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should i still apply for oxbridge Maths

i do Maths Further Maths Physics Chemistry and got my UCAS grade as A*A*A*A with A in chemistry and am considering applying for either Maths with Physics at Cambridge or Maths at Oxford, I just feel like I didn’t even get 4 A*s for UCAS grade and obviously oxbridge Maths will be really competitive and especially i didnt do that well in GCSE i got 2 9s 6 8s and 3 other subjects even lower and they will consider gcse, I don’t think my chance will be that high realistically so should i even bother

also if i am replying, is it better with 3A*s 1A or do i just drop chemistry and apply with 3A*s
Original post by ohauh
i do Maths Further Maths Physics Chemistry and got my UCAS grade as A*A*A*A with A in chemistry and am considering applying for either Maths with Physics at Cambridge or Maths at Oxford, I just feel like I didn’t even get 4 A*s for UCAS grade and obviously oxbridge Maths will be really competitive and especially i didnt do that well in GCSE i got 2 9s 6 8s and 3 other subjects even lower and they will consider gcse, I don’t think my chance will be that high realistically so should i even bother

also if i am replying, is it better with 3A*s 1A or do i just drop chemistry and apply with 3A*s

You meet (in fact exceed) the standard requirements, so I can't see why there would be any issue. Believe it or not, Oxbridge admissions computers are not simple machines that look at your number of A*s and decide whether or not to give you an offer on that basis, and the process is fortunately somewhat more sophisticated than that.

In terms of whether to drop chemistry it's up to you, continuing chemistry as a 4th subject and getting an A in it is perfectly fine and isn't going to harm an application (provided you are confident you can do well in your other subjects while doing so!). The only thing to consider is how your school teaches/arranges the exams for maths and FM - if you do all of A-level Maths in year 12 and do the exam then, and all of FM in year 13 and do the exam at that time, then Oxbridge may prefer you continue with the fourth subject so they do see at some point you are sitting a "full set" of exams for 3 subjects in a single exam session.

Regarding GCSEs, for maths specifically at both universities I gather they're rather secondary as a consideration. This isn't necessarily true for other courses there but I've seen it from fairly authoritative sources on TSR that GCSEs are less important than other factors (e.g. the MAT for Oxford, or for Cambridge the interview as they will generally try and interview you if you are likely to meet the standard offer - unless you apply to Trinity College in which case you have a good chance of being rejected pre-interview regardless, so just don't apply to Trinity for maths...), and the Cambridge ATs that do/have posted on here in the past have indicated they haven't previously rejected an applicant for any course solely on the basis of GCSE grades before.

Essentially you are perfectly fine. Focus on deciding between the two courses (which have some subtle but important differences) and crucially on the very different admissions process for both. For Oxford you do the MAT before you are interviewed and it will be a major factor in determining if you get shortlisted for interview I gather. For Cambridge you do STEP after being interviewed and so a higher number of applicants are interviewed and made offers, but STEP is very hard and about 50% of applicants miss their STEP requirement! There's also differences between the two universities as a city and whatnot to consider too :smile:
Original post by ohauh
i do Maths Further Maths Physics Chemistry and got my UCAS grade as A*A*A*A with A in chemistry and am considering applying for either Maths with Physics at Cambridge or Maths at Oxford, I just feel like I didn’t even get 4 A*s for UCAS grade and obviously oxbridge Maths will be really competitive and especially i didnt do that well in GCSE i got 2 9s 6 8s and 3 other subjects even lower and they will consider gcse, I don’t think my chance will be that high realistically so should i even bother

also if i am replying, is it better with 3A*s 1A or do i just drop chemistry and apply with 3A*s

What course do you want to study?
In your post, you mentioned physics at Cambridge or maths at oxford
Which course are you more interested in
Think about the course first, than the university
Reply 3
Original post by BankaiGintoki
What course do you want to study?
In your post, you mentioned physics at Cambridge or maths at oxford
Which course are you more interested in
Think about the course first, than the university

Hi thank you for the reply and sorry for the confusion, im considering Maths with physics for cambridge which is mainly Maths as well and Im only considering Maths at oxford purely because they don’t provide Maths with physics course but i do agree I need to make up my mind for courses first:smile:
Original post by ohauh
Hi thank you for the reply and sorry for the confusion, im considering Maths with physics for cambridge which is mainly Maths as well and Im only considering Maths at oxford purely because they don’t provide Maths with physics course but i do agree I need to make up my mind for courses first:smile:


So the maths with physics course at Cambridge is only for first year - thereafter you either continue with maths (I believe most do this), which also allows you to take many theoretical physics options which are all offered via the maths department, or swap into natural sciences to do physics. It just gives you a little bit more flexibility in that regard potentially.

You can also still do a fair range of theoretical physics aligned options in the maths course at Oxford - not quite as many in second and third year as at Cambridge, but similar amounts for the fourth year (as they also have the MMathPhys programme there now which pretty closely mirrors a Part III at Cambridge focusing on theoretical physics).
Original post by ohauh
Hi thank you for the reply and sorry for the confusion, im considering Maths with physics for cambridge which is mainly Maths as well and Im only considering Maths at oxford purely because they don’t provide Maths with physics course but i do agree I need to make up my mind for courses first:smile:

You seem to like Cambridge more by the fact that Oxford ‘don’t provide Maths with physics course’.
Also, from https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6033950
Based off your gcse’s, you have a better chance at Cambridge
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/mathematics
Admission test before interview if you apply to https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/after/college-assessments
‘Colleges that ask you to take an assessment

Churchill, King’s, Magdalene, Robinson, St Edmund’s’


Exam if you get an offer:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/after/sixth-term-exam-STEP


IMG_5316.jpeg
Reply 6
Original post by artful_lounger
You meet (in fact exceed) the standard requirements, so I can't see why there would be any issue. Believe it or not, Oxbridge admissions computers are not simple machines that look at your number of A*s and decide whether or not to give you an offer on that basis, and the process is fortunately somewhat more sophisticated than that.

In terms of whether to drop chemistry it's up to you, continuing chemistry as a 4th subject and getting an A in it is perfectly fine and isn't going to harm an application (provided you are confident you can do well in your other subjects while doing so!). The only thing to consider is how your school teaches/arranges the exams for maths and FM - if you do all of A-level Maths in year 12 and do the exam then, and all of FM in year 13 and do the exam at that time, then Oxbridge may prefer you continue with the fourth subject so they do see at some point you are sitting a "full set" of exams for 3 subjects in a single exam session.

Regarding GCSEs, for maths specifically at both universities I gather they're rather secondary as a consideration. This isn't necessarily true for other courses there but I've seen it from fairly authoritative sources on TSR that GCSEs are less important than other factors (e.g. the MAT for Oxford, or for Cambridge the interview as they will generally try and interview you if you are likely to meet the standard offer - unless you apply to Trinity College in which case you have a good chance of being rejected pre-interview regardless, so just don't apply to Trinity for maths...), and the Cambridge ATs that do/have posted on here in the past have indicated they haven't previously rejected an applicant for any course solely on the basis of GCSE grades before.

Essentially you are perfectly fine. Focus on deciding between the two courses (which have some subtle but important differences) and crucially on the very different admissions process for both. For Oxford you do the MAT before you are interviewed and it will be a major factor in determining if you get shortlisted for interview I gather. For Cambridge you do STEP after being interviewed and so a higher number of applicants are interviewed and made offers, but STEP is very hard and about 50% of applicants miss their STEP requirement! There's also differences between the two universities as a city and whatnot to consider too :smile:

Hi thank you for the reply!
My school offers Maths and Further Maths at the same time and we will be doing the A level same time next year so that shouldn’t be an issue. For me is just that I didn’t quite enjoy learning chemistry and it takes more energy than my other subjects but i get less result. But i will be keeping it if it’s more beneficial, I’m just not quite sure if it is.
(Also don’t worry I won’t be applying for Trinity college, I’m aware that I 100% won’t be getting in there)
Regarding of university, I was definitely aiming for Maths with Physics more for a long time but I visited both universities on open day and think I enjoyed Oxford more in terms of people and environment wise but maybe I just didn’t explore cambridge properly since we kind of had a guide who was an oxford student. STEP paper is also one of the big reasons im not so sure about Cambridge because a boy in my upper sixth who did his A level and STEP this summer missed 2 marks in his STEP 2 and therefore missed his offer of Maths with Physics at Cambridge which has just not been the greatest influence on me and I’m not 100% confident of STEP.As well as having MAT at oxford before interview gives me a bit more confidence as I can probably do better at tests than interview.

So basically course wise I definitely like Maths with physics at cambridge more but environment and entrance exam wise i think i’ll prefer Oxford slightly more. So it’s a really tough choice but my school ddl for personal statement for oxbridge is next thursday i just don’t have enough time to consider that much
Reply 7
Original post by BankaiGintoki
You seem to like Cambridge more by the fact that Oxford ‘don’t provide Maths with physics course’.
Also, from https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6033950
Based off your gcse’s, you have a better chance at Cambridge
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/mathematics
Admission test before interview if you apply to https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/after/college-assessments
‘Colleges that ask you to take an assessment

Churchill, King’s, Magdalene, Robinson, St Edmund’s’


Exam if you get an offer:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/after/sixth-term-exam-STEP


IMG_5316.jpeg

Thank you! This is really really helpful!!
Original post by ohauh
Hi thank you for the reply!
My school offers Maths and Further Maths at the same time and we will be doing the A level same time next year so that shouldn’t be an issue. For me is just that I didn’t quite enjoy learning chemistry and it takes more energy than my other subjects but i get less result. But i will be keeping it if it’s more beneficial, I’m just not quite sure if it is.
(Also don’t worry I won’t be applying for Trinity college, I’m aware that I 100% won’t be getting in there)
Regarding of university, I was definitely aiming for Maths with Physics more for a long time but I visited both universities on open day and think I enjoyed Oxford more in terms of people and environment wise but maybe I just didn’t explore cambridge properly since we kind of had a guide who was an oxford student. STEP paper is also one of the big reasons im not so sure about Cambridge because a boy in my upper sixth who did his A level and STEP this summer missed 2 marks in his STEP 2 and therefore missed his offer of Maths with Physics at Cambridge which has just not been the greatest influence on me and I’m not 100% confident of STEP.As well as having MAT at oxford before interview gives me a bit more confidence as I can probably do better at tests than interview.

So basically course wise I definitely like Maths with physics at cambridge more but environment and entrance exam wise i think i’ll prefer Oxford slightly more. So it’s a really tough choice but my school ddl for personal statement for oxbridge is next thursday i just don’t have enough time to consider that much

I mean you can use the same PS for either so just write your PS regardless. You have at least until whatever the date you need to register for the MAT to decide which of the two to apply to (potentially later if you don't mind eating the cost if you change your mind between that date and the Oxbridge application deadline, assuming it's before).

STEP is definitely challenging, and honestly you'll certainly have opportunities to pursue theoretical physics stuff at Oxford anyway, so consider your options in view of that! You don't actually miss that much by doing just maths at Oxford (or Cambridge) rather than the maths with physics route - as remember at Cambridge this just replaces 1/4 of one year of the course (and of that 1/4, about half of it you'd normally cover in the mechanics paper anyway). Really the main thing you gain is covering a couple of topics earlier than you would otherwise, and doing the labwork (the labwork is actually probably the major difference, and is well worth keeping in mind - if you hate labwork it's probably not a great choice anyway!).
Reply 9
Original post by ohauh
Hi thank you for the reply!
My school offers Maths and Further Maths at the same time and we will be doing the A level same time next year so that shouldn’t be an issue. For me is just that I didn’t quite enjoy learning chemistry and it takes more energy than my other subjects but i get less result. But i will be keeping it if it’s more beneficial, I’m just not quite sure if it is.
(Also don’t worry I won’t be applying for Trinity college, I’m aware that I 100% won’t be getting in there)
Regarding of university, I was definitely aiming for Maths with Physics more for a long time but I visited both universities on open day and think I enjoyed Oxford more in terms of people and environment wise but maybe I just didn’t explore cambridge properly since we kind of had a guide who was an oxford student. STEP paper is also one of the big reasons im not so sure about Cambridge because a boy in my upper sixth who did his A level and STEP this summer missed 2 marks in his STEP 2 and therefore missed his offer of Maths with Physics at Cambridge which has just not been the greatest influence on me and I’m not 100% confident of STEP.As well as having MAT at oxford before interview gives me a bit more confidence as I can probably do better at tests than interview.

So basically course wise I definitely like Maths with physics at cambridge more but environment and entrance exam wise i think i’ll prefer Oxford slightly more. So it’s a really tough choice but my school ddl for personal statement for oxbridge is next thursday i just don’t have enough time to consider that much


What MAT/STEP prep have you done already? What are your teachers suggesting? I teach Maths and we get students into Oxbridge every year ..
What else have you done? UKMT? Reading? You need to show your interest/passion beyond the exam specs.
Reply 10
Original post by Muttley79
What MAT/STEP prep have you done already? What are your teachers suggesting? I teach Maths and we get students into Oxbridge every year ..
What else have you done? UKMT? Reading? You need to show your interest/passion beyond the exam specs.

Yeh ive done UKMT for the past few years and always gotten gold along with merits in kangaroo, Also the general reading stuffs but i read more physics books than maths books tbh. and enrolled some online courses. Also did BPhO for yr12 and got silver.
My school has extended further physics sessions and we do some STEP questions but i don’t feel that fully prepared for STEP and MAT(i will definitely do more practice after submitting the uni applications(my school internal ddl for oxbridge applications is next thursday so not that far away
Original post by ohauh
i do Maths Further Maths Physics Chemistry and got my UCAS grade as A*A*A*A with A in chemistry and am considering applying for either Maths with Physics at Cambridge or Maths at Oxford, I just feel like I didn’t even get 4 A*s for UCAS grade and obviously oxbridge Maths will be really competitive and especially i didnt do that well in GCSE i got 2 9s 6 8s and 3 other subjects even lower and they will consider gcse, I don’t think my chance will be that high realistically so should i even bother

also if i am replying, is it better with 3A*s 1A or do i just drop chemistry and apply with 3A*s

It's definitely not the end of the world if you missed out on 1 grade and I definitely think it's still worth applying for Oxbridge at that point. You have 5 choices at the end of the day so why not?
Talking from experience now: I applied for physics at Oxford to start in 2023, got to interviews but didn't get in, and now I'm taking a gap year to do FM and change course to maths and physics. As far as I am aware, Oxford base their admissions pretty heavily on the admissions test and interviews for maths and physics (separately ofc) so as long as you meet the grade requirements, I think you're fine. I was predicted 3 A*s and got above average (but not that high) in the PAT so I'm pretty sure PAT and maybe interviews have more weighting. Both the maths department and the physics department publish admissions reports every year and there is a very strong correlation between test score and shortlisting/offer so I'd recommend taking a look at those. Now that I think about it, I remember a pie chart from the PAT prep livestreams showing the weighting for different parts of your application and seem to remember test and interview being quite a big chunk. So maybe its quite similar for the maths department with MAT scores and interviews?

I'm also applying for maths and physics at my other choices but for Cambridge, I've chosen Natural Sciences as you can still take a very maths and physicsey approach and the NSAA is much nicer than STEP. I'd recommend looking at the course and all the paths you can take and seeing if you like it. I also didn't like the thought of doing STEP so I looked at the NatSci course and the NSAA and decided to apply for it. I don't think you have to worry about PS either for NatSci as they send you a separate application form after you apply on UCAS but don't quote me on that. It's probably because NatSci is a pretty unique course and they realise your PS might not cater to it as much. Idk about your other offers but if you're doing MAT for any of your other unis, and you want to do NSAA as well (which is what I'm also doing), the MAT is the day after the NSAA which you might want to consider

Reports for MAT and PAT: ( for MAT scroll down to where it says feedback )
https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-here/undergraduate-study/maths-admissions-test
https://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/study/undergraduates/how-apply/physics-aptitude-test-pat/physics-admissions-reports
Reply 12
Original post by ohauh
Thank you! This is really really helpful!!


I'd take note of Kong Donkey's post below. The Physics course at Oxford and Physics route through NatSci at Cambridge are both highly mathematical. Unless you're completely opposed to doing lab work then I think these degree choices are at least worth consideration. (I was just prompted to write this as you say you read more physics books than you do maths books.)
(edited 5 months ago)

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