Application

 Cambridge

 Pembroke

 Mathematics

 2008

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (6 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(NA at AS)

(A at AS)

(B 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)

Cambridge STEP Maths

(predicted 1; gained NA)

(predicted 1; gained NA)

I picked up AS Further Maths at the start of my second year A Level.

Other universities

yes

N/A

I’m not entirely sure what all the statistics say, but I consider ICL as very much ‘on par’.

Decisions about the application

Because I loved the university when I visited it. The Maths building is beautiful and the college I picked I loved the moment I saw it. That, and that it is one of the best universities in the world.

I just prefered Cambridge by far. It wasn’t much of a decision, really.

It offered a lot of diversity. It meant that I didn’t have to commit to too much too early on, which perhaps could be said a lot about other courses, but as I said, the Mathematics building… if you’ve seen it then you’ll know.

I loved it the day I went there, and loved it the day I returned. I’m not entirely sure why, because there are many (perhaps more) beautiful, and richer, and more prestigious colleges, but this one was the one that I liked. I think a lot of chosing colleges should depend on how you feel instinctively upon entering them. It’s all very well to apply to the ‘best’ one in terms of academia, but it doesn’t necessarilly mean that it’s the ‘best’ one for you.

Preparation

yes

There wasn’t ‘extra tuition’ persay, we had a little talk from someone from Oxford, and a mock interview. But neither were at all realistic.

I think it’s quite hard to actually prepare for the interviews. Perhaps research past questions. Mine were mainly focussed on the subject, and the amount you know – so the prep about why you wanted to go there, and what you got up to in your spare time was pretty useless.

Interview

no

no

no

Two of my interview I felt went alright, and then the third not so well.

The first was generally about Maths, and how applicable it was to the world as a whole, the next two were entirely maths devoted. The Second I had 30 minutes to look over some questions and attempt answers, the third was just straight answering with not much time to be thinking.

The first, he considered my subjects and other A level subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Physics in particular) and asked where exactly Maths was applicable. Then, where it is applicable in life (so things like Chance, and Risk).
The Second interview had questions involving:
– Logarithms on graphs and points of intersection
– Proof by induction
– Rates, differentiation and shape. (all in one)I actually remember this question the best. Perhaps because it’s the one that I made the most stupid mistake on. There is a square, in which is a circle. the circle meets the square in four places so that the sides of the square form tangents to the circle. if the circumference of the circle increases at a rate of 6cm/s, by what rate does the perimeter of the square increase?
– and a question on infinate probability.
The third interview was my worst. Questions:
– If I go from A to B at 40mph, and back from B to A at 60mph, assuming there is no time taken in the turn, is my average speed more or less that 50mph? (It’s not 50mph itself)
– One concerning binary numbers and multiple routes of a path
– Proof by contradiction
– The pigeon hole theory ( Basically: If there are twelve holes, if you have more that twelve letters one hole must contain more that one letter. But using this on ‘further’ applications’)
I think that was about it…

I wore, black trousers, and a brown long sleeved top over a green t shirt, and a scarf thing. It was really very cold. I didn’t wear a suit because I don’t own one, and would feel silly. I just wore something that I was comfortable in yet something that wasn’t too casual.

Impressions

As I have said, it was beautiful.

The room was actually really big. There was this massive window with huge curtains. The bathroom was a bit dogey though, it was down some rickety stairs and quite far from my actual room. But I expect you’d get used to that. Out of a choice between the ‘new’ rooms and the ‘old’ rooms, i’d definitely pick the old ones. They have more character and the new ones look like travelodge rooms.

The food was actually really nice. There was a wide selection and it was free, so that made the taste even better.

They were very encouraging. I didn’t like the last one but that’s probably more because I couldn’t answer his questions rather than anything else. Everyone seemed very nice, and the porters were lovely.

Very welcoming, they came and talked to us and gave us snippets of advice and horror stories from their own interviews which made everyone a lot more at ease.

Final stage

I was a bit aprehensive, I wasn’t sure how well i’d done. Obviously I really hoped to get in, but at the same time I was consious of not getting my hopes up too high, which considering the outcome was probably wise.

Well, I was actually asleep when the letter came, so my mum woke me. Half groggy opening this envelope containing a rejection isn’t the best morning wakening I have ever experienced. But I survived.

Looking back

Definitely. Even though I was unsuccessul, … it’s difficult to explain why.

Hmm… Have confidence, check your answers (unlike me, who managed to write 6 x 4 = 20), don’t get stressed if you can’t answer everything, and (though it’s overwhelming) try not to ask other applicants (for the same subject) how their interview went – what questions they were asked etc.