Weird question about gap year and A levels

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summerbirdreads
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I know this question is probably very stupid but I'm worried because my teacher mentioned it.

So we take A levels based on what we want to do at uni (at least in most cases) and most people apply to uni while they're in year 13, so A level content is pretty much fresh in their minds by the time they go to uni.

But for me since I'm taking a gap year that won't be the case, because A level content won't be fresh to me. Does this mean my application won't be competitive enough as my chosen course requires specific A levels?
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CaptainDuckie
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Depends on the universities policies. Sometimes they only want achieved grades within a certain time frame, so like if you sat exams in like 2019... universities normally say like if you sat exams from 2020 downwards (just an example) then you’ll not be considered. But this is rarely ever the case for non competitive courses. As long as you meet the requirements then you’ll be considered, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be offered an unconditional offer rather than conditional.

As for you not remembering content, it’s ideal to refresh yourself on content when you are about to go to university but it’s not always necessary.
Last edited by CaptainDuckie; 1 month ago
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
Depends on the universities policies. Sometimes they only want achieved grades within a certain time frame, so like if you sat exams in like 2019... universities normally say like if you sat exams from 2020 downwards (just an example) then you’ll not be considered. But this is rarely ever the case for non competitive courses. As long as you meet the requirements then you’ll be considered, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be offered an unconditional offer rather than conditional.
I'm in year 13 right now and hopefully I'll apply next year for 2023 entry.
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CaptainDuckie
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
I'm in year 13 right now and hopefully I'll apply next year for 2023 entry.


Okay, no problem. Just be vigilant on the entry requirements before you apply to the course but I doubt it’ll be of any issue.

And no, you won’t be “less competitive”.
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
Okay, no problem. Just be vigilant on the entry requirements before you apply to the course but I doubt it’ll be of any issue.

And no, you won’t be “less competitive”.
Thank you! that was good to know. I guess my teacher just scared me.
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CaptainDuckie
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
Thank you! that was good to know. I guess my teacher just scared me.


Teachers are often wrong and misleading these days. It’s because they don’t know what they’re talking about half the time.
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
Teachers are often wrong and misleading these days. It’s because they don’t know what they’re talking about half the time.
Yeah ig but the only reason I was worried was because he studied the exact same course I want to study at the uni I want to get into.
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CaptainDuckie
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
Yeah ig but the only reason I was worried was because he studied the exact same course I want to study at the uni I want to get into.


policies change as years progress. using him as an example wouldn’t be very accurate.
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Admit-One
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A one year gap is insignificant to the vast, vast majority of undergrad courses and won’t affect the outcome of your application.

The only possible exception to this is some highly ranked Maths courses which like you to stay pretty ‘hot’ on the topic.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
Yeah ig but the only reason I was worried was because he studied the exact same course I want to study at the uni I want to get into.
Which degree? Some unis are not keen on STEM candidates - particularly Maths - taking a gap year.
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Which degree? Some unis are not keen on STEM candidates - particularly Maths - taking a gap year.
I'm not so sure yet but most likely chemistry at Oxford preferably.
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by Admit-One)
A one year gap is insignificant to the vast, vast majority of undergrad courses and won’t affect the outcome of your application.

The only possible exception to this is some highly ranked Maths courses which like you to stay pretty ‘hot’ on the topic.
What about chemistry at Oxford or natural science at Cambridge?
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Admit-One
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
What about chemistry at Oxford or natural science at Cambridge?
I think their policies are decided at a college level. I just checked a handful and most were fine with it, eg. Christ’s College Cambs state that 20-25% of applicants come after a gap year or two and it does not affect their application at all.
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by Admit-One)
I think their policies are decided at a college level. I just checked a handful and most were fine with it, eg. Christ’s College Cambs state that 20-25% of applicants come after a gap year or two and it does not affect their application at all.
I really hope not..
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CaptainDuckie
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Which degree? Some unis are not keen on STEM candidates - particularly Maths - taking a gap year.



Please name 1 university who is not keen on applicants who apply to maths taking a gap year. I want to research this.

I’ve just checked a handful and they all seem fine with it.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
Please name 1 university who is not keen on applicants who apply to maths taking a gap year. I want to research this.

I’ve just checked a handful and they all seem fine with it.
Cambridge for one:
"Only a small minority of our mathematics students take a gap year. Although in many subjects the extra maturity gained from a gap year is a great asset, in mathematics this has to be balanced against thedanger of going ‘off the boil’.
https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra...sionsguide.pdf
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summerbirdreads
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Cambridge for one:
"Only a small minority of our mathematics students take a gap year. Although in many subjects the extra maturity gained from a gap year is a great asset, in mathematics this has to be balanced against thedanger of going ‘off the boil’.
https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra...sionsguide.pdf
Is it the same for natsci?
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Muttley79
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(Original post by summerbirdreads)
Is it the same for natsci?
I don't think they are so bothered. Why not ask Peterhouse Admissions ?
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CaptainDuckie
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Cambridge for one:
"Only a small minority of our mathematics students take a gap year. Although in many subjects the extra maturity gained from a gap year is a great asset, in mathematics this has to be balanced against thedanger of going ‘off the boil’.
https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra...sionsguide.pdf


Please complete the rest of the quote, I’ll finish it for you:

”If you do take a gap year, then you should plan to keep up your mathe- matics in some way if possible, and you should certainly get back into good practice (for example, by working through past STEP papers) before you start the course. Some Colleges are more encouraging than others to those wishing to defer entry, and Colleges realise that mature applicants will have had ‘gap years’ for a variety of reasons during their lives before applying to university.”



I checked section 7, and only 1 college discourages gap years completely.

Only 1.
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Peterhouse Admissions
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(Original post by Muttley79)
I don't think they are so bothered. Why not ask Peterhouse Admissions ?
Thanks for the tag!

It's not so much of an issue for Natural Sciences (I've never known it be an issue, but I don't want to speak for all colleges). Many colleges are very cautious about gap years in Maths. Conversely, some colleges encourage gap years in Engineering.
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