I am looking to apply to cambridge or oxford to expand my horizons. I know they are very hard to get into, but just want to increase my chances by expanding my borders.
I have written a personal statement and am preparing for the TMUA and MAT. I know you can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge. However, while doing research for Cambridge qualifications, a few inconsistent details came up that I want to clarify.
First, Cambridge explicitly says that they need 5 5’s on APs. However, I have only taken 4 and scored 5 on all of them. I know Cambridge gives conditional offers to UK students, so they have to report their score after they are accepted. Is the same for US students? Can I apply, then take a single AP test afterwards and report that I got a 5?
Second, are their GPA requirements for US students? Online people say it is a 3.7 gpa but I cannot find any source on the official page which says so. Could anyone clarify this? Is there a similar GPA requirement for Oxford?
Lastly, they mention needing SAT 2 scores but obviously this year that was discontinued. Are they creating a policy for exceptions because of that. Their website seems to not be updated to that extent.
If the website does not mention a fixed GPA requirement, there is no fixed GPA requirement. “High passing marks” is what they say they require, and the level of detail here as opposed to “5 AP scores at grade 5” shows you exactly how much weight they place on GPA, ie very little.
Cambridge has never, to my knowledge, accepted SAT2 scores. Don’t read up on the internet. Read the official website. They do not mention SAT2 at all.
Yes, you can aim for a conditional offer and take additional AP tests after admission, or you could just apply at Oxford, which is fine with four.
However, if you want really useful advice, let us know exactly which courses you are aiming to apply for, which APs you have taken (all of them, in case you have taken more than four but didn’t score a grade 5) and which you are aiming to still take.
I will defer to the Cambridge experts like @collegemom3717 and @Twoin18, but my son chose to apply to Oxford versus Cambridge for maths because of the difference in admissions testing/timing.
With Oxford, you submit your UCAS on 10/15, sit the MAT the first week of November, get shortlisted for interview by Thanksgiving, interview in December and know if you have an offer by early January. Depending on your APs in hand, your offer will either based on your existing AP scores or conditional on a 5 score in 2022.
With Cambridge maths, if you haven’t already completed the STEP paper process, I think the STEP III paper is given in June/July. Don’t know the timing of the first two. You wouldn’t know for sure if you had passed the third paper (and have a slot) until then. My son didn’t want that level of uncertainty so late in the year. I don’t think the TUMA satisfies the Cambridge Maths admissions requirement, only the three STEP papers.
If you are going to apply to Oxford, you are cutting it very close for the MAT. The deadline for the test center to register you with Oxford is this Friday (Oct. 15) which means that you have to be registered with the test center before then in order for them to notify Oxford. With Monday a holiday, Tuesday might be too late.
TMUA is a pre-interview/pre-offer test used mostly by non-Oxbridge universities (equivalent to MAT at Oxford). At Cambridge it is only used as the pre-interview test for Computer Science (see Cambridge pre-interview assessments | Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing for the full list of tests). As @HazeGrey noted, maths requires STEP instead, and the results for that don’t come out until mid August when A level results are released.
So I assume you are only looking at CS at Cambridge not maths? It would help if you specified what APs you have already done and which are in progress. If your earlier ones are irrelevant (eg English or foreign language) but you are taking multiple relevant tests this year, it is quite possible for your conditional offer to require 5s in all relevant AP tests and so your offer would not be confirmed until July. You would therefore have to choose a US alternative and deposit there as a backup.
From other threads, OP appears to be headed towards Comp Sci (which requires the TAMU, but not the STEP papers), has 5’s in Comp Sci, Calc BC, USHx and Chem, and is scheduled to take Physics 1, Stats, Lit, and “Gov/Econ” this year. ECs are listed as:
OP, in one of your other threads you note that having both Comp Sci and Cog Sci is essential. You understand that neither the Ox nor the Bridge Comp Sci programs have the option for any element of Cog Sci (& vice-versa), yes?
Seems like a very weak senior year course load. And no AP Eng Lang or foreign language? I’d expect to see Physics C and MVC being taken by a credible candidate. Cambridge want to see you taking courses to challenge yourself.
Thanks for the response. I am aware of the lack of cognitive science and am fine with that. So in terms of the conditional offer, do you think I have AP tests that are relevant (if you have knowledge about that)?
I see. Our school does not offer AP english language so I choose AP literature instead. Also we do not have a multivariable calculus course, and the highest we are offered is AP Statistics, but I guess I should have looked outside of school and do a dual/concurrent enrollment. Do you think that Oxford as the same level of expectation for course rigor?
You guidance counselor/reference writer should (must) explain the lack of higher level courses, but seeking out more challenging options for self study is definitely seen as a positive. I would at least register and study for Physics C. Doing a Calc 3 community college course next semester (and stating that you intend to take it on your application) would also be a good choice.
English Lit instead of Lang is ok if explained. Lack of a foreign language AP is ok if you at least have done some foreign language courses.
The three that Oxford relied on for my son’s Maths & CS offer were CS A, Calc BC and Physics C (Mechanics). Not sure if Chem would be viewed as a relevant AP or if Stats/Physics 1 would be viewed as challenging enough. Might want to reach out to the Oxford CS Department if that is going to be your choice.
I’m going to reply to this for future students. My daughter was accepted to Cambridge from a US high school. She already had 5 APs (more actually) so her offer was “unconditional”, but that is not normal. Normally UK students are admitted based on their predicted scores on A-levels (like APs though more rigorous in the English/History and perhaps less rigorous in Mathematics) and so you can too be admitted with a conditional offer based on your projected AP score. It’s a lot of pressure, of course, to know you need a 5 on AP in May to secure your spot. I think my daughter was successful because in addition to the APs and a perfect ACT, she interviewed well because she had “read around” her area of study. You could do worse than she did on ACT and still impress if you’re really well read or engaged in your area. I suspect that in an academic interview (as opposed to US interviews which focus on other stuff) it is easier to tell who is really passionate/engaged/well read. Start with the reading list for first years in your area…and have an an answer for the inevitable “why do you want to go to uni in the UK?” question.
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