Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I'm applying for architecture at Cambridge for 2010. (I've completed my first year in a different subject at another university, and want to change my degree). Do Cambridge check A level retake grades? Overall, my grades are good (17 GCSE's with 2A* and 6A, A levels: AAAD) the reason being, my school entered students to take their A levels a year early, however, they never fully completed the syllabus on time. So they kept entered us to resit the units we hadn't covered properly. So, looking back, I retook some units like 4 times. Do you have to state that on a Cambridge application, and do they mind?
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    4 times? I am disgusted.
    On the serious side I thought you only retake a further 3 times...
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by impervious)
    4 times? I am disgusted.
    On the serious side I thought you only retake a further 3 times...
    I lost count lol but looking over my ancient results statements, it looks like I retook a few modules about 4 times, others twice or thrice. The couple I retook 4 times went up from like E to A though, so it has to be good, right? The point is, that I was entered early without the right preparation, and only fully covered the syllabus by the 2nd or 3rd resit. I got the best results in my school, and I went to a state comprehensive, so do you think Cambridge would take that into account?
    thanks
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    you have the qualification of an A grade and deserve it so I don't think it should matter how many times you took the exam?
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Bugger me, 17 GCSEs? Wow :P
    Also to answer your question, yes they do. But it shouldn't matter given the circumstances, especially since you've improved (that shows focus, determination, yadda yadda)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Kinsula)
    Bugger me, 17 GCSEs? Wow :P
    Also to answer your question, yes they do. But it shouldn't matter given the circumstances, especially since you've improved (that shows focus, determination, yadda yadda)
    2 were GNVQ's which counted for 4 GCSE's each. It was sodding hard. A 'guinea pig' was the term the school used for me at the time lol.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    As I understand, you have to fill in the scores of all the modules you've taken, including resits, on the SAQ.

    Who will be your referee? You'll have to get them to explain your situation in that.
    Although, I'm sure you must be exaggerating at least a little. Why would a school even attempt to teach (mainstream) students a whole a level in one year as normal, let alone enter them for the exams? What would be the point? Don't schools get more funding if they get better results? :confused:
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AnonyMatt)
    As I understand, you have to fill in the scores of all the modules you've taken, including resits, on the SAQ.

    Who will be your referee? You'll have to get them to explain your situation in that.
    Although, I'm sure you must be exaggerating at least a little. Why would a school even attempt to teach (mainstream) students a whole a level in one year as normal, let alone enter them for the exams? What would be the point? Don't schools get more funding if they get better results? :confused:
    Basically, I started the A levels a year early (because I started my GCSE's a year early also). And they literally entered us for the exams that year, but because the teachers didn't really see us as priorities (because we had a further 2 years to do the exams), they didn't bother to try and cover the whole syllabus before the exams. aaarg lol. I'm going back to my school to get references, and I'll have a reference from my university advisor, which should help. Hoping I can create an impressive enough portfolio for them to gloss over the exam retakes lol. Although I've never made a portfolio before, but it's going well so far :yes:
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    mainstream schools do special things sometimes lol. For a couple of us, it worked out great. For others, not so great, but hey.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Er, well I retook a fair few modules (which you do have to declare) and got in, but then I did explain why. I'm afraid resits do count against you (why take on someone who had to do it twice when there are several others who did it first time of asking?), but if the reasoning's good, they also understand. I think it depends who's judging you to an extent and it could go either way (i.e. they could appreciate the reasoning or just judge you for the worse). 3/4 resits doesn't sound particularly encouraging and Architecture is obscenely competitive, even by Cambridge standards, so academically, I'll be honest, it'll be hard as you'll be playing catch-up, but it's quite probable they'd give you an interview with a decent PS as you have AAA, so you'll just have to shine that bit brighter then.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by thatguy_25)
    mainstream schools do special things sometimes lol. For a couple of us, it worked out great. For others, not so great, but hey.
    I'm afraid if that's how things went, then perhaps you'll still be looked down upon.
    You should have taken some responsibility. You can't be entered for exams without permission. If you didn't think you were prepared, then you shouldn't have been entered. Likewise, you really should have taken some initiative in your own education. Perhaps, being one step ahead, you had the luxury of having everything set out for you nice and neatly in your later years. Everyone else who went at the usual pace had to do some element of self-study, whether it's touching up just 1 module, or the bulk of 3 or more.

    I still don't understand though.
    Are you saying that your school entered you for AS exams the same year you started?
    If so, then you have no excuse. Your bad module scores will go against you.
    Are you saying your school entered you for (some) A2 exams in the year you started AS?
    If so, then the bad module scores will likely be discounted.
    Are you saying you did your A levels over 3 years?
    This will go against you even more, at any university.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AnonyMatt)
    I'm afraid if that's how things went, then perhaps you'll still be looked down upon.
    You should have taken some responsibility. You can't be entered for exams without permission. If you didn't think you were prepared, then you shouldn't have been entered. Likewise, you really should have taken some initiative in your own education. Perhaps, being one step ahead, you had the luxury of having everything set out for you nice and neatly in your later years. Everyone else who went at the usual pace had to do some element of self-study, whether it's touching up just 1 module, or the bulk of 3 or more.

    I still don't understand though.
    Are you saying that your school entered you for AS exams the same year you started?
    If so, then you have no excuse. Your bad module scores will go against you.
    Are you saying your school entered you for (some) A2 exams in the year you started AS?
    If so, then the bad module scores will likely be discounted.
    Are you saying you did your A levels over 3 years?
    This will go against you even more, at any university.
    Crikey, calm down - no need to put the fear of God into him yet!

    As all these things do, it will vary from college to college as to how your module results are viewed. However, the official line is that colleges understand many schools put students in early for exams (regardless of student 'consent' - which is a debatable thing at 6th form level anyway). You will certainly not be the only candidate with retakes. However, I think the more important thing will be your switch from another university and another subject. You might have to send a reference from your previous university, so make sure it's good! Architecture at Cambridge is extremely competitive, so at this stage you're probably better off thinking how you can improve your application, rather than how bad grades you already have might be. Have you looked at colleges? Do you know if you'll be required to send in written works/projects? Have you done any work experience? etc.

    Good luck!
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lidka)
    Crikey, calm down - no need to put the fear of God into him yet!
    :rofl:
    I'm not trying to scare the OP into thinking they have no chance, I'm just trying to explain how their excuses stand in their situation. :p:

    (Original post by Lidka)
    However, the official line is that colleges understand many schools put students in early for exams (regardless of student 'consent' - which is a debatable thing at 6th form level anyway). You will certainly not be the only candidate with retakes.
    Does the word early really belong here? :p:
    The Autumn term is more than enough to complete a module if taught properly. As I said in my first post in this thread, a school is not really likely to enter candidates if they haven't covered the material.
    I do know that sometimes January AS exams are sometimes compulsory, maybe to test how well the subjects are being taught and whether or not the school should let candidates take exams in January in the future.
    This doesn't cover 2 or more retakes though.

    I'm just saying that, fair enough is the school didn't teach a module properly in time for the first sitting, but the second sitting would have been at least 4 months later, which is more than enough time to prepare. :p:
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AnonyMatt)
    :rofl:
    I'm not trying to scare the OP into thinking they have no chance, I'm just trying to explain how their excuses stand in their situation. :p:



    Does the word early really belong here? :p:
    The Autumn term is more than enough to complete a module if taught properly. As I said in my first post in this thread, a school is not really likely to enter candidates if they haven't covered the material.
    I do know that sometimes January AS exams are sometimes compulsory, maybe to test how well the subjects are being taught and whether or not the school should let candidates take exams in January in the future.
    This doesn't cover 2 or more retakes though.

    I'm just saying that, fair enough is the school didn't teach a module properly in time for the first sitting, but the second sitting would have been at least 4 months later, which is more than enough time to prepare. :p:
    Well, I can see how you look upon my retakes as a pure, ignorant failing. They really weren't. But I do understand that Cambridge will see it that way unless they have some reasoning on my behalf. In most of the resists, I did OK to begin with, but retook them anyway to try and get those few extra points which could make or break an A. Let's say, I went to a college where few students apply to university, let alone Cambridge. There were a few problems which lead to the multiple retakes. Firstly, over the course of my A level Physics and chemistry, I literally had 5 different teachers, all teaching at different levels and styles. Secondly, as my college was fairly small and understaffed, staggering my A levels over 3 years meant I could take 4 subjects rather than just 3 (which most people did before). And as I said, because I wasn't seen as a 'priority' in the eyes of my teachers (as I had the extra year spare), there was never any urgency to finish the curriculum in time for exams. It was all very messy, and I was often given the false advise that I should enter the exam regardless, in the view that I could just take it again. I now see that it is a pitfall in a Cambridge application. I guess I need my school to come up with a reasonable explanation for the retakes. However, I was told by my local grammar school, that Cambridge take into consideration the reputation of the school. Is that right? For example, the grammar school (who are helping with my application) told me that if I'd retaken the exams at their school, I'd have no chance of getting in. But, because I've come from a 'poor' (excuse the expression) school, they overlook some things? In terms of work experience, I haven't had a job before, but I intend on getting a placement during my gap year next year. I was head of the student council, did alot of volunteering with things and have done alot in terms of extra curricular both at school and in my first year at uni, so I'm hoping that will also help.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lidka)
    Crikey, calm down - no need to put the fear of God into him yet!

    As all these things do, it will vary from college to college as to how your module results are viewed. However, the official line is that colleges understand many schools put students in early for exams (regardless of student 'consent' - which is a debatable thing at 6th form level anyway). You will certainly not be the only candidate with retakes. However, I think the more important thing will be your switch from another university and another subject. You might have to send a reference from your previous university, so make sure it's good! Architecture at Cambridge is extremely competitive, so at this stage you're probably better off thinking how you can improve your application, rather than how bad grades you already have might be. Have you looked at colleges? Do you know if you'll be required to send in written works/projects? Have you done any work experience? etc.

    Good luck!
    In terms of my 'course switch', the reasoning is that I want to take a masters in sustainable architecture, I always have. It's just that I've only recently realised they only take applicants with a first degree in architecture. Environmental science just isn't enough. (I'll emphasise to Cambridge that I've raised my ambitions and that the course last year simply wasn't stretching me enough, which it wasn't)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    thanks for everyone's different input so far. If anything, it's giving me more things to think about and stress in my statement, and hopefully prepare me better for the application.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AnonyMatt)
    I'm afraid if that's how things went, then perhaps you'll still be looked down upon.
    You should have taken some responsibility. You can't be entered for exams without permission. If you didn't think you were prepared, then you shouldn't have been entered. Likewise, you really should have taken some initiative in your own education. Perhaps, being one step ahead, you had the luxury of having everything set out for you nice and neatly in your later years. Everyone else who went at the usual pace had to do some element of self-study, whether it's touching up just 1 module, or the bulk of 3 or more.

    I still don't understand though.
    Are you saying that your school entered you for AS exams the same year you started?
    If so, then you have no excuse. Your bad module scores will go against you.
    Are you saying your school entered you for (some) A2 exams in the year you started AS?
    If so, then the bad module scores will likely be discounted.
    Are you saying you did your A levels over 3 years?
    This will go against you even more, at any university.
    just to clarify AnonyMatt, the whole year group took the A levels early (not just me). Few people got anywhere near the grades I got. I also had only 3 lessons a week in each subject, whereas other schools locally had 6. So, it took a hell of a lot of extra work to come anywhere near to preparing intime for the exams. (I don't meant to be defensive, but I just want to make sure people realise my situation before judging)
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by thatguy_25)
    Well, I can see how you look upon my retakes as a pure, ignorant failing.
    Oh, no! Really, no. Like has been said above, almost everyone will have retakes.

    (Original post by thatguy_25)
    Secondly, as my college was fairly small and understaffed, staggering my A levels over 3 years meant I could take 4 subjects rather than just 3 (which most people did before).
    This is what I was waiting to see. If you have records of modules taken all over a 3 year period, it will not go down well. A levels are meant to be completed within 2 years, and universities want to see what you can do within that time. I know it's not your fault that they were done over 3 years, but there's nothing you can do about it now.
    [/quote]

    (Original post by thatguy_25)
    I guess I need my school to come up with a reasonable explanation for the retakes. However, I was told by my local grammar school, that Cambridge take into consideration the reputation of the school. Is that right? For example, the grammar school (who are helping with my application) told me that if I'd retaken the exams at their school, I'd have no chance of getting in. But, because I've come from a 'poor' (excuse the expression) school, they overlook some things? In terms of work experience, I haven't had a job before, but I intend on getting a placement during my gap year next year. I was head of the student council, did alot of volunteering with things and have done alot in terms of extra curricular both at school and in my first year at uni, so I'm hoping that will also help.
    This is the reason I've bene so interested in this thread. You've been negligent of your own education here, and your school can't really make excuses. That you had to do more than 1 retake for the same module in some cases shows that really, when it comes down to it, you've had your education spoon fed to you. What I've gathered from open days and talking with tutors, they want to see your potential and whether you can cope with independent study. This is why those retakes will go against you.
    You just need to find some other way to show how you've done something yourself in terms of the subject you want to study.

    They don't take your school into account at all. You may want to look at the special access programme if you think your school was that bad, but come on, how bad can your school be when people take GCSEs and A levels a year early?
    Don't listen to what anyone but an admissions tutor will tell you about your chances. Everyone has a chance.

    Also, extra curriculars are just about ignored at Cambridge. Other universities care, so you need to include them in your PS, but Cambridge just don't. About the work placement, I can't help you there. I don't know whether it's important for your subject.

    And to respond to your last post, lessons don't mean anything unless you say how long they were. I had 4 lessons a week for all of my subjects. This means alot more when I tell you that I had 5 hours teaching time a week per subject.

    All you can do is apply and hope for the best.
    Yes, you do need to declare all module scores, and yes, they do take it into account.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AnonyMatt)
    O
    They don't take your school into account at all. You may want to look at the special access programme if you think your school was that bad, but come on, how bad can your school be when people take GCSEs and A levels a year early?
    Don't listen to what anyone but an admissions tutor will tell you about your chances. Everyone has a chance.
    :rolleyes: They most certainly DO take your school into account. A score is counted pre-interview for each candidate that takes into account their grades against the school's attainment level. Any admissions tutor will tell you that.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lidka)
    :rolleyes: They most certainly DO take your school into account. A score is counted pre-interview for each candidate that takes into account their grades against the school's attainment level. Any admissions tutor will tell you that.
    I really meant whether they go to a state school or not.

    But while we're on the subject, really? I've always been told by everyone I've spoken to at Cambridge that they don't take it into account at all, unless you're in the special access scheme.

    What does a school's attainment level have to do with anything?
 
 
 
Poll
Which accompaniment is best?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.