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Converse: the literature website

Chaucher's The Canterbury Tales... on KindleChaucher's The Canterbury Tales in a modern age. Image credit: david_jones

Would you like to broaden and deepen your experience of literature, perhaps with the thought of studying English at university?

Try the Converse website, which is packed full of resources developed by the University of Cambridge's English Faculty in collaboration with teachers and schools.

You'll find resources to support you in your GCSE studies, your A Level studies, or in researching and making an application to study English or a related discipline at university.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 24 February 2015

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What's the Big Idea?

Neighbours? Image credit: Julia McDermott

The Big Idea is a monthly podcast, in which a group of academics is brought together from across the University of Edinburgh to debate topical issues and showcase their research. Recent editions have focused on the Scottish referendum on independence, our relationship with technology, and women's role and participation in society. As you listen, ask yourself how each academic makes connections between their own work, their colleagues' work, and current affairs. Try linking your work in any subject to your work in another subject and / or the news.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 17 February 2015

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Legal History: 1215 and all that

Magna Carta, 1215Magna Carta, 1215. Image credit: anselor

To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation#st...
To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation#st...
To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation#st...

"To no one will we sell, to no one deny, or delay right or justice."

This week, the British Library marked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta by bringing together the four remaining original documents for the first time. Radio 4's Law in Action recorded a special programme at the exhibition. Presenter Joshua Rosenberg asked a former Lord Chief Justice, a current lawyer, and the Head of Mediaeval Manuscripts at the British Library:

  • how much of our current law actually comes from the Magna Carta?
  • how much of its legacy is little more than myth?
  • to what extent are the protections attributed to Magna Carta under threat?

How can legal history enrich our knowledge and understanding of the law? Roman Law has been taught at Cambridge for over seven hundred years. Indeed, Civil (Roman) Law I is a compulsory paper for all our first years. Dr. Matthew Dyson explains why it remains important and offers a sample supervision sheet. Second and third years can choose to take a further paper in legal history.

Date posted: 

Friday 6 February 2015

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BBC Taking Liberties Season

Houses of Parliament, WestminsterThe Houses of Parliament, Westminster. Image credit: Treye Rice

2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The BBC is leading commemorations with its Taking Liberties season of programmes on Britain's democracy: past, present, and future.

Ask yourself: are the democratic freedoms manifest in the Magna Carta or the de Montfort Parliament real or imagined, either then or now?

Date posted: 

Monday 26 January 2015

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The French Revolution: Tearing up History

The death of marat

The death of Marat. Credit: paukrus (cropped)

There's an interesting documentary on BBC iplayer, which explores the history of the French Revoution through the story of its art.

The programme is presented by Dr Richard Clay, Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Birmingham.

Date posted: 

Sunday 30 November 2014

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Earth Sciences

Punakaiki Rocks

Punakaiki Rocks, West Coast of New Zealand. Credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn

What is the Earth made of? What processes shape and change it? What's happened to it in the past 4.5 billion years, and how do we know? What will happen to the Earth's climate in the future? The Cambridge Department of Earth Sciences has released a very useful introductory film:

If you'd like to find out more about physical and biological aspects of the Earth, here are two books that provide a good way into the subject:

Earth Sciences is just one of the many options available in the Cambridge Natural Sciences course, and no previous knowledge in geology or geography is required. You can combine it with your interests in other sciences, and you can specialise in it if you later choose to. Do explore the Department of Earth Sciences website for more detail.

Date posted: 

Saturday 22 November 2014

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Science Week at the University of York

Preparing for interviews

How Stuff Works magazine

We recommend that you explore topics that interest you further (there are a lot of ways to do this).

We interview most (but not all) students who apply for a place at Cambridge. The interviews are with subject specialists who ask you academic questions to explore your potential for the course you have applied for.

How do you prepare for a Cambridge interview? Here are some tips:

Long-term preparation (before you apply)

  • If you enjoy learning, the good news is that you shouldn't need to change anything significant to prepare for interviews at Cambridge. The most important thing you can do is to develop your academic interests (which you're likely to find that you've already been doing!)
  • Find a Cambridge course that genuinely interests you so that you have natural curiosity and enjoy developing your skills and finding out more.
  • Look at the resources section on the relevant subject page for specific suggestions (e.g. Engineering), but also feel free to follow your own interests or use other resources and books that you find helpful. 
  • Understand that Cambridge interviewers will be interested in your academic interests and how you think and work, not only what you know. The interviews are academic interviews, designed to test this.  This film shows what Cambridge interviews are about.

Short-term preparation (after you have applied)

  • See this advice and our interview guidelines.
  • Watch Film 1 and Film 2 to get a sense of what will happen if you are invited for interview.
  • Carry on developing your academic interests.  Use the resources section on the relevant subject page if you are looking for suggestions.
  • Don't neglect your normal school work - if you are currently at school, we know how busy you are, and you can develop your interests within your school curriculum by putting your best into your homework assignments. Remember that most of your interview preparation has already been done at this stage.
  • Don't worry excessively about the interview itself. Know that the interviews are not a test of how good you are at being interviewed (we're not looking for polish or perfection). They are about your subject(s),  so the only way you can improve your chances is to carry on focusing on your academic work and interests.
  • Try to trust your interviewers if you can! They are all teachers and they want you to achieve. They will know how to ask further questions to tease what they need out of you, and they know that interviewees are nervous so they are looking for raw ability and academic commitment, not perfection.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 4 November 2014

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Cambridge Subject Films

Marking on a map

Geography fieldwork. Credit: Richard Allaway

Are you exploring the courses available at Cambridge? One way to get a quick overview is to look at some of the subject films.

The films are only short, but they explain the structure and opportunities in each course, show you some of the faculty facilities, and have  current students giving their views and reasons for choosing each subject, tips for applying from the lecturers, and information about what students go on to do when they graduate.

You may also find the advice about choosing a subject useful, and there are lists of transferable skills for most courses (or options within courses). These lists set out the advantages that each subject gives you for your future career.

The most important question to ask yourself, is what would you enjoy studying in depth?

Date posted: 

Thursday 30 October 2014

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