Natural Sciences at Cambridge without A-Level maths?

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Tommcbridee
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I'm in year 12 and interested in doing biological natural sciences at Cambridge, but I'm worried I won't have a chance of getting in because of my A-levels. I do biology, chemistry and German. Do many people get in without maths? I got a 9 in the GCSE and about 93% overall, so I probably could've taken it but it didn't interest me. Any advice would be appreciated
Last edited by Tommcbridee; 1 year ago
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Deggs_14
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It seems rather odd to me that you're interested in doing an intense science degree at Cambridge without a level maths? How can it not "interest you"?
For PhysNatSci you need a level maths, with most applicants doing further maths. For BioNatSci you should have a level maths, although not a compulsory requirement, you will have to do extra catchup work through extra modules. Not having maths, especially if offered at your school seems foolish to me, as your application won't be competitive enough. Time to start a level maths or to rethink your priorities?
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Tommcbridee)
I'm in year 12 and interested in doing biological natural sciences at Cambridge, but I'm worried I won't have a chance of getting in because of my A-levels. I do biology, chemistry and German. Do many people get in without maths? I got a 9 in the GCSE and about 93% overall, so I probably could've taken it but it didn't interest me. Any advice would be appreciated
You need A level maths for NatSci. The chances of making a competitive application without it are practically zero and in any case, you'd be at such a disadvantage in your first year without it.
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Tommcbridee
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(Original post by Deggs_14)
It seems rather odd to me that you're interested in doing an intense science degree at Cambridge without a level maths? How can it not "interest you"?
For PhysNatSci you need a level maths, with most applicants doing further maths. For BioNatSci you should have a level maths, although not a compulsory requirement, you will have to do extra catchup work through extra modules. Not having maths, especially if offered at your school seems foolish to me, as your application won't be competitive enough. Time to start a level maths or to rethink your priorities?
I like maths when it's applied to science or other situations but on its own I think I would've found it boring. I would've taken it as a fourth subject but we don't do that at my school
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Deggs_14
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(Original post by Tommcbridee)
I like maths when it's applied to science or other situations but on its own I think I would've found it boring. I would've taken it as a fourth subject but we don't do that at my school
Well, frankly you need to understand it theoretically in order to apply it to scientific situations. What a silly remark though, if you're interested in Science at Cambridge one simply cannot find maths "boring". Your application wouldn't be competitive.
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Tommcbridee
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(Original post by Deggs_14)
Well, frankly you need to understand it theoretically in order to apply it to scientific situations. What a silly remark though, if you're interested in Science at Cambridge one simply cannot find maths "boring". Your application wouldn't be competitive.
ermmm OK thanks for the input
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R T
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(Original post by Tommcbridee)
I'm in year 12 and interested in doing biological natural sciences at Cambridge, but I'm worried I won't have a chance of getting in because of my A-levels. I do biology, chemistry and German. Do many people get in without maths? I got a 9 in the GCSE and about 93% overall, so I probably could've taken it but it didn't interest me. Any advice would be appreciated
Yes people get in without maths for biological natural sciences. The intake isn't very high, I think it's about 10/700 (total) each year.

Those without A-Level maths will essentially do a catchup version of A-Level maths alongside the first year biological mathematics course (but you will have less choice on questions since you can't do a lot of it until you learn calculus). This means that if you get in, you will have to study A-Level maths anyway.



I think it's extremely important to do maths. I seriously would recommend doing at least an AS in it, or dropping German for it. Doing an AS in your own time and entirely self taught (while bringing questions to teachers) is the kind of thing a top student who is driven to succeed would do.

I also think that Maths is hugely important for any biologist, wherever they study. Statistical analysis is basically what most of research biology is. You will not get far without it.


Another thing to point out is that the Natural Sciences Admissions Assement (the test that every natural sciences applicant must do - has a section specifically dedicated to A-Level maths which is mandatory (you would pick biology and chemistry from the optional sections). Tackling this section without AS maths would mean a really awful mark, and could easily factor into a rejection.

So yes, you don't have to do maths to get in. But in reality, it would be a lot harder to get in without it.


I think on face value if you don't like maths enough to care about it, maybe you'd be better off applying for whatever biology course exists at oxford or Imperial? Natural sciences is really an undergraduate course for people with broader interests. I'm pretty sure first year chemistry in natural sciences requires A-Level maths also.
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Tommcbridee
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(Original post by R T)
Yes people get in without maths for biological natural sciences. The intake isn't very high, I think it's about 10/700 (total) each year.

Those without A-Level maths will essentially do a catchup version of A-Level maths alongside the first year biological mathematics course (but you will have less choice on questions since you can't do a lot of it until you learn calculus). This means that if you get in, you will have to study A-Level maths anyway.



I think it's extremely important to do maths. I seriously would recommend doing at least an AS in it, or dropping German for it. Doing an AS in your own time and entirely self taught (while bringing questions to teachers) is the kind of thing a top student who is driven to succeed would do.

I also think that Maths is hugely important for any biologist, wherever they study. Statistical analysis is basically what most of research biology is. You will not get far without it.


Another thing to point out is that the Natural Sciences Admissions Assement (the test that every natural sciences applicant must do - has a section specifically dedicated to A-Level maths which is mandatory (you would pick biology and chemistry from the optional sections). Tackling this section without AS maths would mean a really awful mark, and could easily factor into a rejection.

So yes, you don't have to do maths to get in. But in reality, it would be a lot harder to get in without it.


I think on face value if you don't like maths enough to care about it, maybe you'd be better off applying for whatever biology course exists at oxford or Imperial? Natural sciences is really an undergraduate course for people with broader interests. I'm pretty sure first year chemistry in natural sciences requires A-Level maths also.
Thanks for this reply - it’s really helpful to hear some actual in depth advice. I’ve looked at biology at Oxford and I don’t like how the first year is structured, so I prefer the idea of doing Natsci at Cambridge and just taking the 3 bio modules. I know my chance of getting in would be slim so I’ve looked at other courses and I like the look of human sciences at Oxford but I’m worried about doing badly on the TSA. As for the NSAA, I’ve tried papers before and found the maths sections fine (but obviously it’s not the same as sitting it on the actual day) which doesn’t really help. Thanks for the advice though
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You need A level maths for NatSci. The chances of making a competitive application without it are practically zero and in any case, you'd be at such a disadvantage in your first year without it.
but i thought you could get into NatSci with Sociology, Psychology and Criminology?
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Reality Check
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(Original post by A Rolling Stone)
but i thought you could get into NatSci with Sociology, Psychology and Criminology?
Don't be silly. I understand you're not very clued up on university entry, but try doing some research using published resources:

https://www.natsci.tripos.cam.ac.uk/...nts/admissions

Thank me later.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by R T)
I'm pretty sure first year chemistry in natural sciences requires A-Level maths also.
It does, yes.
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Tommcbridee
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(Original post by A Rolling Stone)
but i thought you could get into NatSci with Sociology, Psychology and Criminology?
Maybe you’re thinking of human social and political science at Cambridge? That degree is more to do with sociology and psychology than Natsci
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by Tommcbridee)
Maybe you’re thinking of human social and political science at Cambridge? That degree is more to do with sociology and psychology than Natsci
He's not really "thinking" at all
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Reality Check
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
He's not really "thinking" at all
PRSOM. You're always PRSOM!
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by Reality Check)
PRSOM. You're always PRSOM!
I'll take cash instead...
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Reality Check
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
I'll take cash instead...
:lol: I'm glad you will! Last time I tried to pay cash for a relatively large purchase in a shop the girl on the till looked at me like I'd got two heads. If I'd whipped out a chequebook, she'd probably have had to have rung her 'supervisor' for advice.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by Reality Check)
:lol: I'm glad you will! Last time I tried to pay cash for a relatively large purchase in a shop the girl on the till looked at me like I'd got two heads. If I'd whipped out a chequebook, she'd probably have had to have rung her 'supervisor' for advice.
Betting shops are always happy with cash.
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Bismuth83
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I'm in a similar situation to OP but I'm doing computer science instead of German. I really enjoy computer science so I don't want to switch it for maths but would doing just the AS help my application much?
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Tommcbridee
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(Original post by Bismuth83)
I'm in a similar situation to OP but I'm doing computer science instead of German. I really enjoy computer science so I don't want to switch it for maths but would doing just the AS help my application much?
I’m talking to the early applicants coordinator at my school this week to ask about maybe doing AS etc. - if no one gets back to you I will tell you what they say
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EvieR02
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(Original post by Tommcbridee)
I'm in year 12 and interested in doing biological natural sciences at Cambridge, but I'm worried I won't have a chance of getting in because of my A-levels. I do biology, chemistry and German. Do many people get in without maths? I got a 9 in the GCSE and about 93% overall, so I probably could've taken it but it didn't interest me. Any advice would be appreciated
Hmmmm I would rather be having your dilema than mine
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