Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Chemistry

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (6 A*,5 A)

A-levels

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

(A at AS (259 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (294 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (268 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Ensure that Chemistry and Mathematics are in your choices. You should also have another science or Futher Maths. In my opinion, Physics is more useful than Biology. Additionally, 4 AS subjects are preferred (if not necessary). You can drop one subject at A2. For Somerville Chemistry, I believe that if you do not drop your fouth (or fifth) subject they will make it apart of your offer, usually set at a B.

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Chemistry, B in History, A in Mathematics, A in Physics

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not excepted. At AS, I achieved grade C in Critical Thinking and that did not affect my application.

yes

yes

yes

Remember if you do not achieve an offer, there is always Imperial College (which is 3rd best in the Uk; 5th best in the world) and Durham University (excellent calibre; top 10; collegiate system).

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Excellent calibre; fantastic Chemistry course; collegiate system; excellent teaching; great prospects

Chemistry is the central science and has fantastic career options. Yoo can do 99% of the jobs that the Arts graduates can do, but you have better access to the financial & science sector.

Somerville had a very friendly atmosphere. I just chose it on a whim.

Preparation

no

No preparation

No

Interview

no

No pre-interview exams to sit.

no

No submitted work needed.

no

The tutors were fantastic. I really felt they knew what was expected of the interviewees – they knew what we should know and what we should not. They build on what you know from AS level, and work form there. Also, one interview is usually wholly dedicated to organic; the other, inorganic and physical. Compared to Imperial College, the Oxford interviews were very easy.

Organic – general nucleophiles and electrophiles and deciding which species is which; mechanisms; acidicity and use of the PH = -log[H+] equation for water (knowing PH of water is 7)
Inorganic – balancing half-equations involving iodine
Physical – molecule attraction and repulsion (the fact that molecules will attract to a certain extent and will then repel). Graph sketching for this (like a bucket-graph).

Shirt and tie – quite formal, but I made it look fashionable and trendy. Other applicants were dressed normally. Wear what you want.

Impressions

Large rooms available, but many of them do not have washbasins and there are only small kitchens. I never really checked out the facilities due to other priorities.

Never tried it.

Fantastic – Dr Peach is especially brilliant as she was really nice and friendly.

Extremely friendly at Somerville – they were very willing to help with any problems. I asked them if I could stay an extra night as my parents were not available to collect me and they allowed me to stay freely for 2 nights.

Final stage

When I got my offer about a week after the interview, I was more shocked about the fact that I wasn’t pleased than actually getting in. I suppose it was the realisation that my childhood days were over, and that I had a lot of hard work and sleepless nights coming my way. Nontheless, I was eventually happy that I got got an offer.

Looking back

Yes

In terms of your Personal Statement, ensure that at least 80% of it is to do with academic work. They will NOT ask you upon your Personal Statement at Somerville for Chemistry as they know you’ve probably read up on the topics you’ve said you enjoy. Hence, you can make it up! I made all mine up – upto the groups I was involved in, the magazines I have read, the competitions I have participated in. Woops! 🙂