Application

 Oxford

 St Catherine’s

 Engineering Science

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (9 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Design and Technology, A in Mathematics, A in Physics

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

because i think that they are the best universities in the country by a distance

At the time i had no real reason to choose oxford over cambridge other than that my school had sent people to oxford to study engineering before at a certain college so i went for that.

both oxford and cambridge courses start out very general in the first two years which appealed to me as i wasn’t sure which field of engineering i was most interested in and so thought was best to go somewhere where i could look at different aspects. Modern engineering problems tend to be very diverse and require an understanding of all types eg civil, electronic, mechanical etc, so thought a breadth of knowledge would be useful later.

knew people from my school had been there – i don’t mean this in an etonian type “oh we always get in there” way, more in the sense that someone else has done it before so its do-able. plus stcatz has the biggest bar of all the colleges and prob one of the best social scenes, very sporty too which i’m into

Preparation

yes

about two weeks before i had a mock interview with a physics teacher which woke me up- went terrible- but at least got me used to the feeling of working under pressure with someone watching you- engineering interviews are basically doing lots of maths whilst tutor looks/helps you. That was it though, the rest of getting in was up to us

Have all your A level game down – thats all there is to it. The interviewers are not trying to “catch you out” they want to find out how good you are, which they can only do by asking questions based on what you know. So all the maths problems will start with something based on A level material and then build on it. Dont worry about slick answers to stuff like “why do you want to study engineering”- the tutors are academics, ie they don’t care about banter/chat just how well wire up your neurons are – stick to the maths and physic theory son.

Interview

no

no

no

all applying maths and physics to problems, writing expressions for things a bit of circuit analysis- there was no chit chat, just hello- sit down, now solve this.

suit, though it doesn’t matter a toss what you wear, the interviewers are academics who will end up teaching you if you get in, they are not interested in what you wear.

Impressions

they are all pretty cool in their own way, everyone seems to fall in love with their college regardless, st catz is the best though….obviously,

all modern buildings, 1st year accomodation is a bit basic, 2nd year is pretty swish with ensuite showers/toilets and your own fridge

there is hall, which is a 3 course meal for about 3 quid, which is bloody excellent (where i live in ripoff south london, £3 wouldn’t buy half a damn sandwhich, so i was well impressed), then there is scaf which is canteen style food where you choose, generally less healthy but decent

college has a good vibe, generally always up for a bit of a party or “shirt lash”

Final stage

lol, i opened the letter…the end, didn’t get all emotional about it

Looking back

definately, even if i hadn’t got in the interview was an experience, and if you don’t apply you will end up at bristol or durham or somewhere else decent but always have that nagging “what if” question “maybe i would have been good enough”, you can always turn the offer down (though in my experience few people have the stones to turn it down and all the perks that come with having an oxford degree- such as black rock investments wanting to such your coc1( when you leave. Seriously they will.

there is no magic secret you just gotta be good, sorry but thats the way it is, your going to be in a room with 2-3 academics and put through your paces for 45 minutes on some pretty tricky problems, the tutors can spot someone who is all chat a mile off, there is little place to hide. but ask yourself…what have you got to lose, compared to what you stand to gain.