Application

 Oxford

 Worcester

 Chemistry

 2006

 pooled, rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (5 A*,5 A)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained NA)

Other universities

no

Decisions about the application

It was simply a case of ‘why not?’. I knew I would get offers from elsewhere as Chemistry is a course with a pretty low subscription, so I just went for it really. There was a bit of pressure on me from school as well but was not a major factor in my decision.

I didn’t want to follow the natural sciences route. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to do biology for any part of my degree course! Also, on an open day at Christ’s College Cambridge, found it suffocating and prefferred the size of Oxford’s city centre.

I love Chemistry! For a while was set on economics but decidided I wanted more to life!

Only Oxford college I went to visit. Found it very friendly and I liked the idea of sportsfields on site.

Preparation

yes

Had a mock interview which was on the whole useless as I knew the teacher to was far more relaxed than I was in the real thing – I ended up chatting generally with him for much of it.

Learn what you have been taught in your subject, and make sure you know it properly – there is nothing worse than knowing you’ve done it but to real knowledge of it. Also, don’t expect generaly questions in interview, especially in Chemistry, it was all academic.

Interview

no

no

no

I had three interviews, two at Worcester and one at Somerville. My second interview at Worcester went very well but the other tow I felt i let myself down in parts. I found working through mathematical problems quite hard under pressure from the tutors and made mistakes that could have easily been done correctly.

The topics covered were all from a-level, unfortunately for me some were not covered in my course so I had little knowledge of them.

1st interview – Physical and organic tutors. Asked about the ideal gas equation which is not covered in my course, so I let myself down on this question. I was then asked to work through some basic equations and scetch a graph of V=(A/r^12)-(B/r^6). This was not outstandingly difficult but was testing under pressure. The organic tutor then asked me about acid strength for 15mins. Electronegativity was the main discussion point.

interview2 – Another organic and and inorganic – This is the interview I performed particularly well in. I was asked about the shape of complex ions and why this occurs, as well as colour formation in complex ions. Chiral carbons and organic mechanisms also came up.

3rd interview – at Somerville – 2 organic and an inorganic tutor – I started well as I was asked a few inorganic questions which I am generally good at. I was then asked to find the number of H+ ions in 1ml of water. I made a mess of this but got to the answer in the end with some prompting. I later learned this was covered in the Chemistry lesson I missed at school that day!

Wore shirt and tie, but no suit. I wanted to feel comfortable and I don’t own a suit! Some of the other applicants were smarter some wore jeans and trainers so I didn’t feel too out of place.

Impressions

Very friendly. Very pretty. A great environment to be in on the whole but don’t expect many wild nights out.

At Worcester, I was given a brand new en suite – better than my room at home. Others were not so lucky, however, and some complained regularly.

Great. I was very impressed, I expected gruel.

OK on the whole. I did find Somerville more friendly than Worcester though.

Very friendly. I think, especially at Worcester, that I was one of the few state school applicants, although this may be completely untrue as I didn’t ask everyone! There is deffinitely a ‘Oxbridge type’ though – I don’t care what the prospectus says – expect people who’s lives had been building up to this moment.

Final stage

I didn’t expect to get in. I knew if I got pooled it was unlikely and then underperformed in my 3rd interview so pretty much expected to get rejected.

My mum rang me while I was out telling me I had the letter – (‘ooo dear, it’s thin’) – I was not surprised or disappointed particularly when I heard the news, and I’m not sure I would have accepted the place in any case. Yes I know everyone says that when rejected…

Looking back

Without a doubt. I was an great experience, even though the University was not right for me (they didn’t want me anyway so it doesn’t matter)I would advise anyone to apply if they think they have any kind of a chance.

Have a good look around when you’re there, make sure it’s right for you as well as you right for them. Don’t get hung up when chosing colleges too much, they have more similarities than differences. Also, don’t worry if you don’t get in – it’s not the end of the world, just work hard to get the top grades and then join the other Oxbridge rejects in Durham or Bristol where you too can quip in Latin and take pleasure in anything old. Try to have some fun too!