Application

 Cambridge

 Downing

 Economics

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (5 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics

AAB, Excludes Physics

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

One of the best and toughest courses in the country. Prestige. I didn’t want to go to uni in a big city.

I wanted to do straight economics, not economics + management/politics & philosophy. Also, I heard that the economics courses at Cambridge were more mathematical (which I think I would prefer) than the ones at Oxford.

Recommended to me by the Head of Economis at my school. I went to the open day and it seemed a nice place.

Preparation

yes

A bit… but not much. We were given a few pep talks (work hard, read lots etc..). We were given a reading list in the summer with some suggestions. Finally, we were given a v. short mock interview- it was useful in that it made me a bit more relaxed about the interview process.

Be absolutely on top of the stuff in the A-level syllabus.

Read lots of books- I particuarly like Paul Krugman’s books. Also, there is an archive of his (very insightful) articles at http://www.pkarchive.org,

Interview

no

no

no

Had two 20 minute interviews, each with one economics don. Both were scheduled quite close to each other.

Waited outside, the don came out and asked me in, sat me down, fired away, then let me go.

Neither interviewers were confrontational.

My first interview seemed very factual- testing what I knew. Mainly picking up on things I mentioned in my personal statement (books, interests[economics ones that is], Target 2.5 etc).

Second one had a few extended questions.

I was quite surprised at the questions- they were pretty standard fare. I was expecting some very scary, very very hard weird off beat questions, but they didn’t come. Nothing you woudn’t encounter in your standard textbook (Samuelson?). Thats not to say I waltzed through. I certainly messed up quite a few, and most of my answers were pretty unconvincing. To be honest, I felt my performance was pretty ordinary and I was surprised I got an offer.

A dark suit. Our school told us to wear one to our mock interview so I assumed that is what they recommended for the real thing! I would agree with them. It just makes you look that little bit more keen and enthusiastic I think. But then again, it is a minor issue (IMO that is- you’d best be off asking the admissions tutors), if you’re good they’ll take you whatever you’re wearing.

Impressions

Looks beautiful. Both the buildings themselves and the large lawns in the central area.

The room I stayed in was awesome. It was quite small, but very nice. Ensuite bathroom and nice furniture and fittings. Seemed very hotel-like (Definitely gunning for the conference market :)). But then again, I’m told that the block I stayed in is one of the nicest in the college- I doubt all the acommadation is that nice.

Good

Way better than any school food I’ve ever had.

Friendly. But I only met them during the interview.

Didn’t see much of them to be honest. There were a few who were in the waiting room to keep us company. Seemed very friendly.

Final stage

Smiled.

I felt really relieved.

Looking back

Definitely. Although the whole application process was a bit of a pain, the end result was worth it :). Even if I hadn’t have got a place I would say the same. Otherwise I would spend the rest of my life wondering whether I would have.

Even if your interviews doesn’t go well (mine didn’t), don’t worry, all is not lost.