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AP Count for Cambridge Maths??

alprgunesalprgunes 23 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
I have received 5s from the following AP Exams:
Calculus BC
Physics C: Mechanics
Physics C: E&M
Chemistry
Macroeconomics
Microeconomics

In Cambridge's website, it was stated that the minimum requirement is five APs with grades of 5 on relevant subjects. However, my concern is that are the AP exams above enough to fulfil this requirement? Do 2 different Physics C exams count as 2 different APs? Is it same for Micro/Macroeconomics?
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Replies to: AP Count for Cambridge Maths??

  • Twoin18Twoin18 1424 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,440 Senior Member
    By far the most important test is the STEP, which is very poorly timed for US applicants (exam in June, results in mid August), and any offer would be conditional on that (see https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate-admissions/what-qualifications-do-i-need). So worrying about exactly how many APs you've done prior to senior year is not that relevant, if that's your question.

    Have you looked at the STEP papers? And do you have other math achievements in AMC/AIME/AMO? That counts for a lot (e.g. IMO level is basically auto admit) since APs are generally regarded as pretty easy tests.

    The inability to get an unconditional offer from Cambridge in math is why most Americans would choose Oxford over Cambridge, even though Cambridge math is generally more highly regarded in the UK. The timing of the results make choosing a US backup very hard, unless you plan to take a year off. And pick your college with care, as some (like Trinity) tend to give higher offers than others.
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  • alprgunesalprgunes 23 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Yeah, I have looked at STEP. It is considerably simple when you go with the Statistics questions. I didn't participate in such competitions as they are not common in my country (Turkey). Also I have done a lot of extracurricular-maths (Differential equations, stochastic processes, group theory and some measure theory).

    My main concern is that are those AP exams enough to be invited to an interview?
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1424 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,440 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    I don't think there would be a problem with getting an interview. The criteria is set out to stop unqualified people from applying, that's not you.

    You would get a STEP-based conditional offer, it might include additional APs but I doubt it, assuming you are doing mostly post-AP study in math this year. What is your senior year courseload?

    BTW I assume you are aware of the STEP changes for 2019 which reduce the number of applied math and stats questions available? https://www.admissionstesting.org/for-test-takers/step/about-step/
    edited September 2018
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  • alprgunesalprgunes 23 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    I am taking AP stats and discrete math this year. I think I will handle STEP, and it will be a lot of fun!
    And I also looked at pre-interview tests. They are easy I think. But still, I don't know how difficult will it be to solve them under pressure.

    I looked at 2019 changes but there are still 2 probability/stats questions. I think I can get at least about 30 pointa from those two. Then I would need like 40 points from 4 pure questions, which is doable I think (I dont like mechanics)

    As I said, if I feel confident that I will get an interview invitation, I will apply to Cam.

    Does anyone know if math interviews at Ox and Cam are similar?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6345 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,393 Senior Member
    they are similar.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1424 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,440 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    The interviews are similar in content, and probably in structure too (two separate 15 min interviews would be typical, you are given a problem and you talk your way through it). I expect you would get an interview: Cambridge interviews most applicants anyway and there is nothing disqualifying in your AP results. Oxford eliminates more applicants before the interview based on the MAT. The main difference is that an Oxford offer would then likely be unconditional if you already have the requisite APs.

    If you look at the admissions statistics (https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/files/publications/ug_admissions_statistics_2017_cycle_4.pdf) you can see that half of offer holders are eliminated by the STEP test, vastly more than for any other subject. Don't assume your offer will be for two 1s, quite typically the offer will include an S at least on the easier paper. Some colleges (notably Trinity) might even ask for two Ss (pick carefully, look at admissions by college). And if you have done lots of math then the offer will be for papers 2&3 not 1&2. But you have plenty of time to prepare.

    Note that STEP is modeled on the tripos exams. It's comparatively rare to get 10-15 out of 20 on a question. The scoring on each question is Alpha (basically completely correct other than perhaps silly calculation errors, 14+ out of 20), Beta (some progress but didn't get the answer, 6-13 out of 20) or Gamma (fragments only, 5 or less out of 20). What they really want to see are 3 or more alphas. The numerical score is typically not as important, but most of those alphas will be 18-20 out of 20. That's why tests like the Math Olympiad are seen as good prep, they are about figuring out difficult questions not answering them all.

    BTW have you checked out the syllabus? There's not a lot of probability & stats (that was also my interest & PhD area) until year 3.
    edited September 2018
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  • alprgunesalprgunes 23 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Oh, I had never thought about the chance of an S offer. I solved 3 STEP III exams before. I think I can manage to get a 1 (I achieved to get 1 when practicing in exam conditions, and I didn't know any statistics at all back then). Also, if I get 1,1 but the offer is S1, there is still a chance that they will let me in, right?

    I heard that Oxford's syllabus involves more statistics and Cam course includes more physics, which I am not interested in that much. Still, I always love to challenge myself with the hardest. Therefore I am in a huge confusion right now.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1424 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,440 Senior Member
    Read the syllabus for both Oxford and Cambridge, it's all online.

    I'm not clear if you are a senior, applying next month. But if so then I personally wouldn't take the risk of not finding out the result until next August based on a difficult and unpredictable STEP exam that's designed to eliminate half the offer holders, when there's the option of getting an unconditional offer in January.

    It's quite possible (indeed likely) that you wouldn't get in if you didn't achieve the offer. But it would depend on the exact score (e.g. did you miss by 1 point out of 120 or 10 points), since your actual paper is available to the college to review.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6345 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,393 Senior Member
    Also, if I get 1,1 but the offer is S1, there is still a chance that they will let me in, right?

    It's not impossible, but I do know a student who missed her Maths offer by genuinely 1 point and lost her place. She is a European student, and had a national exam (results of which also formed part of her offer) on the same day as the STEP paper. (intake 2 years ago). Her GC appealed for her but it was denied.
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