Cambridge(/oxford) Interview Advice

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Goat
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#1
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#1
I have applied to Cambridge for Computer Science but my GCSEs arent that good compared to most oxbridge applicants. (2A*,7A, 1B, 1C). I got AAAA at AS level.

I think they will ask me about this so should I admit that didnt try as hard as I should have done in year 10/11, or is it better to say that I didnt like the subjects? Or both?

Any other advice anyone can give? Is there any way I can prepare for the Maths questions they will ask in the interview? Do I need a reason for not having done further maths?
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by Goat)
I have applied to Cambridge for Computer Science but my GCSEs arent that good compared to most oxbridge applicants. (2A*,7A, 1B, 1C). I got AAAA at AS level.

I think they will ask me about this so should I admit that didnt try as hard as I should have done in year 10/11, or is it better to say that I didnt like the subjects? Or both?

Any other advice anyone can give? Is there any way I can prepare for the Maths questions they will ask in the interview? Do I need a reason for not having done further maths?
I dont think it sounds good if you say that you didnt try. Just say that you have improved from GCSE to Alevel and that you will continue to do so.
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kildare
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(Original post by Goat)
I have applied to Cambridge for Computer Science but my GCSEs arent that good compared to most oxbridge applicants. (2A*,7A, 1B, 1C). I got AAAA at AS level.

I think they will ask me about this so should I admit that didnt try as hard as I should have done in year 10/11, or is it better to say that I didnt like the subjects? Or both?

Any other advice anyone can give? Is there any way I can prepare for the Maths questions they will ask in the interview? Do I need a reason for not having done further maths?
Say you just developed a bit later that some people and feel that you now, having reached the appropriate level of intellectual maturity were keen to really devote yourself to your subject at degree level. Or something.
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Goat
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(Original post by Ralfskini)
I dont think it sounds good if you say that you didnt try. Just say that you have improved from GCSE to Alevel and that you will continue to do so.
What if I say my work mentality improved from GCSE to A level?
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kildare
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(Original post by Goat)
What if I say my work mentality improved from GCSE to A level?
Yea, saying that there was a marked improvement in your "work ethic" wouldn't be a bad idea I suppose.
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by Goat)
What if I say my work mentality improved from GCSE to A level?
Personally, I would try to maintain that my mentality has always been good, rather than suggesting that I may not have had the correct mindset in earlier years.
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Goat
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(Original post by Ralfskini)
Personally, I would try to maintain that my mentality has always been good, rather than suggesting that I may not have had the correct mindset in earlier years.
But wouldnt it look like I am good at maths and physics (they were the 2A*) but not that good at other subjects?

Or is A a reasonable GCSE grade for an oxbridge candidate? (The C was in Art so doesnt really matter, althought the B was in English.)

It seems that everyone has nearly all A*s and the odd A.
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Juwel
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Hmmph Goat's GCSEs are better than mine, and I'm also an Oxbridge applicant. Oh well if they ask I will say I coasted it, but have since bucked up my ideas for A-Level...
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by Goat)
But wouldnt it look like I am good at maths and physics (they were the 2A*) but not that good at other subjects?

Or is A a reasonable GCSE grade for an oxbridge candidate? (The C was in Art so doesnt really matter, althought the B was in English.)

It seems that everyone has nearly all A*s and the odd A.
Well I think its better than putting it down to a lack of effort. Those GCSE grades sound good to me and I dont see the need to do any explaining.
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Goat
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(Original post by ZJuwelH)
Hmmph Goat's GCSEs are better than mine, and I'm also an Oxbridge applicant. Oh well if they ask I will say I coasted it, but have since bucked up my ideas for A-Level...
What did you get for GCSE then? Did you go to a dodgy school though?
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Juwel
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(Original post by Goat)
What did you get for GCSE then? Did you go to a dodgy school though?
I got 3 A*, 4 A, 1 B and 3 C. My school was far from dodgy, one of the best in the area, but I just literally coasted it. I didn't hand in a single coursework sheet for Graphics, just a brilliant board game and the exam. Least that laziness is being sorted now...
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Goat
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#12
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(Original post by ZJuwelH)
Hmmph Goat's GCSEs are better than mine, and I'm also an Oxbridge applicant. Oh well if they ask I will say I coasted it, but have since bucked up my ideas for A-Level...
If you say you coasted at GCSE when you were under pressure from teachers they may think you will coast at uni cos there's no pressure.

Its difficult to know what to say - hopefully they wont ask.
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theone
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(Original post by Goat)
If you say you coasted at GCSE when you were under pressure from teachers they may think you will coast at uni cos there's no pressure.

Its difficult to know what to say - hopefully they wont ask.
One of the most important things they're looking for is self-motivation in my opinion, so i'd be very reluctant to say you were being lazy or anything...
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aliel
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(Original post by ZJuwelH)
I got 3 A*, 4 A, 1 B and 3 C. My school was far from dodgy, one of the best in the area, but I just literally coasted it. I didn't hand in a single coursework sheet for Graphics, just a brilliant board game and the exam. Least that laziness is being sorted now...

i think those grades are great, they care how good you are in the particular subject u are applying for than anything else. I am sure u will do fine
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Pollo Loco
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(Original post by ZJuwelH)
I got 3 A*, 4 A, 1 B and 3 C. My school was far from dodgy, one of the best in the area, but I just literally coasted it. I didn't hand in a single coursework sheet for Graphics, just a brilliant board game and the exam. Least that laziness is being sorted now...
Although unis are now looking at AS results GCSE results are still considered.

Depends on the uni how much weight is given.
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Juwel
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(Original post by Goat)
If you say you coasted at GCSE when you were under pressure from teachers they may think you will coast at uni cos there's no pressure.

Its difficult to know what to say - hopefully they wont ask.
Though when you coast it like I did, you disregard the pressure. You enter a state of mind where you don't give a damn, about either your grades or what people have to say about them. And to be honest GCSEs aren't worth all that much to be giving a damn about. But degree level is different, is more than worth giving a damn about. Oh well if I give Cambridge the impression that I have the attitude you described, at least I have Manchester...
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Juwel
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(Original post by aliel)
i think those grades are great, they care how good you are in the particular subject u are applying for than anything else. I am sure u will do fine
Thanks! Well I constantly achieve top grades in my chosen subject of Maths, and there's not questioning my motivation in that field. I will be fine!
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Goat
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(Original post by ZJuwelH)
Thanks! Well I constantly achieve top grades in my chosen subject of Maths, and there's not questioning my motivation in that field. I will be fine!
Have you done anything to prepare for the Maths questions that theyre gonna ask you?
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Juwel
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#19
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(Original post by Goat)
Have you done anything to prepare for the Maths questions that theyre gonna ask you?
Oops!!!
Err I'm not sure I could effectively prepare for them, I will just go as I am. Though continuing my casual revision should work out.
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Bumblebee3
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#20
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(Original post by Goat)
I have applied to Cambridge for Computer Science but my GCSEs arent that good compared to most oxbridge applicants. (2A*,7A, 1B, 1C). I got AAAA at AS level.

I think they will ask me about this so should I admit that didnt try as hard as I should have done in year 10/11, or is it better to say that I didnt like the subjects? Or both?

Any other advice anyone can give? Is there any way I can prepare for the Maths questions they will ask in the interview? Do I need a reason for not having done further maths?

Say that you found A'levels much more engaging and as a result, you worked harder. It modestly implies that GCSEs were too easy for you. Don't worry about GCSE grades, mine were not much better than yours and they didn't make an issue of it. The level you can achieve now is the most important bit. Good luck! (What college btw?)
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