Cambridge CompSci - is my application strong enough?

Watch
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Hi everyone,

I've just finished the summer of Year 12 and I'll be starting Year 13 this September. I'm looking to apply to Cambridge and wondered if my application was strong enough:

GCSE: 9999999988A*
AS: AAAA in Biology, Maths, Computer Science and Photography.

I'm also doing an EPQ dissertation on Artificial Intelligence.

I'm taking Biology, Maths, Computer Science to A-Level but I'm not exactly sure what my predicted grades are, though Cam wants A*A*A.

I guess my questions are:

Are my subjects ideal for CompSci? Am I disadvantaged for not taking FM?

I'm looking to apply to St John's, but is it possible to make a strategic application? I also will have to do the CTMUA and CSAT, so if anyone could give me helpful tips and advice on how to prepare and do well in them, it'll be very much appreciated.

Any interview/personal statement advice would also be welcomed.

Thanks in advance
Last edited by afterwaves; 1 year ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
The EPQ might give you something interesting to write about in your personal statement, and possibly discuss in interview (although I imagine most if not all of the interview will be solving mathematical problems and reasoning through computational thinking things), however I don't think it will make any difference in terms of getting an offer. I would be very surprised if you weren't interviewed, unless you do really badly in the CSAT or aren't predicted A*A*A.

Apply to the college you want to go to, or the if you aren't sure, make an open application. It shouldn't make a difference in your odds of getting an offer, since if you are a strong applicant applying to an oversubscribed college, they have the pooling system to ensure you aren't disadvantaged by your choice of college. Also bear in mind roughly 20% I think of applicants get pooled to another college, so don't get too hung up on the college choice.

As I understand the majority of applicants are taking FM, although it may simply be an issue of self selection - those who are good at maths are more likely to take FM, and those taking FM and interested in CS are more likely to be academically highly achieving and thus considering Cambridge. At the end of the day you can't change the fact you aren't taking FM now. If you are unsuccessful and want to reapply in a gap year, it might be worth considering taking FM during that gap year though.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 1 year ago
2
reply
RhynieChert
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 year ago
#3
useful links:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....mputer-science
https://www.cst.cam.ac.uk/admissions...graduate/entry

generally:
further maths is an advantage and you may need to justify why you aren't taking it if your college does offer it. if possible try to study at least further maths AS content outside of class to prove your mathematical commitment and ability
your gcses are great but won't make a significant difference to your chances of getting an offer - lots depends on the CTMUA, CSAT and the interview.
an epq is good as a way to show your personal interest in the subject but again won't heavily influence whether you are made an offer.
to be competitive your mathematical ability and potential will need to be obvious to compete with those with FM, so practice as many CSAT and CTMUA papers as possible
1
reply
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by RhynieChert)
useful links:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....mputer-science
https://www.cst.cam.ac.uk/admissions...graduate/entry

generally:
further maths is an advantage and you may need to justify why you aren't taking it if your college does offer it. if possible try to study at least further maths AS content outside of class to prove your mathematical commitment and ability
your gcses are great but won't make a significant difference to your chances of getting an offer - lots depends on the CTMUA, CSAT and the interview.
an epq is good as a way to show your personal interest in the subject but again won't heavily influence whether you are made an offer.
to be competitive your mathematical ability and potential will need to be obvious to compete with those with FM, so practice as many CSAT and CTMUA papers as possible
I've heard decision maths is probably the most relevant to a CS course - would it be useful to study some of it from an FM textbook and make a reference to it in my personal statement?
0
reply
RhynieChert
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#5
Report 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by afterwaves)
I've heard decision maths is probably the most relevant to a CS course - would it be useful to study some of it from an FM textbook and make a reference to it in my personal statement?
that sounds like a good idea! whatever extra maths you decide to do should definitely go on your personal statement
0
reply
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#6
(Original post by RhynieChert)
that sounds like a good idea! whatever extra maths you decide to do should definitely go on your personal statement
Brilliant, thanks! I'm just worried they might ask me to solve an FM problem in the interview, which definitely wouldn't be ideal.
0
reply
RhynieChert
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#7
Report 1 year ago
#7
i would also recommend emailing a cambridge college admissions tutor (probably the johns one since you're thinking of applying there) to ask how they view the lack of further maths and what they recommend doing to improve your maths skills

[email protected]
0
reply
Forecast
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#8
Report 1 year ago
#8
(Original post by afterwaves)
Hi everyone,

I've just finished the summer of Year 12 and I'll be starting Year 13 this September. I'm looking to apply to Cambridge and wondered if my application was strong enough:

GCSE: 9999999988A*
AS: AAAA in Biology, Maths, Computer Science and Photography.

EDIT: I'm also doing an EPQ dissertation on Artifical Intelligence, touching on neural networks.

I'm taking Biology, Maths, Computer Science to A-Level but I'm not exactly sure what my predicted grades are, though Cam wants A*A*A.

I guess my questions are:

Are my subjects ideal for CompSci? Am I disadvantaged for not taking FM?

I'm looking to apply to St John's, but is it possible to make a strategic application? I also will have to do the CTMUA and CSAT, so if anyone could give me helpful tips and advice on how to prepare and do well in them, it'll be very much appreciated.

Any interview/personal statement advice would also be welcomed.

Thanks in advance
Consider applying to a CSAT college (only a minority are using it this year and John's is not one of them), since it's another opportunity to show your mathematical ability and make up for not having done further maths (which would have been a much better choice than biology or photography). The important thing isn't really the specific topics covered in FM, but rather, since the Cambridge course is very theoretical, showing that you like maths and have a good aptitude for it.
1
reply
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#9
(Original post by RhynieChert)
i would also recommend emailing a cambridge college admissions tutor (probably the johns one since you're thinking of applying there) to ask how they view the lack of further maths and what they recommend doing to improve your maths skills

[email protected]
That's so helpful, thanks a lot
0
reply
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#10
(Original post by Forecast)
Consider applying to a CSAT college (only a minority are using it this year and John's is not one of them), since it's another opportunity to show your mathematical ability and make up for not having done further maths (which would have been a much better choice than biology or photography). The important thing isn't really the specific topics covered in FM, but rather, since the Cambridge course is very theoretical, showing that you like maths and have a good aptitude for it.
On the John's site, it says that they might ask for the CSAT - I'm assuming they'll have a higher chance of asking me to take it due to my lack of FM?


But yeah, I'll have a look into the college idea.
0
reply
ThatOneGuy29200
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 year ago
#11
(Original post by artful_lounger)
The EPQ might give you something interesting to write about in your personal statement, and possibly discuss in interview (although I imagine most if not all of the interview will be solving mathematical problems and reasoning through computational thinking things), however I don't think it will make any difference in terms of getting an offer. I would be very surprised if you weren't interviewed, unless you do really badly in the CSAT or aren't predicted A*A*A.

Apply to the college you want to go to, or the if you aren't sure, make an open application. It shouldn't make a difference in your odds of getting an offer, since if you are a strong applicant applying to an oversubscribed college, they have the pooling system to ensure you aren't disadvantaged by your choice of college. Also bear in mind roughly 20% I think of applicants get pooled to another college, so don't get too hung up on the college choice.

As I understand the majority of applicants are taking FM, although it may simply be an issue of self selection - those who are good at maths are more likely to take FM, and those taking FM and interested in CS are more likely to be academically highly achieving and thus considering Cambridge. At the end of the day you can't change the fact you aren't taking FM now. If you are unsuccessful and want to reapply in a gap year, it might be worth considering taking FM during that gap year though.
Sorry just for clarification , isn't CSAT taken on the day of the interview? Does this mean they can choose not to interview solely based on CSAT?
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 year ago
#12
(Original post by ThatOneGuy29200)
Sorry just for clarification , isn't CSAT taken on the day of the interview? Does this mean they can choose not to interview solely based on CSAT?
Oh my mistake, I thought it was like the other admissions assessments taken before interview. At interview assessments normally get considered along with the interview after the fact (plus the rest of the application information).
0
reply
sweeneyrod
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#13
Report 1 year ago
#13
Obviously your GCSEs are very good, but not having FM and to a lesser extent Physics is definitely unusual and unfortunately I think will put you at a disadvantage. I would definitely email a load of college admission tutors and ask what they think about your subjects, and maybe consider picking up AS FM if that's possible (it would be worth dropping the EPQ for that). In terms of the specific content that's useful from FM, the decision modules cover some CS content but in a fairly boring and irrelevant way, the pure modules are probably more useful. If your predicted grades are below A*A*A you need to pester your teachers into making them higher.

All applicants do the CTMUA which will be used to decide who to interview, I expect that would be especially important for you given the lack of FM. To prepare for that, do TMUA past papers and questions from the multiple choice section of the MAT. My impression is that CTMUA questions are relatively easy (compared to e.g. CSAT or MAT non-multiple-choice) and the main things to practice are timing and not making stupid mistakes. Only some colleges ask you to do the CSAT (which you will do on the same day as the interview). In your position I would be inclined to avoid colleges that ask for that; not knowing FM content will put you at a disadvantage in terms of which questions you can do. But if you practise doing some CSAT questions and think you'd do well at it then obviously it would make sense to apply to a college with it.
0
reply
ta225
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 year ago
#14
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....quirements.pdf
You’ve probably already seen this but it seems that the only college that explicitly says it wants further maths is Sidney Sussex.
0
reply
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#15
(Original post by sweeneyrod)
Only some colleges ask you to do the CSAT (which you will do on the same day as the interview). In your position I would be inclined to avoid colleges that ask for that; not knowing FM content will put you at a disadvantage in terms of which questions you can do. But if you practise doing some CSAT questions and think you'd do well at it then obviously it would make sense to apply to a college with it.
Yeah but let's say I get pooled, wouldn't having a CSAT score put me at an advantage (though slight) over other applicants that don't?
0
reply
RhynieChert
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#16
Report 1 year ago
#16
(Original post by afterwaves)
Yeah but let's say I get pooled, wouldn't having a CSAT score put me at an advantage (though slight) over other applicants that don't?
Definitely not if you did badly, and also likely no as they don't have that information about other applicants so it's hard to make a comparison - they're likely just to go off interview scores and CMUA. maybe if you did very well but if that was the case you'd likely have already got an offer from your original college
0
reply
sweeneyrod
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#17
Report 1 year ago
#17
(Original post by afterwaves)
Yeah but let's say I get pooled, wouldn't having a CSAT score put me at an advantage (though slight) over other applicants that don't?
Even if you had a high CSAT score, I think any advantage would be very small. Only the few colleges that still ask for the CSAT would care, and even then most of the applicants in the pool won't have CSAT scores so they wouldn't be able to place that much emphasis on it.
0
reply
afterwaves
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#18
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#18
(Original post by sweeneyrod)
Even if you had a high CSAT score, I think any advantage would be very small. Only the few colleges that still ask for the CSAT would care, and even then most of the applicants in the pool won't have CSAT scores so they wouldn't be able to place that much emphasis on it.
Ah okay, so would you suggest I pick a college that doesn't use the CSAT and just ace the CTMUA?
0
reply
sweeneyrod
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#19
Report 1 year ago
#19
(Original post by afterwaves)
Ah okay, so would you suggest I pick a college that doesn't use the CSAT and just ace the CTMUA?
It depends on how good you are at maths. If you're incredibly brilliant and would ace the CSAT then go for it. But based on the lack of FM I think that's unlikely, not necessarily because that means you aren't good at maths but because it means you'd have to work quite a lot harder to get the necessary background. Doing well on the CTMUA will certainly help, but I don't know if it's that important. Scoring relatively poorly on that may well stop you getting an interview, but I'm not sure if they'll place that much value on scoring really highly over decently. Although practising until you can ace it is certainly a good way of making sure you do well enough to get interviewed. But this is just speculation; I'm not an admissions tutor.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Do you think receiving Teacher Assessed Grades will impact your future?

I'm worried it will negatively impact me getting into university/college (208)
43.61%
I'm worried that I'm not academically prepared for the next stage in my educational journey (55)
11.53%
I'm worried it will impact my future career (36)
7.55%
I'm worried that my grades will be seen as 'lesser' because I didn't take exams (102)
21.38%
I don't think that receiving these grades will impact my future (49)
10.27%
I think that receiving these grades will affect me in another way (let us know in the discussion!) (27)
5.66%

Watched Threads

View All