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flinquinnster last won the day on December 29 2017

flinquinnster had the most liked content!

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    Nov 2013
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  1. I'm curious about Perth - why Perth? Despite living in the same country (albeit the opposite side of the country, so very very far away) I've never actually been there myself. I always thought that there was not very much interesting there, but I may be misinformed and biased! I feel ashamed that I haven't visited so many parts of Australia now... So did you get to go to Azerbaijan?I'm curious because that's where I'm from:) No, I still haven't! But I'll make it there one day, I hope.
  2. flinquinnster

    The Oxbridge Guide

    I think it may have been mentioned before, but Cambridge doesn't place that much of an emphasis on GCSE/IGCSE results - for example, less emphasis than at Oxford. They care more about your predicted grades for IB1. Obviously, having good results is useful - but it would be a small difference, not a big advantage.
  3. flinquinnster

    The Oxbridge Guide

    I did my Cambridge interview in Australia, and on the whole I don't think it is a disadvantage - although I do regret not having a good excuse for travelling to the UK. In terms of the early deadline, it does put extra pressure on you to finish it quickly - which might be an issue if you have exams/assessments to be handed in at a similar time - but I personally thought that with good 'time management', it didn't make that much difference. In other words, I thought it was a good way to productively procrastinate personally, when I was preparing for my mock exams. Even though it doesn't really make that much of a difference, putting in an early UCAS application also helps with you potentially getting offers from other universities earlier if they give out offers on a 'rolling' basis. I think the big thing to note with Cambridge is that if you have decent marks (i.e. near or over the standard offer), then they almost always give an interview - over 80% I think for most subjects - so the application itself isn't too important compared to interview/later testing. In terms of the issue of subject, it is true that in some areas they can't get interviewers from Cambridge/from your subject. Firstly, I think that that might be less of an issue in Singapore than it might be in relatively newer interview areas such as Australia - given that Singapore/Asia have so many Cambridge applicants, I think that their interviewers would likely be quite knowledgeable and experienced. I personally got interviewed by a Cambridge professor, but not someone from my college or my subject area. I will concede that it was harder to demonstrate my 'knowledge and enthusiasm' for law, given the interviewer didn't necessarily ask very law-oriented questions. However, I actually found this to be an advantage as it meant that they couldn't tell when I was confused about a particular area/point of law! Also, perhaps more relevantly, the interviewer - even if they might not know much about your subject area - generally should still be able to tell enthusiasm from your speaking and discussion. Often, the subject-specific testing done is more detailed (for instance, I had to do a 2-hour instead of a 1-hour Cambridge Law Exam) so that can help with demonstrating your knowledge. In terms of the issue of the interviewer not being from Cambridge, that probably wouldn't be too much of an issue either. Usually they do have some connection to Cambridge, and I assume/hope that they are given guidance on what to look for in an interviewee! I had a friend mention that there might be a potential conflict of interest if the interviewer is from a local university and wants to keep students there rather than at Cambridge, but realistically I don't think this would be too much of an issue. I did actually ask the admissions tutor at my college about whether an overseas interview was a disadvantage, and the answer I got was generally 'no' - except for specialist subjects where I think they do recommend a local interview, such as architecture and music. It will depend on college and subject, but the overseas interview should be fine, as it has been for lots of other prior applicants. If you do want to avoid the issue of UK/overseas interview Oxford does Skype interviews, but I personally think that that is even worse!
  4. I have a law exam in under 9 hours time, and I am currently procrastinating. As a general note, I think that most universities really do not care what you study in IB - as long as they are 'rigorous' subjects, though of course if you have essay-based subjects it is a tad easier to prove an interest in law. Having said that, many people I know were nearly all sciences-based and then coming into law at university. Some universities will say that they require an essay-based subject at HL - or recommend it - but I'm fairly sure that there are quite a few universities without that requirement (e.g. most Cambridge colleges). I think that you would be fine with either psychology or economics to fulfil that. In terms of English HL or SL, it really should not matter - if you are not that confident, SL should still be sufficient. I would suggest that you take French B at HL to begin with, just in case you change your mind about other HLs - such as Chemistry. Not having done Chemistry HL, I can't really comment on how hard it is, but I gather that it is hard work - but of course, you can do very well if you are willing to put in the required work. I wouldn't let other people's comments about Chemistry HL dissuade you, you might happen to find it not too bad. And, I think that generally universities are quite impressed by students who can manage sciences and maths at HL, even when applying for law. As to economics or psychology, I wouldn't read too much into the statistics (which you've no doubt already looked through) - try and have a look at the content, and figure out which one you might prefer. Economics is slightly less reading/memorisation based with a greater maths component, but aside from that I think it is good to choose which one to do based on interest. As to whether HL or SL is 'easier' it really does depend - as already noted above! Statistics might suggest more people get 7s in HL than SL - but that's largely because better students pick HL rather than SL (statistics can be such lies sometimes). I think that in terms of marking most SL/HL subjects are quite similar, but it does entirely depend on what the subject is. Often the questions - in terms of format/difficulty - are so different that it's not that relevant to be considering the 'marking' as different, rather just the difficulty. (PS: thought this was in my signature, but just thought I'd point out that I am a current law student in the UK, rather than Australia)
  5. I'm not exactly the greatest advertisement for going to an Australian uni from another country (I'm Australian, but now in the UK for university), but Australia can definitely be a good place to study! We have some pretty awesome universities, and the weather is great. As mentioned, you do have to go through UAC or VTAC or whatever (each state/territory in Australia has it's own system) - although honestly I think most international students would be interested in the universities covered by UAC, VTAC and possibly QTAC. As mentioned, uni does start at a weird time for Australia. So, unless you are doing mid-year entry, you would probably have to take a half-year off after IB before starting university. So, if you're May 2016, you probably wouldn't start until Feb/March 2017 (after applying in September 2016). Also, Australian universities use final IB marks rather than predicted grades. I'm not sure what would happen if you used non-IB marks. I presume that Australian unis would be able to deal with it, but I'm honestly not sure - you may need to contact individual universities to find out. If you do do IB, definitely use the IB marks. Only thing to keep in mind that scholarships/funding for international students can be rather thin on the ground, and fees are high - but if you are keen, universities do make some special provisions - so research is always helpful.
  6. Even though memorising is only one aspect of what you have to do - as mentioned understanding and application are essential - it is still something really important! I didn't like the memorise and repeatedly write down strategy - what I did was memorise by repeatedly reading it out to myself. But I see that these are quite similar strategies. I think that as long as you remember that memorising isn't the only thing you have to do - you still have to practice questions for instance - then it's a fine strategy to adopt. Just try not to spend too much time memorising - though of course some subjects will require more.
  7. The admissions advice from my Cambridge college is that GCSE results matter less than IB results at Cambridge than Oxford - so, if you were considering between Cambridge and Oxford, that might make a marginal difference. But as Arrowhead has excellently explained, it depends on a variety of other things!
  8. My grades are all A's apart from Photography, but that's a Year 10 elective so no worries. As a ranking, I believe I'm ranked around a 5 out of the 150 cohort - so I'm doing fairly well? Is this good enough for a 45? I don't know! Hmm, it seems like my school isn't too strong in the HSC and our curriculum is based around IB so a large portion of the students take IB for this reason. No one in our school really gets an IB mark under 38. the way nsw schools that offer ib and hsc work is that in general, the top 50% of the grade takes ib while the bottom 50% takes hsc which is completely 3807035% wrong. if you're ranked 5/150, you're in the upper part of the cohort, and i'd say almost definetly those people ranked higher than you will be taking ib so you should be able to get ranked 1/75 if you chose to take hsc. the thing you said about being 5/150 maybe being good enough for a 45 is completely wrong and that is a hsc mentality. ib has no ranking and hypothetically its possible to be ranked lowest in the cohort and still have a grade of 45 if your cohort is just really smart and really small and its a very unlikely hypothetical but is possible. hsc only rewards students who are top of their cohort (you) while in ib the mark of others doesn't affect your mark and therefor you can get a good mark without being top of a course. hsc classes are easier than ib, for example hsc history has 4 topics, ib history has 16, continuers languages in hsc get you to the same level as beginners levels in ib, science courses are completely different (hsc is theory based, ib is practice based), literature courses are incomparable. on top of harder subjects, you have ee tok cas which make life a lot harder. also you said that your schools hsc marks are not great so people chose ib but you're wrong actually. your schools hsc marks are not good because the top half of the year takes ib, so the weaker students are left in hsc which is not how the system should be played but it is. this is really shown in results from 2013 i think because a sydney girls private school that offers ib had 9 students receive 45's while James ruse (top academic school in sydney) had 5 students get 99.95 atars. this is because in hsc its impossible for more than 25-30 or so students to receive a 99.95 while any number can get it in ib. so yeah that sydney girls school had a low ranking on the hsc scores chart because their best marks were in hsc. you can see this looking at trinity grammar, mlc, and newington from the top of my head where they don't have great academic rankings but amazing ib scores. i personally think doing hsc will be more beneficial to you because you will quite easily get ranked 1st or 2nd in each of your classes, you can take fewer classes that are easier and you could do really well in hsc. I wasn't going to chip in here, but after reading the discussion and because I'm procrastinating on my uni revision, I thought I would give my general thoughts on HSC vs IB. (There's also a lot of school-specific thoughts that I have since OP and I went to the same school, but I won't detail that too much here). I'm going to disagree entirely with ibprincess - I think that if you are aiming for a 45/99.95 (and indeed, a 42+/99+) you would be remarkably unwise to do anything other than IB. Firstly, I would dispute the notion that HSC is intrinsically less work than IB if you want to do well. I won't deny that CAS/EE/TOK is an additional requirement that's not encountered in HSC - but I think that especially with CAS, to a large extent it would be happening in HSC anyway. You may end up taking fewer subjects overall, but if you do, often you will end up doing more in those specific subjects - e.g. extension subjects. Although IB subjects may be more intellectually rigorous (although this is a bit controversial, I think it is true - that's partially why I chose IB), I also don't think that necessarily makes it harder - I found it actually easier/more interesting to study. Also, if you do want to be ranking top, that requires hard work, even if the cohort may not be of the same standard as in IB. There's also the element of competition which can make it more stressful. I believe (though I'm not certain on this!) that to get 99+/99.95 ATARs in HSC, it is not only your ranking within your school cohort, but ranking within the state cohort that matters. Although I completely agree with ibprincess that it is deeply unfortunate that a two-tier system has arisen in a lot of NSW schools, it is the case (and I think particularly for OP) that IB gets better resources and teachers generally. There is also the school's ulterior motive of focussing on keeping IB scores high, as to maintain their advertising campaigns - HSC tends to receive less prominence for them. Even though the higher IB scores vs HSC ATARs is a reflection of the students who choose the respective programs, I think that there is actually something else going on there as well. Really, I think the strongest argument for doing IB if you are aiming for a 99.95 is that by putting in hard work there is a much greater degree of certainty that you will actually end up getting a 99.95 (or even 99+). HSC's scaling system is remarkably opaque, with many myths sprouting up about certain subjects - and is ultimately dependent on how everyone else does. IB does of course have shifting grade boundaries as a quasi-scaling system, but the grade boundary shifts are far smaller and more explicable by the difficulty of particular papers. Also, once you can predict what grade out of 7 you can get for each subject, you have a pretty certain idea of what your IB score and hence ATAR is going to be, even with conversion changes - there are ATAR calculators for HSC but they are far more complex, being based on 0.05 gradations and weird scaling, rather than clearly apportioned integer points out of 45. So, even if you think you may have topped every subject at your school, HSC gives you far less certainty as to whether you can get 99.95. With a strong cohort in IB, if you've done the equivalent, then it is more certain that you will have done enough to get a 45 - though that still does depend remarkably on luck. It's true that your actual ranking in IB doesn't matter, but if your school is able to maintain a regular trend in IB scores, it does give you a strong indication of where your ATAR might fall. Moreover, you have a strong idea of what percentage improvement you need to reach 7s, so you can work up to that point to reach it. It was that certainty which led me to choose IB over HSC - even though it's not really that massive a thing, I thought that there was increased 'peace of mind' in knowing that in previous years of IB our school had gotten multiple 45s, whereas there were very few 99+ ATARs in HSC. Even if I could have done the same in HSC (which I doubt very very much, though if someone's willing to pay me, I'd totally be up for retaking high school with HSC!) it would have been inherently less certain and more stressful, at least at our school. Even though I am massively biased, I would wholeheartedly suggest taking the IB. Of course, it varies between different schools in NSW and indeed different people, but I think that - as unfortunate as I agree that it is - it is preferable for those aiming for 99.95. A 45 is by no means impossible, although it does depend so much on hard work and sometimes chance - good luck!
  9. I didn't do very well on UMAT and to be honest didn't really want to, so I may not be the best person to comment. But, I am desperately looking for something to procrastinate on instead of revising for uni, so I'll post my thoughts on UMAT. 1. I agree - you really should be fine if you have online resources with past papers/answers. Even better if you can find people to help you with questions you don't understand. Having said that, most of my friends did take the course - and they did exceptionally well - but I think they probably could've done as well even without the training, and if they just had past papers (most of them did say that). The course gives you an invaluable sense of security - but it is a lot of money! Up to you. 2. Preparation - again, as I said, I didn't really do any so I can't comment on it as it didn't take any of my time. As to time management in the exam, it was a struggle, but even though I'd never finished a full practice paper, I did get through every question. I think the key is just to move quickly, skip questions you don't understand ruthlessly, and then come back if you have time. If I remember right it is 300 questions so you have to move quick. Practice under timed conditions should help with time management. 3. For the spatial reasoning section it should be fine (section 3). Problem solving should also be manageable (section 2). The only one which might pose a problem if your English is not as good is section 2 - understanding people. However, since you say you're fluent and have done IB English (I assume as Language A), you should have no problems at all (well, section 2 can still be a problem, but it won't be native/non-native language that'll be the issue)! Again, getting used to reading passages and answering the weird UMAT-style questions is the most invaluable practice. Hope that was useful. Best of luck with UMAT.
  10. Hey! I totally understand the feeling of being swamped by SATs and everything else going on, so I'll do my best to try and offer advice. I would personally say that you could probably get away with doing all 3 SAT subject tests in one day (as long as your test centre allows this - which they should). You get breaks in between, so it's really not too bad. As to how to order it, I would personally say that you should do Maths II when you're feeling the most tired, as you can probably get away with not being in optimal form for it. Out of Chemistry and English, pick which you think will be hardest (depends on your own preference - though I suspect Chemistry will have more content and hence will be harder) and do it when you're most awake - whether that be as your 1st, 2nd or 3rd exam. I don't know if you've looked through any of the Maths II papers yet, but they are seriously, ridiculously easy. If you are doing Maths HL, you will be more than fine. As far as I know, the only topics not covered in Maths HL which are in SAT (unless they've changed it since 2013) are elliptics and non-linear regressions - both of which can't be learnt very quickly (in under a day) - and actually didn't come up on my exam! You've got a graphics calculator too, which is sweet. Also, even if you haven't done calculus yet, it's fine - Maths II has no calculus. So, even without much study, Maths II can probably be done quite easily. I can't comment on Chemistry, but I think that the Literature exam is also fairly easy in the sense that there's no content so you can't really prepare for it. Just bring in your Paper 1 knowledge from IB English, and read the passages and answer the questions with a clear head. Again, SAT I is not hard - though it may be different if they've finally dropped writing requirement? In any case, I think that this actually requires a tad more preparation - just reading up and practising the really weird question types and exam formats. I personally only studied for a week or two (not enough, really), but if you can steadily read through advice (SAT official guide is great, and the other big guides - as well as Sparknotes - are not bad either) and do practice spread out (preferably timed), it should be useful. That's why I would suggest doing SAT I in October (option 3). Then again, if you've already left an extra month break, then option 2 should be fine as well. That's my advice anyway. You can go for option 1, but I reckon that that is just stretching out the stress. If you do want to try and maximise your scores, I would even suggest that you give yourself the chance to do SAT IIs twice - as in, you do all 3 subjects in 1 session, your SAT I in another session, and then leave yourself a session at the end to rest any SAT IIs your not happy with. That might be exhausting - so consider whether it's worth doing it given IB/everything else going on - but it would probably maximise your SAT scores. If it's useful, this is my own SAT-sitting experience. May 2013: SAT I (happy with my score despite not that much study, so I just left it) June 2013: SAT II Maths II & Latin (happy with maths but not happy with Latin) December 2013 (wanted to do it after IB exams): retook Latin, took Physics & English as well Of course, you could always consider not doing Early Admissions, but if you're keen on Georgetown I would strongly recommend that you do apply early.
  11. Hey! I actually did apply and get accepted to UPenn (I assume you mean the private, Ivy League University of Pennsylvania rather than Penn State?), but I am a big foggy on details. As far as I know, there is no hard and fast IB requirement. They also don't mind what subjects you take, though I do seem to recall that for Wharton IB Maths HL is looked upon favourably (for economics/business/finance) - though I don't think it was by any means obligatory. It is more about your overall transcript (your high school grades) - & either SAT or ACT. SATs are quite different, but the middle range of SAT scores is around 670-780 (out of 800). I'm not really sure about what other particular info you need, but google is always great for a basic overview if you really don't know how admissions work. Otherwise, if you have specific questions now, we can always try and answer them.
  12. I would agree that Geography should be a pretty easy subject to improve in - know case studies and statistics for each syllabus point (or pretend plausibly that you do) and you should be fine. I honestly think that aside from amount of content that you learn, HL is not much harder than SL at all. Also, the stuff you do in HL (globalisation) helps a lot with understanding SL, and you can repeat case studies. So I think you can definitely lift it to a 7 with some work! As to whether or not to drop it, I would probably suggest that you keep it for now, until you are really sure you can handle your HLs/your school forces you to drop!
  13. Alternatively, you can try purchasing exam papers through the IB website if thorough google searching/asking other/older students/begging your school doesn't work!
  14. If you want to drop Chem, then go for it - especially if you don't want to do medicine - though frankly in Australia it makes essentially no difference at all. If you like business, then go for it - Australian universities do not care about 'soft subjects' - indeed, I don't think universities actually know what IB subjects you take at all - so if you want to do that, go ahead. Otherwise, do check out economics - as it is generally seen as more interesting/rigorous (which I think is true!).
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