Applications for Maths in uni (Cambridge? ) with a Cambridge Technical in Drama/PA?

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MegaPiggy22
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I want to take University Maths in hopefully Cambridge but in 6th Form I wasn’t to take A level Maths and Further Maths and a Cambridge Technical in Drama/Performing Arts. I have been told that The C-Tec has the same UCAS points as an A level and that they only really care about required subjects for the course (A level maths and further maths) and then just good grades in the last one despite the subject but I was wondering if they’d accept it in Cambridge or any uni I would want to take Maths in.
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artful_lounger
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You need to take A-level Maths to do a maths degree, unless it is available with a foundation year for those who didn't take the required subject(s), and Cambridge does not have a foundation year and requires A-level Further Maths as well. They may or may not accept a non-A-level qualification for your final subject if you are doing A-level Maths and FM (for maths at Cambridge or elsewhere), however bear in mind most applicants will be taking 3 A-levels and Cambridge will generally want to be convinced that you are taking a full academic workload with a full set of exams at the end, since that is how the maths degree there (and most maths degrees in the UK) is assessed.

It is particularly notable for Cambridge since their maths course is almost purely assessed by exam (you have 4 exams each year for the first 3 years, then a variable number in fourth year if you continue to the MMath) with the only non-exam based marks available from the CATAM projects in second/third year, and the optional essay in final year, which make up a very small proportion of the marks. There are no other dissertations/theses, problem sheets, or other submitted work which count towards your grade at Cambridge maths (unlike most other courses where you will usually get at least some marks from weekly problem sheets etc; you do these at Cambridge but they don't count towards your grades). Other maths degrees of course may have more opportunities to earn marks outside of the exam hall, and those are probably going to be less overly concerned about a non-academic subject.

For Cambridge though taking a vocational subject or one that is primarily assessed by coursework may weaken your application (or it may not), but more to the point it is probably not the best preparation to do well in that degree, which is notoriously difficult to begin with. They do consider your academic workload in your current course and how well that would prepare you for their degree programme(s), so it isn't wholly true that you can just take anything for the final subject. Any traditionally academic subject, which is any non-vocational A-level primarily assessed by final unseen exam (e.g. sociology, physics, history, classical civilisation, etc, etc) would be fine in principle. Vocational subjects and/or those that are mainly assessed by coursework (e.g. A-level Accounting, many creative arts subjects, etc) do not give them much indication of your ability to maintain a high academic workload and prepare for a full set of exams in the course.

I would probably recommend you seriously consider taking a traditionally academic A-level for your third subject (so as to be beyond reproach in that regard), and then continue with your performing arts interests in an extracurricular fashion alongside your studies. This would enable you to meet their entry criteria without worrying about whether or not your do fully meet them, while also pursuing your other interests alongside your academic work. You can also then tailor your commitment to your extracurricular endeavours as suits your current workload to make sure you can prioritize your academics when needed.
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MegaPiggy22
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You need to take A-level Maths to do a maths degree, unless it is available with a foundation year for those who didn't take the required subject(s), and Cambridge does not have a foundation year and requires A-level Further Maths as well. They may or may not accept a non-A-level qualification for your final subject if you are doing A-level Maths and FM (for maths at Cambridge or elsewhere), however bear in mind most applicants will be taking 3 A-levels and Cambridge will generally want to be convinced that you are taking a full academic workload with a full set of exams at the end, since that is how the maths degree there (and most maths degrees in the UK) is assessed.

It is particularly notable for Cambridge since their maths course is almost purely assessed by exam (you have 4 exams each year for the first 3 years, then a variable number in fourth year if you continue to the MMath) with the only non-exam based marks available from the CATAM projects in second/third year, and the optional essay in final year, which make up a very small proportion of the marks. There are no other dissertations/theses, problem sheets, or other submitted work which count towards your grade at Cambridge maths (unlike most other courses where you will usually get at least some marks from weekly problem sheets etc; you do these at Cambridge but they don't count towards your grades). Other maths degrees of course may have more opportunities to earn marks outside of the exam hall, and those are probably going to be less overly concerned about a non-academic subject.

For Cambridge though taking a vocational subject or one that is primarily assessed by coursework may weaken your application (or it may not), but more to the point it is probably not the best preparation to do well in that degree, which is notoriously difficult to begin with. They do consider your academic workload in your current course and how well that would prepare you for their degree programme(s), so it isn't wholly true that you can just take anything for the final subject. Any traditionally academic subject, which is any non-vocational A-level primarily assessed by final unseen exam (e.g. sociology, physics, history, classical civilisation, etc, etc) would be fine in principle. Vocational subjects and/or those that are mainly assessed by coursework (e.g. A-level Accounting, many creative arts subjects, etc) do not give them much indication of your ability to maintain a high academic workload and prepare for a full set of exams in the course.

I would probably recommend you seriously consider taking a traditionally academic A-level for your third subject (so as to be beyond reproach in that regard), and then continue with your performing arts interests in an extracurricular fashion alongside your studies. This would enable you to meet their entry criteria without worrying about whether or not your do fully meet them, while also pursuing your other interests alongside your academic work. You can also then tailor your commitment to your extracurricular endeavours as suits your current workload to make sure you can prioritize your academics when needed.
Would it be advised to start my first year taking further maths and maths A level, the C-Tech another A level and dropping one at the end of my first year?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by MegaPiggy22)
Would it be advised to start my first year taking further maths and maths A level, the C-Tech another A level and dropping one at the end of my first year?
You could do that, if your school would allow you and you're confident you can manage the workload in year 12. That might be a good compromise though! I'd still recommend taking three traditionally academic A-levels for both years however.
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MegaPiggy22
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You could do that, if your school would allow you and you're confident you can manage the workload in year 12. That might be a good compromise though! I'd still recommend taking three traditionally academic A-levels for both years however.
I just looked at the RS A Level content and it actually looks way more interesting and discussion based than I expected. Would that be considered as an “academic” noteworthy subject to take as a 3rd alongside maths and fm?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by MegaPiggy22)
I just looked at the RS A Level content and it actually looks way more interesting and discussion based than I expected. Would that be considered as an “academic” noteworthy subject to take as a 3rd alongside maths and fm?
Yes that is fine - it's still mainly assessed by final unseen exam so it's perfectly suitable
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MegaPiggy22
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Yes that is fine - it's still mainly assessed by final unseen exam so it's perfectly suitable
Omg thank you so much. You have single handedly taken so much stress off me.
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