Application

 Oxford

 Worcester

 Computer Science

 2003

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (9 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I just generally loved Oxford, and it was my favourite university. Also the career prospects are obviously very good, and also Oxford would probably stimulate me the most academically.

I chose Oxford for a variety of reasons:
1. I hadn’t visited Cambridge!
2. My sister goes to Oxford
3. After visiting Oxford I absolutely fell in love with the place.
4. At my school many more people get in to Oxford than to Cambridge.

1. Allegedly best for Computer Science
2. Very attractive
3. I’ve heard they have a particularly large music scene there.

Preparation

yes

They gave me general advice on what to wear, how to sit, what to do/what not to do. It wasn’t very useful to be honest, but probably only because I had had 4 university interviews already prior to this.

1. Do an Oxford specimen paper

2. Revise identities from maths, especially trigonmetric identities, which are hardest to remember. If you haven’t done a statistics module, ask your teacher to teach you about ‘combinations’, e.g. to number of ways of arranging the letters in ‘BIOLOGY’ – there are ALWAYS questions like this.
Most importantly, make sure you do the integration and differentiation sections from the Pure 3 module aswell as Algebra, they asked some fairly hard questions about this in the exam.

3. The best advice I can give is: DON’T PREPARE TOO MUCH. The interviewers are looking for people who think for themselves, and will know if candidates have prepared too much.
In your interview make sure you show enthusiasm.

Interview

no

no

yes

Yes, a 2 and a half hour maths exam, an hour after I arrived at Oxford!
All I can say is, MAKE RUDDY SURE you do the ‘Specimen Paper’ on the Oxford website beforehand – many of the questions have a very similar theme.

I had 2 at my college and 1 at St Edmund Hall.
The first was purely discussing computational/maths problems on a sheet we got the day before. We had a choice from a variety of questions (I think only Worcester has this system) and I chose questions about fitting ‘L’ shapes on a chess board, the most efficient way to sort a list of unordered numbers and the number of combinations of fitting shopping bags inside eachother!
The second interview was much easier. It was easier questions, shown below.
I preferred the second interview as I got to talk about my musical interests, and past computing projects.

In my second interview: * What locus would the midpoint of a ladder make if it started vertically against a wall and slid down to the horizontal (working it out formulaically you get the equation of a circle) * What is bigger, (n+1)^n or n^(n+1). I just took the log of both of them.

I wore a blue smart/casual shirt, beige trousers and brown shoes. I purposely didn’t want to dress up too much, but didn’t want to risk dressing down too much either. All I can say is I can’t imagine the interviewers care at all. I personally wouldn’t advise wearing a suit because it makes you seem overprepared, and more concerned over presentation than your chosen subject.

Impressions

Extremely attractive, and the dining room had a chandelier. Wow!
I haven’t previously seen the whole college, so was very impressed after touring the lake, gardens, and even the squash court!

I couldn’t have been luckier with my room. I had an ensuite, with a large shared ‘living room’ with a room mate. Hence I always had someone to chat to.

Good

Kinda tasted a bit ‘cheap’, but I really didn’t care!

Very friendly. They respect that a lot of people will be nervous.

Considering I was applying for Computer Science, I expected all the candidates to be a bunch of non-outgoing reclusive geeks (like when I went to the Warwick open day). But everyone there was just so normal! All the students there were really friendly, and amazingly I didn’t meet a single ‘posh’ person, despite the college’s alleged posh reputation.

Final stage

It was surprisingly undramatic – I just wasn’t in a psyched up mood. My parents just screamed up the stairs “Quick! Your letter has arrived!”.
I opened it, found I had got the place, and was choked by a cuddle from my mum.

Looking back

Definitely yes.

Just apply, whether or not you think you’ll get the place or not. For some subjects like Chemistry and Classics, more people get in than people who don’t.