Hey problem solvers!

I'm sure there must be some successful applicants to the University of Cambridge studying the maths tripos course or the natural sciences course here in this community. I'm a prospective applicant and am seriously considering my options and prospects. I'm 16 in year 11 and am doing my GCSEs (I live in England). I know I still have time and must focus on the immediate future of exams, but I would greatly appreciate your help in this. I'm particularly interested in theoretical astrophysics more than the pure side. Which course is more appropriate for me? The natural sciences course or the maths tripos? I wouldn't mind signing up for practical work but I would prefer sticking to the mathematical side of physics. And I would like to avoid the other subjects I would have to study in the natural sciences course. I would greatly appreciate any advice on this. And maybe some advice regarding which college within the uni is among the top for maths? I'm aware that there are better places to be asking such questions but what better than a math savvy community?

Now for the other side of things... Requirements!

Nailing those A*s in your GCSEs and A levels including maths and further maths will be a prerequisite. But what more than that? I know that applicants must be very motivated and skilled in applying problem solving techniques to unfamiliar topics and must indulge in *wider reading* ( I do a bit of that :p). I love problem solving and therefore am on this community. As you can see from my brilliant.org profile, I'm no maths genius but I considered myself decently good. I have a *lot* to learn. Are the skills you achieve by getting those level 5s on the topics on brilliant.org good enough for a successful application? I know this involves various factors but do you have to be a *level 6* master? I would greatly appreciate any help or participation for this question. I'm sure there must be many out here considering to apply for Cambridge or any such top uni. We could perhaps have chat on some of the mentioned points here? All views are welcomed!

Cheers!

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TopNewestEven though I am less than qualified to talk about Oxbridge (I am 16 after all) I do share the same ambitions as you do - just to do pure mathematics instead. – Elliott Macneil · 1 year, 6 months ago

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The STEP exams aren't too much like the questions here on brilliant. Getting level 5's isn't enough by itself but its a start to get you thinking in a creative way to tackle Step problems.

Also GCSE's don't matter to Cambridge too much. Its mainly about STEP exams for mathematics. – Isaac Buckley · 1 year, 4 months ago

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– Elliott Macneil · 1 year, 4 months ago

Congrats! Any other tips you'd like to share to any other budding Oxbridge applicants?Log in to reply

– Kunal Jadhav · 1 year, 6 months ago

Calling yourself "less than qualified" surprises me looking at your brilliant profile :P. I've got to seriously step my game up if I stand a chance at getting in. Do you believe you could crunch the STEP exam if you did apply for a place?Log in to reply

– Elliott Macneil · 1 year, 6 months ago

Um... I'm not sure really! For the moment, I'm going to practice really hard to get into the UK IMO team next year - doing science Olympiads really helps boost your chances for Oxbridge (from what I've heard). Besides, we both have loads of time to hammer the STEP exam when I comes around, and your Brilliant profile is certainly brilliant too!Log in to reply