2021 Cambridge Natural Sciences Applicant Thread

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LiechtensteinMAN
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#41
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#41
(Original post by IbeIC123)
Ahh same. What advanced highers are you taking
Nice to see some other Scottish applicants, it can feel a bit lonely with everyone going on about GCSEs and A-levels on TSR!

I am taking maths, mechanics, physics and chemistry and they are going fine (except uncertainties in physics which are the bane of my existence lol). I'm hoping to specialise in chemistry and do the physical stream of natural sciences. What about you?
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IbeIC123
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#42
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#42
(Original post by LiechtensteinMAN)
Nice to see some other Scottish applicants, it can feel a bit lonely with everyone going on about GCSEs and A-levels on TSR!

I am taking maths, mechanics, physics and chemistry and they are going fine (except uncertainties in physics which are the bane of my existence lol). I'm hoping to specialise in chemistry and do the physical stream of natural sciences. What about you?
Same subjects I’m hoping to do chemical engineering via natural sciences
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anchal12121
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#43
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(Original post by memestogenes)
Hey Everyone! I couldn't see one of these being made yet, so I thought I would make one. Good Luck to everyone applying to Cambridge for Natural Sciences this upcoming year, I thought it would be a nice idea to have a thread where everyone could discuss things and I could share some resources which I have collected over the years and helped me with my application

For reference, I am currently a second year NatSci at Cambridge so I can try and answer whichever questions you guys may have and I will work my way from there. I'll be adding some resources as time goes along so stay tuned, but I will start with some personal statement advice

Here are my top tips for writing a really strong personal statement - check the link for full detail but the main tips include:
1: Structure
2: Relevance
3: Introduction and Conclusion
4: Write Analytically
5: Hyperbolise

For those of you preparing for the Cambridge Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA) Check this out, it talks through the best practices and advice for preparing for this exam.

Closer to the time I will also share some interview resources regarding interview questions but in the meantime check out this guide to highlight the main stages in preparing for your interview.

I'll leave you all with some ice breakers
What type of Natural Sciences are you interested in?
Why Cambridge, not oxford?
What subjects are you currently studying?
Feel free to add in any other information you want, such as extracurricular, what other courses you are applying for etc

For those of you interested about how intense course is check out this first year review running through a general timetable of a first year NatSci. It can be daunting but don't let that put you off because in reality this is something worth working for!
Hi, I love your youtube videos so much they're really helpful! On your personal statement video you said you would be going through parts of your personal statement and talking more on the structure, if so that would be amazing and a massive help.. thanks!
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username3474196
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#44
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About the NSAA... does anyone know if things outside their set specification can come up? Only asking because I had a look through the 2017 paper and electron microscopes came up, which wasn’t in the spec when I checked
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Theloniouss
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#45
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#45
(Original post by twinklewinkle)
About the NSAA... does anyone know if things outside their set specification can come up? Only asking because I had a look through the 2017 paper and electron microscopes came up, which wasn’t in the spec when I checked
There should be a published NSAA spec.
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学生の父
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#46
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#46
Here is this year's NSAA specification: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....ation_2020.pdf

Remember that you now only have to answer multiple choice questions on mathematics and one experimental science in Section 1. In Section 2 you must answer extended multiple choice questions on one experimental science (which may be the same one as Section 1).
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memestogenes
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#47
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#47
(Original post by twinklewinkle)
About the NSAA... does anyone know if things outside their set specification can come up? Only asking because I had a look through the 2017 paper and electron microscopes came up, which wasn’t in the spec when I checked
Hey! About this - the spec does change slightly every year, so its possible that in 2017 it was a part of it, but now it's been removed etc. The Admissions assessments were all very new ideas, because Cambridge did not know how to address the loss of AS levels, which means even now the spec is very flexible and can change. If you follow the current spec, nothing outside of it should come up
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username3474196
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#48
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Ok that makes sense, thank you!
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d0nkey_dude
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#49
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#49
What type of careers can you go into with bio natsci?
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skyllitude
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#50
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My best subject is chemistry but I'm more interested in biochemistry and all my extension work (like extra reading, essay competitions) is on more biological subjects... Would it be better for me to apply via bio or phys natsci? I could still change between more biology/biochemistry or full on chemistry when I get in (IF I get in) but I'm very nervous about the admissions process...
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Theloniouss
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#51
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#51
(Original post by skyllitude)
My best subject is chemistry but I'm more interested in biochemistry and all my extension work (like extra reading, essay competitions) is on more biological subjects... Would it be better for me to apply via bio or phys natsci? I could still change between more biology/biochemistry or full on chemistry when I get in (IF I get in) but I'm very nervous about the admissions process...
Bio includes chemistry. Half my interview questions last year were on chemistry and I applied for bio.
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R T
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#52
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(Original post by skyllitude)
My best subject is chemistry but I'm more interested in biochemistry and all my extension work (like extra reading, essay competitions) is on more biological subjects... Would it be better for me to apply via bio or phys natsci? I could still change between more biology/biochemistry or full on chemistry when I get in (IF I get in) but I'm very nervous about the admissions process...
You are probably best off applying for Bio.

One simple question to ask yourself is what you'll be applying for in your other 4 UCAS slots. If you're going to be applying for biochemistry or biomedical sciences, I think it really makes the most sense to enter as a BioNatSci (even if you have very serious ambitions or thoughts about specialising in Chemistry later on - this is not an issue).

If you are going to apply for Chemistry elsewhere and you are doing at least one of: Further Maths, Physics (preferably both), then I'd probably say it makes more sense to apply Physical NatSci.

That said you can play the game here. Ioniouss is right: Bio applicants typically get interviewed on Biology (typically A-Level topics), simpler/ more applied Maths (e.g. statistics, estimate this given this ratio, do some microscope calculations), and Chemistry. PhysNatSci applicants will almost certainly be tested on purer Maths, Physics and Chemistry. If you think you are a strong (relative to other applicants) Mathematician/Physicist, then applying for PhysNatSci is perhaps better.
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Theloniouss
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#53
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(Original post by R T)
You are probably best off applying for Bio.

One simple question to ask yourself is what you'll be applying for in your other 4 UCAS slots. If you're going to be applying for biochemistry or biomedical sciences, I think it really makes the most sense to enter as a BioNatSci (even if you have very serious ambitions or thoughts about specialising in Chemistry later on - this is not an issue).

If you are going to apply for Chemistry elsewhere and you are doing at least one of: Further Maths, Physics (preferably both), then I'd probably say it makes more sense to apply Physical NatSci.

That said you can play the game here. Ioniouss is right: Bio applicants typically get interviewed on Biology (typically A-Level topics), simpler/ more applied Maths (e.g. statistics, estimate this given this ratio, do some microscope calculations), and Chemistry. PhysNatSci applicants will almost certainly be tested on purer Maths, Physics and Chemistry. If you think you are a strong (relative to other applicants) Mathematician/Physicist, then applying for PhysNatSci is perhaps better.
I got some tough pure maths questions, although I also got a statistics question. I think the interview questions are based on the subjects you're doing as well as the side you've applied for.

Side note: that's not my name (all one word, that's an L, not an I).
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username3474196
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#54
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
I got some tough pure maths questions, although I also got a statistics question. I think the interview questions are based on the subjects you're doing as well as the side you've applied for.

Side note: that's not my name (all one word, that's an L, not an I).
So if I'm doing maths, bio, chem and physics this year and apply for biological natural sciences, I should prepare for/expect some physics/chemistry interview questions as well?
Also, does the interview content depend on the college you apply for?

Sorry for all the questions
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Theloniouss
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#55
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(Original post by twinklewinkle)
So if I'm doing maths, bio, chem and physics this year and apply for biological natural sciences, I should prepare for/expect some physics/chemistry interview questions as well?
Also, does the interview content depend on the college you apply for?

Sorry for all the questions
Maybe and yes
You might get physics questions. I was doing maths, FM, Bio, chem and got questions on all of those - but they're all relevant to biology so that makes sense. Physics won't be as relevant to biology so you might not get physics questions.

Colleges decide their own interviews, so yes they'll all have different interview questions, topics, styles etc.
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R T
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#56
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
I got some tough pure maths questions, although I also got a statistics question. I think the interview questions are based on the subjects you're doing as well as the side you've applied for.

Side note: that's not my name (all one word, that's an L, not an I).
Sorry I missed this originally, it got drowned in a notification list.

I clearly used the wrong adjective originally. By "simpler" I don't mean that bionatscis will have easier maths questions, more that they will likely get more direct questions. For example, deriving all the michaelis menten results is within the capability of some doing A-Level maths and in terms of "complexity" the problem is low, since its fundamentally only about calculus and graph sketching with some initial conditions. There is no added complexity about what topics or results will need to be used - but the question can still be fundamentally difficult/tough. In a similar way, we could have a statistics question involving numbers of nucleobases and although it may contain some tricky extensions after being solved for a simpler case, the topics are likely not to extend beyond some superficially simple statistics and binomials.

As far as subject impact, I know that most tutors really prefer to not vary questions within a subject (where "bionatsci" and "physnatsci" are the 2 subjects). And the usual attitude in interviews is that they're fine just telling you theory if you don't (can't) know it, since its so largely about application of theory and "approach". But there is no doubt that someone who already knows about matrices has an edge in a question involving them.
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purpledaisy
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#57
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#57
Would you guys suggest doing the same or different sciences for section 1 and section 2 of the NSAA? I'm applying for bio natsci, so would it look 'better' if I did chem for section 1 and bio for section 2, for example?
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Theloniouss
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#58
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(Original post by purpledaisy)
Would you guys suggest doing the same or different sciences for section 1 and section 2 of the NSAA? I'm applying for bio natsci, so would it look 'better' if I did chem for section 1 and bio for section 2, for example?
I doubt it. You're probably best off choosing the sections you'll perform best at, I'm not sure how much they'll look at transcripts. If they do, it probably also doesn't matter so long as it makes sense. For example, if you're applying for bio and have only written about biology in your PS, it might look odd if you did two chem sections. Otherwise, I don't imagine it'll make a difference
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ayumie
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#59
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#59
(Original post by LiechtensteinMAN)
Yes. There will no longer be written answers as they are replaced by "extended multiple choice questions" which just seem to be more involved multiple choice questions. Section 1 also has changed - only one science is answered in addition to maths. Cambridge recently published the specification on the Natural Sciences webpage so advise you check it out!
Hey, I'm tryna google about this. This is pretty dramatic, right?
Will this reduce the time and increase the 'pass' mark? During my prep, I found the Physics and Maths sections of section 1 doable (apart from the time!) and Biology hard, so this would be great for me.
Thanks for letting us know.
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HaddockRag
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#60
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I found the bio part ok and the maths part head spinning because I'm hopeless without a calculator... Any advice on how to prepare and practice for this year's paper? Also, would you know what kind of score would be considered ''good''?
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