Christ’s College saw a remarkable climb this yearDiliff

The latest Tompkins Table, which ranks University of Cambridge colleges on how their undergraduates perform in exams, sees Trinity College extend their stay at the top of the rankings to a record-breaking six years.

Trinity open a five per cent lead over second-place Pembroke, with a 4.1 per cent increase in the proportion of Firsts attained by Trinitarians.

This year’s most eye-catching change comes from Christ’s College, which rises 11 places to third place. It sees the college return to the top four position it was accustomed to securing at the turn of the century, including a three-year run at the top of the table between 1999 and 2001.

Speaking to Varsity, Dr Andrew Spencer, Admissions Tutor at Christ’s, said: “While it is necessary to be cautious about relative positions on the Tompkins Table as the differences between colleges’ performance are often very small, we are obviously delighted by our students’ achievements this year.

“Christ’s is a popular choice for applicants and we have talented young men and women who work very hard. This year the subjects in which we have had traditional strength have sustained this and been supplemented by success in new areas, something replicated across all years.”

In the last 20 years, only three other colleges have risen up the table in more dramatic fashion than Christ’s 11-place ascent. In 2006, Selwyn climbed 12 places to seventh having ranked 19th the previous year, and back in 1999, Sidney Sussex stormed into fourth place from a lowly 17th – a hike of 13 places.

The third college to outdo Christ’s climb is Corpus Christi, who this year hold the distinction of having the biggest increase in rank, rising 12 places from 22nd to 10th.

Corpus Christi’s rise is no doubt fueled by a 7.8 per cent increase in the percentage of Firsts, a huge increase that is matched by Homerton.

Another notable change from last year’s table is Magdalene’s seven-place fall to ninth place, a drop surpassed only by Churchill, third last year, falling eight places to 11th. The new rankings make Magdalene’s second-place ranking last year appear something of an anomaly in the context of the college’s performances in recent years.

The Tompkins Table 2016

Rank College Score (Rank 2015) Change in Rank % Firsts (% Firsts 2015) Change in % Firsts
1 Trinity 75.6 1 0 45.1 41 4.1
2 Pembroke 70.6 5 3 32.7 31.6 1.1
3 Christ’s 70.1 14 11 31.6 23.8 7.8
4 Emmanuel 69.8 4 0 30.9 30.3 0.6
5 St John’s 69.4 10 5 29.8 28.1 1.7
6 Queens’ 69.3 7 1 30.1 28.8 1.3
7 Jesus 69.1 11 4 29.3 27.4 1.9
8 Peterhouse 68.9 6 -2 31.8 30.3 1.5
9 Madgalene 68.8 2 -7 28.4 33.1 -4.7
10 Corpus Christi 68.6 22 12 28.9 21.1 7.8
11 Churchill 68.5 3 -8 30.5 31.7 -1.2
12 Downing 68.4 9 -3 29.2 27.5 1.7
13 Trinity Hall 68.2 8 -5 29.2 38.8 -9.6
14 King’s 68.2 18 4 30.3 26.3 4
15 Selwyn 67.4 12 -3 28 25.5 2.5
16 Sidney Sussex 67.2 17 1 25.5 21.6 3.9
17 St Catharine’s 67.2 13 -4 24.6 25.1 -0.5
18 Clare 67.1 15 -3 25.9 26 -0.1
19 Gonville and Caius 66.9 19 0 26.2 22.8 3.4
20 Wolfson 65.5 26 6 21.6 18.1 3.5
21 Newnham 65.5 21 0 21.9 19.3 2.6
22 Robinson 65.3 16 -6 22.2 24.8 -2.6
23 Fitzwilliam 65.2 20 -3 23 22.8 0.2
24 Homerton 64.2 27 3 20.8 13 7.8
25 Murray Edwards 64 23 -2 18.8 16.6 2.2
26 Lucy Cavendish 63.3 29 3 13.8 9.1 4.7
27 Girton 63 24 -3 19 16.6 2.4
28 St Edmund’s 62.7 28 0 19.8 18.5 1.3
29 Hughes Hall 61.7 25 -4 14.1 15.9 -1.8

The Tompkins Table ranks 29 Cambridge colleges based on undergraduate Tripos results. Clare Hall and Darwin are excluded as they only have postgraduate students. It has been put together annually by Trinity alumnus Peter Tompkins since 1981, when he was an undergraduate mathematics student.

Tompkins says he has never believed the table should do more than indicate general trends and notable improvements rather, warning against seeing too much in minor variations in individual scores within the table.

The table’s methodology takes each college’s results and awards a score of five for a first, three for an upper second, two for a lower second, and one for a third, ranking colleges by the percentage of possible points scored. The same formula has been copied at Oxford for the Norrington table.

What makes the table possible is the publication of Tripos Class Lists, meaning that the 2016 edition of Tompkins’s rankings could be the last, since the Regent House - the University of Cambridge’s highest governing body - are set to vote on proposals to abolish the public display of the lists.

With the exception of Trinity, who scored 75.6 per cent, all colleges fall within nine per cent of one another, second-placed Pembroke scoring 70.6 per cent while 29th-placed Hughes Hall scored 61.7 per cent.

There is more variation in the proportion of firsts attained at different colleges, with a difference of 31 per cent between the colleges getting the most and least firsts. Trinity achieved 45.1 per cent firsts, which, impressively, is greater than the number of upper second results achieved.

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