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feeling like a failure / giving up on life long dream

i've always wanted to go to cambridge, possibly to study classics (???), but i've just started at sixth form and am really struggling. i'm taking 4 subjects and they're all harder than i thought they'd be (english literature, classics, mandarin & psychology) and along with many extra curricular activities, i just feel like i'm falling behind more and more every day that passes. my gcse weren't amazing (9,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6) , so i've put a lot of pressure on myself to do super well at sixth form, but it's just not going to plan. does it get easier and do i stand a chance of getting into cambridge?
Reply 1
Original post by Anonymous
i've always wanted to go to cambridge, possibly to study classics (???), but i've just started at sixth form and am really struggling. i'm taking 4 subjects and they're all harder than i thought they'd be (english literature, classics, mandarin & psychology) and along with many extra curricular activities, i just feel like i'm falling behind more and more every day that passes. my gcse weren't amazing (9,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6) , so i've put a lot of pressure on myself to do super well at sixth form, but it's just not going to plan. does it get easier and do i stand a chance of getting into cambridge?

hey, don't give up, i felt like that at the beginning of sixthfprm and i was a fool and let that feeling consume me. all you have to do is put in the work!! remember that early applications (which you should be doing) are due at the absolute beginning of year 13. drop some extracurriculars/cut down the time youre spending on them a little bit and focus on your alevels. no matter what, motivate yourself and do the best you can. it gets easier when you get more used to it. learn to love your alevels. and the challenge that comes with it.
Reply 2
You're downplaying your GCSE grades, but they're actually amazing! Don't sell yourself short.
Remember, perseverance is key, and your future self will be grateful for all the hard work you're putting in right now. You could even end up studying classics at Cambridge! So, don't give up. Keep pushing forward, even when things get tough. It's never too late to improve, and your best days are still ahead of you.

Keep calm, stay focused, and you'll achieve great things!
Reply 3
Original post by Alm_xo
You're downplaying your GCSE grades, but they're actually amazing! Don't sell yourself short.
Remember, perseverance is key, and your future self will be grateful for all the hard work you're putting in right now. You could even end up studying classics at Cambridge! So, don't give up. Keep pushing forward, even when things get tough. It's never too late to improve, and your best days are still ahead of you.

Keep calm, stay focused, and you'll achieve great things!

100% agree, those GCSE grades r nothing less that brilliant!
Original post by Anonymous
i've always wanted to go to cambridge, possibly to study classics (???), but i've just started at sixth form and am really struggling. i'm taking 4 subjects and they're all harder than i thought they'd be (english literature, classics, mandarin & psychology) and along with many extra curricular activities, i just feel like i'm falling behind more and more every day that passes. my gcse weren't amazing (9,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6) , so i've put a lot of pressure on myself to do super well at sixth form, but it's just not going to plan. does it get easier and do i stand a chance of getting into cambridge?

Drop an A level, absolutely no need for 4. Either Mandarin or Psychology.
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
i've always wanted to go to cambridge, possibly to study classics (???), but i've just started at sixth form and am really struggling. i'm taking 4 subjects and they're all harder than i thought they'd be (english literature, classics, mandarin & psychology) and along with many extra curricular activities, i just feel like i'm falling behind more and more every day that passes. my gcse weren't amazing (9,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6) , so i've put a lot of pressure on myself to do super well at sixth form, but it's just not going to plan. does it get easier and do i stand a chance of getting into cambridge?


Classics is one of the least competitive courses at Cambridge, with about 1 in 2 getting in , which is far better than the average across Cambridge of 1 in 6. No reason why you can't get in.

You are not doing yourself any favours by doing 4 A-levels though. Drop down to 3 and ensure that you get at least A*AA in them. You are better off doing an EPQ than a 4th A-level, as it demonstrated independent study skills, research skills, and contributes towards all the super curricular that you need to get into Cambridge if you do something that is relevant to your degree subject.
Original post by lalexm
Classics is one of the least competitive courses at Cambridge, with about 1 in 2 getting in , which is far better than the average across Cambridge of 1 in 6. No reason why you can't get in.

You are not doing yourself any favours by doing 4 A-levels though. Drop down to 3 and ensure that you get at least A*AA in them. You are better off doing an EPQ than a 4th A-level, as it demonstrated independent study skills, research skills, and contributes towards all the super curricular that you need to get into Cambridge if you do something that is relevant to your degree subject.

Be careful about the statement that "X is a less competitive course" based on the numbers. Sure, on the numbers that might be true, but it says nothing about the quality. Lot's of the more mainstream courses will have a very much larger population of school leavers qualified to apply and thus many more people applying who don't meet the academic quality, especially a proportion of overseas students who have misunderstood the necessary standard (in addition to those who are educated way beyond A levels!).

Subjects with very specific and not very common strong entry requirements, like Classics, HoA etc, have a narrower field of potential applicants, but for all that a very academically strong cohort. Many Classics applicants will, classically (!), come from independent schools where the class size is a handful and they have covered loads beyond the syllabus. Of course, Cam is aware of this and in Classics works hard to ensure this does not create a selection bias.

Nevertheless, the competition is not just about numbers, it's also about the quality within those numbers.
Reply 7
Original post by threeportdrift
Be careful about the statement that "X is a less competitive course" based on the numbers. Sure, on the numbers that might be true, but it says nothing about the quality. Lot's of the more mainstream courses will have a very much larger population of school leavers qualified to apply and thus many more people applying who don't meet the academic quality, especially a proportion of overseas students who have misunderstood the necessary standard (in addition to those who are educated way beyond A levels!).

Subjects with very specific and not very common strong entry requirements, like Classics, HoA etc, have a narrower field of potential applicants, but for all that a very academically strong cohort. Many Classics applicants will, classically (!), come from independent schools where the class size is a handful and they have covered loads beyond the syllabus. Of course, Cam is aware of this and in Classics works hard to ensure this does not create a selection bias.

Nevertheless, the competition is not just about numbers, it's also about the quality within those numbers.

Agreed, particularly regarding the quality of teaching and being potential taught in much smaller class sizes at independent schools. There are no subject requirements for Classics (4 year course) though, so it's potentially open to anyone, although those from independent schools might be more inclined to apply. The 3 year course is off bounds anyway as OP does not have Greek/Latin A-level I assume.
Original post by Anonymous #1
i've always wanted to go to cambridge, possibly to study classics (???), but i've just started at sixth form and am really struggling. i'm taking 4 subjects and they're all harder than i thought they'd be (english literature, classics, mandarin & psychology) and along with many extra curricular activities, i just feel like i'm falling behind more and more every day that passes. my gcse weren't amazing (9,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6) , so i've put a lot of pressure on myself to do super well at sixth form, but it's just not going to plan. does it get easier and do i stand a chance of getting into cambridge?

I’m in year 13 at the moment studying Classical civ, English literature and Latin. It was my life long dream to apply to Oxford and after doing many super/ extra curriculars for however long, I suddenly realised that I hated the idea of going to Oxford. I dropped a subject around this time last year and felt like such a failure, but the thing about Alevels is that it is so different to GCSE, at that level you can easily be the smartest, but at ALevel everyone is smart in their respective areas. The thing you’ve got to remember is just to focus on yourself. It doesn’t get easier, but it gets more manageable. I ended up dropping a couple of extracurriculars in favour of doing specialised reading and spending more time on myself. You just need to give yourself some leeway and take breaks if you need it. Good Luck and don’t give up, those grades are amazing. I got lower and I’m now predicted three A*s. It will get better xx

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