Application

 Oxford

 Oriel

 Experimental Psychology

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

Repton School in Derbyshire, not a very selective independent school but still requires qute good GCSE results for entry into sixth form.

 yes (9 A*,1 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

AAA, 3 As in any subject at A2 level excluding General Studies

undecided yet

I am 99% likely to accept the offer when I decide in March/April

N/A

Decisions about the application

I loved Oxford whe I visited it and the course is what I want to do, more experimental than some, I enjoy the practical side of science.

Cambridge only oes Psychology as part of Natural Sciences (if u want a scientific course) and other aspects of that course didn’t appeal to me.

More experimental than some at other universities and obviously has a good department behind it as it’s at Oxford.

I loved it when I visited and liked the idea of a smaller college with a more community feel. Fell in love with it even more at interviews!

Preparation

yes

I was offered extra tuition in Biology and Chemistry. Biology was most helpful, we discussed parts of the syllabus more related to Psychology and also certain aspects of Psychology which we could not study without taking an A-level in Psychology.

It’s good to know what you’ve been taught so far and preferably what you have still to be taught but you can’t possibly prepare for exerything they could ask you so practice interviews are more important, prepare to answer questions about what you don’t know because they’re much harder than ones you know the answer to!

Interview

no

no

yes

I had a test on the day before my interviews. It was six questions in response to a passage about a Psychological investigation. It is designed to see how you interpret the article not to test your knowledge, you can’t really prepare for it in tearms of learning material.

I came out feeling that they had gone OK but it was hard to tell as all the interviewers were really nice. I had 3 interviews, each was different from each other. I didn’t feel they had gone amazingly well or that I would’ve come across any better than any other candidates although it is impossible to know that.

I had one interview whcih was based around my personal statement, one based around the interviewer explaining a concet to me and one for physiology which was based around my interpretation of an article and general knowledge of Biology. This was the hardest.

1. What did you think of the written test?
2. How do you find your school? Do you enjoy it?
3. Why have you chosen these A level subjects?
4. What do you hope to achieve in your A levels? Is it likely that you will achieve this?
5. How did your GCSE results compare to those of other people at your school?
6. Were your GCSE results what you expected?
7. What did you find most interesting about the books you have read? (As mentioned in my personal statement)
8. Why do you think the theories/ideas of psychologists such as Piaget and Freud have survived for so long in a rapidly changing field? Will these ideas ever be forgotten?
9. Will modern research into brain structure/function aid our understanding of these ideas or will it make them out of date?
10. How do you fit your academic work around all your music and sporting commitments?
11. Why do neurones use digital not analogue signals?
12. What are your specific interests in Psychology?
13. What do you hope to do with a Psychology degree?
14. Why should this, or any other, college give you a place on this course?
15. Why do you want to study Experimental Psychology?

Smart Trousers (not jeans), a white shirt and plain coloured jumper in top with smart shoes (not trainers).
This is what I was comfortable in. Some people were wearing suits but most were quite casual, the advice they send you beforehand tells you to be comfortable and you will not be judged by appearance. However first impressions count so look smart but don’t be so over dressed that you are fidgiting throughout your interviews.

Impressions

I loved Oriel. Everyone was really welcoming. it had a good atmosphere, good food and good accomodation.

I don’t know about other rooms but the room I was given was quite large with a small bathoom shared between my room and the room next door. We had tea and coffee and toiletries put out for us so it felt like a hotel!

The food was very good, obviously nothing ever compares to your own mum’s cooking but it was really nice. Plenty of choice too for any fussy eaters!

The two who I met seemed very friendly and they appeared easy to work with which is helpful if you are planning on spending 3 or 4 years working with them.

Obviousl most had left by interview time but the ones we met were really friendly. They sat and chatted to us in the JCR when we arrived and, although not allowed to talk specifically about thir interviews, were able to calm our nerves and make us feel welcome in a completely new environment.

Final stage

I hate waiting, so I was really excited about the news good or bad but obviously there was a part of me which was saying “wouldn’t it be so amaing if you got in” but I tried not to let this take over just incase!

I was out when the post came so when I got back it was siting in the stairs waiting for me. I took it up to my bedroom and sat on my bed and opened it. I was being very careful not to read any of the later parts so I started at the beginning and read it about 3 times before going to the top of the stairs and shouting “I got an offer from Oriel!”

Looking back

Tough question! I had so many doubts once my application had been sent and the extra work occassionally seemed too much considering the chances of getting in but I enjoyed my interview time so much it was worth it just for those few days!

Prepare but don’t lose your normal life for it because no matter how much you prepare the chances are slim. Prepare in areas that interest you and it’ll be easier Have at least 2 practice interviews and at least one with a stranger.
Enjoy yourself! This is so important! The interviews are no way as bad as you tell yourself beforehand. Just see them as a challenge. Also make the most of the rest of the time there, explore the place, meet people and exchange contact details at the end. Chances are if you’re rejected someone else will be and if you’re accepted you can get to know some of the people you’ll be spending the next 3 years of your life with before you go.