1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

An olympiad student interested in Cambridge

  1. Jul 22, 2015 #1
    Hi to everyone, this is my first post in this forum.
    I am really stressed and confused at the moment. I really need help from a Cambridge student/teacher/alumni.
    (This is going to be a long post, so bear with me)

    I am a Thai student, who was in the top finals of Thailand's Physics Olympiad Competition (As in the final round before the Asian Physics Olympiad & International Physics Olympiad). Luckily however, I have a British citizenship.

    I studied in a Thai Public school but luckily Harrow International School Bangkok is an exam centre for A - Levels. (I can "sit in" and do the tests.) I am studying in a Thai University but will drop out to Cambridge if i got accepted next year.

    However, I have heard that many students do 4 A-Levels instead of the 3 A-Levels needed by the college to increase their chances of being accepted. Since I'm having quite a small amount of time to act (Considering my situation given), I would like to ask that

    1. Can I still do three A-Levels, and get away with the fact that I was an Olympiad student?
    2. By choosing to avoid probability&statistics papers in A - Levels Maths, am I ruining my chances of being accepted? (I don't know, maybe they want someone who is proficient in other subjects that physics.)
    3. Considering the circumstances, do you think my acceptance rate is reasonable?
    I may sound like I'm bragging, (and if I do I am really sorry) but I am really concerned. I can have only one shot at this one and would like to hear an opinion before acting.

    Thank you very much for your help, and sorry for the long post.

    L = K - U
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2015 #2
    Although I'm not a student there I have a number of friends who have applied and some accepted so I have some idea.

    Cambridge makes offers based on 3 A-levels taken in one sitting, plus normally one additional AS level. Additional A-levels will not improve your chances of acceptance (at least officially) as typically state funded high schools aren't able to offer the opportunities to students and so it would discriminate against applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

    Similarly they don't care what modules you do in your A-levels as not all schools are able to offer all options. The maths tripos may require further maths, but at least around the time I was in the admissions cycle it wasn't a requirement usually since again, not all state schools have the subject on offer (I think previously only Imperial required it).

    You've also not indicated what subject you intended to apply for. I assume physics, which is offered as part of the natural sciences tripos, and requires at least two science/maths subjects at A-level. You're required to take 4 different subjects in first year including maths, so your options will be limited if you just do maths and physics. It may also be worth noting you can take the physics option if you've taken 3 mechanics modules in A-level maths/further maths so you don't necessarily need to take physics (although if you're interested it's worth it).
  4. Jul 26, 2015 #3


    User Avatar

    You would do best to ask questions like this at The Student Room forums. You'll get far more informed replies. If you are thinking about theoretical physics then you'll want to apply to Cambridge maths. If applied, then NatSci (I think).
  5. Jul 26, 2015 #4
    You can do theoretical from NatSci, but their theory stuff is much more focused on condensed matter I believe (most of the astro and particle work is based in DAMTP). Also you can always start in either and swap to the other and/or do the other's Part III after BA.
  6. Jul 26, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    There is also the possibility of Mathematics with Physics.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook