How are my chances for Cambridge Maths with A*A*AA achieved?

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Muttley79
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(Original post by melancollege)
I go to a state school - a standard state comp without a sixth form as secondary and a state comp sixth form college (ie. only Year 12s and 13s were there). Never been to any sort of private or grammar school.

By extra classes, I mean I went to two extra maths courses run by the AMSP, one weekly and one biweekly as well as online live lectures. I also did an online maths summer school and a problem-solving course. I have a few extracurriculars and many supercurriculars, but I don't want to go too much into them on a public forum post to keep some sort of anonymity, but I do have quite a lot in that regard.
BMO2?

What online summer school? None has happened yet .... PM me if you prefer [I'm a Maths teacher]
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melancollege
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(Original post by Muttley79)
BMO2?

What online summer school? None has happened yet .... PM me if you prefer [I'm a Maths teacher]
I didn't qualify for BMO2, I got a distinction in BMO1, but not high enough for BMO2, though I've been the only one who got a high enough SMC score to qualify in my college for a few years now.

I did an online summer school last year
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Muttley79
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(Original post by melancollege)
I didn't qualify for BMO2, I got a distinction in BMO1, but not high enough for BMO2, though I've been the only one who got a high enough SMC score to qualify in my college for a few years now.

I did an online summer school last year
So not UKMT; have you had a UKMT mentor at all? AMSP doesn't select for its courses so that isn't 'special'. ...

What have you got planned for your GAP year and why didn't you apply for 2020? I think my biggest concern about what you've written is the casual way you dismiss STEP - that sets alarm bells ringing for me.

[Btw Trinity is more competitive than Sidney Sussex ...]
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sakura_23
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(Original post by Muttley79)
So not UKMT; have you had a UKMT mentor at all? AMSP doesn't select for its courses so that isn't 'special'. ...

What have you got planned for your GAP year and why didn't you apply for 2020? I think my biggest concern about what you've written is the casual way you dismiss STEP - that sets alarm bells ringing for me.

[Btw Trinity is more competitive than Sidney Sussex ...]
I agree with this, but as you come from a state school your grades will hopefully be ok, as long as they get you past this year’s requirements. Ditto to the quoted questions here.
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melancollege
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(Original post by Muttley79)
So not UKMT; have you had a UKMT mentor at all? AMSP doesn't select for its courses so that isn't 'special'. ...

What have you got planned for your GAP year and why didn't you apply for 2020? I think my biggest concern about what you've written is the casual way you dismiss STEP - that sets alarm bells ringing for me.

[Btw Trinity is more competitive than Sidney Sussex ...]
I hadn't heard of the UKMT mentor program until much too late; and the ASMP courses were STEP courses for my own interest.

I have numerous things planned for my gap year, including MOOCs, the rest of my FM modules, Physics A-Level, etc

I didn't apply for 2020 as I was unsure of how STEP would pan out, and I didn't want to be rejected on results day because that would have meant that I would have had to go to my insurance - which was UCL - so accommodation etc may have been a problem and it wasn't worth the risk

I am doing STEP, and I'm finding pretty okay, and in most of my practice papers I am comfortably getting 1s; or S's in the case of STEP I. I am not too worried about it because I am confident in my ability to succeed at it, as I have done in my practice papers.

Is Sidney Sussex generally a competitive college for maths? I know Trinity is more but is it like second-tier in competitiveness, mid-range, or one of the ones to which people tend get pooled.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by melancollege)
I hadn't heard of the UKMT mentor program until much too late; and the ASMP courses were STEP courses for my own interest.

I have numerous things planned for my gap year, including MOOCs, the rest of my FM modules, Physics A-Level, etc

I didn't apply for 2020 as I was unsure of how STEP would pan out, and I didn't want to be rejected on results day because that would have meant that I would have had to go to my insurance - which was UCL - so accommodation etc may have been a problem and it wasn't worth the risk

I am doing STEP, and I'm finding pretty okay, and in most of my practice papers I am comfortably getting 1s; or S's in the case of STEP I. I am not too worried about it because I am confident in my ability to succeed at it, as I have done in my practice papers.

Is Sidney Sussex generally a competitive college for maths? I know Trinity is more but is it like second-tier in competitiveness, mid-range, or one of the ones to which people tend get pooled.
If you've been doing well in SMC then I'm surprised the mentor programme wasn't mentioned.

You still risk rejection as you cannot know with STEP.

What reading have you done? Why focus on FM options?

Seriously - come back in August when you've got your grades and continue the discussion.
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thekidwhogames
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(Original post by melancollege)
I hadn't heard of the UKMT mentor program until much too late; and the ASMP courses were STEP courses for my own interest.

I have numerous things planned for my gap year, including MOOCs, the rest of my FM modules, Physics A-Level, etc

I didn't apply for 2020 as I was unsure of how STEP would pan out, and I didn't want to be rejected on results day because that would have meant that I would have had to go to my insurance - which was UCL - so accommodation etc may have been a problem and it wasn't worth the risk

I am doing STEP, and I'm finding pretty okay, and in most of my practice papers I am comfortably getting 1s; or S's in the case of STEP I. I am not too worried about it because I am confident in my ability to succeed at it, as I have done in my practice papers.

Is Sidney Sussex generally a competitive college for maths? I know Trinity is more but is it like second-tier in competitiveness, mid-range, or one of the ones to which people tend get pooled.
I'm sure you'll be fine, your A Levels should be fine (I know people who got offers with like A*AAAB or something?). Your SMC/BMO1 is decent and you mentioned your PS is good. As long as you perform good in interviews, you should get an offer (assuming your college is fine with gap years). It may be worth looking at how many gap year students got into each college from FOIs. I think SS is usually one that people get pooled to? This year, only 30 directly applied there with 13 offers and 3 winter pool offers. Trinity is insanely more competitive and some other colleges are (e.g. Jesus/Catz/CC/Kings etc.) but this doesn't really matter.
but re: STEP, I was doing really well in practice papers (avg of 100s in S2/S3) and this year's STEP papers destroyed everyone lool, quite a LOT of people I know went from getting 100s to 50s-60s for S2 :confused: STEP is a very unpredictable monster (and you never know how it will go down on the day, even assuming excellent prep).
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davros
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(Original post by melancollege)
I have numerous things planned for my gap year, including MOOCs, the rest of my FM modules, Physics A-Level, etc

I didn't apply for 2020 as I was unsure of how STEP would pan out, and I didn't want to be rejected on results day because that would have meant that I would have had to go to my insurance - which was UCL - so accommodation etc may have been a problem and it wasn't worth the risk

I am doing STEP, and I'm finding pretty okay, and in most of my practice papers I am comfortably getting 1s; or S's in the case of STEP I. I am not too worried about it because I am confident in my ability to succeed at it, as I have done in my practice papers.
Won't you have the same potential problem next year? No-one knows what the consequence of COVID-19 will be into 2021, and even if you get an offer,you could still be rejected on "results day" - the results day for STEP 2021. What is your Plan B going to be?

I presume you are aware that as a post A level applicant if you get an offer then you will almost certainly be asked for a higher than normal set of grades in the STEP exams, since you will have had a greater amount of preparation time than the 'typical' A level applicant.
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melancollege
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(Original post by Muttley79)
If you've been doing well in SMC then I'm surprised the mentor programme wasn't mentioned.

You still risk rejection as you cannot know with STEP.

What reading have you done? Why focus on FM options?

Seriously - come back in August when you've got your grades and continue the discussion.
I don't know why the mentor program was never mentioned, honestly. I don't think my school did anything of that sort.

I know that I still risk rejection with STEP - at the moment I just want to know my chances of getting an offer at the moment.
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melancollege
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(Original post by thekidwhogames)
I'm sure you'll be fine, your A Levels should be fine (I know people who got offers with like A*AAAB or something?). Your SMC/BMO1 is decent and you mentioned your PS is good. As long as you perform good in interviews, you should get an offer (assuming your college is fine with gap years). It may be worth looking at how many gap year students got into each college from FOIs. I think SS is usually one that people get pooled to? This year, only 30 directly applied there with 13 offers and 3 winter pool offers. Trinity is insanely more competitive and some other colleges are (e.g. Jesus/Catz/CC/Kings etc.) but this doesn't really matter.
but re: STEP, I was doing really well in practice papers (avg of 100s in S2/S3) and this year's STEP papers destroyed everyone lool, quite a LOT of people I know went from getting 100s to 50s-60s for S2 :confused: STEP is a very unpredictable monster (and you never know how it will go down on the day, even assuming excellent prep).
Thank you for your comprehensive answer - I've just been worried about how my A-Level grades will affect my chances applying post-A2. Thank you also for your warning for STEP, and I hope that everything is alright on your end with regards to that

Also Sidney Sussex is neutral towards gap years so I'm not too sure on that regard
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melancollege
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(Original post by davros)
Won't you have the same potential problem next year? No-one knows what the consequence of COVID-19 will be into 2021, and even if you get an offer,you could still be rejected on "results day" - the results day for STEP 2021. What is your Plan B going to be?

I presume you are aware that as a post A level applicant if you get an offer then you will almost certainly be asked for a higher than normal set of grades in the STEP exams, since you will have had a greater amount of preparation time than the 'typical' A level applicant.
I will have the same problem if I get rejected next summer, but the issue last year was that STEP was very nebulous to me and I knew so little about it. I also hadn't yet learned the relevant content to be able to even attempt STEP II and III papers, so it seemed like too much of a risk to apply and get an offer based upon it, so I decided that I wouldn't apply last year. Now that I've done my A-Levels, I can attempt STEP papers, and since I'm finding success with them, I am less worried.

Also my insurance last year was UCL, who only guarantee accommodation for those who firm them; whereas mine this year is St Andrews, who offer it for their insurance choice as well, so if I were rejected from Cambridge on results day, it isn't as problematic.

Also I haven't heard of them giving higher offers, I presumed it would still be a 1,1 in STEP II and III, because the only higher grade is an S, which is much more competitive and I've never heard of them making an offer based upon it. I could reasonably see how they would be less understanding if I just missed my offer but I don't see how they could feasibly give a higher offer.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by melancollege)
Also I haven't heard of them giving higher offers, I presumed it would still be a 1,1 in STEP II and III, because the only higher grade is an S, which is much more competitive and I've never heard of them making an offer based upon it. I could reasonably see how they would be less understanding if I just missed my offer but I don't see how they could feasibly give a higher offer.
A lot of what you write concerns me - not applying bin 2020 because you were concerned about STEP seems strange as nearly everyone is in that position.

You do risk being asked for higher STEP grades and, yes, S grades are asked for.

Continue this when you get your results
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sakura_23
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(Original post by melancollege)
I will have the same problem if I get rejected next summer, but the issue last year was that STEP was very nebulous to me and I knew so little about it. I also hadn't yet learned the relevant content to be able to even attempt STEP II and III papers, so it seemed like too much of a risk to apply and get an offer based upon it, so I decided that I wouldn't apply last year. Now that I've done my A-Levels, I can attempt STEP papers, and since I'm finding success with them, I am less worried.

Also my insurance last year was UCL, who only guarantee accommodation for those who firm them; whereas mine this year is St Andrews, who offer it for their insurance choice as well, so if I were rejected from Cambridge on results day, it isn't as problematic.

Also I haven't heard of them giving higher offers, I presumed it would still be a 1,1 in STEP II and III, because the only higher grade is an S, which is much more competitive and I've never heard of them making an offer based upon it. I could reasonably see how they would be less understanding if I just missed my offer but I don't see how they could feasibly give a higher offer.
Just to add, I have a friend who also took a gap year and then got asked for S grades, so I think it is possible. Good luck!
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davros
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(Original post by Muttley79)
A lot of what you write concerns me - not applying bin 2020 because you were concerned about STEP seems strange as nearly everyone is in that position.

You do risk being asked for higher STEP grades and, yes, S grades are asked for.
(Original post by sakura_23)
Just to add, I have a friend who also took a gap year and then got asked for S grades, so I think it is possible. Good luck!
(Original post by melancollege)
Also I haven't heard of them giving higher offers, I presumed it would still be a 1,1 in STEP II and III, because the only higher grade is an S, which is much more competitive and I've never heard of them making an offer based upon it. I could reasonably see how they would be less understanding if I just missed my offer but I don't see how they could feasibly give a higher offer.
I can see you getting an offer if your achieved grades match your predictions, but I'd be very surprised if you weren't asked for at least one S grade in STEP II and III.

The 'typical' Cambridge Maths applicant - by 'typical' I just mean the majority - is going to be juggling 3 (or 4) A levels, plus the effort of managing university applications, plus the considerable effort of preparing for STEP II and III exams. I'm not saying this applies to you, but if people started "gaming the system" by getting their A levels out of the way and then spending an extra year just getting up to STEP standard, then it would be unfair on the other applicants, and the university would take a dim view of it. Some of your posts come across as "I didn't like the look of tackling STEP along with my A levels like the other candidates, so I guess I'll just have a go a year later when the A levels are out of the way and things are less stressful".

As I say, if your actual grades are as predicted, you have a good chance of getting an interview and maybe an offer. But you need to convince the university that (a) your gap year is being well spent; (b) you can handle a typical Cambridge workload; (c) your ability in STEP will be at the level expected of someone who's had an extra year to prepare.
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Muttley79
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melancollege This FOI report might be of interest: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...ssion_stats_11
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melancollege
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(Original post by davros)
I can see you getting an offer if your achieved grades match your predictions, but I'd be very surprised if you weren't asked for at least one S grade in STEP II and III.

The 'typical' Cambridge Maths applicant - by 'typical' I just mean the majority - is going to be juggling 3 (or 4) A levels, plus the effort of managing university applications, plus the considerable effort of preparing for STEP II and III exams. I'm not saying this applies to you, but if people started "gaming the system" by getting their A levels out of the way and then spending an extra year just getting up to STEP standard, then it would be unfair on the other applicants, and the university would take a dim view of it. Some of your posts come across as "I didn't like the look of tackling STEP along with my A levels like the other candidates, so I guess I'll just have a go a year later when the A levels are out of the way and things are less stressful".

As I say, if your actual grades are as predicted, you have a good chance of getting an interview and maybe an offer. But you need to convince the university that (a) your gap year is being well spent; (b) you can handle a typical Cambridge workload; (c) your ability in STEP will be at the level expected of someone who's had an extra year to prepare.
Thank you very much, I didn't know this. I attempted my first full paper and I managed an S, so hopefully I will succeed with regard to this
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