Application

 Cambridge

 Gonville and Caius

 Law

 2002

 pooled, offer made (Pembroke)

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – non-selective

 yes (8 A*,2 A,1 C)

International Baccalaureate

( predicted NA; gained NA)

( predicted NA; gained NA)

( predicted NA; gained NA)

( predicted NA; gained NA)

( predicted NA; gained NA)

( predicted NA; gained NA)

Wasn’t informed of my predicted grades,

Details about the offer

 conditional

776, 40 points overall including 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects (Economics, History and English).

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Strong teaching staff who are leading their fields, the lovely setting, the course options, the ability to learn languages at the Language Centre and the option to go to different lectures that you are interested in even if it isn’t for your course (I think..)

I thought that the course allowed for more flexibility. Also, there were a few options I was interested in that were not offered at Oxford.

I just liked it – I can’t really say. The place looked nice and friendly, and it was relatively under-subscribed. Though, apparently, this encouraged a LOT of applicants to apply there.

Preparation

yes

Erm… one mock interview that wasn’t very much like the real thing.

Just be careful about block capitals on the application forms!

Interview

no

no

yes

Yes. I had to take an unseen paper on Law. When I got to the test centre, I met with a few of my friends from school and I was worried when I heard some students – from my school and others – revising. I thought the info said no preparation was necessary! So I went in and sat a paper on morals and ethics in Law. I ended up answering a question like “Should all people who repeat offences be imprisoned, no matter what the offence” and, looking back on it, I think I just argued in circles. For the next question, there was a case study and we were asked who should be compensated for accidents occurring when people walk into a factory and, for instance, things fall on them. It was really nothing like what I have ever done before and I don’t think much preparation would have helped.

The interview took place at my school in Singapore. A few admissions staff came over to interview all the candidates who lived in Singapore/Malaysia. I was waiting outside nervously (having heard lots of horror stories about these things), when she came out and said something like “Oh, you’re my first Scottish applicant in Singapore – how do you find living here?” And the conversation just went from there. She was really friendly and did all she could to make me feel better and put me at ease. I was honestly expecting something from the Inquisition, but it really wasn’t at all like that.

As above. Then we talked about the jury system, politics in Singapore, the Press in the UK and in Singapore, my SAT scores, what I wanted to do with a Law degree, why I was interested in Law, my work experience in a Law firm etc… We even got onto our favourite places in Scotland and Singapore! It was really shockingly different from anything I could have imagined – she was just a really nice interviewer.

Black trousers, a white shirt and a red tie. Its far too hot here to wear a suit!

Impressions

The admissions staff were prompt and polite when replying to my email – which made me think that it would be nice to study there. The architecture is also pretty magnificent.

Final stage

When I got in the pool, I didn’t know what to think. I suppose that I thought the letter would be an acceptance or rejection – so it was quite unexpected to be pooled. When I re-read the letter I thought that I didn’t stand a chance because, though I thought my interview went well, I didn’t think I performed brilliantly on the test…
So I waited (and cursed the international post!). When I came in from school one day, exhausted from a full day of mock exams, I went to get something to eat and I saw a letter for me. I really thought that my chance for Cambridge had passed, and was thrilled to have received an offer from Pembroke. I just felt (and still do) that I’m really lucky and, after doing some research into the college, I think that it will be an amazing place to spend the next three years. So I called a few friends, called my dad in America and then went on the net to find out more on Pembroke! It was such a welcome surprise – and this weekend I’m going out to celebrate with my mates.

Looking back

Certainly, because I was fortunate enough to get in.

I think that if you are really interested in the subject they will pick up on it. I tried to keep up with legal issues I was interested in and familiarise myself with general concepts. Just remember there’s no point going to uni if you already know everything about a subject. Most importantly, just try to be yourself because I think most of the interviewers just want to get a feel for what you are like.

I’d say that the process is not all that you hear in the rumours. Try your best at it – and hope for the best too. Oxbridge isn’t the be all and end all, but its worth your best if you apply.