Computer Science

 2002 (deferred entry)






 United Kingdom

 FE College

 yes (2 A*,6 A,3 B)


(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

Other universities


Decisions about the application

Best university, the status of having an Oxford degree.

Oxford’s easier to get to for me, and I thought that there would be less competition for Computer Science.
Course applied for:

Good location, accomodation for 3 years and I though there wouldn’t be too much competition for places.



Not really. They arranged mock interviews with an independent, unfortunately I missed mine. My maths teacher photocopied some step papers for me to practice.

I didn’t bother with the optional statement bit. I can’t see why anyone should really need to fill it in.





A 2.5 hour maths exam. I had a look at the practice papers of the internet – some of the questions on the actual paper were very similar, and I tried some step papers. I did some frantic revision on the train.

I had three interviews, 2 at Lincoln (1 comp, 1 maths) and 1 comp interview at Balliol. They didn’t ask me anything weird, just logic/maths questions.

#1 (comp, Lincoln): Started off with a chat about my personal statement – I’d mentioned I was interested in AI, so he asked me a little about that, and also about a book I’d read. This part went well. Then he began the proper questions. The first was about buckets and balls- I struggled on this one, and had to have many hints. He then asked me a quick question on reversing lists. There was no way I could have prepared for those questions. #2 (Maths, Lincoln): Started with a little chat then he asked me which area of maths I was interested in. I said differentiation. He asked me to differentiate e^x^2, x^x and to draw the graph of (x^3)-x. He then asked me about the Towers of Hanoi, a comp related question. #3 (Comp, Balliol) This was my best interview. By this point I had had 2 interviews, and so was feeling a little less nervous. There were 2 interviewers. Started with a question based on something I’d said in my personal statement. He then asked a question about cards, and one about tennis matches. And that was it. Again, there was no way I could have prepared for these questions.

A suit – seemed the safest option.


Lincoln was nice, as was Balliol. Exeter’s JCR smelled unpleasant.

My room at Lincoln was nice and roomy, with its own bathroom.


Food was good, although the kitchen staff were often at each other’s throats !

Professor Bird was friendly, although Dr Joyce wasn’t the most cheerful chap in the word – I don’t think he’s very good with people. Dr Melham, at Balliol, was a decent guy.

Pretty normal and helpful.

Final stage

I knew my interviews hadn’t gone brilliantly, but still secretly hoped that I’d got in. I was very disappointed when I read the letter, then angry.

Looking back

As I’m taking a gap year, I may reapply to Oxford, but I might just accept my offer from Bristol and go there.

its a good experience, you have nothing to lose. Go for it. Do as much preparation as you can.