mydoghathrunoff
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Hello everyone !I am an international applicant(Indian).I am thinking of applying for Cambridge for Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics. But I am afraid that I might be rejected without an interview. However, Oxford conducts PAT before the interview and having sat it under timed conditions, I am pretty sure to score good marks (80+) on it. But I prefer Cambridge in terms of the city, course and everything. Now if I apply for Oxford and score a great score on the PAT(of which I am confident),I would be sure to get an interview. However Cambridge might reject me arbitrarily without an interview. But my heart is really set for Cambridge.
I have really good grades as compared to my country's standards but do not have international level olympiad medals .Apart from that I am thinking of taking international A levels as a private candidate. So if I have the required predicted grades ,will there be a real great reason for me to worry about Cambridge rejecting me without an interview?
So please help me in deciding which one to apply to. Is my worry justified?
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Plagioclase
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Apply to Cambridge. There's no point in applying to a university you don't really want to go to.
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ruby <3
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If you prefer cambridge, apply there! if you think you'd have a better experience there then go for it. as for PAT scores etc, if you'd do well on the PAT, the characteristics they're looking for are probably evident in other things on your application? not really that sure though
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Mikos
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Oxford interviews a smaller percentage of its applicants than Cambridge, I’m not sure why you think you’d be more likely to get randomly rejected prior to interview there.

If you prefer Cambridge, apply there
Last edited by Mikos; 1 month ago
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The Malevolent
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Do you know anyone who has studied at either? If yes you should ask them to share their experience.

I personally chose Cambridge over Oxford for my Mathematics degree, because I knew at least 3 or 4 people who had studied there, and they all told me that they loved the course.

On the other hand, I don't know anyone who studied at Oxford, so I felt like I would be taking a greater "leap of faith" by applying there.

At the end of the day, apply to the one that you want, even if it is the harder choice.
After all, imagine you applied to Oxford, actually got in, and then regretted your decision to not apply to Cambridge.
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mydoghathrunoff
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(Original post by Mikos)
Oxford interviews a smaller percentage of its applicants than Cambridge, I’m not sure why you think you’d be more likely to get randomly rejected prior to interview there.

If you prefer Cambridge, apply there
Thanks for the reply. The thing is that I do not have qualifications like international A levels or IB. The ISC curriculum is which I study wasn't even accepted by Cambridge until some years ago. Therefore, I think my qualifications might be considered subpar.
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mydoghathrunoff
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Thanks for the reponse . I am thinking of taking A levels as a private candidate so as not to be rejected before the interview? Who will provide my predicted grades if I do so? And when should I take them? November or March?

(Original post by The Malevolent)
Do you know anyone who has studied at either? If yes you should ask them to share their experience.

I personally chose Cambridge over Oxford for my Mathematics degree, because I knew at least 3 or 4 people who had studied there, and they all told me that they loved the course.

On the other hand, I don't know anyone who studied at Oxford, so I felt like I would be taking a greater "leap of faith" by applying there.

At the end of the day, apply to the one that you want, even if it is the harder choice.
After all, imagine you applied to Oxford, actually got in, and then regretted your decision to not apply to Cambridge.
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Mikos
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(Original post by mydoghathrunoff)
Thanks for the reply. The thing is that I do not have qualifications like international A levels or IB. The ISC curriculum is which I study wasn't even accepted by Cambridge until some years ago. Therefore, I think my qualifications might be considered subpar.
If Cambridge made the decision to accept them then surely they’d think it’s good enough.

If you’re still nervous about it I’d contact some of the colleges you’re interested in about it and ask what they think, hopefully that will provide you with more clarity and reassurance. Do note though that if you contact them now you may receive a delayed response as the colleges will be processing results for the next few days.
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mydoghathrunoff
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(Original post by Mikos)
Oxford interviews a smaller percentage of its applicants than Cambridge, I’m not sure why you think you’d be more likely to get randomly rejected prior to interview there.

If you prefer Cambridge, apply there
Could you tell me which type of applicants does Cambridge reject without an interview?
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artful_lounger
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Some things to consider:

Cambridge Mathematics with Physics is a first year only course that is part of the mathematics degree there. After the first year may either continue in the maths degree there, or change into the natural sciences degree to specialise in physics. Consider whether this is what you are expecting/wanting from a course. At Oxford you can study either maths or physics separately, however there is a fourth year course jointly between the two (the MMathPhys) which I understand can be entered from either side. Oxford also allows you to combine philosophy with physics.

Something to note is for Cambridge maths with physics you would normally be set a STEP requirement for your offer which is usually 1,1 in STEP II and III. This is quite a hard requirement to meet and on average about half of offer holders for Cambridge maths (including maths with physics) fail this requirement. It is possible that if you are sitting a non-UK curriculum you will be asked for S,1 or S,S in STEP which is even harder.

I think for Cambridge the hard part is not being rejected pre-interview (which I think, unless you apply to Trinity College for some reason, is probably unlikely if you otherwise meet their entry criteria), but meeting the STEP requirement after getting an offer. With Oxford it's more a case of trying to get the interview in the first place, for which the PAT will make a big difference for physics there (or the MAT for maths).

The big difference otherwise is, based on what you've said, you are considering physics for Oxford or what is functionally maths for Cambridge. There is a lot of difference between these two degrees so you should carefully investigate that and decide which is best suited to your interests - if you don't want to be writing proofs about abstract algebra and real analysis then maths may not be your cup of tea.
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mydoghathrunoff
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Some things to consider:

Cambridge Mathematics with Physics is a first year only course that is part of the mathematics degree there. After the first year may either continue in the maths degree there, or change into the natural sciences degree to specialise in physics. Consider whether this is what you are expecting/wanting from a course. At Oxford you can study either maths or physics separately, however there is a fourth year course jointly between the two (the MMathPhys) which I understand can be entered from either side. Oxford also allows you to combine philosophy with physics.

Something to note is for Cambridge maths with physics you would normally be set a STEP requirement for your offer which is usually 1,1 in STEP II and III. This is quite a hard requirement to meet and on average about half of offer holders for Cambridge maths (including maths with physics) fail this requirement. It is possible that if you are sitting a non-UK curriculum you will be asked for S,1 or S,S in STEP which is even harder.

I think for Cambridge the hard part is not being rejected pre-interview (which I think, unless you apply to Trinity College for some reason, is probably unlikely if you otherwise meet their entry criteria), but meeting the STEP requirement after getting an offer. With Oxford it's more a case of trying to get the interview in the first place, for which the PAT will make a big difference for physics there (or the MAT for maths).

The big difference otherwise is, based on what you've said, you are considering physics for Oxford or what is functionally maths for Cambridge. There is a lot of difference between these two degrees so you should carefully investigate that and decide which is best suited to your interests - if you don't want to be writing proofs about abstract algebra and real analysis then maths may not be your cup of tea.
Thanks a lot for your helpful response. For Cambridge,I am thinking of applying for Maths with Physics and then changing to Natural Sciences in the second year .I hate sciences like chemistry and material science while I love Maths (writing proofs and all as you said).I am choosing this route because I think it would be giving me a flavour of both Maths and Physics. As for the STEP, I think I can clear it. Could you answer my question regarding taking A levels as a private candidate? And does the thing you said for trinity applies to St. John's also? Because I am thinking of applying there.Thanks again.
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Mikos
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(Original post by mydoghathrunoff)
Could you tell me which type of applicants does Cambridge reject without an interview?
Unless there's an admissions test prior to interview (for maths I believe there is not), then grades. If your grades do not meet the standard offer then you probably won't be interviewed. Personal statement will also likely be considered, but not to the same extent. I'd say you'd only get rejected prior to interview if it was literally for the wrong subject.
They'll also take your academic record into account (so GCSE equivalents most likely), but for Cambridge this isn't really as important as A-levels.
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mydoghathrunoff
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(Original post by Mikos)
Unless there's an admissions test prior to interview (for maths I believe there is not), then grades. If your grades do not meet the standard offer then you probably won't be interviewed. Personal statement will also likely be considered, but not to the same extent. I'd say you'd only get rejected prior to interview if it was literally for the wrong subject.
They'll also take your academic record into account (so GCSE equivalents most likely), but for Cambridge this isn't really as important as A-leTT
Thanks. Do you know anyone who was rejected without an interview?
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Anonymous(
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(Original post by mydoghathrunoff)
Hello everyone !I am an international applicant(Indian).I am thinking of applying for Cambridge for Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics. But I am afraid that I might be rejected without an interview. However, Oxford conducts PAT before the interview and having sat it under timed conditions, I am pretty sure to score good marks (80+) on it. But I prefer Cambridge in terms of the city, course and everything. Now if I apply for Oxford and score a great score on the PAT(of which I am confident),I would be sure to get an interview. However Cambridge might reject me arbitrarily without an interview. But my heart is really set for Cambridge.
I have really good grades as compared to my country's standards but do not have international level olympiad medals .Apart from that I am thinking of taking international A levels as a private candidate. So if I have the required predicted grades ,will there be a real great reason for me to worry about Cambridge rejecting me without an interview?
So please help me in deciding which one to apply to. Is my worry justified?
Hey. I’m also an Indian and want to study maths/physics at Oxbridge. Cambridge does not accept ISC alone, whereas Oxford does. For Cambridge, you need to be doing ISC + 5 relevant AP’s/rank of less than 2000 on JEE advanced/STEP. Since you want to apply for maths, you will have to do STEP II & III. From what I have seen, Cambridge are very anti ISC/CBSE. For some reason, they don’t accept these curriculums by themselves. Most Indians students at Cambridge would have done IB/A levels, although some do get in from ISC/CBSE. It is harder to get in from isc,so just keep that in mind. If you do very well on the PAT and decent at interviews, you’re pretty much guaranteed an offer from Oxford Physics. As far as I know, Oxford doesn’t have a problem with isc/cbse applicants. Cambridge interview about 75% of the applicants. If you have the right predicted grades, good gcses(10th grade scores) and a decent personal statement, it’s very likely that you will get an interview. Because you are doing ISC, I would highly recommend that you take AP’s/CIE A levels if you want to apply to Cambridge. They might reject you pre interview if you haven’t done these. The only college that often rejects candidates for maths for arbitrary reasons is Trinity, because of the high volume of applications they receive. It is not necessary to have international Olympiad medals. Those are mostly required for MIT/Caltech/Stanford etc. Most people at Oxbridge haven’t done Olympiads(some will have done a few national ones, but there are very few who have done international ones). It is by no means a necessity to have Olympiad medals. Although, most applicants to trinity for maths would have done some kind of big Olympiads/competitions, so keep that in mind. It’s important to show a passion for the subject by engaging in super curricular activities (activities related to your subject) and be good at problem solving. Olympiads help to develop problem solving skills, but there are many other ways of doing that. As long as your problem solving skills are good, you should be quite okay. STEP is known to be incredibly difficult. For this reason, Cambridge gives out twice the number of offers than they have places for maths, because 50% of the candidates miss their step offer. In general the offer rate is 36% and the acceptance rate is 18%. You should look at some step past papers and start preparing for it. See how you find it. If after a lot of practice you still find it impossible, then you probably shouldn’t apply to Cambridge. Many people find it extremely difficult the first time they see it, but with practice you can get better. For Oxford, the offer and acceptance rate for physics is around 13-14%. They interview around 33% of the applicants. Oxford physics is more competitive, there are around 9 applicants for each place. But the level you need to be at is lesser than Cambridge maths. The offer is quite easy for Oxford physics, (A*AA) which would be 90% overall with 95%+ in some subjects for ISC. The main thing is the PAT and interviews. What were your 10th grade board results and what are your predicted grades?
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Mikos
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(Original post by mydoghathrunoff)
Thanks. Do you know anyone who was rejected without an interview?
Yeah, a few. In one case it was because his A-level combinations were a little awkward for the subject he was applying for and he didn't do to well in the admissions test (he applied for physnatsci). In another case they applied with a B in one of their 3 A-levels, so didn't meet the standard offer.
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mydoghathrunoff
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(Original post by Anonymous()
Hey. I’m also an Indian and want to study maths/physics at Oxbridge. Cambridge does not accept ISC alone, whereas Oxford does. For Cambridge, you need to be doing ISC + 5 relevant AP’s/rank of less than 2000 on JEE advanced/STEP. Since you want to apply for maths, you will have to do STEP II & III. From what I have seen, Cambridge are very anti ISC/CBSE. For some reason, they don’t accept these curriculums by themselves. Most Indians students at Cambridge would have done IB/A levels, although some do get in from ISC/CBSE. It is harder to get in from isc,so just keep that in mind. If you do very well on the PAT and decent at interviews, you’re pretty much guaranteed an offer from Oxford Physics. As far as I know, Oxford doesn’t have a problem with isc/cbse applicants. Cambridge interview about 75% of the applicants. If you have the right predicted grades, good gcses(10th grade scores) and a decent personal statement, it’s very likely that you will get an interview. Because you are doing ISC, I would highly recommend that you take AP’s/CIE A levels if you want to apply to Cambridge. They might reject you pre interview if you haven’t done these. The only college that often rejects candidates for maths for arbitrary reasons is Trinity, because of the high volume of applications they receive. It is not necessary to have international Olympiad medals. Those are mostly required for MIT/Caltech/Stanford etc. Most people at Oxbridge haven’t done Olympiads(some will have done a few national ones, but there are very few who have done international ones). It is by no means a necessity to have Olympiad medals. Although, most applicants to trinity for maths would have done some kind of big Olympiads/competitions, so keep that in mind. It’s important to show a passion for the subject by engaging in super curricular activities (activities related to your subject) and be good at problem solving. Olympiads help to develop problem solving skills, but there are many other ways of doing that. As long as your problem solving skills are good, you should be quite okay. STEP is known to be incredibly difficult. For this reason, Cambridge gives out twice the number of offers than they have places for maths, because 50% of the candidates miss their step offer. In general the offer rate is 36% and the acceptance rate is 18%. You should look at some step past papers and start preparing for it. See how you find it. If after a lot of practice you still find it impossible, then you probably shouldn’t apply to Cambridge. Many people find it extremely difficult the first time they see it, but with practice you can get better. For Oxford, the offer and acceptance rate for physics is around 13-14%. They interview around 33% of the applicants. Oxford physics is more competitive, there are around 9 applicants for each place. But the level you need to be at is lesser than Cambridge maths. The offer is quite easy for Oxford physics, (A*AA) which would be 90% overall with 95%+ in some subjects for ISC. The main thing is the PAT and interviews. What were your 10th grade board results and what are your predicted grades?
Thanks for the reply. I don't find STEP undoable as I believe I am a bit good at Maths. As for my 10th board results they were
English-96
Physics-98
Chemistry-98
Maths-97
History-100
Biology-100
Geogrpahy-100
Computer-100

I have not yet gotten my predicted grades but I believe they will be good as I was the second topper in my state and all.

But the problem is that I have not given APs or anything. I have read on the Cambridge site that only school leaving qualifications are not suitable and has to be accompanied by additional qualifications. Therefore I have decided to take the APs next year and include predicted grades in my application. Will that be okay? Does Cambridge essentially require the applicant to have achieved these qualifications at the time of making the application?

Are you applying this year?Thanks again bro.
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mydoghathrunoff
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Yeah, a few. In one case it was because his A-level combinations were a little awkward for the subject he was applying for and he didn't do to well in the admissions test (he applied for physnatsci). In another case they applied with a B in one of their 3 A-levels, so didn't meet the standard offer.i
I guess I should stop worrying about arbitrary rejection then. Thanks a lot for your reply
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ashtolga23
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Go with Cambridge. They interview a higher percentage of candidates anyway.

Don't try to play the game because it could blow up in your face. Go with what you actually want.
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(Original post by mydoghathrunoff)
Thanks for the reply. I don't find STEP undoable as I believe I am a bit good at Maths. As for my 10th board results they were
English-96
Physics-98
Chemistry-98
Maths-97
History-100
Biology-100
Geogrpahy-100
Computer-100

I have not yet gotten my predicted grades but I believe they will be good as I was the second topper in my state and all.

But the problem is that I have not given APs or anything. I have read on the Cambridge site that only school leaving qualifications are not suitable and has to be accompanied by additional qualifications. Therefore I have decided to take the APs next year and include predicted grades in my application. Will that be okay? Does Cambridge essentially require the applicant to have achieved these qualifications at the time of making the application?

Are you applying this year?Thanks again bro.
Firstly, you should look at step ii and iii past papers and then see if you can do them. Don’t make a judgment before that. You should also start working through the STEP foundations modules on the Cambridge website. Your 10th grade results are great. I’m not sure if Cambridge requires the applicant to have achieved the grades in AP’s before applying. You should probably email them about this. If you are going to do AP’s, you should do Calc BC, physics C mechanics , physics C E&M, statistics and microeconomics/chemistry. You should be predicted all 5’s. The questions is, who will give you the predicted grades for these AP’s? Are your school teachers familiar with them and can they test you on some AP content in order to predict you a grade? If this is the case, then I guess it’s probably okay to apply with only predictions. If this isn’t the case, then you should probably apply after you get your AP results. If you don’t want to do AP’s , you can do A levels in Maths, physics, chemistry and further maths as well. You shouldn’t do them in oct/nov cause you will have your Oxbridge application, entrance tests and interviews at tha time. Your boards will probably be in feb/March, so ideally you should do them in May/June 2022. You should apply this year, if you get in, great, just focus on meeting your boards and STEP offer. If not, then you can apply next year with the achieved a level/Ap grades. You will still have to do interviews and meet a STEP offer though. No, I’m applying next year(2022-2023 cycle). You should also consider Imperial college London, it’s almost on par with Oxbridge for physics/maths. I also have one question for you. I received my 10th grade results a few days ago. I did the icse board. They are -
English - 93(Lang-88, lit-97)
Physics -95
Chemistry -97
Biology -97
Maths - 94
History - 97
Geography - 100
Computer Applications- 94.

My overall best of 5 is 96.2%. The exams were cancelled this year. The results were inflated and very random. My average in physics was 99 and maths was 97 and I’ve still scored much lower. Same for English language and quite a few other subjects, but I’m quite happy with their scores so I’m not too bothered. The main problem is maths and physics. Do you think these are good enough for Oxbridge/Imperial? Or should I resist maths and physics? (I’ve already started my A levels so I’m not sure whether it’s the right decision).
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by mydoghathrunoff)
Thanks a lot for your helpful response. For Cambridge,I am thinking of applying for Maths with Physics and then changing to Natural Sciences in the second year .I hate sciences like chemistry and material science while I love Maths (writing proofs and all as you said).I am choosing this route because I think it would be giving me a flavour of both Maths and Physics. As for the STEP, I think I can clear it. Could you answer my question regarding taking A levels as a private candidate? And does the thing you said for trinity applies to St. John's also? Because I am thinking of applying there.Thanks again.
It probably does apply to St Johns since they are the second biggest college for maths I believe and also the second most "reputed" (not that this makes any difference whatsoever in what actual teaching you get, I would note, since the lectures are arranged centrally and you may have tutorials at any college). So I think there is a chance you could be rejected pre-interview from St Johns (although maybe not as big a chance as for Trinity). I'd probably suggest picking another college, realistically, to try and avoid that possibility. One that isn't quite so oversubscribed for maths. Bear in mind if you are invited to interview, even if the college that interviews you doesn't make you an offer, you can still be pooled by another college - however if you are rejected pre-interview you can't be pooled.
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