What GCE A level subjects should I take?
The most important thing is to choose subjects that excite your interest and enthusiasm. Many Natural Science options have A-level requirements. Mathematics is essential and should be taken to as high a level as your school can support.
What if I’m not doing A levels?
We can ‘translate’ qualifications from anywhere in the world.
What about Further Mathematics? My school cannot provide the teaching for it.
Further Mathematics is very useful but not essential for Computer Science. We find that students who have taken Further Mathematics tend to have an advantage in their first year, in that they can focus on new concepts rather than worrying about the Mathematics involved. Of course we are aware that schools vary in the teaching that they can offer, and we do our best to take into account your level of Mathematics at the interview.
What grades do you ask for?
In the Computer Science the offer is typically two A* and one A grades at GCE A level or equivalent in Sciences and Mathematics. Please do not be put off by the offer – if we make you an offer it means we want to take you.
What can I expect at the admissions interview?
We interview almost all applicants who apply to read Computer Science and the interviews are usually held in the first or second week of December. There are two 30-minute subject interviews, one focusing on aptitude for computer science and one on mathematics.
Why do you set a written test? And what does it involve?
Each student is different – some people excel at interview while others show their talent in a more reserved way. We find the combination of interview and test is a useful way of assessing a student’s capacity for problem solving and future potential. We are looking for both at Robinson.
What form does a Subject interview take?
You will be interviewed by all four of our Fellows in Computer Science. The normal format is to work through a set of problems together. In one of the interviews you will be provided with the questions 30 minutes in advance to help you think about them before talking to us.
Do you recommend a "year out" between school and university?
We are fairly neutral about this one. If you have a clear plan for your "year out" then it can help you broaden your outlook on life and for many people it proves to be very valuable. It does carry the risk of losing touch with the academic way of life, and many people find when they finally get to university that they have lost the habit of studying and forgotten some of their scientific knowledge. However, it rarely takes more than a term to get over this.
How much time does the course take up?
In the first year, there are twelve lectures a week and about six 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 to work through your lecture notes, read the textbooks and so on. You can see that this adds up to at least 40 hour a week. Much of it can be done at times which suit you, so that you can keep appropriate afternoons free for sport, or evenings free for music or drama or other social activities.
You do need to be well-organised to fit everything into eight week terms. Self-study over the Christmas and Easter vacations is also essential.
Updated June 2015