JOE WHITWELL tells you everything you need to know about this year’s Tompkins Table. Which isn’t much. It’s pretty much the same as last year.

Tompkins 2013 is a story of remarkable continuity from last year. 

An impressive 20 colleges have either held onto their position or have only shifted position by one spot. By comparison, 14 colleges did that last year and only 12 the year before.

Those were more exciting times.

This trend of stagnation is even more marked at the lower end of the table with nine of the bottom ten staying put. Only Downing moves, rising eight places to 12th. All three female-only colleges remain in the bottom ten as has been the tale of the past ten years. Only Newnham has managed to break out in that time, reaching the dizzying heights of 13th in 2004 before plummeting back down again the following year.

Champagne corks must be popping in Lucy Cavendish however, as the college explodes out of last place in 29th – where they have been for the last four years – to a much more respectable 28th.


Officially not as bad as St Edmund’s #winning

At the top end of the table, Pembroke jump up to second from last year’s 4th – a ten year high. Meanwhile, Trinity Hall also re-enters the top five with Emma slipping from 2nd to 4th and Churchill guarding 5th.


Thankfully, there are some movers and shakers. Corpus in particular have managed to help keep things vaguely interesting: the college has not only left the top five but exited the top fifteen, sinking 13 places to 16th. Selwyn also fell from 6th to 18th, making it their first time out of the top ten since 2006. This follows the tragic news that outgoing Master, Richard Bowring, will be taking his cat, Gus, with him.

The biggest climber after Downing were Queens’ with a five place leap into the top ten from 12th to 7th. Trinity also did quite well.

The annually compiled Tompkins table, compiled by ex-Cantab Peter Tompkins for The Independent, has received criticism due to its small data samples, particularly from smaller colleges, which lead to large fluctuations in position year on year.

A simple score is awarded for exam results, with 100 per cent for a first, 60 per cent for a 2:1, 40 per cent for a 2:2 and 20 per cent for a third. Unlike the University’s Baxter table, Tompkins takes all years into consideration, rather than just finalists.

Tomkins Table 2013 % Score – % Firsts

1 (1) Trinity, 73.66%, 41.7%

2 (4) Pembroke, 70.85%, 33.7%

3 (8) Trinity Hall, 68.94%, 28.1%

4 (2) Emmanuel, 68.72%, 30.5%

5 (5) Churchill, 68.17%, 28.3%

6 (7) Jesus, 67.47%, 27.1%

7 (12) Queens’, 66.89%, 26.3%

8 (9) Christ’s, 66.76%, 24.7%

9 (10) St Catharine’s, 66.51%, 26.9%

10 (18) Peterhouse, 66.41%, 27.8%

11 (11) Clare, 66.08%, 25.3%

12 (20) Downing, 66.05%, 23.0%

13 (14) St John’s, 65.84%, 25.1%

14 (13) King’s 65.49%, 25.9%

15 (15) Magdalene, 65.00%, 22.8%

16 (3) Corpus Christi, 64.94%, 23.9%

17 (16) Gonville & Caius, 64.85%, 21.1%

18 (6) Selwyn, 64.59%, 21.6%

19 (17) Sidney Sussex 64.37%, 19.8%

20 (19) Fitzwilliam, 64.16%, 21.4%

21 (22) Girton, 62.92%, 18.5%

22 (21) Robinson, 61.95%, 16.2%

23 (23) Newnham, 60.92%, 15.8%

24 (24) Murray Edwards, 60.74%, 13.9%

25 (25) Wolfson, 60.51%, 18.9%

26 (27) Homerton, 60.33%, 16.0%

27 (26) Hughes Hall 57.92%, 13.2%

28 (29) Lucy Cavendish, 57.43%, 13.4%

29 (28) St Edmund’s, 56.35%, 13.4%


  • Sidneyite

    The more expensive our bar gets (£1 to £2 a pint in 5 years), the worse our Tripos results seem to be. Pretty sure there’s a way to fix this…

    • Northerner

      £2 a pint seems reasonable to me, considering we’re in the south.

      • Actual Northerner

        But £2 a pint is very reasonable anywhere. What are trying to say?

        • Ever

          spent £10 a pint?

  • Girton


    • Anonymous

      >trying to greentext on the tab

      • shiggy

        >showing your power level in public

  • Caian

    Same here.

  • Trinity


    • Everyone else

      fuck off.

  • sigh

    gotta love being at Homerton… I actually applied here too.

    • Greg Hill

      Obviously, because i built the gym

      • Glad to see

        This joke isn’t dead

  • Downing

    Not another thing we’ve beaten St Johns at this year, surely?

  • petrean

    missed that peterhouse were the highest climber..

    • Anonymous


    • Joe

      I’m Sowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwy

  • Maggie M2



  • Not a Petrean

    Peterhouse moved from 18 to 10. That’s a big climb.

  • Confused

    How does Churchill do so well when all the other shit colleges are where they belong?

    • Clearly

      you go to Jesus.

      • Analyst

        Churchill has a high proportion of natscis and mathmos, subjects which tend to hand out more firsts. Trinity is only so far ahead due to its inordinate number of mathmos.

        • Actually

          the table corrects for this.

        • Mathmo

          Subject scores are weighted, dumbo

          • Doubt

            Perhaps they aren’t weighted properly. How do you compare a first from history with a first from Mathematics? Where do these weighting factors come from?

            • Real Degree

              Perhaps a mathmo can explain it to you, or if they’re all busy try an engineer.

    • you are a

      jealous cunt

  • A Sensitive Scholar

    Not happy about this!

  • Eddies Guy

    You would think after year on year being stuck in the bottom two the tutors in the college and DOSes would be eager to find out what’s going wrong, and how think on things could be improved. Nope, they don’t care a fuck, and the same results are repeated year after year, no matter how much the students complain about inadequate supervisions, support, and of being the only undergraduate from their course in college. Colleges like Eddies should just stop taking on undergraduates, if the fellows keep up their indifference to resolving the low academic standards.

    • -

      well, some people at those bottom colleges manage to get 1sts every year. you get what you reach for

    • Eddies Guy (corrected)

      “and how think on things” should be “how things”

    • Eddies Tobart

      Lol, ‘Eddies’. You need to be a real college to have a nickname

  • Cain


  • an upper-second-class

    Cannot help noticing that the percentage of firsts appears to have considerably increased this year; it seems even Cambridge is not immune from grade inflation.

    • well

      unless you’re a finalist, that bodes well

    • Well obviously…

      University exams are getting easier! How will employers now be able to distinguish who really is clever and who’s just good at exams?

    • Or

      Or the kids are getting smarter? Competition for places get higher each year. Besides with the slow but incomplete of erosion of privilege based admissions policy of yesteryear, its only expected that performance should increase.

  • We may be 20th

    but Fitz rugby beat John’s and Fitz football beat everyone

  • someone in the 20s

    Let’s put it this way, if you get a first from a college much lower done you’ve done REALLY well.

    • Anonymous


    • Disagree strongly

      Utter bollocks. I go to Queens and got a first. There is no advantage I have over people in my subject at Colleges in the 20s. There is no fellow or even PhD in my subject at Queens. There are fewer people in my subject here than several colleges in the 20s. Why is it easier for people in ‘top’ colleges to get firsts?

      • Far out

        Well, because the libraries of higher ranking college are more likely to have the course books (ours has very little, not good for last minute essays/in exam period), because distant colleges have to spend a larger proportion of each day just transporting themselves in, because dos and pastoral support is better funded in central colleges, because you are more likely to have high achieving students to revise with, because you are way more likely to have supervisors who examine the papers/are more clued up on the whole process, because when supervisior choice is done at the college you will usually have better supervisors…no doubt tbere are exceptions on the individual level, but to get a first from a low ranking, low resource college IS more of an achievement than getting a first of equal marks from well-funded high ranking colleges.

        • voice of reason

          Whilst there is some credence in that, I think the role of money is exaggerated. The quality of undergraduate education depends to a far greater extent on the DoS: how motivated they are to help you; the supervisors they can enlist; &c. The Varsity survey on supervision hours manifests that the inequalities in supervision hours are not down to the wealth of Colleges (that said, I think the differences are not as large as reported, since some supervisors forget to submit CamCORS reports). I think the Tompkins table, whilst it is interesting, does not accurately represent the situation for smaller arts subjects.

        • Disagree Strongly

          To give a response, at my central college we have ABYSMAL resources for my subject, with a tiny amount of books. I don’t have a DOS that even does my subject, or a supervisor or PhD student at my college who does my subject. This is not an exception. Just because you are in a central college does not mean that you necessarily have better resources or are ‘well connected’.

          2. How are you ‘way more likely to have supervisors who are more ‘clued up’ on the whole process’ – now that is UTTER rubbish! Supervisors are commonly SHARED across colleges – Queens shared some with Murray edwards and Girton. I regularly had supos with Girton people. I had many supervisors over my three years who were pretty clueless. For my finals all my supervisors were PhDs. The teaching does not get ‘better’ as the colleges get more central.

          A ‘large proportion of each day just transporting themselves in’ – haha, what like 20 minutes? Go and cry me a river.

          In the end, differences between the important factors in enabling people to study between colleges are TINY. There are very high achievers at the whole spectrum of colleges. College geographical position may play a tiny role, but to say that your first is more impressive because you had to cycle a bit to get to lectures is laughable.

          On another note, Queens is high ranking, but its not very well funded.

          Finally you have forgotten the important factor of the amount of other people doing your subject at your college. This does not necessarily increase as you go up the ranking, but surely it should help. (eg Homerton have lots of my subject)

          • Nope

            One swallow doesn’t make a..I forget.

            • Do you study


  • Confused

    How does the table calculate how much to award for prelims which are simply pass or fail?

  • RIP Gus

    Selwyn will never be the same :(

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  • Smarter than you

    don’t you mean you 8 peoples degree, do the math you cunt and get a degree

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  • eh

    From what I’ve heard, the fire extinguisher was used to put out a fire, but because the student took the initiative and didn’t simply evacuate, it’s “misuse”. Extinguishers are apparently only for absolute emergencies where you’re trapped by fire, but there’s no info available on that