You should study Mathematics only if you are passionate about maths, and have natural proficiency in this subject. At university level, there is a huge step up from A-Level, but one that is entirely manageable provided you have strong fundamentals. The basic requirements are mathematics to the level of Further Mathematics AS (or an equivalent qualiﬁcation), considerable enthusiasm for mathematics, and a willingness to work hard on a diﬃcult course.
When applying to Oxbridge, you will have to complete a UCAS form before the October 15th deadline. Candidates are only allowed to apply to one of Oxford or Cambridge, and they can choose to apply to a particular college, or make an open application. As part of the UCAS form, you will have to write a 4000 character personal statement, and a teacher will have to provide a reference.
The UCAS code for undergraduate Maths is G100 at Oxford and G100 BA/Math at Cambridge. The institution code for Cambridge is CAM C05 and for Oxford is O33. Applicants may only apply for Oxford or Cambridge, but not both. It is usual to stipulate a choice of college in the UCAS application, although both universities allow you to make an ‘open’ application via that university’s central admissions office which will then allocate you to a particular. Those wishing to make and open application should enter a ‘9’ in the campus choice box on their UCAS form
Cambridge Undergraduate Course requirements:
Cambridge is one of the top few universities in the world and the Cambridge mathematics course is one of the very best mathematics courses in the UK. The fourth year of the mathematics course (called Part III) is world famous and a breeding ground for future leaders in mathematical research.
Admissions are handled by individual colleges, but the procedures and requirements are broadly similar. In order to assess applicants for the course, all colleges require evidence of potential to work at a much higher level than A-level. In almost all cases, this will take the form of a conditional oﬀer based on STEP examinations. Conditional oﬀers always take into account the student’s background, but will typically (for applicants taking A-level) be A*AA plus grade ones, or a grade one and a grade two, in two STEPs.
The most important requirement is show a clear commitment to Mathematics. The normal minimum requirement for our course is AS-level Further Mathematics (or an equivalent qualiﬁcation) and most of our students have studied beyond this. Nevertheless, applications from students whose schools do not provide mathematics teaching to the full A2 Further Mathematics level are welcomed, and suitable allowance is made both in the interview and in the conditional oﬀer. Note that if your school does not oﬀer teaching for Further Mathematics modules, you may be able to get help from the Further Mathematics Support Programme (http://furthermathematics.org.uk/).
Other qualiﬁcations at roughly the level of A-levels (e.g. 39 in Baccalaureate or AAAAB in Scottish Advanced Highers, for example) are perfectly acceptable and may even provide better grounding than A-levels. email email@example.com or contactindividual colleges
Where ther is achoice of options/modules, it is best to take as much pure mathematics and mechanics as possible, in preference to statistics and discrete mathematics. Our mathematics course has a signiﬁcant component of applied mathematics and theoretical physics, so A-level Physics is useful (especially if you are taking few mechanics modules). As for other A-level or AS-level subjects, it bears very little relation.
Links: http://maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad .
Achievement in the Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) normally forms part of a conditional offer to read mathematics at Cambridge. The examinations are administered Cambridge Assessment (which is the parent company of the OCR examination board) and are taken in late June.
Cambridge Assessment has a dedicated STEP website, which has all the details of the examination (method of entry, dates, syllabus, etc) as well as downloadable past papers.
There are three STEP mathematics papers, numbered I, II, and III. Your offer will usually include grades in two of the papers, normally I and II if you are not taking the full Further Mathematics A-level (or an equivalent qualification) or II and III if you are taking Further Mathematics A-level (or an equivalent qualification).
Each paper consists of 13 questions: 8 pure, 3 mechanics, and 2 statistics and probability. Each paper is assessed on answers to at most 6 questions. There are five grades, which are (from highest to lowest) S, 1, 2, 3, and U.
The syllabus for Mathematics I and II is based on a typical single subject A-level syllabus: the Pure Mathematics content is very slightly more than the A-level common core. The syllabuses for the Mechanics and the Probability and Statistics sections are each equivalent to two or three A-level modules but, since there is no common core for these areas, the material may not coincide with the modules of your particular A-level. Paper I is intended specifically for candidates who are not taking Further Mathematics (or the equivalent) and the questions are intended to be easier than those in Paper II. The syllabus for Mathematics III is based on a typical Further Mathematics A-level syllabus (there is no Further Mathematics core syllabus) and the questions are intended to be of about the same level of difficulty as those of Paper II.
Oxford Undergraduate Course requirements:
Like Cambridge, there are very few compulsory subjects at Oxford, although most will have taken Further Mathematics. Mathematics is a logical subject, so the only prerequisite is that you need to show that you can argue clearly and concisely as you solve problems. For some of you, this way of thinking or solving problems will be your goal. Others will want to see what further can be discovered. Either way, it is a subject we want you to enjoy.
- A-levels: A*A*A with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken).
- Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
- IB: 39 points, including core points
All candidates must take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT), normally at their own school or college on 6 November 2013. See www.matoxford.org.uk for further details. Whilst AEA and STEP papers are in no sense part of our entry requirements, we encourage applicants to take these papers, or similar extension material and papers, if they are available.
If shortlisted for interview, these will be predominantly academic. You may be asked to look at problems of a type that you have never seen before where the interiewers want to see if you can respond to suggestions as to how to tackle new things, rather than find out simply what you have been taught. This has to do with a candidate’s potential to think imaginatively, deeply and in a structured manner about the patterns of mathematics.
Tutors will, in addition to assessing aptitude and technical skills, seek in successful candidates:
A. a capacity to absorb and use new ideas,
B. the ability to think and work independently, and
C. perseverance and enthusiasm,
Common questions regarding the Oxford and Cambridge Science Courses:
Is there a difference between Oxford and Cambridge?
How do I know I’m clever enough for such an academic degree?
Will tutors be looking to see if I will make a good chemist or are they only looking at my grades?
Do I have to be hoping for a career in Mathematics in order to apply?
Mentors will be answering these and any other questions at Schools’ Interview Preparation Days or during Private tuition. Alternatively, read some of our blog entries from Oxbridge Sciences or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help you out as best we can.