What are my chances of being offered a place at Cambridge? Watch

tea1204
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I need some honest advices on applying to Cambridge. I am an international student and doing International A levels and I would like to study Economics at Cambridge. I am in top 3 students in my school. In year 12 I had As in all of my 5 As levels, however I ended up getting ABBCD on actual exams ( the C is Global Perspectives)... I’m in Year 13 now and doing 4 A levels ( Maths, Economics, Business and English language). My school believes that I can do better and they are likely to predict me with AAAB or AAAC. Although this is achievable, I’m afraid I might not meet my predictions, I think AABB or AABC is more realistic. Do you think Cambridge would consider me with predicted grades of AABC?
I am hoping for a contextual offer since my school’s average is D or something and only one person ever got an A* in A level, only 10% people in my country actually graduate from universities ( we have one of the lowest higher education rates in Europe), and no school in my country offers Further Maths.
By the way I got an A* in IGCSE Maths, I don’t know if that counts.
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PetitePanda
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I doubt it why don’t you drop one so it’s much easier for you to get a higher grades. You would probs get a contextual offer but the predicted grades are low to the standard of Cambridge. It’s fine if you don’t have further maths it’s only desirable so you’ll be fine as long as you have maths. What does the IGCSE maths counts towards???
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by tea1204)
.............
You need to be predicted the standard entry grades in order to stand a chance of being invited to interview. There is no contextual adjustment for overseas applicants, widening participation only extends to UK students.
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tea1204
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(Original post by PetitePanda)
I doubt it why don’t you drop one so it’s much easier for you to get a higher grades. You would probs get a contextual offer but the predicted grades are low to the standard of Cambridge. It’s fine if you don’t have further maths it’s only desirable so you’ll be fine as long as you have maths. What does the IGCSE maths counts towards???
Thanks for answering. I don’t know if they care about IGCSE, I know some universities do. Do you think having 3 A levels is equally as good as doing 4 A levels?
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Student 1011
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Minimum requirement for Econ at Cambridge I thought was A*A*A, or atleast that is their 'typical offer' (may be wrong - check the site). If you want to check your (v rough) chances use the UCAS offer rate calculator -> https://www.ucas.com/advisers/guides...ate-calculator
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julietlima3
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(Original post by tea1204)
Do you think having 3 A levels is equally as good as doing 3 A levels?
Don't understand your question...
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tea1204
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
There is no contextual adjustment for overseas applicants, widening participation only extends to UK students.
Really?? I didn’t know that... it doesn’t say anywhere on the website.
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tea1204
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(Original post by julietlima3)
Don't understand your question...
I meant whether having 4 A levels would give me an advantage and look better on my application then having 3 A levels? For example if a grade requirement is AAA, would universities still offer me a place with AABB and, let’s say, a really good personal statement?
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stcamb
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(Original post by tea1204)
I meant whether having 4 A levels would give me an advantage and look better on my application then having 3 A levels? For example if a grade requirement is AAA, would universities still offer me a place with AABB and, let’s say, a really good personal statement?
In my experience, no. If anything (based on my experience and the people I know), Cambridge is likely to increase your offer to A*A*AA.

Ultimately, I think you almost certainly won't get an offer if you apply now. Even if your teachers predicted you A*A*AA, your previous exam results are going to make that look very unlikely unless you have some serious extenuating circumstances. If you did end up getting all As, you could apply next year. For now I would focus on looking at other universities that don't require all As and thinking about which of them you would enjoy going to.

EDIT: I don't really know what's typical of a contextual offer so it might be worth listening to other people about that aspect of it.
Last edited by stcamb; 3 weeks ago
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tea1204
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(Original post by stcamb)
In my experience, no. If anything (based on my experience and the people I know), Cambridge is likely to increase your offer to A*A*AA.

Ultimately, I think you almost certainly won't get an offer if you apply now. Even if your teachers predicted you A*A*AA, your previous exam results are going to make that look very unlikely unless you have some serious extenuating circumstances. If you did end up getting all As, you could apply next year. For now I would focus on looking at other universities that don't require all As and thinking about which of them you would enjoy going to.

EDIT: I don't really know what's typical of a contextual offer so it might be worth listening to other people about that aspect of it.
Oh
That really helps, thank you!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by tea1204)
Really?? I didn’t know that... it doesn’t say anywhere on the website.
I suppose it doesn't really have to. It's a UK charity, additional funded by UK taxpayers money. It's widening participation focus is, like all universities' widening participation efforts, based on the UK population. If you look at the detail of how they measure contextual data, it is all about the UK.

https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....ontextual-data
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stcamb
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(Original post by tea1204)
Oh
That really helps, thank you!
Try not to worry too much about it. There are still a lot of other good unversities that you could consider applying to even if you don't end up getting the A-Level grades you're hoping for. Have you considered St Andrew's? They're also an old, fairly traditional university with a good reputation, but their minimum A-Level requirement for economics is only ABB *. I know someone who went to St Andrews and after she'd graduated got an offer to to Part III Maths (a masters degree) at Cambridge based on her performance there.

I probably would consider dropping one of your A Levels though, if you think it would help. Most people only do three, and universities much prefer to see good grades in three subjects than mediocre grades in four.

*They say their standard offer is AAA, but if you make sure your teachers talk about the school context in your recommendation and you show you are keen about the subject they may well give a lower offer.
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tea1204
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
I suppose it doesn't really have to. It's a UK charity, additional funded by UK taxpayers money. It's widening participation focus is, like all universities' widening participation efforts, based on the UK population. If you look at the detail of how they measure contextual data, it is all about the UK.

https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....ontextual-data
Makes sense. Thank you!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by tea1204)
I meant whether having 4 A levels would give me an advantage and look better on my application then having 3 A levels? For example if a grade requirement is AAA, would universities still offer me a place with AABB and, let’s say, a really good personal statement?
Read the thread from the Admissions tutors in this forum. They repeatedly and consistently say that A*AA is better than AAAA.

Your top 3 A levels count.
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tea1204
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(Original post by stcamb)
Try not to worry too much about it. There are still a lot of other good unversities that you could consider applying to even if you don't end up getting the A-Level grades you're hoping for. Have you considered St Andrew's? They're also an old, fairly traditional university with a good reputation, but their minimum A-Level requirement for economics is only ABB *. I know someone who went to St Andrews and after she'd graduated got an offer to to Part III Maths (a masters degree) at Cambridge based on her performance there.

I probably would consider dropping one of your A Levels though, if you think it would help. Most people only do three, and universities much prefer to see good grades in three subjects than mediocre grades in four.

*They say their standard offer is AAA, but if you make sure your teachers talk about the school context in your recommendation and you show you are keen about the subject they may well give a lower offer.
I will consider it, thanks!
Other universities I considered so far are Nottingham, Bristol and Sheffield. Do you think I stand a chance with them?
One more thing, are all of The Russel Group universities good? Academically, and later for employment.
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stcamb
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(Original post by tea1204)
I will consider it, thanks!
Other universities I considered so far are Nottingham, Bristol and Sheffield. Do you think I stand a chance with them?
One more thing, are all of The Russel Group universities good? Academically, and later for employment.
From a glance at the websites, standard entry requirements for economics at Nottingham and Bristol are A*AA, while Sheffield is AAB. You've said that you think you can get AAB, so if you're interested in Sheffield it seems a good one to apply to. Nottingham and Bristol your chances are lower, so I wouldn't pin your hopes on them. I suggest you go and look at the page for economics on various university websites and see what their standard offer is. While you might want to apply to a couple that have higher requirements if you are really keen on them, I'd apply for at least one or two where you know that you can meet the requirement (so, based on your AS grades, no higher than ABB). You can't rely on them giving you lower offers or your grades improving, and the last thing you want is to be left with no offers at all.

The Russel group are generally all well regarded. I've had a look and Queen's Belfast (for example) has an economics entry requirement of ABB.

Good luck with the application process!
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PetitePanda
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(Original post by tea1204)
Thanks for answering. I don’t know if they care about IGCSE, I know some universities do. Do you think having 3 A levels is equally as good as doing 3 A levels?
They care for igcse is if you meet their requirements for it but if it doesn’t specifiy it’s normally like 5 igcses passes. Maybe since it’s economics they might require like 6/B for it but it should be on their website. Wdym 3 a level is equally good as 3 a levels?
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PetitePanda
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(Original post by tea1204)
I meant whether having 4 A levels would give me an advantage and look better on my application then having 3 A levels? For example if a grade requirement is AAA, would universities still offer me a place with AABB and, let’s say, a really good personal statement?
Not really. If you did well in them yes but if it’s worse than 3 a levels it doesn’t at all. A AAA is better than AABB. But for each uni they have different offers so it’s possible but it depends on the offer they give you.
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tea1204
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(Original post by PetitePanda)
They care for igcse is if you meet their requirements for it but if it doesn’t specifiy it’s normally like 5 igcses passes. Maybe since it’s economics they might require like 6/B for it but it should be on their website. Wdym 3 a level is equally good as 3 a levels?
I made a mistake, what I wanted to ask was whether 4 A levels give me an advantage over someone who has 3 A levels, or would a fourth A level make up for a lower grade in one of the first three?
Thanks for answering.
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tea1204
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(Original post by PetitePanda)
Not really. If you did well in them yes but if it’s worse than 3 a levels it doesn’t at all. A AAA is better than AABB. But for each uni they have different offers so it’s possible but it depends on the offer they give you.
Oh alright thank you!
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