Ask an Admissions Tutor XIV: 28 August - 14 September Watch

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Murray Edwards Admissions
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Hello everyone and welcome to another Ask an Admissions Tutor thread. For anyone thinking of applying to Cambridge this year, do ask your question here and I will answer it as best I can, whether you are in Year 13 and about to apply, thinking of reapplying or just planning or thinking about applying some time in the future.

As well as asking questions here, there is still time to book on College Open Days that are happening in September at lots of the Cambridge Colleges, where you will get the opportunity to meet Admissions Tutors, students and, often, Directors of Studies too. Our own Open Day at Murray Edward is on Saturday 8 September and you can book a place here.

In the meantime, fire away with your questions...
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Felix._13
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Hi, I have a few questions
Will my application be treated as an International application? I am not a UK citizen but have been studying in England since 2013
Are international applications treated any differently to domestic applications?
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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by Felix._13)
Hi, I have a few questions
Will my application be treated as an International application? I am not a UK citizen but have been studying in England since 2013
Are international applications treated any differently to domestic applications?
Hello and thanks for your questions. If you are an EU citizen and live in the EU, then you would be treated at a Home student. If you are not a citizen of the EU and your permanent address is outside the EU, then you will be treated as an international student, even if you study in the UK. Full details on whether you classify as Home or Overseas can be found here.

Apart from in Medicine, where there is a quota for Overseas students applied by the NHS, Overseas applications are not treated differently from Home applications - you are in the same open academic competition as everybody else.
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Doones
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Hi

How will Cambridge be treating the new grade 9 in GCSEs? Are 8 and 9 considered equally as an A* by Cambridge, as per Oxford : https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/unde...cations?wssl=1.

Also, when will acceptances data be added to the stats page
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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Hi

How will Cambridge be treating the new grade 9 in GCSEs? Are 8 and 9 considered equally as an A* by Cambridge, as per Oxford : https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/unde...cations?wssl=1.

Also, when will acceptances data be added to the stats page
8 & 9 at GCSE are going to be treated as equivalent to an A*. We will need to wait to see whether there is a significant difference between an 8 and a 9 in terms of what it means for performance in Cambridge before we can say how much we feel a 9 is better than an 8.

In due course, November I expect, but you'd need to ask someone at Cambridge Admissions Office rather than the Colleges if you really want to get your stats hit! We are still currently waiting on remarks and the official numbers won't be complete until entry actually happens in October.
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Doones
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
8 & 9 at GCSE are going to be treated as equivalent to an A*. We will need to wait to see whether there is a significant difference between an 8 and a 9 in terms of what it means for performance in Cambridge before we can say how much we feel a 9 is better than an 8.

In due course, November I expect, but you'd need to ask someone at Cambridge Admissions Office rather than the Colleges if you really want to get your stats hit! We are still currently waiting on remarks and the official numbers won't be complete until entry actually happens in October.
Ta!
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have
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
Hello everyone and welcome to another Ask an Admissions Tutor thread. For anyone thinking of applying to Cambridge this year, do ask your question here and I will answer it as best I can, whether you are in Year 13 and about to apply, thinking of reapplying or just planning or thinking about applying some time in the future.

As well as asking questions here, there is still time to book on College Open Days that are happening in September at lots of the Cambridge Colleges, where you will get the opportunity to meet Admissions Tutors, students and, often, Directors of Studies too. Our own Open Day at Murray Edward is on Saturday 8 September and you can book a place here.

In the meantime, fire away with your questions...
How are first year supervision pairings/groupings made? I know it's heavily dependent on the College and the DoS' personal preference, but in general. I'm applying for maths, so would STEP scores be looked at to put similar ability people together? Are notes made in the interview about the person's general personality, so you can put people together whose personalities won't clash? Do students get any say ante factum?
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username4231098
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Hello,

I am an international student hoping to apply for biological natural science for 2019 entry. For context I'm doing CIE biology and chemistry and Edexcel maths so I have two AS results and three A level predictions. I've read somewhere that typical successful applicants usually have a PUM above 90%, but I can't be sure how good my chance of being considered for entry is because my school does not provide PUM. However, I have received my raw marks and I think my marks in practical papers seem subpar compared to papers 1 and 2, although they are above the threshold for A. Honestly I do not like to lay blame on others but I should mention being part of the first AS batch in my school and, in my opinion, receiving inadequate training in practical skills. If I provide my raw marks, can you kindly give me a rough idea of whether applying is worth a try?

Chemistry
Multiple choice: 39/40
Structured Questions: 58/60
Practical: 25/40 (threshold for A is 23)
Total After Weighting Factors Applied: 116/130

Biology
Multiple choice: 33/40
Structured Questions: 58/60
Practical:29/30 (threshold for A is 26)
Total After Weighting Factors Applied: 113/130

I sincerely apologise for the lengthy message, but I thought I should provide all details.
Thanks in advance.

Edit: My A2 predictions are either A*A*A or A*A*A*, not totally confirmed with maths. IGCSE's are 4A* 2A.
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isiaiah d
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
Hello everyone and welcome to another Ask an Admissions Tutor thread. For anyone thinking of applying to Cambridge this year, do ask your question here and I will answer it as best I can, whether you are in Year 13 and about to apply, thinking of reapplying or just planning or thinking about applying some time in the future.

As well as asking questions here, there is still time to book on College Open Days that are happening in September at lots of the Cambridge Colleges, where you will get the opportunity to meet Admissions Tutors, students and, often, Directors of Studies too. Our own Open Day at Murray Edward is on Saturday 8 September and you can book a place here.

In the meantime, fire away with your questions...
Hi, I recently got my A-level results and am wondering if its worth reapplying for natural sciences. I got A*A*A in Physics,Maths and chemistry - last year I got an interview with A*A*A* prediction - will my application be as competitive?
Also may I ask am I close to any auto-interview conditions or anything?
btw if I decide apply for chemical engineering am I better off applying for engineering?

If I take F. Maths in my gap year is my offer likely to be based on that?
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iBearHQ
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If there is a "no deal" Brexit, how do you think that will affect international students applying for universities in the UK?
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Doones
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(Original post by iBearHQ)
If there is a "no deal" Brexit, how do you think that will affect international students applying for universities in the UK?
2019 entry EU students are guaranteed to be accepted on the same fee basis as before, for the duration of their course. So International (non-EU) will be similarly unaffected.

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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by have)
How are first year supervision pairings/groupings made? I know it's heavily dependent on the College and the DoS' personal preference, but in general. I'm applying for maths, so would STEP scores be looked at to put similar ability people together? Are notes made in the interview about the person's general personality, so you can put people together whose personalities won't clash? Do students get any say ante factum?
STEP scores would often be a significant factor in supervision pairings, yes, as DoSes often want to pair people who they feel are of similar quality. Sometimes, though, they will put people whom they regard as strong with someone a bit weaker to try to help them. Supervision pairings will often change when term starts and the DoS gets a sense of what’s working and what’s not. I’m afraid you don’t get a choice at the start, no.
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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by mutantfruitfly)
Hello,

I am an international student hoping to apply for biological natural science for 2019 entry. For context I'm doing CIE biology and chemistry and Edexcel maths so I have two AS results and three A level predictions. I've read somewhere that typical successful applicants usually have a PUM above 90%, but I can't be sure how good my chance of being considered for entry is because my school does not provide PUM. However, I have received my raw marks and I think my marks in practical papers seem subpar compared to papers 1 and 2, although they are above the threshold for A. Honestly I do not like to lay blame on others but I should mention being part of the first AS batch in my school and, in my opinion, receiving inadequate training in practical skills. If I provide my raw marks, can you kindly give me a rough idea of whether applying is worth a try?

Chemistry
Multiple choice: 39/40
Structured Questions: 58/60
Practical: 25/40 (threshold for A is 23)
Total After Weighting Factors Applied: 116/130

Biology
Multiple choice: 33/40
Structured Questions: 58/60
Practical:29/30 (threshold for A is 26)
Total After Weighting Factors Applied: 113/130

I sincerely apologise for the lengthy message, but I thought I should provide all details.
Thanks in advance.

Edit: My A2 predictions are either A*A*A or A*A*A*, not totally confirmed with maths. IGCSE's are 4A* 2A.
You have done well in the non-practical elements and fine in the practical elements, so I don't think there is any reason why you shouldn't apply. We wouldn't ask for your raw scores if you aren't provided with PUMS but you or your school are welcome to provide them if you wish.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
STEP scores would often be a significant factor in supervision pairings, yes, as DoSes often want to pair people who they feel are of similar quality. Sometimes, though, they will put people whom they regard as strong with someone a bit weaker to try to help them. Supervision pairings will often change when term starts and the DoS gets a sense of what’s working and what’s not. I’m afraid you don’t get a choice at the start, no.
Hi,

I'm studying Maths, Biology and Chemistry this year (going into Y13), and will be reapplying in my gap year for Mathematics.
In my gap year, I plan to do an EPQ and also do the full A-Levels of Further Maths and Physics, as I saw that FM is compulsory and most people who didn't take Physics got rejected. I am also getting some banking-related work experience.

What would you advise me to do in my gap year to enhance my application to Cambridge?
What would admissions tutors like to see in my personal statement?
How much does the SAQ matter and what part of it gets marked?
Will not doing A-Level physics put me at a disadvantage?

Thanks
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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by isiaiah d)
Hi, I recently got my A-level results and am wondering if its worth reapplying for natural sciences. I got A*A*A in Physics,Maths and chemistry - last year I got an interview with A*A*A* prediction - will my application be as competitive?
Also may I ask am I close to any auto-interview conditions or anything?
btw if I decide apply for chemical engineering am I better off applying for engineering?

If I take F. Maths in my gap year is my offer likely to be based on that?
A*A*A in hand but no FM A Level is going to put you behind a lot of candidates on this measure for Physical Natural Sciences or for Engineering. That doesn't mean you can't be successful but you will need to do well in other aspects. The only threshold which will guarantee an interview are the conditions for compulsory pooling, which is 3 A*s in your situation.

In terms of applying for Chemical Engineering, you need to decide which route you are going to enjoy most - there's no real difference in terms of competitiveness in applying for Natural Sciences or Engineering.
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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by iBearHQ)
If there is a "no deal" Brexit, how do you think that will affect international students applying for universities in the UK?
I'm afraid it's too early to speculate beyond entry for 2019 at the moment as it's a decision that the University would have to take in the context of Government policy and the HE sector as a whole.
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Murray Edwards Admissions
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(Original post by Grade A)
Hi,

I'm studying Maths, Biology and Chemistry this year (going into Y13), and will be reapplying in my gap year for Mathematics.
In my gap year, I plan to do an EPQ and also do the full A-Levels of Further Maths and Physics, as I saw that FM is compulsory and most people who didn't take Physics got rejected. I am also getting some banking-related work experience.

What would you advise me to do in my gap year to enhance my application to Cambridge?
What would admissions tutors like to see in my personal statement?
How much does the SAQ matter and what part of it gets marked?
Will not doing A-Level physics put me at a disadvantage?

Thanks
If you're planning on taking a Gap Year for Maths, you will need to think carefully about which college to apply to first of all, as they have different attitudes to Gap Year (this is the only subject where this is ture and information can be found here).

Otherwise, do as much Maths as you can, not just FM but practice for STEP. All that really matters for Cambridge Maths is how good your Maths is. Yes, most successful applicants have Physics but that isn't essential to their application - there is correlation but not causation here. The SAQ and the PS do not get 'marked' as such. The most useful part of the SAQ for a Mathematician will be where you tell us what you've studied, so we know what we can ask you at interview and where you might need more help. For us the PS is not a major factor for Mathematicians.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
If you're planning on taking a Gap Year for Maths, you will need to think carefully about which college to apply to first of all, as they have different attitudes to Gap Year (this is the only subject where this is ture and information can be found here).

Otherwise, do as much Maths as you can, not just FM but practice for STEP. All that really matters for Cambridge Maths is how good your Maths is. Yes, most successful applicants have Physics but that isn't essential to their application - there is correlation but not causation here. The SAQ and the PS do not get 'marked' as such. The most useful part of the SAQ for a Mathematician will be where you tell us what you've studied, so we know what we can ask you at interview and where you might need more help. For us the PS is not a major factor for Mathematicians.
Thanks so much
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isiaiah d
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(Original post by Murray Edwards Admissions)
A*A*A in hand but no FM A Level is going to put you behind a lot of candidates on this measure for Physical Natural Sciences or for Engineering. That doesn't mean you can't be successful but you will need to do well in other aspects. The only threshold which will guarantee an interview are the conditions for compulsory pooling, which is 3 A*s in your situation.

In terms of applying for Chemical Engineering, you need to decide which route you are going to enjoy most - there's no real difference in terms of competitiveness in applying for Natural Sciences or Engineering.
thanks - do you think since I will be doing further maths that will change my application significantly? Also I would pick modules Physics,Maths and Biology of cells so it wouldn't specifically be physical natural sciences but will I still be behind a lot of candidates?
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Doones
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(Original post by isiaiah d)
thanks - do you think since I will be doing further maths that will change my application significantly? Also I would pick modules Physics,Maths and Biology of cells so it wouldn't specifically be physical natural sciences but will I still be behind a lot of candidates?
What does the ChemEng department say....
https://www.ceb.cam.ac.uk/undergradu...-questions#qn6
I intend to do first-year Natural Sciences - which options are best for Chemical Engineers?

Those who do first-year Natural Sciences have a choice of sciences to study - they do three sciences plus a mathematics course. Virtually any combination of sciences is permitted. Almost all Chemical Engineers choose to do Chemistry and most (but not all) choose Physics. The other courses commonly chosen are Materials Science, Biology of Cells, Computer Science, and Earth Sciences. All of these courses are directly useful to at least part of Chemical Engineering. Occasionally Chemical Engineering students have chosen the other options (Evolution & Behaviour, Physiology of Organisms) and enjoyed the courses.



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