DC with an A* offer for university?

(99 Posts)
MummyMastodon Sun 02-Jun-13 20:26:27

Who has a son or daughter taking A2 that includes one or more A* ?

Join me in nail-biting and envy of the 'easy' AAA offer holders.

DD needs A*AA for her first choice, (Oxford) insurance is a nice AAB (Bristol) but she reeeally wants Oxford (Bristol looks wonderful too, but apart from anything else, if she goes there as her insurance she might not even get a place in halls, which wouldn't be a great start)

A* just seems so relentless - 90% overall in A2 year. One bad exam can blow it all out of the water. She is on track for A*A*A at the moment, and resitting a rogue January module to hopefully bring the A* back within reach for her third subject. But it all seems so dependent on a couple of hours in the exam room!

I suppose I should just be grateful that it's only one A* required, I know Cambridge and some of the London Unis can make offers for two or three shock

2plus2 Sun 02-Jun-13 20:35:19

Can I join you, DS needs A*AA for Durham, insurance is AAA for Nottingham. He seems very relaxed about it all!

NewFerry Sun 02-Jun-13 20:54:11

The 'easy' AAA offers? hmm hollow laugh

DS needs one of these 'easy' offers, his best friend needs CCC and is working just as hard, or harder, to achieve the grades he needs for his uni place.

MummyMastodon Sun 02-Jun-13 20:59:19

Yes, sorry New, I know AAA isn't easy, just in comparison with A* offers it is, not least because the marks taken into consideration spread over two years.

SilverViking Sun 02-Jun-13 21:18:56

Even though you are rightly proud that you DC is trying to attain A*s, there are countless students under the same pressure to achieve up to... and beyond their ability.... Whether that is B, C our even D grades!

I.ll join you in nail-biting from a different point on the spectrum, but cannot condone your derogitary attitude to others less academically gifted than your own DC

MummyMastodon Sun 02-Jun-13 21:43:55

derogatary? really? really? when I wrote 'easy' AAA offers, the inverted commas were to indicate that I wasn't entirely serious... and an A* offer is, in any case, a different beast.

Where did I say that students chasing B,C or D grades are not under pressure? I wasn't talking about them. The thread references students with A* offers... hence the thread title "DC with an A* offer for university?" :S

You are welcome to start a thread for DC who are aiming at any particular grade. This one is for the particular challenge of A*.

Do you get upset at any thread that doesn't address your particular circumstances?

Yellowtip Sun 02-Jun-13 23:14:49

OP I don't get that you're being in the least derogatory. I think too many people underestimate the particular pressure of needing to get an A*/ 90% average across all papers. It's a really, really tough call.

Durham struck out the year before last and asked for A* in particular and has had to retract.

A* at A2 is not easy.

Yellowtip Sun 02-Jun-13 23:16:30

in particular subjects

Of course the OP wasn't being derogatory. Her child needs an A* - which is bloody nail biting. Of course their lives would be easier if it was a 3 As offer.

Good luck to your dd OP smile

Startail Sun 02-Jun-13 23:36:53

To me it just says what a joke the exam system has become.

With the possible exception of maths and physics, non of us ever got 90% on a O level or a A level paper.

It must be possible to teach exactly to the test. No room at all for interpretation.

DD1 got 99% on a science paper (DD is a good scientist, and had worked hard, but she's dyslexic and nothing she writes is that near perfect.)

Twgtwf Sun 02-Jun-13 23:45:20

Agree with you, OP - it's really nuts. And they have toughened up so that it's harder than ever to get the star. sad

MummyMastodon Mon 03-Jun-13 07:32:36

Oh, Yellowtip, i didn't know that about Durham. Did they change their course requirements, or just let students in anyway if they didn't make the high grade?

I'm worried about grade deflation, I've heard grades are likely to be lower across the board this year. And DD from a comp probably isn't getting the flawless coaching in exam technique that some of the independant school students get.

MummyMastodon Mon 03-Jun-13 07:33:15

And thanks, Northern smile

Yellowtip Mon 03-Jun-13 07:42:19

Durham has had to review its use of A* across the whole university but it now no longer requires offerees for History to have an A* specifically in History. That was a one year wonder.

Yellowtip Mon 03-Jun-13 07:45:48

At least it's Oxford OP. There's possibly more chance of your DD still securing that place if she misses the * than almost anywhere else.

To some extent students are protected if they all achieve or otherwise en masse - if they all drop a grade and hardly anybody gets the * then some will still get in. Where you hit problems is when it's only you who drops.
I still don't know how I got my first choice - offer was ABC with an A in history for York. I got AAA (inc A in general studies) and C in history. All our year group did terribly - my friend and I got Cs and that was the best grade apart from somebody who got a B - she had been at another school and covered the same syllabus at GCSE. 18 years on and I'm still annoyed with our teachers because I think it was their fault not mine! Anyway I did get in. Maybe everybody dropped grades, maybe they looked at my other grades and decided to overlook it. Good job as my insurance offer was a B in history.

ISingSoprano Mon 03-Jun-13 10:37:30

I do get that chasing an A* is tough. However, while my ds does not have an A* offer but the grades he is chasing are still a big ask for him. He looked like someone walking to the gallows when he went out this morning for the two exams he has today.

Good luck to everyone - regardless of grades needed.

OP good luck to your DD. You just worry that in spite of all the hard work something may go wrong on the day.

DS2 is doing AS levels this year but he knows that to get where he wants in Maths he needs to average over 90% per module. Some of his exams are actually A2 because of the sequential way they do Maths and FM. So this year we have a taste of what's to come.

MummyMastodon Mon 03-Jun-13 17:45:39

At least it's Oxford OP. There's possibly more chance of your DD still securing that place if she misses the than almost anywhere else.

Is that true Yellowtip ? Tell me more <encouraged>

The impression I had was tht there were a bunch of open offer holders ready to snap up the places left by students who miss their grade. It's science.

MummyMastodon Mon 03-Jun-13 17:58:56

And I just noticed the first line of my OP makes no sense.

I meant "Who has a son or daughter taking A2 with a university offer that includes one or more A* ?"


MariscallRoad Mon 03-Jun-13 20:03:08

MummyMastodon 'But it all seems so dependent on a couple of hours in the exam room!’ I absoluetly agree with you. In couple of hours you it is hard to assess the analytical or reasoning mind of a student who worked for years. The problem also lies in what type of assessment is in the A Levels and who are they suited for because some A Level students might have done better of they had taken IB or the the equivalent US AP. My DS did the latter and did well.

Yellowtip Mon 03-Jun-13 21:06:52

MummyMastodon all those with open offers are guaranteed a place, provided they meet their offer, just not at a particular college. Compare the over offering of places by other universities asking for quite exceptionally challenging grades in terms of multiple A*s and STEP and it becomes pretty clear that Oxford is operating a much finer game. Once offered a place, I think your DD has a better chance there than anywhere of obtaining the place even if she misses a grade. It's not a certainty, but I think it's significantly more likely.

Milliways Mon 03-Jun-13 22:53:13

DS needs A*BBa or AABa for his first choice (A* must be in Maths. He only got exactly 90% in C3 so no room for error in C4. Crazy when he got really high marks for C1&2 and 100% in S1)

Moominmammacat Tue 04-Jun-13 15:40:02

Nephew needs A*A*AA for Imperial for maths ....

MummyMastodon Tue 04-Jun-13 20:45:11

Thanks Yellowtip.

Milliways, that is harsh to have an A* specified in a subject. But, I read somewhere that the majority of students do better in June exams than in their January modules, so he'll probably be fine.

Moomin - ouch. But I assume he's doing Further Maths? I think that strong mathematicians usually find the A* in maths and further maths not too much of a struggle.

alreadytaken Tue 04-Jun-13 20:48:33

I have a child with an offer from Cambridge, but at least it's for medicine so the backup is 3As. I do not relish the idea of possibly having to find accommodation for the back-up. wine and my sympathy to anyone worrying about their child missing an offer.

For most courses many universities take people who just miss their offer, it's a difficult task to judge how many will make offers and making too many offers is more of a problem than making too few. The relaxation of the rules for certain grades means that someone missing a 3A offer still has a fair chance of a place. Someone missing a 3C offer might be offered a slightly different course or might find a better option than the debts of a university place. Universities are generally not open about it as the extent to which they do it can vary a lot from year to year.

Although some universities make very high offers they may also be quite good at predicting who will get them. That seems to be true at Cambridge where many applicants go on to achieve more than the offers. I would join you but I'm taking a break from mumsnet until the exams are over.

MummyMastodon Tue 04-Jun-13 21:00:59

Gosh, med at Cambridge, well done to your DC alreadytaken.

If it does turn out that we need our insurance choice, but DD is too late for Halls, I might suggest that she asks if she can defer for a year (if she wants to) and travel. I just think that starting first year in a scrabbled for student house instead of halls would be a bit crap.

Now I'm worried that I should be taking a break from mumsnet until after the exams, too - eep - is there something I should be doing? <worries>

ajandjjmum Tue 04-Jun-13 21:09:02

DS accepted an AAA offer from Durham three years ago for Physics. He got A* (in Physics), A, B and after a week messing around, Durham finally rejected him. I understand the stress!!! We were all gutted.

He took his last exam yesterday for his Physics degree at Sheffield and will be starting a Masters at Imperial in September. Life works out. Try not to stress - I know it's easier said than done. smile

MummyMastodon Tue 04-Jun-13 21:41:13

ajandjj - that's harsh, and rotten of them to string it out for so long sad

Yellowtip Tue 04-Jun-13 21:56:12

That seems incredibly harsh ajandjjmum. Was the B in a relevant subject? As I said earlier, Durham has had its fingers burned a bit with its initial foray into A* offers, it sounds as though your DS fell foul. I hope he enjoyed Sheffield though and Imperial Masters should be fab - does he need a First?

alreadytaken the better the university the more likely it is that offerees will exceed their offers. The cosy thing about the AAA offers for high achievers was the fact that they could relax at A level time, pretty confident that they'd make their first choice offer. DS1 got the last of the Oxford AAA offers for Medicine and was very chilled last June. As it was he got 6A* (and didn't take Maths). He did work, he always does, but he didn't have this horrible stress of having to get a particular very high score. I'm sure the lack of stress helped him. I'm not sure what your evidence is for thinking Cambridge offerees

Yellowtip Tue 04-Jun-13 21:59:23

What happened there? confused.

I'm not sure what your evidence is for thinking Cambridge offerees exceed their offers in greater measure than at any other top table UK university? Please share!

Millais Tue 04-Jun-13 22:00:56

Yes DS1 has an A*AA offer- he doesn't help my nerves by constantly saying "A* is often a matter of luck on the day- one poor question and it has gone!"

Yellowtip Tue 04-Jun-13 22:05:56

No Mummy there's not much you can do smile. Stay calm in the background, provide decent food, kick them off to bed not too late, appear completely unstressed.

MummyMastodon Tue 04-Jun-13 22:09:23

Good luck to him, Millais. He's right, kind of - but, at least they have three chances (assuming his A* can be in any subject)

Yellowtip Tue 04-Jun-13 22:11:36

And if it's any comfort I've always known what time all of mine go into these wretched exams, I clock watch, I fret and I don't ever dare phone them until they phone me. I've no idea really how I'm still alive. Vicarious Finals are the worst by far, so you can look forward to that smile I suppose the DDs having babies will compare but I'll probably be allowed to be near the hospital for that....

Millais Wed 05-Jun-13 07:02:39

I am trying to be calm but with 4 doing exams; 3 GCSEs and one A levels I am struggling. Have made sure the cupboards are full of stress relieving food and that I only wake up the exam people each day! Good luck to everyone else- and their dcs!

Yellowtip Wed 05-Jun-13 08:04:34

Triplets Millais?

BeckAndCall Wed 05-Jun-13 08:13:24

<doffs cap at yellow for her outwardly super calm attitude, which clearly works a treat>

<suffers hyperventilation thinking of millais and her three lots of GCSEs this summer. Had cold sweat thinking of three lots if UCAS applications in two years time>

We will most likely have our first A* offer next year - the elder two had traditional AAA offers (RG, not Oxbridge). At least with a 3 A offer you can do the Math - 'if you already have 95 UMS you only need 60 UMS this time around' etc which was not too stressful......

wordfactory Wed 05-Jun-13 08:16:56


Fucking hell. I have twins and am dreading public exams!

ajandjjmum Wed 05-Jun-13 09:52:58

Yellowtip - it was harsh, but he survived, and has enjoyed Sheffield. The offer from Imperial has given him an added boost though - I think the Durham messing around did leave him thinking he wasn't quite good enough. He's done well - a high 2:1 seems most likely, and he's done other stuff whilst at uni.

All I wanted to say to everyone was that although it's so stressful at exam time, even if things don't work out as you'd hope, it's not the end of the world (although it might seem it at the time!)

xylem8 Wed 05-Jun-13 10:25:33

A*AA for Southampton Mech Eng
There is always an element of luck I think in getting an A*. Just as long as he isn't unlucky on all 3 subjects!

xylem8 Wed 05-Jun-13 10:27:04

I think as parents it is really important to distance yourself emotionally from it a bit.Your son or daughter has enough on with their own nerves without having you nervous for them too!

Slipshodsibyl Wed 05-Jun-13 10:34:07

I would so like it if we could move to post A Level applications.

Moominmammacat Wed 05-Jun-13 14:57:50

Yes MummyMastodon ... lying in the garden with the cats for most of the day. Seems you can either do maths or can't at this level. Mystery to me though.

Millais Wed 05-Jun-13 17:48:29

Yes indeed! The cold sweats and sleepless nights come when I think of 4 sets of University fees and maintenance.
Makes the nightly "How did it go?" questions a bit tricky. One doesn't want it mentioned, one is highly anxious and needs to go through it step by step and the other is in the "Yeah it was ok" frame of mind.

Millais shock and flowers at the thought of three "how did it go " conversations.

MummyMastodon Wed 05-Jun-13 19:09:26




I am.. speechless with admiration for Millais.

If I had to look after triplets and one sib, they wouldn't be taking exams, they'd be roaming naked and feral in the woods feeding on acorns.

<has to go for a little lie down just thinking about it>

Millais Wed 05-Jun-13 20:27:17

No they do wear clothes now- a few years back- not so much smile . Really it isn't any more than just 4 children but at these times it does feel a bit mad. But anyway the Physics A level today was "pretty good" so that is a positive.

Yellowtip Wed 05-Jun-13 21:31:50

Are the three triplets all at the same school Millais? And the eldest? And are the triplets all one gender or not? Can't even begin to imagine it but it must have lots of plusses I'm guessing?

Millais Wed 05-Jun-13 22:33:33

Triplets are BGB and my eldest is a boy so all the boys are at one school.
Yes huge plusses and despite it being totally unplanned and a huge shock I am very glad it happened.

Sorry for hijacking the thread.

greyvix Wed 05-Jun-13 23:24:53

Physics A level today? Now I'm worried, as DS is doing Physics, but didn't have an exam today.

Millais Thu 06-Jun-13 06:59:22

Think it was OCR? but his school does all the exams at the end of sixth form and not over the two.

greyvix Thu 06-Jun-13 20:17:00

DS says it's fine, and that he didn't miss one. He has done some Physics exams previously. He also needs A*AA for Nottingham, with AAA as insurance for Exeter.

MariscallRoad Thu 06-Jun-13 21:09:06

Yellowtip, it is not clear to me how can one 'obtain the place even if they miss a grade’. Is there something I miss? STEP is a v hard exam but is different to all others. And so are the Oxford assessment tests , which DS had taken and got in - in the distant past.

Moominmammacat indeed more is demanded nowdays. Imperial is one of the top places for Maths. Perhaps there is a reason why some degrees require 2 A*s and may be this is required when study is too demanding.

Yellowtip Fri 07-Jun-13 08:19:44

Mariscall students won't necessarily get in if they miss a grade but there might very well be room for discussion. I'm not sure why you mention STEP and the Oxford pre-tests. I suppose an exceptional performance in STEP might help if a grade is missed since STEP is taken in the summer as well. Arguably I guess a spectacular LNAT or BMAT or other AT (whose result only the tutors will know) could help say a decision. Everything will get thrown into the mix.

Yellowtip Fri 07-Jun-13 08:20:19

sway, not say.

xylem8 Fri 07-Jun-13 09:00:13

I am not sure why you think offereees at 'better' universities are more likely to exceed their offer than anyone else?
Also not sure why those missing their A* ae more likely to be accepted at Oxford than elsewhere

wordfactory Fri 07-Jun-13 09:10:32

Because they've interviewed them and like them. A small trip might be accomodated. But at other unis they don't know you at all. They haveonly seen your PS so they are judging you purely on grades.

lapucelle Fri 07-Jun-13 09:40:06

I think it's over simplistic to say that dropping a grade for Oxbridge is more likely to result in acceptance than at RG universities. Contrary to what the previous poster wrote, students are interviewed for some courses at RG universities (albeit less thoroughly than at Oxbridge). Also the landscape has changed in the last two years: now that there is no financial penalty (rather, the opposite) in taking extra students with at least ABB, students are far more likely to be accepted if they just miss grades but are at this level. The main limitations on accepting students are facilities and halls accommodation. Some/most RG universities under-recruited last year and are very keen to get more students this year so, unless it is a very over-subscribed course, students with missed grades above ABB are quite likely to be accepted. Of course there are some exceptions e.g. if the dropped grade is in the most important subject. For example, most RG maths courses want as a minimum A in Maths, preferably A*, and probably wouldn't take a student with a B in Maths because they are unlikely to cope with the course.

xylem8 Fri 07-Jun-13 10:24:05

I think it is more of a numbers game.If a university can fill it's capacity with offerees who have gone on to meet their grades,then they are less likely to take someone who doesn't .And that would depend on offers:places I guess.

Yellowtip Fri 07-Jun-13 10:39:33

Exactly what word says about interviews. I say Oxford since Cambridge appears to over offer more and then cull by A*, or multiple A*s, or STEP. It's certainly true about the impact of the financial penalty being lifted though, on the other hand availability of accomodation (living and departmental) provides a constraint.

wordfactory Fri 07-Jun-13 14:03:30

lapucelle I think Oxford is slightly different, in that it interviews fewer applicants than Cambridge and elsewhere.

If you make it past the assessment/interview stage and have an offer in hand, Oxford is more likely to be wedded to you IYSWIM.

lapucelle Fri 07-Jun-13 14:57:20

IME the Cambridge culling by grades is quite subject dependent. Look at the following page:


and compare Mathematics with Natural Sciences. Mathematics seems to have made 506 offers for 253 places (asking for lots of high STEP grades) while Nat Sci made 738 offers for 675 places.

I can't find analogous statistics for Oxford so perhaps they do indeed make fewer offers for each science place but I wouldn't think it is enormously different.

Yellowtip Fri 07-Jun-13 21:32:31

lapucelle I agree about subject dependence: 506 for 253 is striking in this context. I disagree that Oxford is not likely to be enormously different.

Slipshodsibyl Fri 07-Jun-13 21:38:26

Striking? You're being kind. I think it's mean to do that to kids.

Yellowtip Fri 07-Jun-13 21:44:17

I'm being very kind Slipshod. I happen to think it's ruthless.

MariscallRoad Sat 08-Jun-13 22:01:44

If Cam made 506 offers for 253 places in Maths, this could mean that they expect 50 per cent to meet the offers of whatever A*s they ask. In Natural science this means they expect 91 per cent to meet the offer. So, by raising the offers they try to increase probability to have the students with the A*s they want. These percentages could mean also many other things we do not know: such as they might be based on the offers not met in previous years. But you would not know this fact until you find and read the minutes - if they are accessible - of this particular faculty. One might find that in some degrees the offers were so harsh that the acceptances declined or those few who got in found the course too hard and ... some dropped even in the first Term. I have seen staff like that happening....

Quite a stress for parents and students. What I see is that the requirements for other accepted qualifications such as IB and US AP have not been raised whereas for A-Leves have. I do not know what this means.

MariscallRoad Sat 08-Jun-13 23:44:25

Sorry stuff not staff

lapucelle Sun 09-Jun-13 08:08:30

The main issue going on with Maths is that some international students indeed do not accept the offers but go to the US etc instead and that the offers involve high STEP grades which are easily missed. The argument for asking for the latter is that they are considered better predictors of success in university Maths (many other RG are asking for them in Maths too). Fewer Nat Sci applications come from abroad and are declined to go to the US etc and fewer STEP grades are asked for.

(Previous poster - when you write that the offers involve many issues we don't know bear in mind that many on here, including me, are actually academics who are involved in these admissions.)

lapucelle Sun 09-Jun-13 08:10:57

I should add that I don't agree with offering ultra high grades to many candidates at the bottom of the list and culling by this method.

YourLittleSecret Sun 09-Jun-13 14:16:18

lapucelle offers involve high STEP grades which are easily missed
Not least by those who are achieving their high A* grades in spite of being in an average comp where there is no help with STEP. So much for trying to admit more state school students.

MariscallRoad Sun 09-Jun-13 14:59:23

lapucelle, It is all published by some Math faculties: you dont have to be academic to discover the reasons why they make such offers. these faculties publish also reports how and why previous intakes have performed. - you just google on their uni site and find even without a password. Further these issues are also published in minutes of U-committees. Next, You do not know why international students chose to go to US for Maths unless there is a survey. STEP is a better predictor of success in the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge says their guide.

MariscallRoad Sun 09-Jun-13 17:37:05

Regards the international students turning down UK offers, a friend of DS did turn down acceptance, she had the grades to be accepted but she had accepted Carnegie Mellon instead.

The trouble is that the UK now has rising fees and living costs, which may be completely subsidised in some international universities, depending on income. This means there is more incentive to study abroad if the students can get the places.

Yellowtip Sun 09-Jun-13 23:16:42

No Mariscall there isn't always going to be more incentive to study abroad if funding is there. Students can get loans in the UK. Life is more complicated than that.

xylem8 Sun 09-Jun-13 23:57:04

If Cam made 506 offers for 253 places in Maths, this could mean that they expect 50 per cent to meet the offers of whatever A*s they ask
But surely they expect more than 50% to meet the grades because there will be some that don't 'firm' the course.Not everyone does you know!

NewFerry Mon 10-Jun-13 06:47:31

Yellow tip can international students access loans? I thought it was UK and eu students only?
Also, I guess if you can get a non repayable bursary to a US uni, and of course get your foot in the door in the US, that's going to look very attractive compared to the huge fees and living costs you would need to find if you came to the UK.

Obv it would also depend on the comparative Unis.

MummyMastodon Wed 12-Jun-13 10:58:47

Hmm. Exam yesterday which she thought was 'pretty easy' so probably the grade bands will be set high, we'll see. Steering her away from the unofficial mark schemes you can find on The Student Room, and encouraging her to forget about it and focus on the next exams.

MummyMastodon Wed 12-Jun-13 19:08:03

For some reason I've got it in my head that spinach must be the healthiest thing to give them at stressful times, and I'm stuffing the child with spinach every evening. If spinach can produce A*, we will have A*.

BCBG Wed 12-Jun-13 19:17:28

Have DC with A* A* A A who is off to Cambridge this autumn - he thought he had missed the * this time last year in post exam blues - VERY hard to know if you have done enough or not because it depends on grade boundaries. Have another DC trying for AAA this year for Durham and I have no nails left at all - she thinks she blew a paper sad..I am so glad it isn't me

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 19:32:53

I've looked at the Cambridge statistics data and can't see the 50% data for Medicine. The only information is application versus offer that I can see. I would be very surprised if there was that much of a differential as in my experience Oxbridge don't make many more (if any) offers than they have places. Of my experience was at Oxford but I'd be surprised if there was that much of a difference otherwise everyone would apply to Oxford.

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 19:37:07

In 2012 Cambridge made 293 offers for medicine and 280 places were accepted. Sorry to harp on about this but reading the 50% comment above is going to stress people out and it isn't true.

lapucelle Wed 12-Jun-13 20:32:19

It was explicitly mentioned above that it is subject dependent, and recommended that people should check data for specific subjects and talk with admissions tutors. It was also mentioned that the difference between offers and acceptances in Cambridge maths is in part explained by a number of offers being refused to accept universities outside the UK. Nonetheless in maths it is a factor that offers are set quite high and get missed.

The data you mention indicates that the situation is different for medicine. (Although, as an aside, in the 2012 medicine statistics I am aware of an offer being made to a Dutch student which was virtually unachievable - a GPA so high that it had only been achieved by a few students ever in Holland. Even when the student appealed with data showing this, the college refused to amend their offer and she turned it down.)

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 20:36:34

But that's the difference between application and offer not offer and acceptance which will be determined by the exams being sat by the children of the posters in this thread. Medicine at Cambridge is highly competitive and it is reasonable to assume that the offer to axceptance ratio for it is comparable to other subjects. Your stats were really misleading.

lapucelle Wed 12-Jun-13 20:48:27

No, they weren't. There were 1400 applications for mathematics, 500 offers and 250 acceptances. Following the link I posted you can find that for yourself. There were slightly fewer applications at Oxford, around 1200, for a similar number of places.

Offer to acceptance is not comparable across all subjects, as you can find from that page.

lapucelle Wed 12-Jun-13 20:51:42

I am quoting the 2012 Cambridge maths statistics BTW - in this year's cycle there are roughly 1400 applications, 480 offers and the acceptances are not known but there is no way they will be near 480. I mean 1200 applications for Oxford maths of course.

lapucelle Wed 12-Jun-13 20:56:38

And one final comment before leaving this thread: Trinity made 67 offers for 41 places. Trinity is one of the wealthiest colleges (and hence has scholarships for foreign applicants). It is renowned for maths and receives many applications for maths from abroad. A significant fraction of the 67 offers would have been turned down for Princeton etc. So the 26 student difference is not just due to ultra high offers being made.

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 21:14:52

I accept that Mathematics has an unusual ratio which is not comparable to other subjects, in fact it is the outlier across the subjects. It isn't perhaps the best example for people dealing with exam stress though

Xenia Wed 12-Jun-13 21:25:29

Don't worry about accommodation. One of mine went to Bristol, applied to the hall she really wanted, did not get an immediate place, accepted a temporary place there in some kind of tutors' accommodation sharing a room I think but the day we arrived they had 5 students who did not turn up to that hall or the university at the last minute ( apparently some go off on sudden gap years or change their mind) and she got a really nice room at her preferred hall and we were glad she accepted what seemed a temporary grotty room in the hall of her choice.

(Anyway I hope yours gets where they prefer and the A*)

Yellowtip Wed 12-Jun-13 22:20:53

One really has to get down to the minutiae lapucelle. I agree. For example Oxford and Cambridge tend to have the same sort of number of applicants for Medicine each year but Oxford has far fewer places. Very few generalisations hold true other than you really do need to be clever.

funnyperson Thu 13-Jun-13 03:23:21

mummymastodon almonds are also good.

Needmoresleep Thu 13-Jun-13 09:02:45

With maths I assume that the very best mathematicians are already known to top colleges, through the hierarchy that starts with junior maths challenge and goes through to International Maths Olympiads.

Top academics, or at least people they know, will have coached maths camps etc and there will be a small number of students that Trinity knows they would like to have before applications are even made. They will also know of comparable students from overseas. Princeton will have a similar list. The very best will have a choice.

I noticed that a prize in a national Raspberry Pi competition also effectively included exposure to a major consulting firm and a Cambridge college. I wondered whether this was more a prize for the firm and the college keen to recruit the best of the next generation. Again doors may already be open for some, rendering admissions statistics pretty meaningless. It does not matter if there is a good offer rate if other applicants are very very strong.

lapucelle Thu 13-Jun-13 10:52:27

Not all schools get involved with Olympiads (particularly state schools) so not all the best students are necessarily known from Olympiads. (I never did Olympiads but came top of the maths tripos.)

Needmoresleep Thu 13-Jun-13 11:36:46

I dont disagree. However I suspect there is some active talent spotting going on for known precocious mathematicians and computer scientists.

ThePolymath Sat 15-Jun-13 10:49:37

There definitely will be for maths, in that anyone (who came close to) competing in the IMO will be relatively well known, certainly if they were on the Trinity College training camp. A medal at the IMO would certainly be outstanding and at that level the admissions system will probably be pretty different to a normal A-level candidate.

For Computer Science I wouldn't imagine that this would be the case (that much) as the skills required for a computer science degree can be vastly different to what a hobbyist programmer/tinkerer has at home. It's a much more theoretical and mathematical affair, and somewhat different to Computing (although there is still a fair bit of Computing within it).

glaurung Sat 15-Jun-13 11:05:27

A medal from the international olympiad in informatics is unlikely to be sneezed at by comp sci admissions bods though polymath - admittedly that's fairly mathematical in nature though and to be fair most of the BIO/IOI entrants seem to choose maths degrees in any case. There's considerable overlap between those doing well at informatics and maths olympiads.

ThePolymath Sat 15-Jun-13 14:11:20

Yes, I was referring to the Raspberry Pi thing. Something like the BIO/IIO will be respected of course.

MariscallRoad Thu 27-Jun-13 12:13:23

Yellowtip, There are a number of reasons why students would want to study in US and one of these is the links and jobs they get there after they graduate. US is a vast country with opportunities. The funding of the study might be not be the most important, the job market and housing market means a lot to students. I know many who left home to study in US and never returned. Students get loans in UK but many students look how their life is going to be in the very long term. for instance whether staying in UK would be able to afford a house.

alreadytaken Sun 30-Jun-13 08:12:58

All universities take some people who miss their grades. When they make offers they don't know how many people will turn an offer down, firm or insure them. Some of those for whom they are an insurance offer will not be accepted at their first choice. It's a difficult thing to get right, why most universities use clearing to top up and why some will accept adjustment applicants.

Oxford and Cambridge publish statistics on the qualifications of those accepted. A standard offer at Cambridge is A*AA but most of those admitted have 2 or 3 A*s. As there isn't generally a big gap between offers and admissions (maths being the exception) most of the applicants have exceeded their offers. At Oxford there are fewer people admitted with 2 or 3 A* grades but it's not obvious how many miss their grades and are accepted. A Freedom of Information request might provide the information if anyone cares. The exceptionally large gap for maths at Cambridge may be culling by grade but could also be a large number of people turning down offers that are frightening or heading off to the States where bursaries can be much better. Applicants do turn down Oxbridge and the number of offers made per place will reflect how often that has happened in the past.

Unfortunately a university that accepted students who missed a grade last year may not do so this year, because they may have changed how many offers they made or more people may have firmed/insured them. So while there is always hope if you miss a grade (or two at some universities) it's not guaranteed. Most people end up liking their university and if not it's always possible to change.....

pusspusslet Tue 02-Jul-13 19:12:38

lapucelle said:

"[I] came top of the maths tripos."

Wow! Major kudos! That's seriously impressive smile

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