Application

 Oxford

 Magdalen

 Mathematics

 2008

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (5 A*,5 A,1 B)

A-levels

(B 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)

Other universities

yes

yes

Decisions about the application

Excellent course, tutorial system.

Cambridge is very claustrophobic. Couldn’t imagine studying there for four years.

Maths is fascinating and I am pretty good at it. Clearly not good enough though!

Magdalen is gorgeous and spacious. Average accommodation pricing. Good hall food. Attended Magdalen open day.

Preparation

yes

Maths teacher went through some past admissions papers with me.

Practise maths you are not very familiar with. Think outside the box. Do the past papers. Make sure your basics are rock solid.

Interview

yes

Test was difficult but not insanely so. The 2.5 hours go extremely quickly! The multiple choice questions were quite simple but some of the longer questions were tricky.

no

no

One good, two average, one disaster.

Three interviews at Magdalen, one at Jesus.

Find which is the larger of e^pi and pi^e.
Prove that x/y + y/x >= 2 when xy > 0.
If cosx – ax – b = 0 has exactly two solutions, show that sinx = -a has at least one solution.
Some nasty question involving pi notation.
Binomial nightmare.
Some others that are hard to write down without diagrams!

Sweater and jeans. Nobody else was wearing a suit and I didn’t want to stand out like a sore thumb.

Impressions

Beautiful, friendly. Jesus was very small in comparison.

Spacious, clean, comfortable. I had a fridge in my room and a basin + shower. Toilet was down the hall. I was accomodated in Longwall II, which I believe is for mostly second years.

Delicious!

They weren’t very intimidating. Helpful in the interviews.

Top notch. JCR president held tea in his room every day which was very nice indeed.

Final stage

I has resigned myself to being rejected.

Just confirmed what I already knew. I was gutted though, because there is always that slight chance that you might get a place. I’ve moved on now, two weeks on.

Looking back

Yes.

Don’t get fixated on Oxbridge, because the average applicant is rejected. Don’t get too downhearted if you are rejected, because you will probably have offers from other excellent universities. You will probably have more fun and more time to sleep elsewhere!