Application

 Cambridge

 St John’s

 Engineering

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (288 UMS))

(A at AS (294 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (290 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (288 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

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

yes

Accepted offer

yes

yes

Offer from Imperial for Civil Engineering. This may be used as my insurance

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Really liked the feel of the place and the people I met when I visited. Also the the open engineering course and supervisions were a large factor.

I preferred the Cambridge tutors for Engineering and also felt the course fitted me much better.

Always wanted to do Engineering.

I love the atmosphere of the college and that it has the proper backs and crosses the river. I also met some great people on the John’s open day and could see myself studying with them for 4 years.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview with my head of Sixth Form. It was a general interview as he a PE teacher. I don’t feel it was particularly influential but it was nice they made the effort and he did find some stereotypical ‘Oxbridge questions’ which were interesting.

Make sure you read all the interview information sent, through obscure links and the like. Some engineering students didn’t see the additional interview tasks which were somewhat hidden. The shock of realising this is probably the only impact of this in interview (they wouldn’t fail you for it) but still it would be one hell of a shock.

Interview

no

no

yes

First year of John’s engineering entrance exams and the problems will undoubtedly be smoothed out next year. It was not what I expected and was of A level further maths/maths standard with a great number of questions, each of similar difficulty to A level. I had hoped for a few questions that would require time and thought rather than simply recall of A level. There was also no indication of how many questions to attempt, only that there wouldn’t be time to tackle all of them. A calculator was no use in this exam. I completed 10 out of the 12 questions in the allotted 45 minutes, but could’ve either checked my answers or done more if I hurried.

It seemed to be a very casual chat. The interviewer was very kind and went out of the way to make me feel comfortable. This seemed very much like a warm up for the subject interview but was in reality probably an assessment of character.

For subject interview, we were given a number of tasks via the Cambridge website. This included a short printed presentation and to prepare one of the given questions. This was all clearly warned about in the interview information.

In interview we talked at length about my presentation (mainly me talking) and I was asked to expand on the prepared question. This was all clearly warned about in the interview information.However, I didn’t feel it gave me any chance to show my potential. The interviewer also allowed me to ask about the course and helpfully answered some questions I was having trouble finding the answers to.

I wore shirt, trouser and tie with an Epsom coat. I have long hair and didn’t tie it up. I wanted to be smart without being overly formal. My dress was similar to other engineers but I don’t think dress bears more than a subjective impression on the proceedings. Be warned you will need a coat as it is freezing in Cambridge and you’ll die getting from the JCR to your interview if you don’t have one.

Impressions

Absolutely loved Johns and met some great people on the open day. I look forward to seeing them again when I get there. The surroundings are also beautiful.

I also stayed over at Emmanuel and liked it but preferred the open layout of Johns. Emmanuel seemed somewhat enclosed to me.

Johns first year rooms and plain but very comfortable and while the Cripps building is rather ugly, you don’t see it from inside. The way the floors work is also nice as you can easily see friends. A word for the wise: the rooms vary a lot in size but not much in cost. After that accommodation only gets better with most being suites shared between two. Most 2nd years take rooms in new court which is amazing and 3rd years get their pick.

The buttery food lives up to its name and at the price it is, you won’t starve or be out of pocket. The card system is useful too.

The food from hall is better still, and it gets rather jovial to say the least. Wine has recently been restricted due to this. You also get full waiter service.

Both the general and subject tutors were really nice and I found the subject one generally rather interesting and look forward to tutorials.

There were loads of students in the JCR, far more than applicants but they didn’t intimidate us too much. 🙂
(I don’t think people realised they could go in the JCR)
At the end of the day it was only me left and current students and we lounged on the sofas discussing whether public schooling should be abolished. It was great; I felt as if I was just another one of the students already there.

Final stage

My feelings were surprisingly neutral. I would have been very disappointed not to get a place but until I got a letter it seemed somewhat distant anyhow. I felt the interview and test hadn’t reflected my potential but also that I couldn’t actually have done any more (better).

Was woke up by my mother knocking on my bedroom door and given the small envelope. I actually had nothing running through my mind as I opened it. Luckily I had been warned that the Johns offer read like they have rejected you so didn’t keel over when I opened it. When I read I had an offer I was elated.

Looking back

Without a doubt.

Don’t worry about it. The tutors know what they are doing and want as much as you to pick the right people. Hopefully I’ll see you there in a few years time.