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Physics at oxbridge

I am currently doing Maths, Further Maths, and Physics for my A-Levels. I haven't gotten my UCAS predicted grades back yet but am sure that I am gonna get at least an A*A*A. I got 9999877765 in my gcses and was wondering if my grades were good enough to get into physics for oxford. I am mainly worried about my GCSE grades as I have heard oxford focus on them quite a lot.
I had better grades than that for Oxford and was rejected without interview (and this was for a subject without any admission tests).

However, some people had worse grades than I did and got in. The truth is none of us really know if your grades are good enough or not.
Original post by Chronos2005
I am currently doing Maths, Further Maths, and Physics for my A-Levels. I haven't gotten my UCAS predicted grades back yet but am sure that I am gonna get at least an A*A*A. I got 9999877765 in my gcses and was wondering if my grades were good enough to get into physics for oxford. I am mainly worried about my GCSE grades as I have heard oxford focus on them quite a lot.


Your GCSEs will be fine, especially considering that it is likely that GCSEs will not be taken into consideration by Oxford Physics for the second year in a row due to COVID. By far the most important part of your application is the PAT.
Oxford in general pays some more attention to GCSEs than other unis, however for physics they are not really that important as long as you had good results in relevant subjects (maths, science) and do well in the PAT. The PAT really is, I gather, the main thing that determines who is invited to interview, and thereafter it will depend on the interview.

So you could well make a competitive application to either. The big question is whether you want to do just physics, or natural sciences - as you'd have to do other sciences for at least one year at Cambridge (you also could do other sciences in second year, although I gather most physicists there do both physics papers and the maths paper in IB so you would be functionally doing a course much the same as any other physics degree student by that point).
Original post by artful_lounger
Oxford in general pays some more attention to GCSEs than other unis, however for physics they are not really that important as long as you had good results in relevant subjects (maths, science) and do well in the PAT. The PAT really is, I gather, the main thing that determines who is invited to interview, and thereafter it will depend on the interview.

So you could well make a competitive application to either. The big question is whether you want to do just physics, or natural sciences - as you'd have to do other sciences for at least one year at Cambridge (you also could do other sciences in second year, although I gather most physicists there do both physics papers and the maths paper in IB so you would be functionally doing a course much the same as any other physics degree student by that point).

I would apply to natural sciences if it means that would have a greater chance of getting in and can specialize in physics in the second year. Would I be disadvantaged if I only talk about physics in my personal statement as I would apply to physics for my other universities?
Original post by vapordave
Your GCSEs will be fine, especially considering that it is likely that GCSEs will not be taken into consideration by Oxford Physics for the second year in a row due to COVID. By far the most important part of your application is the PAT.


When would they likely announce if they were to take GCSEs into consideration this year?
Original post by Chronos2005
I would apply to natural sciences if it means that would have a greater chance of getting in and can specialize in physics in the second year. Would I be disadvantaged if I only talk about physics in my personal statement as I would apply to physics for my other universities?


No, this is quite common for applicants to Cambridge natsci. You can discuss particular Cambridge natsci specific interests in the optional additional statement section of the SAQ if you want, but it's not required.

I don't think you'd have much difference in prospects at either though unless you think you'd do much better at the PAT vs NSAA or vice versa.
Original post by Chronos2005
When would they likely announce if they were to take GCSEs into consideration this year?


I was at the Oxford open day and they said about October-ish
Original post by vapordave
I was at the Oxford open day and they said about October-ish


Thank you!
i'm on the same boat. Got 988888777 at GCSE last year and im predicted A*A*A* at a level in maths further maths and physics. I'm a bit worried about my GCSEs being too low. I want to apply engineering science tho
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by artful_lounger
No, this is quite common for applicants to Cambridge natsci. You can discuss particular Cambridge natsci specific interests in the optional additional statement section of the SAQ if you want, but it's not required.

I don't think you'd have much difference in prospects at either though unless you think you'd do much better at the PAT vs NSAA or vice versa.

By Cambridge natsci specific interests do you mean the modules I am gonna be picking in the first year? and would you say I have similar chances of getting into both universities provided I do equally well in the admissions exams?
Hey!
Oxford just like any other uni doesn't pay too give GCSE's too much importance. But yes, Oxford pays more attention to it than other unis. I'm assuming that they mainly use it to get an idea of your track record. As a current Physics student at Oxford, the PAT and the interviews are what hold the most weightage. Let me know if you'd like me to link some of the resources I used and found very helpful.
Your predicted grades are excellent, but I'm sure Oxford would require an A* in Physics as well, so please try to work on that!
Focus on your PS and avoid all cliche's and common traps - just read a couple of guides online to get an idea about this.
Do well on your PAT and your interviews, and then you'll be alright!

Best of luck!
PS: Let me know if you ever need any help with the PAT or anything!
Original post by Chronos2005
I would apply to natural sciences if it means that would have a greater chance of getting in and can specialize in physics in the second year. Would I be disadvantaged if I only talk about physics in my personal statement as I would apply to physics for my other universities?


Hey,
I don't mean to disadvantage you, but I'm a bit worried about you applying for Cam NatSci since you don't have Chemistry at A-Levels.
You'd have to choose the Physical NatSci option, which means studying Chemistry for a year or so (correct me if I'm wrong).
However, I think it's best you email Cambridge and ask them if they'd accept you without a 2nd science subject (I didn't apply to Cam so I'm not too sure on this, sorry).
Original post by Chronos2005
By Cambridge natsci specific interests do you mean the modules I am gonna be picking in the first year? and would you say I have similar chances of getting into both universities provided I do equally well in the admissions exams?


I think it's more so students can address more interdisciplinary interests particularly served by the natsci format that may not be served by other courses and so less relevant for a PS for all their unis. For example someone who is applying to chemistry elsewhere but is particularly interested in physical chemistry and chemical physics might want to write more in depth about this overlap between physics and chemistry (which is potentially facilitated by the natsci format at Cambridge).

And yes, I think you'd have as much chance at either if you do equally well in the admissions assessments. However, I think the PAT and NSAA are quite different so do look into both as you may find you would do better in one than the other.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by artful_lounger
I think it's more so students can address more interdisciplinary interests particularly served by the natsci format that may not be served by other courses and so less relevant for a PS for all their unis. For example someone who is applying to chemistry elsewhere but is particularly interested in physical chemistry and chemical physics might want to write more in depth about this overlap between physics and chemistry (which is potentially facilitated by the natsci format at Cambridge).

And yes, I think you'd have as much chance at either if you do equally well in the admissions assessments. However, I think the PAT and NSAA are quite different so do look into both as you may find you would do better in one than the other.

Thank you the info has been very helpful
Original post by Chronos2005
I am currently doing Maths, Further Maths, and Physics for my A-Levels. I haven't gotten my UCAS predicted grades back yet but am sure that I am gonna get at least an A*A*A. I got 9999877765 in my gcses and was wondering if my grades were good enough to get into physics for oxford. I am mainly worried about my GCSE grades as I have heard oxford focus on them quite a lot.


Hey,
Here are some of the resources I during my PAT and Interview prep:

I did all the PAT papers (available online) and marked my answers against the one available on many platforms online, including PMT.

During my prep for the PAT, I found the Ultimate Oxford PAT Collection by Uni Admissions super helpful. Not only did it have the marking schemes for all previous PAT papers, with highly detailed explanations, they also had their own mock PAT papers, which had questions that were similar to those on the real exam. Some of the questions were very different and needed you to think more out-of-the-box than your regular PAT questions. The mark schemes also bridged a lot of gaps in my learning!

I've linked the book below in case you’d like to use it in the future!

Ultimate Oxford PAT Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-PAT-Collection-breakdowns-UniAdmissions/dp/1913683877

You can also solve questions from the NSAA, ENGAA, MAT, STEP but keep in mind that both the ENGAA and NSAA are MCQs, while the MAT and STEP focus more on maths, whereas the PAT gives more importance for Physics.

Ultimate ENGAA Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-ENGAA-Collection-Engineering-preparation/dp/1913683796/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2FKW55L1XB5HE&keywords=engaa&qid=1657965855&sprefix=engaa%2Caps%2C78&sr=8-1

Ultimate NSAA Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1915091128

Ultimate Oxford MAT Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-MAT-Guide-Admissions-specification/dp/1913683982/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1N3UXMNF8FTWI&keywords=uniadmissions+mat&qid=1658832148&sprefix=uniadmissions+mat%2Caps%2C242&sr=8-4

I personally found the books to be very helpful since it has a lot of questions that are both similar to those on the real exam (which aren't easy questions, believe me, so if you can solve the questions in this book, you're more than set) and those that are unique and force you think outside the box. One other benefit was the extremely detailed marking schemes that bridged all the gaps in my learning. I've linked the book below in case you’d like to use it in the future!

The reason I recommend UniAdmissions’ books are because of the quality of the questions and materials in it. They’re created by Oxbridge Graduates so they’re obviously going to be of very high quality. Furthermore, they have a very rigorous process which eliminates all errors, unlike most other resources available online!

I also did plenty of BPhO and IPhO papers, and a couple of UKMT papers - they're great prep too, but imo the BPhO questions weren't as difficult as the PAT for me; UKMT was a bit more challenging; however papers from both these Olympiads were an excellent source to test (and rectify) my thought process, method of solving, and logic.

If you're interested, lmk and I can link the resources I used for my interview prep!



Hope this helps for now!

Best of luck!
Original post by EnthuGeek21
Hey,
Here are some of the resources I during my PAT and Interview prep:

I did all the PAT papers (available online) and marked my answers against the one available on many platforms online, including PMT.

During my prep for the PAT, I found the Ultimate Oxford PAT Collection by Uni Admissions super helpful. Not only did it have the marking schemes for all previous PAT papers, with highly detailed explanations, they also had their own mock PAT papers, which had questions that were similar to those on the real exam. Some of the questions were very different and needed you to think more out-of-the-box than your regular PAT questions. The mark schemes also bridged a lot of gaps in my learning!

I've linked the book below in case you’d like to use it in the future!

Ultimate Oxford PAT Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-PAT-Collection-breakdowns-UniAdmissions/dp/1913683877

You can also solve questions from the NSAA, ENGAA, MAT, STEP but keep in mind that both the ENGAA and NSAA are MCQs, while the MAT and STEP focus more on maths, whereas the PAT gives more importance for Physics.

Ultimate ENGAA Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-ENGAA-Collection-Engineering-preparation/dp/1913683796/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2FKW55L1XB5HE&keywords=engaa&qid=1657965855&sprefix=engaa%2Caps%2C78&sr=8-1

Ultimate NSAA Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1915091128

Ultimate Oxford MAT Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-MAT-Guide-Admissions-specification/dp/1913683982/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1N3UXMNF8FTWI&keywords=uniadmissions+mat&qid=1658832148&sprefix=uniadmissions+mat%2Caps%2C242&sr=8-4

I personally found the books to be very helpful since it has a lot of questions that are both similar to those on the real exam (which aren't easy questions, believe me, so if you can solve the questions in this book, you're more than set) and those that are unique and force you think outside the box. One other benefit was the extremely detailed marking schemes that bridged all the gaps in my learning. I've linked the book below in case you’d like to use it in the future!

The reason I recommend UniAdmissions’ books are because of the quality of the questions and materials in it. They’re created by Oxbridge Graduates so they’re obviously going to be of very high quality. Furthermore, they have a very rigorous process which eliminates all errors, unlike most other resources available online!

I also did plenty of BPhO and IPhO papers, and a couple of UKMT papers - they're great prep too, but imo the BPhO questions weren't as difficult as the PAT for me; UKMT was a bit more challenging; however papers from both these Olympiads were an excellent source to test (and rectify) my thought process, method of solving, and logic.

If you're interested, lmk and I can link the resources I used for my interview prep!



Hope this helps for now!

Best of luck!


Thank you this is very helpful. Would love the interview resources as well.
Reply 17
Original post by EnthuGeek21
Hey,
I don't mean to disadvantage you, but I'm a bit worried about you applying for Cam NatSci since you don't have Chemistry at A-Levels.
You'd have to choose the Physical NatSci option, which means studying Chemistry for a year or so (correct me if I'm wrong).
However, I think it's best you email Cambridge and ask them if they'd accept you without a 2nd science subject (I didn't apply to Cam so I'm not too sure on this, sorry).

I took the same subjects as op and applied this year, you aren't allowed to take the chem option if you didn't take chem a level.

The compulsory maths+physics+earth science+material science is what I would have chosen had I got in, none require chem a level.

For the purpose of natsci maths/fm are seen as science subjects, although from memory there are two colleges that did require 2/3 of bio/Phys/chem. Theres a page somewhere on the natsci page on individual college requirements.
Reply 18
Original post by EnthuGeek21
Hey,
Here are some of the resources I during my PAT and Interview prep:

I did all the PAT papers (available online) and marked my answers against the one available on many platforms online, including PMT.

During my prep for the PAT, I found the Ultimate Oxford PAT Collection by Uni Admissions super helpful. Not only did it have the marking schemes for all previous PAT papers, with highly detailed explanations, they also had their own mock PAT papers, which had questions that were similar to those on the real exam. Some of the questions were very different and needed you to think more out-of-the-box than your regular PAT questions. The mark schemes also bridged a lot of gaps in my learning!

I've linked the book below in case you’d like to use it in the future!

Ultimate Oxford PAT Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-PAT-Collection-breakdowns-UniAdmissions/dp/1913683877

You can also solve questions from the NSAA, ENGAA, MAT, STEP but keep in mind that both the ENGAA and NSAA are MCQs, while the MAT and STEP focus more on maths, whereas the PAT gives more importance for Physics.

Ultimate ENGAA Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-ENGAA-Collection-Engineering-preparation/dp/1913683796/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2FKW55L1XB5HE&keywords=engaa&qid=1657965855&sprefix=engaa%2Caps%2C78&sr=8-1

Ultimate NSAA Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1915091128

Ultimate Oxford MAT Collection by Uni Admissions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-MAT-Guide-Admissions-specification/dp/1913683982/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1N3UXMNF8FTWI&keywords=uniadmissions+mat&qid=1658832148&sprefix=uniadmissions+mat%2Caps%2C242&sr=8-4

I personally found the books to be very helpful since it has a lot of questions that are both similar to those on the real exam (which aren't easy questions, believe me, so if you can solve the questions in this book, you're more than set) and those that are unique and force you think outside the box. One other benefit was the extremely detailed marking schemes that bridged all the gaps in my learning. I've linked the book below in case you’d like to use it in the future!

The reason I recommend UniAdmissions’ books are because of the quality of the questions and materials in it. They’re created by Oxbridge Graduates so they’re obviously going to be of very high quality. Furthermore, they have a very rigorous process which eliminates all errors, unlike most other resources available online!

I also did plenty of BPhO and IPhO papers, and a couple of UKMT papers - they're great prep too, but imo the BPhO questions weren't as difficult as the PAT for me; UKMT was a bit more challenging; however papers from both these Olympiads were an excellent source to test (and rectify) my thought process, method of solving, and logic.

If you're interested, lmk and I can link the resources I used for my interview prep!



Hope this helps for now!

Best of luck!

Hi,
Currently in year 13 doing Maths, Further Maths and physics aswell as an EPQ and sadly got rejected this year from oxford. I want to apply again next year and ofc want to maximise my chances of getting in. Besides from PAT prep, do you have any advice for applying during a gap year, would it have any worth to take on another a-level etc. Maybe you know someone who got in with there second application. Any help would be much appreciated.

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