The Student Room Group

Cambridge

I want to do physics at uni. Problem is I do maths, further maths, bio and chem. I am thinking of doing my a levels in 2025, taking a gap year and doing physics a level in the gap year. In the gap year I will apply to Cambridge. Will Cambridge be ok with this?(basically I will have to apply with 4 a level grades and one predicted grade). Or do I have to sit all the exams in the same year?
Original post by Fermat42647
I want to do physics at uni. Problem is I do maths, further maths, bio and chem. I am thinking of doing my a levels in 2025, taking a gap year and doing physics a level in the gap year. In the gap year I will apply to Cambridge. Will Cambridge be ok with this?(basically I will have to apply with 4 a level grades and one predicted grade). Or do I have to sit all the exams in the same year?

You say, "I want to do physics at uni". Are you aware that Cambridge don't offer a Physics degree? Instead that offer a Natural Sciences degree, and allow you to take a Biological Sciences or a Physical Sciences path within it. Have you read-up on this particular course, and how it's structured? If not, it would make sense to do that before deciding that you want to apply for it.

Are you also aware that for Natural Sciences (Physical), not all colleges require a Physics A level. For example, for Murray Edwards College (which I picked at random) they want, "A Level in Mathematics and two science subjects". (You'll need to check each college web site for their individual entry requirements.) Have you decided that you'll be applying to a college which does actually require Physics A level? Or have you just assumed that they all do?
Original post by DataVenia
You say, "I want to do physics at uni". Are you aware that Cambridge don't offer a Physics degree? Instead that offer a Natural Sciences degree, and allow you to take a Biological Sciences or a Physical Sciences path within it. Have you read-up on this particular course, and how it's structured? If not, it would make sense to do that before deciding that you want to apply for it.
Are you also aware that for Natural Sciences (Physical), not all colleges require a Physics A level. For example, for Murray Edwards College (which I picked at random) they want, "A Level in Mathematics and two science subjects". (You'll need to check each college web site for their individual entry requirements.) Have you decided that you'll be applying to a college which does actually require Physics A level? Or have you just assumed that they all do?

Hi thanks for the reply. Given I take maths, further maths, bio and chem. my plan is to apply this year for Cambridge bionatsci. If I am successful, I can switch to physnatsci once I get in. Alternatively, if I don’t get in for bionatsci, I will take a gap year in which I will take physics a level and then apply to other unis eg imperial for physics. My question is wether doing a levels in separate years is fine and if this would be accepted?
Original post by Fermat42647
Hi thanks for the reply. Given I take maths, further maths, bio and chem. my plan is to apply this year for Cambridge bionatsci. If I am successful, I can switch to physnatsci once I get in. Alternatively, if I don’t get in for bionatsci, I will take a gap year in which I will take physics a level and then apply to other unis eg imperial for physics. My question is wether doing a levels in separate years is fine and if this would be accepted?


I wouldn’t say that applying in the hopes of changing course when you get to cambridge is a good idea. Apply for the course you actually want to do or don’t apply there at all

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, there is a chance that not doing all your A levels in the same year might be frowned upon, but it’s best to check this by talking to the admissions team of the college you’d like to apply to
Original post by Fermat42647
Hi thanks for the reply. Given I take maths, further maths, bio and chem. my plan is to apply this year for Cambridge bionatsci. If I am successful, I can switch to physnatsci once I get in. Alternatively, if I don’t get in for bionatsci, I will take a gap year in which I will take physics a level and then apply to other unis eg imperial for physics. My question is wether doing a levels in separate years is fine and if this would be accepted?

OK, so just to clarify, despite your thread being entitled Cambridge, and your first post being entirely about Cambridge, your actual question is whether taking an additional A level in your gap year (in addition the the original four you're currently taking) will be frowned upon by "other unis eg imperial". No. It won't. :smile:
Original post by DataVenia
OK, so just to clarify, despite your thread being entitled Cambridge, and your first post being entirely about Cambridge, your actual question is whether taking an additional A level in your gap year (in addition the the original four you're currently taking) will be frowned upon by "other unis eg imperial". No. It won't. :smile:

considering the fact I am applying to Cambridge in both admissions cycles, I would think this logically necessitates asking on a Cambridge forum. Also more specifically I posted this on a Cambridge forum to see Cambridge’s policy on this. So for example do they allow for a levels to be in two diff years?
Original post by Fermat42647
considering the fact I am applying to Cambridge in both admissions cycles, I would think this logically necessitates asking on a Cambridge forum. Also more specifically I posted this on a Cambridge forum to see Cambridge’s policy on this. So for example do they allow for a levels to be in two diff years?

The general rule is 'three A-Levels in two years' is the ideal. 'Four A-Levels in two years then another in your gap year' also satisfies this and should be acceptable. A common academic reason for a gap year is to add on additional required A-Levels, usually Further Maths but Physics would also be possible.

A few things I'd recommend noting is that the modules of Natural Sciences often have a prerequisite. That is, you'd likely need to do Physics A-Level in order to do the Physics of Natural Sciences. I don't know if simply demonstrating your knowledge of the subject content without doing the exam would suffice - you'd have to ask your DoS once you get your offer.

It may also be of interest to you that the other route into Physics at Cambridge is through Maths. You can apply for Maths with Physics in your first year and then transfer to Physics in your second. This may be doable without A-Level Physics but with the Mechanics sections of Further Maths A-Level. To quote the university "If you’re applying to Mathematics with Physics, you must have taken the Mechanics section of Further Mathematics or have taken A level Physics in addition to Mathematics and Further Mathematics." The exactitudes of this requirement may depend on your college and having Physics A-Level will likely increase your chances. You will also need to pass STEP as any other Maths applicant would.
Original post by Squiggles1238
I wouldn’t say that applying in the hopes of changing course when you get to cambridge is a good idea. Apply for the course you actually want to do or don’t apply there at all
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, there is a chance that not doing all your A levels in the same year might be frowned upon, but it’s best to check this by talking to the admissions team of the college you’d like to apply to

I won’t be changing course. I will apply as a Bionatsci student, and take biology interviews and tests etc. but should I get in i will switch to phys natsci. I think this should be fine since both bio and physical natsci fall under same degree and one only picks their modules after they get an offer
Reply 8
Original post by Fermat42647
I won’t be changing course. I will apply as a Bionatsci student, and take biology interviews and tests etc. but should I get in i will switch to phys natsci. I think this should be fine since both bio and physical natsci fall under same degree and one only picks their modules after they get an offer

Your challenge though might be deciding what to focus on in your personal statement? If you've now decided that you want to do Physics at you other 4 UCAS choices, you need to focus on that in your PS, which will make it very unlikely that Cambridge will accept you for Bio NatSci. If you do the opposite and focus on Bio/Chem, it will look very odd for your other unis where you are applying for Physics.

BTW, why the change of heart? Presumably, last year when you chose your A-levels you were not planning to do a Physics degree? Where you looking to go down the medicine route, or found that you don't like bio/che as much as you thought you would?
Original post by lalexm
Your challenge though might be deciding what to focus on in your personal statement? If you've now decided that you want to do Physics at you other 4 UCAS choices, you need to focus on that in your PS, which will make it very unlikely that Cambridge will accept you for Bio NatSci. If you do the opposite and focus on Bio/Chem, it will look very odd for your other unis where you are applying for Physics.
BTW, why the change of heart? Presumably, last year when you chose your A-levels you were not planning to do a Physics degree? Where you looking to go down the medicine route, or found that you don't like bio/che as much as you thought you would?

Yeah thats true. I think what I will do is take the current subjects I have rn (math, FM, bio, chem) and only apply to cambridge Bionatsci this year ( so on my PS the only thing I write about is Bio), If i then dont get in, I will take a gap year and take physics, then apply again to cambridge and four other unis for Physics only (so my PS will then be on physics).

Essentially the reason I want to switch is that, when picking my options, i wanted to keep as many science and maths lanes open as possible, and I couldn’t take 5, so I thought that if i really wanted to do physics later on I could just apply for a maths course and switch to physics. I now realise thats not practical and I dont think I can get in for maths at Cambridge.
Reply 10
Original post by Fermat42647
Yeah thats true. I think what I will do is take the current subjects I have rn (math, FM, bio, chem) and only apply to cambridge Bionatsci this year ( so on my PS the only thing I write about is Bio), If i then dont get in, I will take a gap year and take physics, then apply again to cambridge and four other unis for Physics only (so my PS will then be on physics).
Essentially the reason I want to switch is that, when picking my options, i wanted to keep as many science and maths lanes open as possible, and I couldn’t take 5, so I thought that if i really wanted to do physics later on I could just apply for a maths course and switch to physics. I now realise thats not practical and I dont think I can get in for maths at Cambridge.

If your plan is Camb Bionatsci, or failing that gap year, it makes sense to focus your PS that, but I think you should still use your other 4 options just in case you have a change to heart at get into somewhere you want to go. You have nothing to lose by using them.
if I don’t get in for bionatsci, take gap year and do physics in that gap year then apply to physnatsci , is that ok with unis/allowed ? Also would you say it is uncommon/a bad idea to take a gap year for this reason? (please be honest I don’t mind criticism I just want to see if my decision is sensible)

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending