Application

 Cambridge

 Gonville and Caius

 Economics

 2009

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (9 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (285 UMS))

(A at AS (176 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (293 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (300 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (295 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (300 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

French A level taken with GCSEs.

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics, A in Mathematics, A in Mathematics (Further)

A*AA not including Physics or French

yes

yes

yes

Offer LSE, Warwick, Durham, rejected UCL.
Put off LSE by reports of bad teaching.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Best Economics couse, very mathematical, best teaching.

Pure Economics not PPE

Relevance, interest, reputation.

Good rep for economics

Preparation

yes

Advice on reading material, one practice interview.

Don’t underestimate competitiveness of top 5 universities. Be sure you are really good at maths. Do further maths as fourth subject.

Interview

no

yes

yes

Tough but interesting, need to apply knowlege not just regurgitate facts. No non academic questions.

Started with applying difficult further maths concept to economics data. I felt the fact I worked this out without help was a factor in getting an offer.

Interpreting data about different countries economic data, talking about credit crisis, bit about game theory which was in personal statement. If I didn’t get what they wanted they would hint but didn’t seem to object if you needed help.

Smart casual.

Impressions

Beautiful, central, friendly.

More accomodation than you spot when you first visit-rooms near Economics block and across the main road from main courts.

Final stage

Worried about the questions I had needed help with. Glad I had done so much extra reading.

Relief-knew everyone expected it. Very happy to be going as didn’t really want to go to London.

Looking back

Yes. However, judging from friends if you are from an independent/grammar don’t expect to succeed if you don’t have almost all A* at GSCE, expect at least 2A* at A-level and have say 95% average at AS. Even then don’t assume you will walk it.

Read well beyond “armchair economist” and “freakonomics”. Pick an area to specialise in. Read daily paper/economist/blogs regularly. Be sure to revise maths too.