Application

 Cambridge

 Selwyn

 Economics

 2004

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (6 A*,3 A,1 C)

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 B at A2)

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

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted Distinction; gained Merit)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics, A in Mathematics

A

yes

yes

yes

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Believed I was good enough, liked the style of study in Cambridge, liked the idea of the college system.

Oxford don’t offer staight economics.

Was my strongest area at A-level, and a varied discipline, with both maths and essays.

Friendly college, quite small, convenient for the faculty. Not in the centre of town, and not too prestigious. Also, used TSA test for economics.

Preparation

yes

School offered us a couple of mock interviews. Nothing like the real thing! Still reassuring to have had some experience of the format though.

Do read around the subject; some popular books plus the Economist is plenty, but ALSO do study the A-level course closely.

Interview

yes

Took the TSA. Know that I did quite well, and that this benefitted me. TSA is good if you have taken Critical Thinking, or are generally suited to that sort of test.

Choose your college according to whether you prefer tests or submitting work in advance.

no

no

In general, the subject interview was more stressful than the general interview. There were 2 fellows for the subject interview, who both asked questions, and 1 for the general. There was a white-board and pens for the subject interview.

Memory has faded of the general interview. Recall being asked something about justifying why a student should be funded to do a degree at university, what the benefit would be to society etc. Was relatively short, and not taxing. Dunno how much weight it carries in the decision to make an offer or not.

In the subject interview, I was asked both macro and microeconomic questions, based on the A-level course. There were follow up questions, so I guess about 4 topics were covered; it lasted about 25 mins. They were more interested in finding out how good understanding was, and how good manipulation of ideas was; there was no chance to waffle about reading I had done etc. They didn’t really ask about the personal statement at all.
They did seem to make an effort to have a fair comparison between candidates.

Wasn’t too worried about what to wear, but eventually wore a suit because everyone else was. This is not worth worrying about. They do not really care.

Impressions

Had nothing to compare it to at the time, and it wasn’t during term so, now that I’m here, I’d say the impression was irrelevant.

Accomodation is okay, but not the best in Cambridge.

The food is fairly good and quite cheap. There’s a decent amount of choice.

The tutors are friendly, and will do their best to put you at ease. This does not mean the interviews are easy however!

Some of the college students stay up after term, and offer the candidates tea and snacks in the bar. They’re all very welcoming; their presence was appreciated!

Final stage

Tried to immerse myself in Christmas, and not think about it!
Seriously thought I wouldn’t get in, but couldn’t get rid of the nagging instinct that I might have!
Overall, not the most relaxing few weeks of my life.

Ecstatic! What more can I say?!

Looking back

Of course.

If you’re in any doubt, give it a try, or you’ll always wonder “what if”!
But if you do go for it, do it properly, and put in the time and effort to your application, or it won’t be worthwhile.