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Dr Catherine Sumnall, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office
Research date: 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2015

This paper provides an assessment of the relationship between the attainment of A* grades in GCE A-levels and Tripos performance. It builds on previous work, which demonstrated a clear positive relationship between the total number of A* grades attained at A-level, and performance in first year Tripos examinations.

This paper replicates the previous analysis, using additional data years so as to draw more robust statistical conclusions, for Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences grouped Triposes in the University. This analysis is then extended to individual Triposes. The relationship between A*s attained at A-level and Tripos performance by subject group is further examined by school type.

The paper concludes that the relationship between A* attainment at A-level and first year Tripos performance remains consistently positive for all subjects. In Arts and Social Sciences, there is a linear relationship between the number of A* grades achieved and the first year Tripos percentage obtained. In the Sciences, although there is a significant difference in the Tripos performance of all attainment groups, those attaining three and four A* grades appear to benefit most. School type (maintained or independent) does not appear to significantly affect first year Tripos performance in any subject group, either alone or in interaction with number of A* grades.

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