. Some students may have been strongly encouraged into studying computer science by their parents when really they were not very interested in it and hence were not made offers, while many of those who did chemistry may not have been able to do computer science A-level at their Sixth Form and yet spent much of their free time doing coding projects, solving problems and reading books about computer science.

Giving purely anecdotal evidence, I know three people who applied to Cambridge this year to study computer science.
Two of them did maths, further maths, physics and computer science A-levels and they were both made offers.
The third did maths, further maths, physics and chemistry and did NOT receive an offer.

Now, anecdotal "evidence" doesn't say much but if you are a good fit for the Cambridge computer science course then you will have a good chance of receiving an offer regardless of which of those two A-level choices you make.
How can someone know if they're a good "fit" for the computer science course?
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K-Man_PhysCheM
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
How can someone know if they're a good "fit" for the computer science course?
You need to be genuinely fascinated by the subject and willing to work very hard.

The Cambridge courses are notoriously hard work: I'm (hopefully) going to be starting a degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge (provided I meet my offer) this October and the workload for the course is known to be immense. I might sometimes be spending up to 6 hours in one day in a lab carrying out an experiment (apparently), and then have to complete supervision work and attend 9 AM lectures most days of the week. The teaching terms are each only 8 weeks long (exam term is even shorter), but they pack an awful lot of content into that short space of time. Supposedly you are meant to spend a significant amount of time during the holidays revising the content covered during term, maybe a couple hours most days. You won't have to work ridiculously hard every day during term, but at its peak it can get very intense.

This is why you need to really love your subject. You need to be prepared to put in the work. You can demonstrate this by reading around the subject in your free time. Find a particular aspect of computer science that you really love and look a little more deeply into it. Maybe even try to incorporate that into your very own mini-project. The summer is a great time to do this, before you get bogged down with A-level work (I've heard that A-level computer science coursework is very time-consuming).

You could also enter some competitions, like SMC (Senior Maths Challenge), BMO (British Maths Olympiad), BIO (British Informatics Olympiad) or the Bebras challenge. At least try some of their questions. You should enjoy the challenge of solving the difficult problems in these competitions, even if you don't officially enter. And if you do enter and do well then it would be impressive for your personal statement. Though similarly if you don't do so well it doesn't matter so much since you've shown dedication to the subject and a willingness to attempt to solve challenging problems.

If this all sounds like too much effort and you can't be bothered, then Cambridge might not be the place for you.

If, on the other hand, these ideas have sparked a flame of curiosity in your mind then you could be on the right track!

Good luck!
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by K-Man_PhysCheM)
You need to be genuinely fascinated by the subject and willing to work very hard.

The Cambridge courses are notoriously hard work: I'm (hopefully) going to be starting a degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge (provided I meet my offer) this October and the workload for the course is known to be immense. I might sometimes be spending up to 6 hours in one day in a lab carrying out an experiment (apparently), and then have to complete supervision work and attend 9 AM lectures most days of the week. The teaching terms are each only 8 weeks long (exam term is even shorter), but they pack an awful lot of content into that short space of time. Supposedly you are meant to spend a significant amount of time during the holidays revising the content covered during term, maybe a couple hours most days. You won't have to work ridiculously hard every day during term, but at its peak it can get very intense.

This is why you need to really love your subject. You need to be prepared to put in the work. You can demonstrate this by reading around the subject in your free time. Find a particular aspect of computer science that you really love and look a little more deeply into it. Maybe even try to incorporate that into your very own mini-project. The summer is a great time to do this, before you get bogged down with A-level work (I've heard that A-level computer science coursework is very time-consuming).

You could also enter some competitions, like SMC (Senior Maths Challenge), BMO (British Maths Olympiad), BIO (British Informatics Olympiad) or the Bebras challenge. At least try some of their questions. You should enjoy the challenge of solving the difficult problems in these competitions, even if you don't officially enter. And if you do enter and do well then it would be impressive for your personal statement. Though similarly if you don't do so well it doesn't matter so much since you've shown dedication to the subject and a willingness to attempt to solve challenging problems.

If this all sounds like too much effort and you can't be bothered, then Cambridge might not be the place for you.

If, on the other hand, these ideas have sparked a flame of curiosity in your mind then you could be on the right track!

Good luck!
Interesting, out of curiosity, what A levels are you doing and what Results are you expecting?
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K-Man_PhysCheM
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
Interesting, out of curiosity, what A levels are you doing and what Results are you expecting?
I did A-level maths in year 12 and achieved A*

This summer I sat A-levels in Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I need A* in FM (specifically) and A*A in phys/chem in any order. I am anticipating getting A*A*A* (+A* in maths from Y12).

That being said, a couple of the further maths exams didn't go quite as well as I would've hoped, so there's a chance I may only get an A in further maths! Then I might not be accepted!
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by K-Man_PhysCheM)
I did A-level maths in year 12 and achieved A*

This summer I sat A-levels in Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I need A* in FM (specifically) and A*A in phys/chem in any order. I am anticipating getting A*A*A* (+A* in maths from Y12).

That being said, a couple of the further maths exams didn't go quite as well as I would've hoped, so there's a chance I may only get an A in further maths! Then I might not be accepted!
Don't worry and hope for the best, you'll get the A*
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by K-Man_PhysCheM)
I did A-level maths in year 12 and achieved A*

This summer I sat A-levels in Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I need A* in FM (specifically) and A*A in phys/chem in any order. I am anticipating getting A*A*A* (+A* in maths from Y12).

That being said, a couple of the further maths exams didn't go quite as well as I would've hoped, so there's a chance I may only get an A in further maths! Then I might not be accepted!
Only last thing, as I'll be doing the same subjects as you (except Computer science instead of chemistry) and will also be doing Maths in Y12, do you have any advice for me? Specially for maths.
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K-Man_PhysCheM
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
Only last thing, as I'll be doing the same subjects as you (except Computer science instead of chemistry) and will also be doing Maths in Y12, do you have any advice for me? Specially for maths.
Keep on top of the work. Especially for maths. A lot of the topics build on top of each other, and if you get to the end of the year and you still can't factorise a quadratic (as an example) then you won't be able to make much progress on some of the trickier questions which require multiple techniques.

Once you get near the end of the course, practicing questions is very important. The exams tend to be quite time-pressured, so you need to be able to answer the easy questions very quickly (and accurately) so that you have the maximum amount of time available to tackle the trickier questions. The only way to get quick at carrying out standard methods is by practicing. It'll be a little harder with the new specification as there will be fewer resources available for you, but you could always try selecting questions from old-spec exam papers on the relevant topics. It's best if you practice regularly throughout the year, rather than trying to cram right at the end.

In particular, your algebra needs to be very quick and accurate so that you can avoid making silly mistakes and avoid running out of time. At some point before term starts, make sure you re-familiarise yourself with the algebra techniques you learnt at GCSE, such as:

1. changing the subject of an equation (eg write y=\dfrac{x+1}{x-1} in the form x=\dots )

2. solving quadratic equations in three ways (factorising, quadratic formula and completing the square)

3. adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing algebraic fractions

4. simplifying algebraic expressions, including index rules.

If you did well at GCSE then these should all be quite easy for you, but make sure you can do them quickly and accurately!
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2childmum
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Also - if you love computer science A level, and aren't so keen on chemistry, you are more likely to do better in computer science than you would in chemistry, which means you (as an individual) are more likely to get in with computer science than you (as an individual) are with chemistry. Better to choose the subject you think you can do best in.
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isiah dd
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
Re-read my post, I said the stats are from the UCAS website
but it doesn't matter its just that probably there were less applicants with chemistry and more of them got in cause they were good - it won't have a negative affect your chances.
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