Application

 Oxford

 Hertford

 Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular

 2005

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Chemistry, A in English Language, A in Mathematics

yes

yes

yes

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I had good enough grades, and Oxford/ Cambridge are obviously world-class universities.

I didn’t want to do nat sci at cambridge.

I wanted to study the chemical aspects of biology (ie. the interesting parts)

It was described as friendly and relaxed, which was important to me, given how intimidating the whole concept of oxford seemed.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview which was nothing like the real thing, and just lowered my confidence and made me feel stupid for thinking I was good enough to apply to Oxford.

Read around your subject a little bit- know what areas of biochemistry are in the news at the time of your interview. Also KNOW YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT. You will look stupid if you can’t answer questions on something you have written yourself and had loads of time to prepare.

Interview

no

no

no

Hertford- basic chemistry of ethanol, and how to make the molecule more acidic.
– how NMR works, and a spectroscopy course I had been on at college.
-why biochemistry
-why oxford
-structure of DNA- describing a model and talking about it’s replication

St Johns (second interview)
– acid and base dissociation curves and Ka
-electrophoresis
-why biochem etc etc
-cell division

Blouse and smart trousers- wanted to feel smart but not uncomfortable.

Impressions

Hertford was lovely- I instantly felt relaxed, and the students who helped us/ took us to interviews were lovely too.

Really variable rooms. Shared bathrooms. Absolutely fine though, and sociable coridoors.

Fine.

Really relaxed and friendly at Hertford. My second interview- the tutors were much more critical and didn’t try to put me at ease at the start of the interview. But overall, completely fine- they don’t set out to be horrible to you!

Really friendly and helpful.

Final stage

I didn’t feel I had been at all remarkable in either of my interviews so wasn’t expecting to get an offer.

The letter came in a fairly thick A4 envelope, so it was fairly obvious that I had been given a place. I was over the moon 🙂

Looking back

Absolutely- even after completing the 4-year course I’m so glad that I decided to apply, despite not expecting to get a place at all!

Just be yourself in the interview- don’t try to be too clever or know-it-all as that wont come across well.