Application

 Cambridge

 Fitzwilliam

 Computer Science

 1999

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (7 A*,3 A,1 B)

A-levels

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

(NA at AS; predicted B; gained C at A2)

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

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

Other universities

N/A

Decisions about the application

The head of my sixth form advised me to – and then I decided I hadn’t got anything to lose

Cambridge seemed to have the better courses and the colleges looked better to stay in than at Oxford

It was recommended by the head of my sixth-form, and I knew quite a few people already there. I attanded an open day and liked the place.

Preparation

yes

They gave me some STEP papers to look at and a mock interview

I doubt there was any way in which I could have done any useful preparation. The questions are so specific it would be impossible to revise. The interviewers do not expect you to have seen similar questions before.

Interview

no

no

no

They seemed to know I would be nervous, so they sat me down and gave me a cup of coffee and talked to me for about 5 mins to put me at ease. Once I had settled down, they started to give me a bit of a grilling.

I was asked some abstract mathematical questions in which I had to derive an algorithm. One involved tiling a chess board with ‘L’ shaped tiles and another involved some trigonometry. If you struggle at any point, the interviewers help you and point you in the right direction.

Shirt and tie. I wanted to look smart but not too formal.

Impressions

On the open day in May, Fitz looked quite pleasant, but when I went in December for interview, it looked quite foreboding and intimidating. Whether this was just because I was nervous about the interview I don’t know, but it didn’t seem anywhere near as nice as say York or Durham.

Edible but not great

Take your own

Most were nice and friendly, but one or two seemed a bit scary to me.

Laid back practical jokers.

Final stage

I was rejected, but I half expected it as they were interviewing about 50 people for 4 places. I wasn’t too disappointed, because by that time I’d decided I liked Durham better anyway.

Looking back

Yes, because even if you don’t get in, the interview is an experience of a lifetime. It means you can have a couple of days of school too 🙂

Go for it. You have nothing to lose by going to interview there – and who knows, you may even get a place 🙂