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Uncertain about references for application to Cambridge part III (Math.tripos)

  1. Apr 13, 2012 #1
    I consider starting a master in theoretical physics in a little more than a year. Currently I'm halfway doing a bachelor in both (applied) physics and mathematics and so far it is going pretty good. I looked around a bit on the internet and came across the Cambridge website and read as much as I could. Although it will take still more than a year for my masters to start, I decided to search actively for where/what I want to study, since application dates for for instance Cambridge university are very early.

    I don't particularly get a good picture of what academic level is required. Of course, they do want the very best students to come to their university, but to what extent can I decide for myself whether I have any chance of getting offered a place? I know (not personally) two people, who have completed a bachelor in applied physics, doing part III of the mathematical tripos now. One of them passed with distinction (a 9 on average), but the other one "only" with "good grades" (7,7 on average).

    On the website they claim you have a chance if you are part of the 10% best students of your university. I can conclude for myself that I belong to this group (there aren't many double degree students anyway), but I still have no idea what this means in the UK.
    Has someone experience applying to the DAMTP part III of the mathematical tripos with a comparable reference as I'm hoping to have within 1,5 years?
    I'm trying to pass the physics exam with distinction, but cannot guarantee that for the time being. Is it worth applying if I just pass for the phys&maths bachelor exams with, say a 7,5-7,9 (average)? Or is a degree with distinction most likely a requirement?

    Hope someone could help me getting deeper insights into this matter. By the way, is it just me or is the study system in the UK a big mess (by definition)?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2012 #2
    It isn't a mess. Its just different from wherever you are from.
  4. Apr 14, 2012 #3
    Well, what I understand from it so far, is that the UK system is also mainly based on the bachelor-master structure. Some (the interesting places) differ from that for historical reasons. It took me a few days to find out a "MASt" obtained by completing part III is equivalent to a "MSc". There are loads of equivalent titles with different names. Anyway, that is of little concern once you get used to it I guess.
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