Application

 Cambridge

 Christ’s

 Mathematics

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (8 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

Cambridge STEP Maths

(predicted NA; gained 2)

(predicted NA; gained 2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Mathematics (Further), 1 in STEP II, 1 in STEP III

AAA

yes

N/A

 offer missed, still accepted

Decisions about the application

Of course there’s the reputation that they have: that must have influenced me to some degree. A desire to be challenged and to do the ‘hardest’ maths course possible. A certain masochism, then.

Cambridge supposedly has a better reputation for the sciences. Having had a look around the place, and fallen in love with it, the decision was easy.

Central location, nice grounds, good reputation for maths, accomodation for the fourth year (Part III) were I to do it…

Preparation

yes

Not much. A couple of practice interviews, although they were not at all like the actual ones.

Practise the bread-and-butter maths that’s likely to come up. Graph sketching, calculus, the easier mechanics. If you’re going to mention a longish book in your personal statement, refer to a specific part of it, so that you can be fairly sure what the questions will consist of.

Interview

no

no

no

I had three: one personal one (chat), and two maths ones (grillings). One applied maths (mechanics) and one pure.

The personal interview was just about me: plans for the future, interests, hobbies, activities I would persue in the college. The applied maths interview began with a couple of curves to sketch. With a little prodding in the right direction I managed to draw something resembling the actual graphs. Then there was a mechanics question. A bead on a wire: simple constant acceleration stuff with a bit of trig to complicate things. The pure interview was mainly about calculus. Differentiate this, integrate that. I completely forgot the easy was to integrate tan x, but I managed to do it very long-windedly with a substitution. Also a question about binomial coefficients and Pascal’s triangle (prove that every number in the triangle is the sum of the two above it).

A suit. I know everybody says that suits aren’t necessary, but you can’t really go wrong if you do wear one.

Impressions

They all seemed very nice. Trinity BIG, Corpus small etc.

I only saw the first year accomodation (the ‘typewriter’) which wasn’t exactly palatial, but alright.

NA

Reasonably friendly! Overall a very good impression.

There were none there (my interview was in the middle of December).

Final stage

Since I missed the STEP grades in my offer, I wasn’t exactly expecting to get in, so I was very happy!

Looking back

Absolutely. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be going there to read maths in October.

Don’t worry too much about your choice of college. Much more important is the subject you’re going to do. Read around a bit.
Pick a good insurance choice that you’d be very happy to go to in case things don’t work out.