The CSAT and Practice[+] are designed by the Climb Foundation to help candidates. We are advocates for more opportunity to shine and less opportunity to fail, and we strive to level the playing field.

The Computer Laboratory

About the Climb Foundation

The Climb Foundation was created in 2019 by a group of Cambridge University scientists and students as a non-profit organization, after 5 years of experience in designing high calibre computing and mathematical admissions material at Cambridge University, as well as public learning and preparation material. We all hold common and strong convictions in freely helping intrinsically capable students get a better education, and leveling the playing field.

Trinity College We are happy to mention that Trinity College, a longtime active supporter of the CSAT, Practice[+] and their guiding principles, will also be financially contributing to the Foundation's educational and outreach efforts.

We want to help every capable student learn and get to tackle the most subtle and interesting mathematical and computing questions, in particular those who have been less privileged to attend good schools and/or have good teachers. Currently, we design the CSAT as an admissions test used by a number of Cambridge colleges, and build what we believe is a great and unique learning platform, the Practice[+] Platform, focusing on teaching skills for high calibre mathematics and computing. We offer this platform online for free so everyone can benefit. We would like to expand our academic, outreach and learning & teaching portfolio to the benefit of both institutions and students alike.

We believe that anyone who grows their skills to become more or less comfortable with questions of this calibre will become a great computer scientist or mathematician. That's the biggest gain, whether at Cambridge or not. We want to help all of you get to that point. That's our reward.

Membership

The members of the Climb Foundation are all active scientists and students at the University of Cambridge, within the Department of Computer Science and Department of Mathematics. Some of us will soon be contributing to the Foundation's efforts from Edinburgh University or from unspeakable places, such as those whose name starts with O and ends with xford.

The question setters have been interviewing candidates for undergraduate admissions at University of Cambridge for CompSci (plus other related disciplines) for many years, since well before the CSAT was conceived. They all also have been teaching and supervising CompSci courses within the Computer Science department at the University of Cambridge for even longer than that, together covering all the topics taught in the department, from pure mathematics and theory to programming and hardware design. We hold a solid understanding of the vast and complex machinery that is the Cambridge undergraduate admissions and Cambridge undergraduate teaching.

The other important membership are the fabulous undergraduate students (some who have now graduated) who volunteered to help build the Practice[+] Platform and contribute further to the Foundation's efforts. They have all gone through the Cambridge admissions process, and have sat the CSAT, and have recognized the potential that the CSAT has to help younger generations. We are all having loads of fun creating content to support the learning process of young students who want to learn and succeed, in particular those less privileged (it has always been heartbreaking for us to learn about talented students who think of themselves as "not good enough for Cambridge").

History

The history of the CSAT and the Climb Foundation is a fairly long and rich one already, so we leave the full details for another time. It all started in 2014 when Bogdan, then Director of Studies at Homerton College, set out to design an admissions test that could allow candidates who deserve a place to shine more in the process in order to be more easily seen and to reduce the risk of being missed out on. A tedious process ensued (remember there are 31 different colleges at Cambridge), with the first setters joining the following year and contributing to refining the test, marking style, recommendations to colleges etc. In 2016-2017 Bogdan saw an opportunity to use the CSAT to create a learning context and improve the preparation for Maths and CompSci, to help young students acquire high calibre mathematical and computing skills and help level the playing field at the same time so that everyone can benefit. A team of passionate undergraduate students joined the effort and led to the launch of the Practice[+] platform in 2018.

In December 2018 the CSAT teams (setters, markers, Practice[+]'ers, sitting organisers) altogether numbered 31 individuals in Cambridge. Markers undergo a more difficult task than your typical marker (identifying and awarding the line of reasoning, not penalizing various mistakes, is far harder than it sounds). Sitting organisers (PhD students) who helped organize the sittings of the CSAT tests throughout 2 weeks at the Computer Science department made sure it happened in a friendlier and more enriching environment than arguably any other university exam (hint: there was cake, tours, laughing, discussions about admissions, computer science banter, tips for interviews, etc).

In 2019 the members decided to create the Climb Foundation as a separate entity to allow more freedom to take further the core principles they believe in.

Note

No, Climb does not stand for CSAT Leads Inevitably to More Brilliance ... or does it?