Official Cambridge Natural Science applicants thread 2020 Watch

Sophhhowa
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Had a look and couldn’t find one so thought I’d make one.

Maybe everyone could introduce themselves
1) what a levels are you taking? (+ predictions)
2) what college are you thinking of applying to?
3) what are you doing to prepare for NSAA?
4) GCSE grades
5) what type of school do you go to?
6) what else are you doing to aid your application?
7) biological or physical?
Last edited by Sophhhowa; 2 months ago
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Sophhhowa
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1) Maths, Further maths, Physics & Chemistry
2) St John’s
3) PAT
4) 3 9s and 7 A*s plus an A in FSMQ
5) comprehensive
6) did quite a few summer schools
7) physical
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Annamies
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Hi! Just wanted to add that I’ll be starting my first year of natsci (probably taking physics, chemistry and biology of cells, but i applied as a bio natsci) at sidney Sussex next year, I’m also an international student from the Netherlands and I’m very much willing to help! Feel free to send me a DM or tag me here
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apocathix
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1) Maths, Further maths, Physics, Chemistry already achieved 4A* and grade 2 (3 marks off a 1) in STEP 3
2) Jesus or St John's I really can't decide
3) past papers and geometry problems
4) 2A* 6A 2B 1C
5) Grammar
6) Well I've been on a gap year so I'm relearning chemistry and trying out Putnam questions since I've learnt first year maths
7) Physical
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Abi-S01
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Applying for chem eng but the first year is NAT sci
1) what a levels are you taking? (+ predictions)
Maths ,chem,bio,physics +AS further maths haven't got predictions yet but hopefully A*AAA*a
2) what college are you thinking of applying to?
Magdalene
3) what are you doing to prepare for NSAA?
Revise content + past questions
4) GCSE grades
6 9's, 2 8's, 1 7, 1A*,2A's
5) what type of school do you go to?
Grammar school (but is also a state school)
6) what else are you doing to aid your application?
Book, online courses and lectures
7) biological or physical?

Physical
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RhynieChert
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hello! best of luck with your applications, i've just finished fist year natural sciences (maths B, physics, earth sciences, evolution and behaviour) at newnham college if anyone has questions about the course or the application process!
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ta225
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
hello! best of luck with your applications, i've just finished fist year natural sciences (maths B, physics, earth sciences, evolution and behaviour) at newnham college if anyone has questions about the course or the application process!
Hi, what’s the difference between maths A and maths B? Are they both more for physical natscis or do some biologists do them as well?
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by ta225)
Hi, what’s the difference between maths A and maths B? Are they both more for physical natscis or do some biologists do them as well?
Maths A and maths B both have the same exam, but maths B covers content much faster and has additional content, so you have a greater choice of questions in the exam. maths B is only recommended for people with a strong A* in further maths as it assumes all the content from it, and it's better to take maths A if you're unsure. biologists usually take a different subject entirely, mathematical biology (still a maths course with calculus, stats, modelling etc) though if you have an interest in pure maths you can choose to take maths A or B, but generally if you're going to be taking biological subjects from year 2 onwards it's usually better to do mathematical biology. all physical scientists take one of either maths A or B
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ta225
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
Maths A and maths B both have the same exam, but maths B covers content much faster and has additional content, so you have a greater choice of questions in the exam. maths B is only recommended for people with a strong A* in further maths as it assumes all the content from it, and it's better to take maths A if you're unsure. biologists usually take a different subject entirely, mathematical biology (still a maths course with calculus, stats, modelling etc) though if you have an interest in pure maths you can choose to take maths A or B, but generally if you're going to be taking biological subjects from year 2 onwards it's usually better to do mathematical biology. all physical scientists take one of either maths A or B
That’s useful, thank you!
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memestogenes
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Hey all! I'm just about to go into my second year at Cambridge and I had a few people ask me about the NSAA because its quite hard to prepare for. Anyways long story short, I made a video explaining what I did and a few people asked me to share it here so I thought that I would - hopefully you might find it useful.



But if you guys have any more questions just let me know and I'll do my best to answer. I have a few other videos too about interview tips etc and honestly just reach out to me if you have any questions, I will do my best to help
Last edited by memestogenes; 2 months ago
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MrGuillemot
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Hi everyone

1) what a levels are you taking? (+ predictions)
Maths (A*) Further maths (A*) Physics (A)
2) what college are you thinking of applying to?
Corpus Christi
3) what are you doing to prepare for NSAA?
Past papers and revision
4) GCSE grades
7 9's, 2 8's, and an A*
5) what type of school do you go to?
Comprehensive
6) what else are you doing to aid your application?
Attended a fair few summer schools and read several books and lectures
7) biological or physical?
Physical

I actually have a few questions if anyone can help me out:
First, although I did better in Physics than further maths and maths in my mocks my school says they don't predict A*s in physics as a rule. Even though they'll say I'm expected an A* in my reference but not my UCAS will this hinder my application?
Secondly I'm not taking chemistry, (I had good reasons not to), will this hurt my chances of getting an offer?
Finally, will the fact that I took history for a year at AS count for anything even though I didn't take an actual exam in it, only a mock?

Thanks (:
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Abi-S01
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(Original post by MrGuillemot)
Hi everyone

1) what a levels are you taking? (+ predictions)
Maths (A*) Further maths (A*) Physics (A)
2) what college are you thinking of applying to?
Corpus Christi
3) what are you doing to prepare for NSAA?
Past papers and revision
4) GCSE grades
7 9's, 2 8's, and an A*
5) what type of school do you go to?
Comprehensive
6) what else are you doing to aid your application?
Attended a fair few summer schools and read several books and lectures
7) biological or physical?
Physical

I actually have a few questions if anyone can help me out:
First, although I did better in Physics than further maths and maths in my mocks my school says they don't predict A*s in physics as a rule. Even though they'll say I'm expected an A* in my reference but not my UCAS will this hinder my application?
Secondly I'm not taking chemistry, (I had good reasons not to), will this hurt my chances of getting an offer?
Finally, will the fact that I took history for a year at AS count for anything even though I didn't take an actual exam in it, only a mock?

Thanks (:
Dw about predictions as long as you get 2A*A. Tbh your predictions can be slightly lower as long as other aspects are stronger. Like the entrance exam.
I don’t think history will count since you don’t really have anything to show for it but you could always write it down as an interest.
As long as you have a good reason for not taking chem e.g. school doesn’t offer it . Then it should be fine.
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by MrGuillemot)
Hi everyone

1) what a levels are you taking? (+ predictions)
Maths (A*) Further maths (A*) Physics (A)
2) what college are you thinking of applying to?
Corpus Christi
3) what are you doing to prepare for NSAA?
Past papers and revision
4) GCSE grades
7 9's, 2 8's, and an A*
5) what type of school do you go to?
Comprehensive
6) what else are you doing to aid your application?
Attended a fair few summer schools and read several books and lectures
7) biological or physical?
Physical

I actually have a few questions if anyone can help me out:
First, although I did better in Physics than further maths and maths in my mocks my school says they don't predict A*s in physics as a rule. Even though they'll say I'm expected an A* in my reference but not my UCAS will this hinder my application?
Secondly I'm not taking chemistry, (I had good reasons not to), will this hurt my chances of getting an offer?
Finally, will the fact that I took history for a year at AS count for anything even though I didn't take an actual exam in it, only a mock?

Thanks (:
it's not an issue to not be taking chemistry, i'm a cambridge phys natsci and i know people who got in with maths, further maths and physics. putting in your reference that you've done exceptionally well in physics and are expected to get an A* should be fine, cambridge look at the reference and that will look good. your history wont 'count' as such but again i would recommend that it goes in your reference that you took four subjects and did well in year 12 as it helps show the ability to cope with a large workload
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epooper
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hello
1) bio, chemistry, maths and art (A*,A,A*,A*)
2) I don't know yet
3) havent done anything in particular, just general further reading
4) 7 9's, 2 8's and 2 A*s
5) comprehensive
6) Cambridge chemistry challenge (gold), chemistry olympiad (bronze), online course, further reading, helping w year 11 science revision club, AS level in Bio
7) biological
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Pintsize21
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Hello,
1) Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Computer science (A*, A, A*, A* I think but I'm not sure)
2) Gonville and Caius (I love it)
3) I'm looking over the specification and reading ahead of class to ensure I've covered topics we won't cover in time
4) eight 9s, one 8 and an A*
5) comprehensive
6) extra reading, lectures and just helping other students
7) physical
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R T
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(Original post by ta225)
Hi, what’s the difference between maths A and maths B? Are they both more for physical natscis or do some biologists do them as well?
The party line from the uni is that "maths B is for prospective physicists".

In reality, everyone should do maths B because the easiest questions on the first year maths exams are actually from the B course. I forget specifics (it was so long ago) but essentially 2 or 3 modules from the B course get completely trivial tripos questions because the examiners think that it's hard (I think its differential fields or something, way easier than some other things you do). The questions are free marks and usually take about 30% of the time compared to answering other questions.

I really don't think the pace of maths B matters at all. You are learning more than you need for the exam (so you can largely ignore a topic which is particularly difficult for you for whatever reason (this was vectors for most people from memory)), and actually practising involves doing questions yourself, which is invariant of how "fast" a lecture will go. On top of this, if you don't understand something it's usually explained in supervisions (which again, is largely independent of whether you're doing maths a or maths b).
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by R T)
The party line from the uni is that "maths B is for prospective physicists".

In reality, everyone should do maths B because the easiest questions on the first year maths exams are actually from the B course. I forget specifics (it was so long ago) but essentially 2 or 3 modules from the B course get completely trivial tripos questions because the examiners think that it's hard (I think its differential fields or something, way easier than some other things you do). The questions are free marks and usually take about 30% of the time compared to answering other questions.

I really don't think the pace of maths B matters at all. You are learning more than you need for the exam (so you can largely ignore a topic which is particularly difficult for you for whatever reason (this was vectors for most people from memory)), and actually practising involves doing questions yourself, which is invariant of how "fast" a lecture will go. On top of this, if you don't understand something it's usually explained in supervisions (which again, is largely independent of whether you're doing maths a or maths b).
I don't necessarily agree that everyone should take it (though I agree often the B questions are easier and were my best questions in the exam) I think unless you're naturally very good at maths and comfortably got that A* in further maths a level the pace can be off putting, I think it can really depend how good a supervisor you have. I know a lot of people who started on the maths B course and ended up dropping to maths A because they found it too much of a challenge so that is always an option to start on B and change later for anyone who is unsure

I would recommend starting on maths B for anyone with a good A* in FM for the benefit of those additional exam qs but maths A if you feel less confident or don't enjoy maths in itself
Last edited by RhynieChert; 2 months ago
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R T
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Confidence and lack of effort is the reason why people take A instead of B. Confidence is usually at its lowest 3 weeks into Michaelmas when people suddenly realise that 1st year natsci is a massive step forward from A-Level and they don't want to do extra work that is optional.

Of course its rude to call it "lack of effort" when the bare minimum number of hours to even pass IA is huge, but the fact is that most students aren't interested in going from ~ 60 hours minimum to ~65, even if it means +8% in their Maths finals.

I really don't think FM comes into it at all. FM is really easy and any physnatsci would get an A* in it. Getting 95% instead of 92% is just a matter of attention to detail - which isn't important in Uni compared to "just understand it".
Last edited by R T; 2 months ago
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by R T)
Confidence and lack of effort is the reason why people take A instead of B. Confidence is usually at its lowest 3 weeks into Michaelmas when people suddenly realise that 1st year natsci is a massive step forward from A-Level and they don't want to do extra work that is optional.

Of course its rude to call it "lack of effort" when the bare minimum number of hours to even pass IA is huge, but the fact is that most students aren't interested in going from ~ 60 hours minimum to ~65, even if it means 8% in their Maths finals
I think the only place I disagree here with you is whether for some students it's worth those extra hours to do the B course for the potential extra gain - unless you want to do the maths/physics course in second year honestly it can be more worthwhile not over working yourself to do maths B and having those hours for a social life or to focus on your other subjects, especially since the first year marks REALLY don't matter at all - it's only personal pride and I was much more happy focusing on the subject I knew I wanted to take next year, having free time for myself and not putting all my energy into working. that's not 'lack of effort' which I think is a rude way to put it, that's many people being aware that grades, especially in first year, are not the be all and end all and that many people have other priorities which is no bad thing.

I think you also are overstating that FM thing - I know phys natscis in my year without FM at all, and some who ended up getting an A in it
Last edited by RhynieChert; 2 months ago
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onyankopon
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1) what a levels are you taking? (+ predictions)
doing advanced highers, i don't know my predictions
2) what college are you thinking of applying to?
downing
3) what are you doing to prepare for NSAA?
past papers and revision
4) GCSE grades
i'll put my higher grades (A1 in biology and maths, A2 in chemistry and spanish, B3 in english (getting a remark though))
5) what type of school do you go to?
independent
6) what else are you doing to aid your application?
reading books, doing conservation work
7) biological or physical?

biological
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