A100 Gap year

James made this Freedom of Information request to Churchill College, Cambridge

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Churchill College, Cambridge,

I would like to request some data on the A100 applications from the last four admissions cycles, under the terms of the Freedom Of Information Act 2000.

The data I would like is as follows,

1) How many applicants applied post A level and of those how many received interview and offers.
2) For the applicants who were given offers (post a level ) and the ones who didn't (post a level) could I get anonymised data on what A Levels they had taken and their average ums scores in each invididual subject. If an applicant took retakes , could this be indicated as well as how many were taken.

As well as this, I would like their bmat scores.

3) Could I also have a copy of any scoring system used before, during or after interview.

4) Finally, how is contextual data used for gcse's and are there personalized offers for medicine?

Yours faithfully,

James Overett

Richard Partington, Churchill College, Cambridge

Dear James (if I may),

You have submitted a fairly complex request for information in respect of medical admissions and gap years. Some of this I suspect we don't have data in respect of, and some of it may be difficult to release because of Data Protection issues, but some of it we should certainly be able to process. However it does require quite a lot of work for members of my staff.

Therefore, if you are a potential candidate, or even a disappointed unsuccessful candidate, might I suggest that you and I talk directly instead? I can explain the admissions process for medicine to you in great detail, and I think you will get a better and less potentially misleading sense of what goes on than you might form looking at rather a lot of data that might be quite difficult to make sense of outside the context of the admissions process. Our decisions are very substantially data-driven, but even so, if you are not an experienced admissions tutor, understanding how the process works just by looking at the data is hard. Whereas I can talk you through the issues as if you were a new admissions tutor being trained up.

Let me know.

All the best,

Richard Partington.

Senior Tutor
Churchill College

Telephone: 01223 336249
Assistant (Ms Karin Bane): 01223 336208
Fax: 01223 336180

Churchill Enquiries, Churchill College, Cambridge

1 Attachment

Dear James,


To follow, the information you requested about post-A Level applicants to
Medicine. In some cases (Q2) we have aggregated the data to a) prevent
individual applicants from being identified and b) because we frequently
use averaged data in the admission process, so it is more meaningful in
this form. For example, rather than providing subject-by-subject UMS, we
have indicated the average science UMS (SUMS) as this is a more reliable
indicator of potential to succeed on the course. We have, however,
provided some indication of A Level course options: you will see that
almost all candidates present at least three science A Levels.


The figures show that we have received post-A Level applicants to Medicine
in all of the last four years and these candidates have received offers in
three of the last four rounds. The successful applicants are usually
highly qualified: the Medics we admit typically achieve at least three A*
in relevant A Level subjects, so post-A Level candidates need to be at or
around this level to appear competitive (although this, in itself, is no
guarantee of success). The level of performance in the BMAT is also very


*You should interpret this data with care*. Because the number of post-A
Level applicants is very small, the statistics can be misleading. One
outlying value can greatly skew the overall figures. For example, some
candidates who were very strong on paper may not have been interviewed
because they were already on Medicine courses at other UK Universities. In
contrast, slightly weaker candidates may have performed better than their
statistics suggested due to compelling contextual factors.  As a rule of
thumb, the candidates we have interviewed over the period of interest had
SUMS averages of 90+%. Those we have selected have averaged close to 96%
using the same metric. The raw stats only tell part of the story, as we
conduct a holistic admissions process that also considers the UCAS
application (academic reference and Personal Statement), GCSEs (or
equivalent) and interview scores.


We these caveats in mind, the data you requested are as follows:


Q1: How many applicants applied post A level and of those how many
received interview and offers?

A1: Please refer to the table below.


Q2: What subjects did post-A Level applicants take, and what were their
UMS [my summary]?

A2: This information has been aggregated for ease of interpretation.
Please note that we have no information on re-takes. Refer to the
following table for details.



Q3: Could I have a copy of any scoring system used before, during or after
the interview?

A3: We use the University-wide standard, which is scored on a 10-point,
qualitative scale as follows:

10 Exceptional candidate - must take;  9 Very strong - definitely worth an
offer;  8 Strong - worth an offer; 7 Probably worth an offer; 6 Possibly
worth an offer; 5 Doubtful for an offer; 4 Weak; 1-3 Probably


Q4: How is contextual data used for GCSEs and are there personalized
offers for medicine?

A4: We collect statistical information on the average level of GCSE
performance on a school-by-school basis: this is used to contextualise
GCSE results. All offers are personalised in the sense that we set
conditions on a case-by-case basis. However, in recent years, we have
*never* set an offer lower than A*A*A. Furthermore, we frequently attach
A* conditions to particularly subjects (normally Chemistry).


With very best wishes,

Dr Nick Cutler
Admissions Tutor & Fellow in Geography
Churchill College
Cambridge CB3 0DS

Tel. +44 1223 336202


Institute Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge



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