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Rating summary
The University of Cambridge 4.3 / 47 reviews
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Anonymous
Reviewer:

Great degree, did it as part of my Clinical Medicine Undergraduate degree. Really well organised with some of the best scientists and physicians in the world. Supervisions are great small group teaching, where you are really pushed to work and learn things in detail, which will bode well for the future. It covers great depth in various specialities, both specific to cell signalling and also general body systems, which makes it particularly interesting.

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Anonymous
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I absolutely love the way my course is taught. The teaching works for me so well! I write an essay a week and then get one on one supervision with a professor. This allows me to ask any questions that arose during my reading but also gives me a chance to discuss and debate with an expert in the field. My only disappointment with my degree was that the only paper I could do specifically on women and women's history has been removed from the syllabus which is incredibly frustrating. Aside from this, I absolutely love my course. The flexibility to choose almost any period, in any part of the world has allowed me to study aspects I had never done before, such as the Roman Empire, or do more in-depth study of areas I had touched upon before, like modern america.

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Anonymous
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The course is good because the choice of papers is very broad. You may also borrow papers from other subjects, such as history. The workload is pretty heavy as you will be writing around two essays per week. However, the supervisions in which you discuss said essays are very useful.

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Anonymous
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HSPS is a fantastic course because of it's breadth. Studying Politics, International Relations, Sociology and Social Anthropology in first year drew all of these bits together under one degree, and I was able to take the concepts I loved further than I did in Year 13, and be taught by people who had devoted their academic lives to the same areas. HSPS is such a unique course and that’s where its beauty lies. Nowhere else can you go from one lecture about the symbolic value of food, to a lecture on Hobbesian political thought, and onto a supervision discussing whether Britain is truly meritocratic.

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Paper 2
Anonymous

Constitutional Law is one of the 8 compulsory papers studied by everyone taking the 3 year law course at Cambridge. The paper focuses on the Separation of Powers, Parliamentary Sovereignty, the Rule of Law, Human Rights and Judicial Review. These are the things that determine the power public bodies have, and so is possibly one of the more political modules in the degree. The Academics in this area, who lecture and 'supervise' the paper are genuinely at the top of their field and are very good teachers. The course content is really interesting, and for those who enjoy it, you can expand on it by studying 'Administrative Law' in your second and third years.

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Anonymous
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Cambridge History is known to be one of the best history degrees in the world. It is certainly possible to see how given the intensive work load completed. It is difficult initially but very quickly typing and reading speed increases allowing for greater ease to get through the reading lists given each week. Although some parts of the degree could be made better- its euro-centricism most importantly- the level of detail that is acquired is immense. Exams are completed at the end of each year although first year exams don't count towards anything and second year only counts if you receive a first. The opportunity to debate subjects with specialists, often having read their own books on the subject, is incredible and so useful in the development of convincing arguments. I'm so glad I came here even though there are low points that make me question my decision!

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Anonymous
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My degree is really interesting, and the information I am taught is very cutting edge, some of it is even not yet published. I am very lucky to have gained a place at Cambridge, and have survived almost three years, however it has challenged me in more ways than I could have possibly imagined, and it completely changes your life.

Obviously going to university is not a decision to take lightly, and if you are fortunate enough to be offered a place at Cambridge it is almost impossible to turn it down, but it is the most difficult thing I have ever done. It is so stressful, tiring, challenging, and at times, feels impossible.

People think Cambridge is just full of snooty, private-schooled, rich kids. Sure, there are some of those, but every university has them. I come from a very small town, went to a less-than-average comprehensive school, and somehow got in to Cambridge. I would do it again given the chance, but many of my friends say they wouldn't do it again. It breaks people, and at times you feel very alone and unworthy of being there, but the friends I have made will stay with me for life, and get me through it.

Overall I would recommend Cambridge, but warn people that they can never be ready for how difficult it is, so always remember, you got in, so you deserve to be there.

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Anonymous
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The course is very challenging and fast paced. The lectures are often too fast and you have to constantly be on top of the workload. It would be nice if the university did provide more help as the course, in practice if not on paper, is largely self study

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Anonymous
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The Cambridge Natural Sciences course has many great positives but also negatives associated with it.

As a student who couldn't decide between two quite different sciences to focus on, I really appreciated the breadth of subjects offered and the possibility to - once you're in - do whichever one of the offered subjects. This might not be ideal for someone who "just wants to do physics" as the course actually forces you (in the first year) to take an extra option such as material science or geology.

Possibly the greatest plus of a (any) Cambridge course are the regular high-quality small-group supervisions. In my first year, I had four of these a week -- usually with another student (sometimes two) but you can even be alone with a professor for an hour. In later years there are fewer supervisions but they can still be tremendously helpful. Not only can you ask question if you don't understand something but you get regular feedback on your work, which - if you take advantage of it - can really help you improve. For instance, I took History and Philosphy of Science in my second year and had to write weekly 2000-word essays. Having had very little initial experience with this, my early essays were pretty weak. But over the course of the year, I learnt to structure my arguments so that they clearly supported my answer to the essay question and by the end of the year, I was getting very positive feedback.

One downside of the Natural Sciences course that I personally find annoying is that it feels slightly backwards in the sense that it offers very little guidance in programming and scientific computing, something that's not only essential for most sciences (both physical and biological) nowadays but can also be a great transferable skill to improve one's employability. Despite this, there's only a very short "intro to MATLAB" course in the first year. Physicists are expected to learn necessary coding on their own and as a biologist, unless you do a fourth year in Systems Biology, you don't get any opportunity to develop your programming skills. I hope this is only a temporary problem and the course organisers will start offering some optional courses soon.

Finally, the greatest downside of doing the Cambridge Natural Sciences Tripos is that it's pretty stressful. What adds to it is that most people don't talk about this and pretend they're alright when in fact they're experiencing a lot of stress and some just barely cope (and some, unfortunately, develop depression). I've come to believe that this is a pattern you see at most top universities, be it Cambridge, Oxford, MIT or Stanford, but it's still something to take into consideration. Yes, it feels great to study at a prestigious beautiful old university but if the price you pay for this is three/four years of constant stress, not feeling good enough and having your self-confidence crushed, the price might be too high. It all depends on one's personality (how ambitious your are, how well you cope with stress) and also simply how good you are -- if you're so good that even Cambridge is easy for you, you'll have a blast.

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Anonymous
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The quality of the teaching and content of my degree is very high but so is the workload and expectations. The first two years work on a 'standard credit' formula which is where each assignment has a standard credit mark which is counted towards the final grade and if you achieve more it does not count but if you achieve less then you lose marks. The idea being that everyone should achieve standard credit on each assignment and not do well in one area and make it up in another. I thought this method was a good way of ensuring that people spent their time well and didn't obsess over perfection at the start oft he course.

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