a lost girl
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how good do I need to be in maths in order to do maths in oxbridge? I would say I do well for maths in school, but I don't have experience in participating in any mathematical olympiad competitions. If I were to apply oxbridge, should I apply for Oxford or Cambridge? Oxford seems to have a lower acceptance rate, but step exams are way harder than MAT. If I am able to get interview offer, I'm not sure whether I can perform well because I lack exposure of mathematics outside the curriculum. However, oxbridge are top tier unis which makes me want to apply. But I still have to look at the chances of getting in, because I do not want to apply oxbridge just to waste a space out of 5 unis application.
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whycantwerun
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This all depends on what year you're in right now. Oxbridge is extremely competitive for maths, so you need to be outstanding in both Maths and Further Maths (I believe most people get A*s in both) and have an interest outside of the curriculum. If you've got a few years to go before university then you've got time to read around your subject and develop further interests.

Oxford and Cambridge are very good it's true, but there are plenty of other amazing university out there for maths and employers will still be very happy to take you on. If you think you could get in there's no harm in applying, if not, you'll still get a great education.
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Mikos
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At interview they won't try and surprise you with something you can't reasonably have known. If they give you something new and outside of the curriculum, then they will explain it to you while you're there
You don't need to have participated in an Olympiad but it'd be a good thing to put on the personal statement. University admissions tutors look for engagement with your subject beyond the classroom so I'd definitely recommend, where possible, participating in an Olympiad, doing a maths based EPQ, reading a book about an area of maths that interests you and goes beyond the curriculum, to name just a couple of possibilities.
If you think you've got a reasonable shot at Oxbridge then you're likely to get into the rest of your choices as well, so I wouldn't be too worried about "wasting" a space.
You cannot apply to Oxford and Cambridge in the same application round, so you'll have to make a choice between them.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by a lost girl)
how good do I need to be in maths in order to do maths in oxbridge?
Superb. The very best.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by a lost girl)
how good do I need to be in maths in order to do maths in oxbridge? I would say I do well for maths in school, but I don't have experience in participating in any mathematical olympiad competitions. If I were to apply oxbridge, should I apply for Oxford and Cambridge? Oxford seems to have a lower acceptance rate, but step exams are way harder than MAT. If I am able to get interview offer, I'm not sure whether I can perform well because I lack exposure of mathematics outside the curriculum. However, oxbridge are top tier unis which makes me want to apply. But I still have to look at the chances of getting in, because I do not want to apply oxbridge just to waste a space out of 5 unis application.
What sort of predicted grades in Maths and F Maths are you expecting?

Have you done any UKMT competitions and what else outside the classroom?
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RichE
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(Original post by a lost girl)
how good do I need to be in maths in order to do maths in oxbridge? I would say I do well for maths in school, but I don't have experience in participating in any mathematical olympiad competitions. If I were to apply oxbridge, should I apply for Oxford and Cambridge? Oxford seems to have a lower acceptance rate, but step exams are way harder than MAT. If I am able to get interview offer, I'm not sure whether I can perform well because I lack exposure of mathematics outside the curriculum. However, oxbridge are top tier unis which makes me want to apply. But I still have to look at the chances of getting in, because I do not want to apply oxbridge just to waste a space out of 5 unis application.
Ignore what Reality Check says, you don't have to be the "very best" whatever quite that means. And competitions and EPQs are not of particular interest - I say this as an Oxbridge maths tutor. They can bring benefit but they're not optimally what you should be spending time on (unless there's some EPQ you particularly wish to do).

For you to judge whether you might competitively apply it's really about - Can you achieve the right grades (A*A*A) in your A-levels or equivalent? And, with practice, can you do competitively well in the tests, MAT or STEP?

STEP requires considerable practice but MAT still requires some. Are you applying for this October? If so then, if interested in Oxford, then the MAT is something you should be practising now. Be realistic about your marks - a mark of 60 can be good (past marks are on the website), and you should expect such in your first efforts. If Cambridge, then you obviously have a bit longer to prepare for STEP.
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RaA64
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(Original post by RichE)
Ignore what Reality Check says, you don't have to be the "very best" whatever quite that means. And competitions and EPQs are not of particular interest - I say this as an Oxbridge maths tutor. They can bring benefit but they're not optimally what you should be spending time on (unless there's some EPQ you particularly wish to do).

For you to judge whether you might competitively apply it's really about - Can you achieve the right grades (A*A*A) in your A-levels or equivalent? And, with practice, can you do competitively well in the tests, MAT or STEP?

STEP requires considerable practice but MAT still requires some. Are you applying for this October? If so then, if interested in Oxford, then the MAT is something you should be practising now. Be realistic about your marks - a mark of 60 can be good, and you should expect such in your first efforts. If Cambridge, then you obviously have a bit longer to prepare for STEP.
What you said is wha Reality Check meant - you obviously have to be superb to be able to do it, hence the grades
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RichE
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(Original post by RaA64)
What you said is wha Reality Check meant - you obviously have to be superb to be able to do it, hence the grades
Is it? I don't think that's how most would read it. Quite a high percentage of those taking the A-levels get A* in maths and further maths. A*A*A is the standard offer for maths at quite a few universities. At an open day we would never think of using language like you need to be "Superb. The very best."
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RaA64
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(Original post by RichE)
Is it? I don't think that's how most would read it. Quite a high percentage of those taking the A-levels get A* in maths and further maths. A*A*A is the standard offer for maths at quite a few universities. At an open day we would never think of using language like you need to be "Superb. The very best."
Reality Check sometimes speaks quite bluntly tbf. I can’t remember a time when he hasn’t give the right advice
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RichE
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(Original post by RaA64)
Reality Check sometimes speaks quite bluntly tbf. I can’t remember a time when he hasn’t give the right advice
Such language is plain unhelpful. Many students are nervous when they've a right to be aspirational. Advice needs to be realistic, but also encouraging within reason. And to say Oxford maths students are all "Superb. The very best." is just not true - though some are.
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a lost girl
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(Original post by whycantwerun)
This all depends on what year you're in right now. Oxbridge is extremely competitive for maths, so you need to be outstanding in both Maths and Further Maths (I believe most people get A*s in both) and have an interest outside of the curriculum. If you've got a few years to go before university then you've got time to read around your subject and develop further interests.

Oxford and Cambridge are very good it's true, but there are plenty of other amazing university out there for maths and employers will still be very happy to take you on. If you think you could get in there's no harm in applying, if not, you'll still get a great education.
I will be sitting for AS in october and i have to submit my ucas application soon to enroll in the uk university for september 2021. Any suggestions on what books to read to develop my interest?
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Scotney
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(Original post by a lost girl)
I will be sitting for AS in october and i have to submit my ucas application soon to enroll in the uk university for september 2021. Any suggestions on what books to read to develop my interest?
@Oxford Mum may have a chapter on this in her thread Oxford Demystified.
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a lost girl
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(Original post by Mikos)
At interview they won't try and surprise you with something you can't reasonably have known. If they give you something new and outside of the curriculum, then they will explain it to you while you're there
You don't need to have participated in an Olympiad but it'd be a good thing to put on the personal statement. University admissions tutors look for engagement with your subject beyond the classroom so I'd definitely recommend, where possible, participating in an Olympiad, doing a maths based EPQ, reading a book about an area of maths that interests you and goes beyond the curriculum, to name just a couple of possibilities.
If you think you've got a reasonable shot at Oxbridge then you're likely to get into the rest of your choices as well, so I wouldn't be too worried about "wasting" a space.
You cannot apply to Oxford and Cambridge in the same application round, so you'll have to make a choice between them.
Now I am not sure whether i have to possibility to get into oxbridge. I do not know what level do i have to be at to study in the unis other an oxbridge too. I will include further reading in maths in personal statement
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a lost girl
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(Original post by Reality Check)
Superb. The very best.
I need to know how good is best.
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a lost girl
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(Original post by Muttley79)
What sort of predicted grades in Maths and F Maths are you expecting?

Have you done any UKMT competitions and what else outside the classroom?
I am expecting A*s for both. I have not done any UKMT competitions, just started some further reading recently.
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a lost girl
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(Original post by RichE)
Ignore what Reality Check says, you don't have to be the "very best" whatever quite that means. And competitions and EPQs are not of particular interest - I say this as an Oxbridge maths tutor. They can bring benefit but they're not optimally what you should be spending time on (unless there's some EPQ you particularly wish to do).

For you to judge whether you might competitively apply it's really about - Can you achieve the right grades (A*A*A) in your A-levels or equivalent? And, with practice, can you do competitively well in the tests, MAT or STEP?

STEP requires considerable practice but MAT still requires some. Are you applying for this October? If so then, if interested in Oxford, then the MAT is something you should be practising now. Be realistic about your marks - a mark of 60 can be good (past marks are on the website), and you should expect such in your first efforts. If Cambridge, then you obviously have a bit longer to prepare for STEP.
The right grades are achievable for me. I am applying for 2021, I will sit for my AS exam this october and i have to submit ucas application this year. I'm quite sure that i can do better in MAT though.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by a lost girl)
I will be sitting for AS in october and i have to submit my ucas application soon to enroll in the uk university for september 2021. Any suggestions on what books to read to develop my interest?
Lack of outside the curriculum 'stuff' is a concern - how can you show your love for Maths if you done little beyond the classroom?

I'd start now with accessible stuff like Rob Eastaway's books "Why do buses come in 3s" or "How long is a piece of string?"
http://robeastaway.com/books

Start looking at NRICH and other websites like https://undergroundmathematics.org/

You can download UKMT Senior Maths challenge papers for free at the moment.too.
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RichE
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(Original post by a lost girl)
The right grades are achievable for me. I am applying for 2021, I will sit for my AS exam this october and i have to submit ucas application this year. I'm quite sure that i can do better in MAT though.
Thanks. I think improving your MAT this summer should be a priority if you’re considering Oxford. It’s the main shortlisting tool ahead of interviews.

And obviously your AS revision.
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a lost girl
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Lack of outside the curriculum 'stuff' is a concern - how can you show your love for Maths if you done little beyond the classroom?

I'd start now with accessible stuff like Rob Eastaway's books "Why do buses come in 3s" or "How long is a piece of string?"
http://robeastaway.com/books

Start looking at NRICH and other websites like https://undergroundmathematics.org/

You can download UKMT Senior Maths challenge papers for free at the moment.too.
I was just too focused on my studies during my previous years, dealing with several subjects that I hate and participating extracurricular activities. I regret for not doing more maths outside the curriculum too. Now I need to focus on my AS and at the same time applying to the uk universities. I will try to look into the reference that you have suggested, thanks anyway
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a lost girl
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(Original post by RichE)
Thanks. I think improving your MAT this summer should be a priority if you’re considering Oxford. It’s the main shortlisting tool ahead of interviews.

And obviously your AS revision.
Thank you for your opinion and your advice as they are really helpful.
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