St John’s

 Classical Archaeology and Ancient History


 offer made





 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

King Edward VI School, Southampton

 yes (7 A*,4 A)


(A at AS (246 UMS))

(A at AS (286 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (264 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (275 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Details about the offer


A in Biology, A in Chemistry, A in Latin




 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Fantastic course, brilliant teaching (tutorial system), wonderful place.

More familiar with Oxford, preferred the course.

Exactly what i wanted to study, freedom to pursue my own specific interests.

Rich, liked the tutor, buildings and location.






2 pieces of recent marked school work.


Not scary – comfortable room with the 2 tutors.

General warm up questions
Had a “small dossier” to examine before i went in, and most of the interview centered around this – a diagram of a villa with archaeological plans and some text.
Questions on some archaeological finds.

Warm up – why i wanted to do the subject, how i could justify my 2 science A levels, and on some work experience i did at the British Museum, which they seemed impressed by.
Dossier – had to talk about it… kinda specific to that interview, a test to see how your brain works with new information and how it can relate different pieces of info to each other.
Was given an oil lamp handle, pot handle and iron nail to talk about.

I wore suit, shirt, tie – even though many didn’t, I think the situation merits such formal dress.


In a word, brilliant. Very nice atmosphere, helpful students.

Good size room with basin. Desk, table, chairs bed etc. Bed was a little uncomfortable.
Shower and toilet room just 5 steps away from door, and although shared were fine.

Meals at set times where you went in and picked up a tray, then moved along and chose what you wanted to eat from a buffet style service. Ate in hall.

Very friendly, good to talk to and tried to reassure and settle people down as much as possible… after all, they are trying to get the best out of you, not turn you into a gibbering wreck not capable of speech!

Pleasant enough.

Final stage

Very nervous – it meant a lot to me, and I was going for 1 of 2 places, with 11 candidates in total, so not the best odds in the world. Kept going through in my head all the things I should have said in the interview that only came to me afterwards.

Letter came on 23rd December – A4 envelope with college stamp on the top. Thin though – only 3 sheets inside with forms to send back about accepting the offer, financial arrangements and a sheet to send back if your address was going to change.

Looking back


Go for it, it was great fun. Those 3 days in college for interview only reinforced how much i wanted to go to oxford (and st john’s) – I got to meet tons of new people with similar interests and similar feelings about the whole thing.
Kind of harsh of the college to give you a taste of such a wondrous thing in the interviews, then take it away again if you don’t get in!