Application

 Cambridge

 Trinity

 English

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 FE College

 yes (5 A*,5 A,1 B)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Literature

AAB

yes

yes

yes

Cambridge firm acceptance. Lancaster insurance. Would have liked York or Durham as insurance but they want AAB as well.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

the one2one tuition and great career prospects. my mum’ll want a villa in spain so i want to be headhunted for a job that pays!

preferred the course at cambridge and the place thinking about it.

cos it was a bit bloody nice! but more importantly it’s the richest college in cambridge, which means the rent is the cheapest. also, byron had a bear there.

Preparation

yes

about a billion and one general interviews which didn’t help at all as i didnt have a general interview at cambridge. not a single subject interview.

The form: dont name drop. i did and although mentioning how i had read aeschylus and god knows how many other authors made me look impressive, i couldnt remember half of what id read and panicked as interview day loomed.

The interview: if you’re not passionate about english then either contrive an interest sharpish or apply to study something else. also dont worry too much – i was so scared the night before but the interviews were v relaxed.

Interview

no

yes

my coursework essay on othello – because it was the only one i could find to hand in that didnt make me grimace at the sheer atrocity of my writing style. another about dostoevsky’s the idiot that i wrote specially for the interview because i felt it showed i was writing independently about a book and topic that interested me. also the fact that my other essays were rubbish. typed both up – to look neat and professional.

no

i had 2. 1 group interview – a practical criticism class (1 1/2 hrs) where myself and 4 other people were given 4 different translations of the same greek poem. we had to choose the 1 we liked and say why. then we compared and discussed them.
solo interview (1/2 hr) with a different tutor. 15 mins discussion about personal statement and literary interests. 15 mins analysis of an unseen poem and a list of vocab to define.

was really surprised. i had expected to have to argue a point on one of my essays but because of prac crit class most of the time was spent analysing poetry. in 1-2-1 interview she was impressed that i had an interest in classical literature – me being none independent school an all – and asked where this stemmed from. comparing dostoevsky and hardy – whether their novels revolve around plot or their own convictions. oh yes and i was asked whether i knew which C16th author wrote the sonnet she gave me. said ive not a clue clinging to the hope it would be some strange author nobody ever heard of so as not to look too stupid… its shakespeare says she. oh says i. bugger hell my god im gormless thinks i. i had to choose 3 words from a huge list to define – i chose elegy hyperbole and original ( the 3 easiest!). i swear some of the words i had never come across in my life and i like to think myself quite well read.

black pants, slightly dodgy v neck jumper that didnt look nearly so smart as i had 1st thought, flat black shoes.

Impressions

it was gorgeous! reminded me of harry potter. nuff said.

got a set! they must have known i was coming! it wasnt the palatial suite in saying that but it was clean and comfortable and had a slightly suspicious looking gas fire that i didnt even attempt to use – room was warm enough anyway.

Excellent

it was served in abundance, didnt taste like chemicals and was free. what more can you ask for?

very nice. id heard 1 was a little austere but i thought they were both ok, especially in my 1-2-1 interview, as she made me feel really relaxed.

really helpful and friendly. special thanks to maria for co-ordinating a get together for all applicants.

Final stage

was shocked- after the shakespeare fiasco i didnt think i had a chance, although in retrospect some of my answers were pretty damn intelligent!

Looking back

ooh yes because i got in! wahey!

go for it. you might as well as wish you had. also, i think the fact that in the practical criticism class i interacted with the other applicants with regards to their interprtations of the poems helped. some people just seemed to attack their views which i thought was a bit underhand.