Application

 Oxford

 Balliol

 Mathematics

 2003

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (10 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(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)

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Mathematics (Further)

AAA

yes

Firm – Balliol Insurance – Bath

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I never really considered why. It always seemed like the logical thing to do.

All of my friends are going to Oxford, I know a lot of people at Oxford. The maths course is very appealing and is rated slighty lower than Cambridge, meaning that you can leave your room from time to time.

A very large number of reasons. One of my good friends is currently there. The tutors are very nice and specialise in interesting areas. The College is beautiful, old and is located bang in the centre of Oxford.

Preparation

yes

We had a couple of talks about the overall interview and application process, but that was it.

Interview

no

no

yes

One pretty hard two-and-a-half hour paper. The only preparation you can do is to do a lot of different maths problems outside your syllabus. You can never guess what they will ask.

Was asked a lot of questions and needed to think fairly quickly on the spot.

1st interview: was asked why maths and asked some maths questions, like solve a^b=b^a for all real a and b. 2nd interview: a number of questions regarding prime numbers.

Normal smart casual clothes (trousers and jumper)

Impressions

Balliol – beautiful , large, old, good location. Overall – great.
Jesus – smaller, poorer location, full of Welsh people.
University – quite good, ok location, moderate looks (in my opinion, which is biased), ok.
Teddy Hall – small, ugly, very poor location, graveyard as the main attraction.
Keble – overall ok, nothing special and poor location.

All the rooms I saw in Balliol, Keble and Jesus were fairly spacious and good (at least compared to boarding school)

Edible but not great

The food is ok, but you don’t want to eat there each and every meal time. Don’t pay for your meals in advance, you may live to regret it.

Both are very lively and interesting people. apparently.

All of the students there and the applicants were unexpectedly normal and fun to hang around with. To disillusion any myths, there was a massive pub crawl, ending with people being sick.

Final stage

I received the letter significantly later than I found out I was in. Nothing outstandingly special. When I found out I was away from home and it came as a very special surprise, but I didn’t run out on to the street to hug everyone I saw.

Looking back

I would because I can’t see myself being as happy anywhere else.

Do maths outside the classroom and outside the syllabus. Find harder problems, which may take longer to solve. The more you do the better you will become.