Aiming for 4A* at A Level and A* at EPQ

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Ice.Log
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Hi. I'm a Year 11 student aspiring to study Design Engineering at Imperial/Engineering at Cambridge. Since school has finished and summer holiday has began, I've been reflecting on how ineffectively I handled my GCSEs, especially because they form a part of my application to any university (and definitely aren't the best). I don't want my A Levels to be like that. I've decided to be more proactive and plan ahead some super-curriculars. I will take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography at A-Level (maybe an EPQ too) and work towards all A* predictions from now on. I am now serious about getting into Cambridge so I'm asking for the ultimate advice from everyone concerning my future A-Level journey. Any advice, tips or tricks about smashing these specific A-Levels, engineering at Cambridge, UKMT, BPhO, the ENGAA and supercurriculars will be highly appreciated. Thank you.
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TheFlash_
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
Hi. I'm a Year 11 student aspiring to study Design Engineering at Imperial/Engineering at Cambridge. Since school has finished and summer holiday has began, I've been reflecting on how ineffectively I handled my GCSEs, especially because they form a part of my application to any university (and definitely aren't the best). I don't want my A Levels to be like that. I've decided to be more proactive and plan ahead some super-curriculars. I will take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography at A-Level (maybe an EPQ too) and work towards all A* predictions from now on. I am now serious about getting into Cambridge so I'm asking for the ultimate advice from everyone concerning my future A-Level journey. Any advice, tips or tricks about smashing these specific A-Levels, engineering at Cambridge, UKMT, BPhO, the ENGAA and supercurriculars will be highly appreciated. Thank you.
Good luck! I'm in the same situation as you.
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tej3141
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You should probably start learning some of the content now. Maths,physics and further maths can all be self taught tbh. Idk about geography I don't take it
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Ice.Log
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(Original post by tej3141)
You should probably start learning some of the content now. Maths,physics and further maths can all be self taught tbh. Idk about geography I don't take it
Oh, k thanks. I was thinking of doing past Junior/Intermediate UKMT papers and Y11 Physics Challenge papers, as well as Isaac Physics (which I just discovered) to lighlty prepare me for the SMC and BPhO. Do you think that's efficient?
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
Hi. I'm a Year 11 student aspiring to study Design Engineering at Imperial/Engineering at Cambridge. Since school has finished and summer holiday has began, I've been reflecting on how ineffectively I handled my GCSEs, especially because they form a part of my application to any university (and definitely aren't the best). I don't want my A Levels to be like that. I've decided to be more proactive and plan ahead some super-curriculars. I will take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography at A-Level (maybe an EPQ too) and work towards all A* predictions from now on. I am now serious about getting into Cambridge so I'm asking for the ultimate advice from everyone concerning my future A-Level journey. Any advice, tips or tricks about smashing these specific A-Levels, engineering at Cambridge, UKMT, BPhO, the ENGAA and supercurriculars will be highly appreciated. Thank you.
I'd stick to 4 A levels if you want top grades ...

Btw, Cambridge don't offer Design Engineering and I'd look at places like Bath and Loughborough - a year in industry will be a good option.
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Ice.Log
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(Original post by Muttley79)
I'd stick to 4 A levels if you want top grades ...

Btw, Cambridge don't offer Design Engineering and I'd look at places like Bath and Loughborough - a year in industry will be a good option.
I know, that's why I wrote Design Engineering at Imperial / Engineering at Cambridge (maybe including a slash without spacing made it seem confusing). Bristol's Engineering Design w/ Study in Industry seems pretty interesting too but I'm not sure which strand I want to specialise in, and Cambridge's course looks so amazing. I think Imperial is more practical though and has a 6 month placement period, and lots of engineering projects scattered throughout the year.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
I know, that's why I wrote Design Engineering at Imperial / Engineering at Cambridge (maybe including a slash without spacing made it seem confusing). Bristol's Engineering Design w/ Study in Industry seems pretty interesting too but I'm not sure which strand I want to specialise in, and Cambridge's course looks so amazing. I think Imperial is more practical though and has a 6 month placement period, and lots of engineering projects scattered throughout the year.
If you are interested in Design I would look beyond Cambridge - some non-RG unis actually offer better degrees for this aspect as they are aimed at working in Industry rather than academia.
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tej3141
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
Oh, k thanks. I was thinking of doing past Junior/Intermediate UKMT papers and Y11 Physics Challenge papers, as well as Isaac Physics (which I just discovered) to lighlty prepare me for the SMC and BPhO. Do you think that's efficient?
Ukmt is fun but i wouldnt say its efficient. I would say just revise from the textbook by your exam book or websites like physics and maths tutor or Seneca are decent for initial learning.but idk what smc or bpho is
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Ice.Log
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(Original post by Muttley79)
If you are interested in Design I would look beyond Cambridge - some non-RG unis actually offer better degrees for this aspect as they are aimed at working in Industry rather than academia.
Thanks for the advice. I'm more interested in engineering than design, but Imperial and Bristol's course seems more appealing to me. I'll definitely look into other universities though .
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Ice.Log
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(Original post by tej3141)
Ukmt is fun but i wouldnt say its efficient. I would say just revise from the textbook by your exam book or websites like physics and maths tutor or Seneca are decent for initial learning.but idk what smc or bpho is
SMC is the Senior Maths Challenge from the UKMT, and BPhO is the British Physics Olympiad. I thought my revision strategy would be good, as doing so much problem solving would increase my skill for when the test comes, but your advice seems more insightful. Thanks.
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tej3141
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
SMC is the Senior Maths Challenge from the UKMT, and BPhO is the British Physics Olympiad. I thought my revision strategy would be good, as doing so much problem solving would increase my skill for when the test comes, but your advice seems more insightful. Thanks.
While it's true that doing those would increase your problem solving skills,quite frankly, a levels are much more simple than that (while still much harder than gcse). Practising ukmt and bpho will probably help will uni entrance exams like step and pat though you will not be taking those so...
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naomisimpsonn
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
Hi. I'm a Year 11 student aspiring to study Design Engineering at Imperial/Engineering at Cambridge. Since school has finished and summer holiday has began, I've been reflecting on how ineffectively I handled my GCSEs, especially because they form a part of my application to any university (and definitely aren't the best). I don't want my A Levels to be like that. I've decided to be more proactive and plan ahead some super-curriculars. I will take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography at A-Level (maybe an EPQ too) and work towards all A* predictions from now on. I am now serious about getting into Cambridge so I'm asking for the ultimate advice from everyone concerning my future A-Level journey. Any advice, tips or tricks about smashing these specific A-Levels, engineering at Cambridge, UKMT, BPhO, the ENGAA and supercurriculars will be highly appreciated. Thank you.
Hi, I am year 12 currently with fairly similar goals and I take the exact same A-levels as well as just beginning my EPQ. I am hoping to apply to Imperial, Bristol and maybe Cambridge. I would strongly advise you to consider how interesting you actually find geography, I took geography at GCSE and got consistent 9s all of year 11 for geography and actually enjoyed the subject, now as my friends will know it is my 'hated subject' i find the content quite repetitive and simple but struggle to gain top marks on essays- this is just my personal experience but may give you another perspective. I think for design engineering art and design would be a great subject. Also, top tip for EPQ decide on a title as early as possible, I am so indecisive and keep swapping between my ideas. I did a small amount of year 12 prep straight after year 11 left in march last year, but it didn't really benefit me as I started lessons. Go to the Cambridge engineering page for super-curricular ideas but I don't think it is difficult to build a strong amount. Isaac physics is great for building problem-solving experience but there are websites specifically aimed at prospective engineers which may be better this time next year as you begin your application. I am happy to answer any more specific questions
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Ice.Log
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naomisimpsonnn Thanks so much. Sadly I didn't take art at GCSE, so I can't do it at A-level. The sixth form I'm going to doesn't offer design technology or similar subjects. How do you manage four A-levels with an EPQ efficiently (do you use a revision timetable, anki, quizlet or some other resource)? If you don't mind me asking, what are you predicted for Geography, and would you say the essay questions are similar to GCSE in structure or completely different? Do you think studying ahead for your A-levels during the summer is worth it, or is it better to just do transition work to make things easier? Do you still find geography interesting now? Sorry for bombarding you with loads of questions.
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Dashboard
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(Original post by Muttley79)
I'd stick to 4 A levels if you want top grades ...

Btw, Cambridge don't offer Design Engineering and I'd look at places like Bath and Loughborough - a year in industry will be a good option.
Stop claiming Cambridge doesn't offer year in industries. Though not compulsory years out are encouraged, many students do them and there are a lot of resources and dedicated staff aimed at helping students find placement work.
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Ice.Log
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Thanks for the insight. I looked on the website and Cambridge said they have a compulsory 6wk placement, but the rest of the info wasn't clear.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Dashboard)
Stop
They DON'T offer an integrated year in industry - FACT!
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Dashboard
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(Original post by Muttley79)
They DON'T offer an integrated year in industry - FACT!
Who cares if its 'integrated' or not. The FACT is you can do a year in industry at Cambridge and many people do
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Dashboard
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(Original post by Ice.Log)
Thanks for the insight. I looked on the website and Cambridge said they have a compulsory 6wk placement, but the rest of the info wasn't clear.
They require a minimum of 6 weeks placement in the first two years but most students will do 8-12 week placements every summer
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Dashboard)
They require a minimum of 6 weeks placement in the first two years but most students will do 8-12 week placements every summer
That's not comparable to a year in industry though is it? Many students get a job through this ...
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Dashboard)
Who cares if its 'integrated' or not. The FACT is you can do a year in industry at Cambridge and many people do
The course is not built around it -

Shall we ask Peterhouse Admissions for some facts on the proportion of students who do this?
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