Application

 Cambridge

 Pembroke

 Engineering

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

Sixth form at an average state-school.

 yes (9 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Mathematics (Further), A in Physics

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

They are the best universities in the country and 2 of the best universities in the world and I felt I stood a realistic chance of getting in.

Cambridge is considered better for engineering but mainly just gut feeling.

Again, largely gut feeling. I selected those close to the department and then visited. Pembroke seemed the friendliest, is aesthetically very attractive and is slightly smaller than most.

Preparation

yes

We had a few ‘mentoring’ sessions with teachers who had relevant experience in our chosen subject.

Read ‘How things work. The Physics of Everyday Life.’ Not only is it something to put in the PS but there is a good chance you will be asked at least one question on a subject covered by the book. Also make sure that you know your AS and A2 work inside out- anything they ask will most likely stem from this.

Interview

no

no

yes

The TSA. Just do the practice ones on the Cambridge Assessment website.

Both were almost entirely academic. Just running through problems- some A-Level and some which stretched what I already knew.

Looking at force as mass x change of rate in velocity. Then looking at how momentum and velocity vary as mass changes. Also a question looking at statics of rigid bodies in a slightly new way.

The second interview was just a series of questions at the harder end of the A-Level specification but nothing to outrageous.

Smart shoes and trousers. Purple shirt and tie with a smart black jumper. It’s an interview so I felt the need to be formal but would have felt uncomfortable in a suit and would have been out of place- one of my interviewers was wearing a T-Shirt.

Looking back

Definitely!

If you think you have what it takes, go for it and be fairly thorough in your preparation- revise what you know, do some reading and find out about engineering in general. If you know at heart that you won’t get a place, leave it- Oxbridge isn’t the be-all and end-all!! And either way, GOOD LUCK!!