Application

 Cambridge

 Peterhouse

 History

 2002 (deferred entry)

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (6 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(NA 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 A at A2)

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

EE in any subjects

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Greater breadth in history syllabus, better reputation for research and MUCH nicer city

V. good history reputation & recommendation of undergraduate friends

Preparation

yes

A couple of pretty useless practise interviews

Know a lot! Sounds obvious, but the dons really will expose false claims to be a world authority on 19th century Peckham. I had quite an uneasy moment, when they asked for some listed empirical evidence to support broad sweeping statement I had just made about the Vienna settlement, at which point I had to confess I didn’t really know that much about it… Also, try to get genuinely interested in period outside A-level syllabus – I’m doing the 17th century for the exam, but have spent most of the year reading about the 9th – 13th centuries, and could thus talk fairly knowledgably in respose to quite detailed questions.

Interview

no

yes

Submitted 3 essays – 2 on A-level topics and the third on quite specific historiography (Febvre, Bloc, Annules School). Was very polemical in all 3, which the dons seemed to like.

yes

Hour long essay question based around three short biographical sketches of monarchs.

Two 30min long interviews each with two dons; the first based around A-level essays (had 1 essay torn to shreds, but managed to defend other fairly well); the second was more relaxed, gave 15min ish monologue in answer to question, while dons seemed to drift off to sleep!

Questions on essays and personal statement (all history related)

Suit

Impressions

Small. Cozy. Friendly.

Meant to have v. good accommodation (for all three years) and food

Good

Looking back

Make sure you actually love the subject you’re applying for, and not just using it as a means to get into Oxbridge