The Student Room Group

Engineering at Cambridge

I'm doing 3 A-levels. Physics, Maths and Law. I was pushed to do Law, and I'm unable to do AS-level further mathematics in my 2nd of A-levels. With the unfortunate options I have, would I still get in if I do get A*A*A*, a good result from the engineering assessment and smash the interview. I was just reading the academic requirements for engineering, and I feel like comparing me with the other applicants who has done 3 A-levels relating to Engineering would increase the chances of getting in, I feel I would be at a massive disadvantage because of the 3 A-levels I have selected. What are you tips?
I think you probably would be at a disadvantage honestly - I imagine most are doing FM, and those who aren't are probably doing a second science for their final option so have 3 STEM subjects total.

At the end of the day it's just one of your 5 options and if you choose your others judiciously you'll more than likely have several offers to choose between even if Cambridge ends up being a rejection. I definitely would consider Cambridge a long shot if you do apply though and not peg your hopes and dreams on it :s-smilie:
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
I think you probably would be at a disadvantage honestly - I imagine most are doing FM, and those who aren't are probably doing a second science for their final option so have 3 STEM subjects total.

At the end of the day it's just one of your 5 options and if you choose your others judiciously you'll more than likely have several offers to choose between even if Cambridge ends up being a rejection. I definitely would consider Cambridge a long shot if you do apply though and not peg your hopes and dreams on it :s-smilie:

Ahhhhh, thats super frustrating. Could you say, apart from the subjects I have selected for A-level. I could talk about my passion for Engineering in my personal statement, for example I have a passion for rocket engines and the mechanics of a rocket itself, could you say that would put me in a better position + the school I go to don't offer Further mathematics for A-levels, but I did it for GCSE + I have participated in national mathematics competitions like UKMT. This year I'm competing for BPho For Physics and UKMT again, would that put me in a better position than other applicants would you say and overall increase the chances? Or would that still put me in a disadvantage?
Because I tried to drop Law and do Chemistry at the start but my parents were against it...
Original post by Omniben
Ahhhhh, thats super frustrating. Could you say, apart from the subjects I have selected for A-level. I could talk about my passion for Engineering in my personal statement, for example I have a passion for rocket engines and the mechanics of a rocket itself, could you say that would put me in a better position + the school I go to don't offer Further mathematics for A-levels, but I did it for GCSE + I have participated in national mathematics competitions like UKMT. This year I'm competing for BPho For Physics and UKMT again, would that put me in a better position than other applicants would you say and overall increase the chances? Or would that still put me in a disadvantage?
Because I tried to drop Law and do Chemistry at the start but my parents were against it...


Are you in England? If so then there is no school that cannot offer FMaths so pllease don't say that. You would be better going to a university offering a year in industry if you want to be an engineer.
Reply 4
Original post by Muttley79
Are you in England? If so then there is no school that cannot offer FMaths so pllease don't say that. You would be better going to a university offering a year in industry if you want to be an engineer.


Yes, I got to a sixth form in England and they don't offer further maths, which is super ridiculous.
Original post by Omniben
Yes, I got to a sixth form in England and they don't offer further maths, which is super ridiculous.


They were not honest - as I said every school in England can offer it with AMSP - they don't need to set up a group you get tutition online. Yu must not use this excuse in your PS as it is not true.

https://amsp.org.uk/teachers/a-level-further/strategies-for-offering-further-mathematics
Original post by Omniben
Ahhhhh, thats super frustrating. Could you say, apart from the subjects I have selected for A-level. I could talk about my passion for Engineering in my personal statement, for example I have a passion for rocket engines and the mechanics of a rocket itself, could you say that would put me in a better position + the school I go to don't offer Further mathematics for A-levels, but I did it for GCSE + I have participated in national mathematics competitions like UKMT. This year I'm competing for BPho For Physics and UKMT again, would that put me in a better position than other applicants would you say and overall increase the chances? Or would that still put me in a disadvantage?
Because I tried to drop Law and do Chemistry at the start but my parents were against it...


Ah, if your school doesn't offer FM then that might change things a little. They normally try not to disadvantage you if you were unable to take FM - although if you're in the UK, all schools can offer FM through the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP). So if you are saying you can't take AS FM next year due to your school not offering it, you might want to explore that as an option.

Personal statements aren't hugely important compared to the ENGAA and other aspects for Cambridge I believe. Obviously being invested in the subject is important for yourself and you should write about your interests candidly, but I don't think that by itself would ameliorate a lack of key subjects. Participating in BPho and UKMT is relevant though.

@Peterhouse Admissions might be able to give some idea of how this might play out if you did apply (although I think Peterhouse itself requires FM and STEP for engineering so maybe not for their own college specifically)?

Also bear in mind that no matter what, even if you were taking "perfect" subjects for engineering at Cambridge, that would still be no guarantee of an offer - you might just not be "teachable" in the supervision format which they realise at interview. So it's important not to get too hung up on any one uni regardless. Focus on your interest for the subject, and go to the uni that best serves that interest which makes you an offer which you can achieve!.

You do, I believe minimally meet the requirements for Cambridge so it's not like they wouldn't look at your application at all. You just may be somewhat less competitive than others...but as above, if you don't get into Cambridge it's entirely possible you'll get into another excellent uni for engineering anyway :smile: So just apply there if you wish, and see how it goes!
Reply 7
Original post by Muttley79
They were not honest - as I said every school in England can offer it with AMSP - they don't need to set up a group you get tutition online. Yu must not use this excuse in your PS as it is not true.

https://amsp.org.uk/teachers/a-level-further/strategies-for-offering-further-mathematics

Surely the best option would be asking my school if they can do AS-level further mathematics, as If I do tuition online it would mean I would have to pay some sort of fee.
Original post by Omniben
Surely the best option would be asking my school if they can do AS-level further mathematics, as If I do tuition online it would mean I would have to pay some sort of fee.


No the school pays the fee - that's the point - it's far cheaper than paying a teacher to teach one or two students.

I don't think doing AS will compensate - I would look elsewhere or apply and assume you'll be 99% automatically rejected.
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger
Ah, if your school doesn't offer FM then that might change things a little. They normally try not to disadvantage you if you were unable to take FM - although if you're in the UK, all schools can offer FM through the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP). So if you are saying you can't take AS FM next year due to your school not offering it, you might want to explore that as an option.

Personal statements aren't hugely important compared to the ENGAA and other aspects for Cambridge I believe. Obviously being invested in the subject is important for yourself and you should write about your interests candidly, but I don't think that by itself would ameliorate a lack of key subjects. Participating in BPho and UKMT is relevant though.

@Peterhouse Admissions might be able to give some idea of how this might play out if you did apply (although I think Peterhouse itself requires FM and STEP for engineering so maybe not for their own college specifically)?

Also bear in mind that no matter what, even if you were taking "perfect" subjects for engineering at Cambridge, that would still be no guarantee of an offer - you might just not be "teachable" in the supervision format which they realise at interview. So it's important not to get too hung up on any one uni regardless. Focus on your interest for the subject, and go to the uni that best serves that interest which makes you an offer which you can achieve!.

You do, I believe minimally meet the requirements for Cambridge so it's not like they wouldn't look at your application at all. You just may be somewhat less competitive than others...but as above, if you don't get into Cambridge it's entirely possible you'll get into another excellent uni for engineering anyway :smile: So just apply there if you wish, and see how it goes!

I'm just looking at all the best opportunities which separates me from the thousands of applicants that will apply, I understand that Cambridge is a long shot, however I'm just trying to increase the chances of them at least looking at the application and me trying to get an interview, If I can get an interview, I can present myself as a dedicated and motivated engineering student who has a genuine interest in the subject.
Obviously If I do get rejected straight of the bat, Its not the end of the world as there's many other universities in the UK with a brilliant engineering department. But me speaking to adults who have gone through many careers and interviewed many people, they've always said that companies look at which university you go to and usually not the degree. So that's why I feel that Cambridge best serves my interest, thats not the only reason, but its one of many. So thats why I have taken onboard of the national and international competitions like BPhO and UKMT, as in my head I thought these will definitely increase the chances.
Reply 10
Original post by Muttley79
No the school pays the fee - that's the point - it's far cheaper than paying a teacher to teach one or two students.

I don't think doing AS will compensate - I would look elsewhere or apply and assume you'll be 99% automatically rejected.

You don't believe an AS-further maths will compensate? Just feel like doing that would show that I've tried to get exposure to STEM subjects as much as possible. I'm taking every chances to use Cambridge as one of my offers instead of wasting it for no reason, I feel like you will never know if you never tried so I thought why not but with the best possibility knowing I tried my 100% best.
Original post by Omniben
I'm just looking at all the best opportunities which separates me from the thousands of applicants that will apply, I understand that Cambridge is a long shot, however I'm just trying to increase the chances of them at least looking at the application and me trying to get an interview, If I can get an interview, I can present myself as a dedicated and motivated engineering student who has a genuine interest in the subject.
Obviously If I do get rejected straight of the bat, Its not the end of the world as there's many other universities in the UK with a brilliant engineering department. But me speaking to adults who have gone through many careers and interviewed many people, they've always said that companies look at which university you go to and usually not the degree. So that's why I feel that Cambridge best serves my interest, thats not the only reason, but its one of many. So thats why I have taken onboard of the national and international competitions like BPhO and UKMT, as in my head I thought these will definitely increase the chances.

They should always look at the application provided you meet the minimum requirements, which you do.

Also they tend to interview a majority of applicants anyway, so getting the interview is not quite the bottleneck that you think.

Companies do not look at either the uni you go to OR the degree, except for investment banks and companies recruiting management consultants. Every other industry literally does not care where you studied, or what you studied (unless it's a specific role requiring a particualr background e.g. most engineering roles will require a relevant engineering degree).

Cambridge's benefits would be primarily academic and intellectual, not professional.
Original post by Omniben
I'm just looking at all the best opportunities which separates me from the thousands of applicants that will apply, I understand that Cambridge is a long shot, however I'm just trying to increase the chances of them at least looking at the application and me trying to get an interview, If I can get an interview, I can present myself as a dedicated and motivated engineering student who has a genuine interest in the subject.
Obviously If I do get rejected straight of the bat, Its not the end of the world as there's many other universities in the UK with a brilliant engineering department. But me speaking to adults who have gone through many careers and interviewed many people, they've always said that companies look at which university you go to and usually not the degree. So that's why I feel that Cambridge best serves my interest, thats not the only reason, but its one of many. So thats why I have taken onboard of the national and international competitions like BPhO and UKMT, as in my head I thought these will definitely increase the chances.

No, the university is NOT important with Engineering. I teach Maths and my most able students choose an accredited course with a year in industry - experience is what companies look for. Things have changed in the last ten years ... some companies don't even ask for the university just the degree classification.

Have you done well at BMO or just SMC?
Reply 13
Original post by Muttley79
No, the university is NOT important with Engineering. I teach Maths and my most able students choose an accredited course with a year in industry - experience is what companies look for. Things have changed in the last ten years ... some companies don't even ask for the university just the degree classification.

Have you done well at BMO or just SMC?

I mean yes, in the junior one In 2018 I received a bronze certificate. English monologue went to the finals (but I understand thats not important for engineering). This year I'm planning to do more revision to achieve a higher result.
With respect to the engineering course, a year in industry was something I was planning as that could give me a chance to get a job straight after university, if some companies don't even ask for university degree classification is there any point to even going to university then?
Original post by Omniben
I mean yes, in the junior one In 2018 I received a bronze certificate. English monologue went to the finals (but I understand thats not important for engineering). This year I'm planning to do more revision to achieve a higher result.
With respect to the engineering course, a year in industry was something I was planning as that could give me a chance to get a job straight after university, if some companies don't even ask for university degree classification is there any point to even going to university then?


Yes - I think you may have misread my post. They are interested in your degree classification just not where you studied. I'd look at Bath, loughborough and Brookes - and for opportunities like Formula Student.

I wouldn't mention UKMT bronze but presentation skills are important. Engineers do design bespoke products and need to 'sell' their ideas.
Reply 15
Original post by Muttley79
Yes - I think you may have misread my post. They are interested in your degree classification just not where you studied. I'd look at Bath, loughborough and Brookes - and for opportunities like Formula Student.

I wouldn't mention UKMT bronze but presentation skills are important. Engineers do design bespoke products and need to 'sell' their ideas.


Ahhh okay, but you could say companies are very bias, if they had to pick between a Cambridge or a imperial graduate, I feel like they would pick the Cambridge, considering that would show well on the team.
Presentation skills? I understand engineers need to have important presentation skills when it comes to actually having a full-time job, but I feel like that won't add any value to the application process...If it did how would I show that?
Original post by Omniben
Ahhh okay, but you could say companies are very bias, if they had to pick between a Cambridge or a imperial graduate, I feel like they would pick the Cambridge, considering that would show well on the team.
Presentation skills? I understand engineers need to have important presentation skills when it comes to actually having a full-time job, but I feel like that won't add any value to the application process...If it did how would I show that?


No they'd likely chose the one who had a year in industry from Bath! Companies want someone who can contribute from day one. One of my students got a job through showing photos of his year in industry project over grads from RG [including Cambridge and Imperial].

You will have group projects [I hope] in your degree so being able to explain your idea clearly to the group or present the ideas as the 'end point' of the project for assessment would be an asset. Clear communication is important.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 17
Original post by Muttley79
No they'd likely chose the one who had a year in industry from Bath! Companies want someone who can contribute from day one. One of my students got a job through showing photos of his year in industry project over grads from RG [including Cambridge and Imperial].

You will have group projects [I hope] in your degree so being able to explain your idea clearly to the group or present the ideas as the 'end point' of the project for assessment would be an asset. Clear communication is important.

Ahh okay, thank you very much for the advice! Appreciate it!
Hi there Omniben!

You might find the 'Typical Engineering Entrants' box at the bottom of the 'Entry Requirements' tab of this page useful. I think it's worth noting that 95% of our entrants who were taking A Levels between 2017 and 2019 had Further Maths. That's not to say that you couldn't be successful without it, but statistically, only 5% of our entrants are.

If you want to apply, we would recommend you take AS Further Maths if you can. Any additional mathematical studies which strengthen your mathematical abilities will help, both with preparing for the Engineering Admissions Assessment, and with the transition to studying Engineering at any top university.

We'd also recommend not pinning all your hopes on getting into Cambridge. You may turn out to ace every part of the application process, but in reality, the large majority of our applicants don't, even the ones who are ultimately made an offer. Even if you had the most compelling personal statement and are the most interested applicant we've ever seen, this won't compensate for mathematical and physical problem solving skills. Working on these by strengthening your maths is probably the most important thing you can do to make yourself as competitive as you can be.

Hope this helps!
I have come a little late to this discussion but I would say to definitely look at Loughborough. My son went up there for an interview for the MEng and fell in love with the place, they are very "hands on" and keen for you to do a placement in industry year. The other place to look at is the Dyson Institute where my son narrowly missed out on.
(edited 1 year ago)

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending