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Chances of getting an offer from Cambridge Uni

IStudyPhysicsIStudyPhysics 9 replies1 threads New Member
I am currently a junior taking 3 AP Courses. My weighted gpa is 4.43 and I would like to apply to Cambridge University as an astrophysics major. I currently have 2 fives in AP test. I will also be taking 5 ap tests this may and possibly getting 5s on 3-4 of them. My SAT for math is 770 while my english is struggling at 630. Although English is my second-language. Does Cambridge take into consideration the fact that I’m not a native speaker when evaluating my sat scores? Also what chances do I have at getting an offer?
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Replies to: Chances of getting an offer from Cambridge Uni

  • Twoin18Twoin18 2192 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Do you realize that Astrophysics is a Part 2 (i.e. third year only) course? You need to apply for either math or physics (Nat Sci) for the first two years.

    For the former the key question is how good are you at math - you ought to at least be an AIME qualifier or equivalent standard and you would have to go well beyond Calc BC to have equivalent depth to UK students. The STEP papers are also very badly timed for taking them as a senior, but it's extremely tough to cover enough material as a junior (though that's what I would try). A 770 math score isn't that impressive I'm afraid, regardless of the English score, you'll need to do more (i.e. on the AMC-12) to be convincing.

    So that leaves Nat Sci, where you take three science courses so you can't avoid taking either Chem or Bio as well as physics (and you'd better have a 5 in those AP courses). Is that really what you want to do?
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  • IStudyPhysicsIStudyPhysics 9 replies1 threads New Member
    I already have 5s in ap Physics1/2 and already taking AP calc BC and ap biology this year. I have just looked into AMC-12 and hopefully will try to take it this year; where I will take AP chem my senior year. Should I still try to take the STEP Paper this year? 770 was from my sophomore year so i think i could ahcieve an 800 this year. I will be looking to apply into Nat Sci Physics, but do they really take into account my knowledge in other fields? I heard that they look for students with very specialized skillsets in one subject area. I think I will also be doing research at some university in the upcoming summer as well.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 2192 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Natural Sciences is a broader course, and more for experimentalist, whereas Math is for the theoretician. NatSci is very unusual for the UK in that it isn't one subject, and even if you want to do physics, you still have to take another science (usually chemistry for UK students) for two years. Single sciences are offered at Oxford if all you want to do is physics.

    So if you apply for NatSci and indicate a focus on physical rather than biological sciences you would very likely have an interview in both physics and chemistry. The testing protocol makes the timing better compared to STEP math but check that you have covered the material by trying the past papers.

    FWIW I was admitted for NatSci (many years ago) but switched to math during my gap year, as I definitely preferred theory, I liked chemistry but not physics and (most importantly for me at that point) math was far less work, because you didn't have labs. I think admissions were slightly easier for Nat Sci than for math back then. No idea if that is still true.

    With respect to what tests to take, do the things you'll get top marks in. If you can get a 1 or an S in STEP then do it, if not then don't. There are plenty of past papers to try. You have to disclose all scores so a bad mark is more of a negative than not taking it. For that reason don't do lots of retakes of SAT/ACT etc.

    @QuantMech might be able to weigh in on some of the math vs Nat Sci differences too.
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