Application

 Oxford

 Christ Church

 Mathematics

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (7 A*,3 A)

A-levels

(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 NA at A2)

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Mathematics (Further)

AAA, Offer does not include General Studies.

yes

I have told UCAS that I wish to make Oxford my first choice and Bristol my insurance.

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Expectations from my school and my parents at first. Then, after research of the universities I realised that they had a lot of advantages to offer, such as tutorials/supervisions.

Visited both on an open day, but generally prefered Oxford as it was much bigger, more lively etc… (also is supposed to have a lower applicant/place ratio for my subject)

It was the college I had been booked in to spend the majority of my open day at. Met lots of students and the two tutors and liked what I saw!

Preparation

yes

My mathematics teacher was excellent! He had been to Oxford and so knew how daunting it was. Went over past papers with me, whilst my heads of year gave me mock interviews.

Go through all the past papers you can find really thoroughly and have a mock interview with your teacher if possible. Aside from that, there’s not really much else you can do.

Interview

no

no

yes

I had a 2.5 hour mathematics exam without a calculator or a formula booklet so had to learn how to do basic addition/subtraction etc! Basically I downloaded the past papers from the internet and had a go at them, asking my teacher if couldn’t do a question. Also had two mock interviews, which were mostly general, so didn’t really help!

I had two interviews at Ch Ch, which were practically entirely mathematical. At Queens, they asked me mostly mathematical but some general questions as well.

At Ch Ch, the tutors went through my exam and also asked me about curve sketching (seems to be a popular topic) basic calculus and ‘mathematical problems’. At Queens, I was asked about my personal interests and they went through yet another question I had got wrong in the test!

Wore a suit, had it in the wardrobe never been worn so I thought might as well! It’s worth making sure you look smart, so that they know you are taking the interviews seriously, but I don’t think you really need to wear a suit, most people didn’t.

Impressions

Christ Church was very big and a bit oberpowering at first, but the people were all nice and friendly.
Queens was also quite big, with a good location.
Exeter (had some friends apply there) was a bit on the small side, but seemed okay.

Had a large room with desk, chairs etc… Wasn’t en-suite, just had a sink, but the nearest bathroom was just at the end of the corridor. However, my room was designed for 2nd years, so was probably not indicative of the rooms you are allocated as a fresher.

Good

Food was generally okay, and agreed that it was better than many other colleges. The dining hall was a bit oppresive and dark (and yes, it is the Harry Potter hall!) The only downside was that there was no kitchens, so it was food in hall or eating out!

Very friendly and welcoming. The tutor I had in my first interview seemed to take great pains to make sure that I was comfortable before we started, whilst the second also seemed nice, if a little quiet.

Those that I chatted to were generally normal. They weren’t all public school types, which I was pleased about. I don’t know, maybe I just didn’t notice all the weird people!

Final stage

It was a very thin letter, only one side of A4 so I naturally assumed that it was a rejection. Was extremely surprised when I actually read the letter! Had to call my parents, they started crying!

Looking back

Definitely, it was a great experience and a good opportunity to meet other people interested in your subject. After all, even if you don’t get in you still have 5 choices left, so it’s definitely worth a shot.

Basically, just be yourself. You’re more likely to enjoy yourself and the interviews won’t seem as daunting as they would if you were trying to keep up a pretence. At the end of the day, it’s mostly the subjective opinion of the tutors at your college, so it doesn’t mean you’re not ‘good’ enough.