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Frances, 2nd Year

Natural Sciences (Biological and Physical)

At Emmanuel we try to help all our students to benefit as much as possible from the flexibility of the Tripos (degree course) system in general, and the Natural Sciences Tripos in particular.

Many people start off their Natural Sciences course expecting to specialise in a particular subject (say Physics) and find themselves attracted to some other course – possibly a closely-related one such as Materials Science, sometimes a more distant one such as Psychology or Genetics, or even a different Tripos altogether: Computer Science, perhaps, or (at Part II) Management Studies. We believe that students perform most successfully, and gain most satisfaction, by pursuing their interests wherever they may lead, rather than by sticking to a course that may have been chosen on the very limited information available at school.

In the first year, there are twelve lectures a week and about eight or nine hours of practical work a week. In addition there are College supervisions – three hours a week on average – and the preparation for them, which should occupy another twelve hours a week or so. In addition you will need time to work over your lecture notes, read the textbooks and so on. You can see that this adds up to at least 40 hours a week. But much of it can be done at times that suit you, so that you can keep appropriate afternoons free for sport, or evenings free for music or drama or other social activities. People manage to combine study for the Natural Sciences with sport at University level, or playing in a University orchestra, or many other activities. You do need to be well-organised to fit everything in, and there certainly isn’t time to go home every weekend – Cambridge is emphatically not a 9-to-5, five-day-week university.

A gap year is acceptable, if you have a clear objective in mind for it. It can help to broaden your outlook on life, and for many people it proves to be very valuable, but it may carry the risk of losing touch with the academic way of life, and some people find when they finally get to university that they have lost the habit of studying and have forgotten some of their scientific knowledge. However, it rarely takes more than a term or so to get over this.

Admissions Information

Standard Offer: A-level - A*A*A; IB - 776 at Higher Level, 41 or 42 points overall; Advanced Highers: AAA; other exam systems.
Course Requirements: At least two science/mathematics at A-level (or equivalent); A-level Chemistry is essential for Biologists and Chemists, A-level Physics for Physicists and Mathematics is valuable in all branches of science and should be taken to as high a level as possible. For Physicists it is highly advisable to take AS or A2 Further Mathematics.
Course Outline: Further details are available on the NST course website.

Candidates should normally expect two interviews. The interviews will take place during the period Monday 4 - Wednesday 13 December 2017. Specific subject dates will be emailed to applicants in November.

Applicants for Biological Natural Sciences: will be sent a list of topics in advance of the interview and are asked to select one of the topics that interests them the most, and be prepared to say why it does at interview.

Applicants for Chemistry: may be given a passage to read 20-30 minutes before the Director of Studies interview.

Applicants for Physical Natural Sciences (excluding Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences): will be asked to select a general area (Chemistry or Physics) that they would prefer to be interviewed in during their interview with the Director of Studies.

Admissions Assessment:

All applicants will take a pre-interview written assessment. You must register - separately from your UCAS application - in advance to take the relevant pre-interview assessment. An assessment specification is available online.

Course Enquiries: Emmanuel Admissions Office

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