Application

 Cambridge

 Trinity Hall

 English

 2009 (deferred entry)

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (11 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (82 UMS))

(A at AS)

(A at AS (198 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (86 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (95 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

I also did an OU course and EPQ.

Details about the offer

 conditional

A*AA in any subjects

undecided yet

N/A

Decisions about the application

Academic reputation, supervision system… probably the same reasons as most people!

My sister would be in Oxford during my first year, and I wanted to be as independant as poss. I did actually prefer Oxford as a city, though the course at Cambridge cuts a few hundred early years off, which I thought was better for me.

See above.

It was pretty! Provides accomadation all three years (though apparently some is quite far away) as well.

Preparation

yes

They gave me one practice interview that was completely pointless, where we talked about if Newcastle was a depressing place to live. I had a much more useful one with the Head of English at my dad’s school, which was much closer to the real thing.

You can never predict questions, so just make sure you know the authors on your personal statement well. And practise interviews should be ENGLISH related, not general.

Interview

no

yes

Two essays. I submitted one I had written about a year before on King Lear and one I had finished for coursework literally a couple of days before I sent it, on Heaney and Barker. I chose them because they were two different types of essays, and different forms of literature. They also showed my progression over the year.

yes

We had an hour and a half to compare two texts in ‘any way that seems interesting or illuminating.’ We weren’t given dates or authors, but one was a modern poem and one was a section of prose from Bleak House. they were both related to death/aging. My tip would be to spend at half an hour planning. I only spent 20 mins and ended up running out of things to say for the last 15 mins, so I just rambled a bit more about points I’d already made.

They were fine (which is what everyone else said too). I was a bit scared before the first one, but the lady was really friendly, and told me before I started that if I didn’t understand or hear something to ask, and that there were no trick questions. And there weren’t! There was also a random economics man in, who actually asked me some really difficult English-related questions.

The second interview had one lovely lady and one lady who was… a bit more intense. It was slightly more interrogatory, but still not too bad.

I made a massive list for my school, which I will copy and paste in here. It’s not exhaustive, but it covers the general topics. You can talk about a lot in 50 minutes!
• What have you found interesting about Tennyson?
• Aesthetic qualities of Tennyson
• Adaptations of books to films – positive and negative features
• Why is it a positive thing to bring literature to a wider audience?
• Is it possible to enjoy poetry which isn’t technically good?
• Have you read any other German writers?
• Would you recommend reading 18th century plays?
• How can a writer of a play show his intentions to the director?
• Hardy’s women: how do the endings show us Hardy’s view? Is Tess a ‘faithful representation’? Why do you enjoy Hardy?
• Wilkie Collins: what effect does the multiple view point have? Why does he use an amateur detective? What do you think about his female characters? Why doesn’t Laura get given a voice?
• Shakespeare’s sonnets: what have you found interesting? Can you see any links between them and the plays? Do you think the ending couplet can sound too glib after the contradictions within? Have you read any other sonnet writer’s work?
• Would you consider taking up a place here if we only offered it to you for the coming year (i.e. without deferred entry)?

Grey trousers, casual shirt thing, long grey cardi. To be honest, it is completely irrelevant – one girl was wearing cropped jeans. All the boys wore trousers, shirt and jumper.

Impressions

It was pretty… and looks over the Cam.

Rooms were not bad, not fab though. The shower had a few issues with temperature.

I only had breakfast. I had cereal but there were other options that looked nice.

Really really friendly, especially the first one, as mentioned previously.

I didn’t see much of them, but they seemed friendly and willing to chat. One of them knocked on my door on the first night to say hello which was nice.

Final stage

I thought about the interview loads straight afterwards, which is BAD. Don’t do it if at all possible! The more I analysed it, the more I was convinced I had done terribly. Then I forgot about it, until the past couple of days.

I got an email today! I was expecting a letter and the post ahd come with nothing in, so I was bracing ymself for another day of being asked by everyone in school if I’d heard. I logged into my email and there it was! It feels a bit surreal that it’s finally over.

Looking back

Yes.

It’s really easy to get sucked into the whole thing, but try not to get obssessed.