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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:02 pm
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Any advice KB. Guest 55 and Kenyacowgirl?

Feeling at a loss; DC (9A*s GCSEs) does nothing other than football both at school and Sunday League.
Doing Maths, FM, Physics, Econs AS - DC says wants to do maths at Camb. or Oxf - although not getting off backside to do anything about it

Has never joined a debating society (did Bronze DOE) - is it too late to think of Oxbridge?
I've read about Critical studies and EPQ - is this all necessary or should DC just hope for good grades?

Thanks for advice :x


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:13 am 
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Oxbridge not too fussed about extra curricular stuff, or so they always say.

All want to see an interest in the subject ++

Oxbridge just want the best mathematicians and will set more tests to find them.

Cambridge in particular want the STEP exam and over offer ++ as many will not get the grades


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:16 am 
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Cambridge aren't that bothered about 'activities' just academics.

They need high AS UMS (over 90) for Cambridge and a brief comment on any skills from football e.g. 'working as a team'. He needs to read some maths books so he can show 'wider interest' and start thinking about doing UKMT senior challenge (if school do it). He'll need STEP for Cambridge and MAT for Oxford.

https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/prospective-students

http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/ especially http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad/ad ... /guide.pdf


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:25 am 
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Wouldn't worry about non-mathematical stuff for Oxbridge, but do check that this is the course he actually want to do. The maths course at Oxford in particular is quite pure, and the choice of college can be very important as you will end up pushed towards the papers that your college tutors specialise in in my experience. He does need to be reading and showing a wider-than-school interest in maths though.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:33 am 
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I think there are certain courses that definitely require lots of extra-curricular activities, such as medicine. There are many others where academics are all. i have been to open days for physics and biology at RG universities where the admission tutors have said that they do not even look at personal statements. I shouldn't worry too much.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:03 pm 
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Absolutely agree that extra curricular isn't important - he can present the football stuff in a positive light - but exploring the subject beyond the classroom is critical

I would advise looking carefully at course options though. Maths at Cambridge is incredibly competitive and as above, the content of courses varies greatly.

Its easy for students to go for what they know about but there are lots of other opportunities at degree level and exploring some of these might also help with demonstrating passion in the PS.
Examples that come immediately to mind: economics, econometrics, mathematical physics, theoretical physics, actuarial studies, engineering....


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:42 pm 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Has he ever done (through the school) any of the Maths Challenges? See http://www.ukmt.org.uk/

Does he love mathematical puzzling and read books ABOUT maths for fun ? (Fermat's Last Theorem, anything by Marcus de Sautoy, Iain Stewart etc). Maybe buy one for Christmas and see whether it stays unread...

Or is he just naturally quick at solving problems so is choosing subjects that don't involve any essays and leave more time for football? !

With Maths & Physics he could apply for engineering - he needs perhaps to visit some university departments so see which side of things grabs him most


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:30 am
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Location: Harrow
I was just about to ask about Maths Challenges (I think you can also enter as an individual and the senior ones coming up in just over a month) but noticed that solimum has already asked, and also covered engineering etc.

Extra curricular are not so important, but showing an active interest in the subject is.

also my DD only fully solidified what she wanted to do after visiting a few university open days for her subject and closely related ones.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Check with school physics and Tech depts for various 'engineering' projects run for schools.

Many schools also run finance/ economics/ business schemes that will broaden horizons ( and be helpful for PS if decides to take a more 'applied' course).

General advice is not to undertake things with sole purpose of PS but to investigate/develop avenues of potential interest. Even if some turn out to be dead ends they can be useful for explaining choices ( basic example : enjoyed maths, explored applications such as economics, engineering, but came back to pure because....)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Yes I find it sad when extra-curricular activities are encouraged purely for their supposed benefit on a UCAS form. Interviewers could I guess use such things as perhaps an easy starting point to a conversation to put people at their ease - no good if the answer to "what do you enjoy most about playing the flugelhorn?" is "uh, I dunno.." . Better to have an honest enjoyment of football (and to be the person in charge of collecting subs or arranging the end-of-season party ) than a pretend enjoyment of philosophy (and vice versa of course...).

Mind you it is also sad that some DC never get the opportunities to even try some of the exciting extra activities that our DC may not be interested in, but that's another matter....


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