FuryBall
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Hi,

I took maths, further maths, physics, and computer science at AS and got all As in them. However, since I’m applying to the US, and applying to one school early (where the deadline is Nov 1), I feel like doing CS as a 4th a-level will take up too much time. I also need to prepare for SAT (Oct 6) SAT subject test (Nov 3), and the MAT (Oct 31).

According to Oxford, they’d prefer me to drop CS over physics. I’m not sure if it would put me at a disadvantage? If I can use the “free periods” to work on MAT then it may be better to drop?
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dinglebells
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I did Maths, Further Maths, Physics and CompSci at A level and I really don't think that Maths, Further Maths and Physics would take up as much time as other combinations of 3 A levels. There is so much overlap between the subjects that it feels like 2 or 2.5 A levels in terms of workload. CS shouldn't be too difficult if you're interested in CS and coding. Oxford's website also says that A*AA with the A* in Computer Science meets the entry requirement but not A*AA with the A* in Physics so I don't know where you got that they'd prefer you to drop CS over Physics.
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FuryBall
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(Original post by dinglebells)
I did Maths, Further Maths, Physics and CompSci at A level and I really don't think that Maths, Further Maths and Physics would take up as much time as other combinations of 3 A levels. There is so much overlap between the subjects that it feels like 2 or 2.5 A levels in terms of workload. CS shouldn't be too difficult if you're interested in CS and coding. Oxford's website also says that A*AA with the A* in Computer Science meets the entry requirement but not A*AA with the A* in Physics so I don't know where you got that they'd prefer you to drop CS over Physics.
They made it clear in an email that they'd prefer CS to be dropped rather than physics because physics is a facilitating subject, and if I were to get a CS degree, the CS A-level would be rendered as irrelevant. While I do believe that I am capable of doing 4 if it were not for my US applications (which I forgot to add includes writing essays that are taken seirously), I'm not sure if I can perform well in MAT due to the limited time I have right now. The worst thing that I don't want to do is to manage everything that I have going, but never be able to excel in MAT or US essays. A mediocre performance would be worse. Lastly, my teacher wants me to work on my coursework during October and November, and I know that I won't make that much progress on it.
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dinglebells
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(Original post by FuryBall)
They made it clear in an email that they'd prefer CS to be dropped rather than physics because physics is a facilitating subject, and if I were to get a CS degree, the CS A-level would be rendered as irrelevant. While I do believe that I am capable of doing 4 if it were not for my US applications (which I forgot to add includes writing essays that are taken seirously), I'm not sure if I can perform well in MAT due to the limited time I have right now. The worst thing that I don't want to do is to manage everything that I have going, but never be able to excel in MAT or US essays. A mediocre performance would be worse. Lastly, my teacher wants me to work on my coursework during October and November, and I know that I won't make that much progress on it.
Fair enough if they emailed you that.
I was in a similar position to you. Did the same A Levels and also did EPQ and MAT and was meant to do my coursework at a similar time to you. Personally I put A Levels to one side and focused on university stuff. I negotiated an extended deadline for my coursework (but my teacher only let me because I was a good student). Try to ask for an extended deadline and try to do as much as possible over Christmas. If it's not at all possible to get an extended deadline then drop it because yeah I agree the project is a massive time commitment.
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FuryBall
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(Original post by dinglebells)
Fair enough if they emailed you that.
I was in a similar position to you. Did the same A Levels and also did EPQ and MAT and was meant to do my coursework at a similar time to you. Personally I put A Levels to one side and focused on university stuff. I negotiated an extended deadline for my coursework (but my teacher only let me because I was a good student). Try to ask for an extended deadline and try to do as much as possible over Christmas. If it's not at all possible to get an extended deadline then drop it because yeah I agree the project is a massive time commitment.
Oh right. Good to find someone who was in the same position as me. How did you do in the MAT and coursework? Was this AQA?
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dinglebells
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(Original post by FuryBall)
Oh right. Good to find someone who was in the same position as me. How did you do in the MAT and coursework? Was this AQA?
I applied for Maths at Cambridge and Imperial so I did MAT for Imperial and did well enough to get an offer. Yes I did AQA and I got A* on my coursework but I submitted it much later than everyone else.
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IQuitTSR
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CS is arguably a weaker subject

math fm and physics also give you more options if youc ange your mind
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FuryBall
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(Original post by TheTroll73)
CS is arguably a weaker subject

math fm and physics also give you more options if youc ange your mind
I won't have time to change my mind...
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FuryBall
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(Original post by dinglebells)
I applied for Maths at Cambridge and Imperial so I did MAT for Imperial and did well enough to get an offer. Yes I did AQA and I got A* on my coursework but I submitted it much later than everyone else.
Thanks for the reply. Some questions...
When did you finish your coursework and what was your mark? Do you think it affected your performance in the other subjects? When did you start preparing for MAT and what was your mark?
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dinglebells
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(Original post by FuryBall)
Thanks for the reply. Some questions...
When did you finish your coursework and what was your mark? Do you think it affected your performance in the other subjects? When did you start preparing for MAT and what was your mark?
I submitted my coursework in mid-February but tbh a significant reason for the delay was because I had to change my project entirely in December after realising my first idea didn't work as intended (it had machine learning in it).
My teacher-given mark was 75/75 but it may have been moderated down (but still A*) by the examiner.
It didn't really affect my performance in other subjects (I ended up with straight A*s) and I also had to prepare for STEP (got S, 1, 1).
I started preparing for MAT in late August but I don't know my mark as I never asked Imperial but it was good enough to get in.

Also, am I right in thinking that after November 3rd, you'll be free from university-related stuff?
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FuryBall
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(Original post by dinglebells)
I submitted my coursework in mid-February but tbh a significant reason for the delay was because I had to change my project entirely in December after realising my first idea didn't work as intended (it had machine learning in it).
My teacher-given mark was 75/75 but it may have been moderated down (but still A*) by the examiner.
It didn't really affect my performance in other subjects (I ended up with straight A*s) and I also had to prepare for STEP (got S, 1, 1).
I started preparing for MAT in late August but I don't know my mark as I never asked Imperial but it was good enough to get in.

Also, am I right in thinking that after November 3rd, you'll be free from university-related stuff?
Wow. I assume you had quite a bit of experience with programming prior to coursework. Did you get an offer from Cambridge? Yeah I'll be pretty much be free from uni stuff after Nov 3rd. It's just that US application has things like essays which will take a lot of time and I need to submit this some time during October too. I'm not sure how much time is needed for MAT. It seems like you were pretty good at problem solving questions (I stalked you and found out that you've taken BMO2 multiple times) so perhaps you found it relatively easy? I'm not sure how close MAT is to UKMT kind of questions though.


Note: I am not an expert in programming so coursework will definitely be a pain the butt.
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RichE
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(Original post by FuryBall)
They made it clear in an email that they'd prefer CS to be dropped rather than physics because physics is a facilitating subject,...
I'm sceptical about this advice. Did it actually come from the CS department in Oxford? I've never heard of such a preference being stated. Anyway I'm tagging gavinlowe for his views, as he was recently admissions co-ordinator in the CS department. Do you yourself have a preference for which of the two you'd like to drop?
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FuryBall
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(Original post by RichE)
I'm sceptical about this advice. Did it actually come from the CS department in Oxford? I've never heard of such a preference being stated. Anyway I'm tagging gavinlowe for his views, as he was recently admissions co-ordinator in the CS department. Do you yourself have a preference for which of the two you'd like to drop?
Not from the CS department actually, since it was my friend who's applying for CS + philosophy who got this response from a professor of philosophy at Oxford (although this person teachers some computer science topics too).
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RichE
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(Original post by FuryBall)
Not from the CS department actually, since it was my friend who's applying for CS + philosophy who got this response from a professor of philosophy at Oxford (although this person teachers some computer science topics too).
I really would try and get some advice from the CS dept. It may turn out to be the same, but I would be wary of trusting a prof of philosophy's opinion on this CS-specific matter.
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dinglebells
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(Original post by FuryBall)
Wow. I assume you had quite a bit of experience with programming prior to coursework. Did you get an offer from Cambridge? Yeah I'll be pretty much be free from uni stuff after Nov 3rd. It's just that US application has things like essays which will take a lot of time and I need to submit this some time during October too. I'm not sure how much time is needed for MAT. It seems like you were pretty good at problem solving questions (I stalked you and found out that you've taken BMO2 multiple times) so perhaps you found it relatively easy? I'm not sure how close MAT is to UKMT kind of questions though.


Note: I am not an expert in programming so coursework will definitely be a pain the butt.
I took GCSE CompSci and did a bit of coding for fun on my own so yeah I had some experience but not a huge lot.

Yea I'll be studying at Cambridge next year (for Maths though, not CS).

Which US universities are you applying to? Also have you got an idea for your coursework? And when do you have to finish your coursework by? Is there any flexibility?

I don't know where you read I did BMO2 haha, I've got a couple of distinctions in BMO1 but was a few marks away from BMO2 both times. But yeah I did find MAT relatively easy (was getting 95+ in the past papers - not trying to brag btw I'm awful at anything social). I didn't do the CS questions though so I dont know about them. Some MAT questions are close to UKMT but the majority aren't and there's more guidance. I found BMO1 much much harder than MAT (and STEP).
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FuryBall
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(Original post by dinglebells)
I took GCSE CompSci and did a bit of coding for fun on my own so yeah I had some experience but not a huge lot.

Yea I'll be studying at Cambridge next year (for Maths though, not CS).

Which US universities are you applying to? Also have you got an idea for your coursework? And when do you have to finish your coursework by? Is there any flexibility?

I don't know where you read I did BMO2 haha, I've got a couple of distinctions in BMO1 but was a few marks away from BMO2 both times. But yeah I did find MAT relatively easy (was getting 95+ in the past papers - not trying to brag btw I'm awful at anything social). I didn't do the CS questions though so I dont know about them. Some MAT questions are close to UKMT but the majority aren't and there's more guidance. I found BMO1 much much harder than MAT (and STEP).
Congratulations on getting into Cambridge! Well I may have read something incorrectly but if I recall correctly, you said you made Trinity camp a couple of times lol. I'm planning on making a projectile simulator with a login system/database for users (will use Java). Well, ideally I would want it done by Feb; I've got to see what my teacher says. I do not think I will be getting that high in MAT lol. I am applying early to this school called Carnegie Mellon University.
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FuryBall
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(Original post by RichE)
I really would try and get some advice from the CS dept. It may turn out to be the same, but I would be wary of trusting a prof of philosophy's opinion on the CS-specific matter.
Will do.
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dinglebells
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(Original post by FuryBall)
Congratulations on getting into Cambridge! Well I may have read something incorrectly but if I recall correctly, you said you made Trinity camp a couple of times lol. I'm planning on making a projectile simulator with a login system/database for users (will use Java). Well, ideally I would want it done by Feb; I've got to see what my teacher says. I do not think I will be getting that high in MAT lol. I am applying early to this school called Carnegie Mellon University.
Thank you
Oh I got into one of the UKMT camps but it wasnt the Trinity camp (my friend got into BMO2 and the Trinity camp though).
Oh nice, that seems manageable. What do you need to do for your coursework by November 3rd?
Have you done any past papers?
CMU is amazing for CS, good choice!
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FuryBall
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(Original post by dinglebells)
Thank you
Oh I got into one of the UKMT camps but it wasnt the Trinity camp (my friend got into BMO2 and the Trinity camp though).
Oh nice, that seems manageable. What do you need to do for your coursework by November 3rd?
Have you done any past papers?
CMU is amazing for CS, good choice!
I’m working on the 2007 paper but I’ve only done the multiple choice questions yet... last time my teacher said that I could spend 5 hours per week on course work and that I should be fine, but I don’t think I can spend that much time.
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dinglebells
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(Original post by FuryBall)
I’m working on the 2007 paper but I’ve only done the multiple choice questions yet... last time my teacher said that I could spend 5 hours per week on course work and that I should be fine, but I don’t think I can spend that much time.
How many hours of sleep do you get? If possible, you could wake up an hour earlier every day and do just under an hour of your coursework in the morning.
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