A Welcome To The A* Freshers

Congratulations from The Tab to all those who made their grades today.

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The thousands of school-leavers whose places at Cambridge will be confirmed today could be the brightest the university has ever admitted.

For the first time ever, hopeful tabs have been required to score an A* A-level grade – awarded to those achieve at least 90% at A2 and got an A at AS level. In some cases, offers have included more than one A*.

The new standard offer aims to filter out the very brightest students, combatting the ‘grade inflation’ which has left thousands of students with the same straight A results.

A number of A-level tab hopefuls, however, have criticised the amount of pressure that the new top grade has placed on students aiming to be wheat rather than chaff. 

Kate, who successfully fulfilled the terms of her offer to join the fresher class of 2013 at Sidney Sussex in October, says the A* really “piled the pressure on”. Whilst the new top score is supposed to inspire students to push themselves, Kate felt that “in reality, all it did was make me panic during my exam, as I kept thinking of the pressure to get 90% in that paper. The pressure comes from it being the A2 modules that you have to perform in.”

Krishma, another (now confirmed) Sidney Sussex fresher, agreed: “I definitely think the A star changed the nature of the A level course by adding a disproportionate amount of pressure to my final year and, to an extent, made my achievements at AS less relevant…Upon receiving my offer, I had no sense of security that I had a place at Cambridge – even if I worked my hardest I didn’t know whether I could get over 90% in my A2’s. Cambridge should have waited for at least another year before making A* offers because, particularly in essay subjects, students had little idea what examiners were looking for to push them over the A/A* boundary.”

15,966 applications were received to fill the 3,400 undergraduate places in 2010, an increase of 1.67% on last year.


Congratulations from The Tab to all those who made their grades today. You can keep up with all the latest news, freshers events and crucial gossip by becoming a Tab fan here and join the Freshers 2010 Facebook group here.

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See you all soon…