Application

 Oxford

 Magdalen

 Mathematics

 2003

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Academics, the name, tutorial system.

Halal Nandos in Oxford. For me it was always Oxford really, Cambridge for some reason always seemed dark and gloomy.

Good accomodation, library open 24 hrs, excellent facilities in general.

Preparation

no

There is nothing much you can do really. Just remember that interview is just one tiny part of the process and the tutors will know that you are nervous.

Interview

no

no

yes

Yes. Practiced three past papers. They were kind of helpful. The test we got was very especially brutal. our tutor told us that the university average was less than 40%.

Well, it was all very well-coordinated and the undergrad helpers were always there for asssistance. My first 2 interviews were at Magdalen and then had one each at Brasenose and Jesus. My first interview at Magdalen was with a danish tutor and grad student. The tutor asked me questions while the grad student stared at me. I dont think I answered a single question in my first go but the tutor was very nice and didnt make me feel stupid for a single second. He did most of the talking trying to explain to me the questions and then the answers. The second interview at Magdalen was with the female tutor. As soon as I entered her room it was straight to business. This was a killer interview. The questions were very difficult. By the end I was so scared that I coudnt even do 7×7. But it was like that with everyone so that was kind of comforting. The interview ar brasenose was so much fun. Did a long number theory question which extended for 40 minutes. But it was easy and the tutor was constantly cracking jokes to lighten up the tension-filled room. I had a lovely time there. The one at Jesus was for 20 minutes and there were 2 interviewers, one stared at me while the other asked questions. I was one of the last to be interviewed and the tutors seemed bored, but they were nice.

Magdalen 1st: How many 0’s in 100!; prove that the angle at the centre of a circle is twice that at the circumference; using three colours, how many ways are there in which you can colour three equal portions of a disc (Ans. 2); Integrate 1/(9 +x^2); Why Maths?; How many hours a week do I study?; Which branch of maths do I find interesting?. Magdalen 2nd: Draw y=e^x, then draw y=kx, then draw a graph of the numbers of solutions of x against x for e^x=kx, and then find the value of k where there is only 1 solution (Ans k=e); Four cards with A 2 3 K written on them, odd number implies that there is a vowel on the other side of the card, how many cards do I need to turn in order to disprove the statement; prove n^2 (mod 7) = (n+7)^2 (mod 7) [first she teaches what mod 7 means and then the hard part is getting to this statement rather than solving it]; She then took out a Rubik’s cube and held it by two diagonally opposite vertices and rotated it till it reached the same position, by how many degrees did it take a turn (Ans. 120). Brasenose: Just one long number thoery question, I cant remember exactly what we proved but it involved binomial theorem as well. Jesus: Asked me to write down several different type of series that converge, is there a statement that if true the sequence must converge? The answer involved taking a number and if all successive values become less than that particular number at a point in the sequence then they must converge.

Shirt, pants and a V-neck sweater. It really doesnt matter. I never wore a suit in my life. I thought of wearing I tie, but then decided aganst it since I was feeling uncomfortable in it. As long as you lok decent I guess its okay. There were some people who were looking kind of shabby and I think that gives an impression of not being committed to the whole process.

Impressions

Magdalen: Gorgeous.
Brasenose & Jesus: Smaller but charming in their own ways.

When I applied to Magdalen I thought I’d be applying to one the best with regards to facilities but the other colleges offered some excellent facilities as well and at times better than Magdalen.

I got a separate bed room and living room in the cloisters. Had to share the toilet and shower with one other person.The furniture was old and the floor creaked. I spent the first night feezing as the radiators werent working. The girl next door said its always like this. The next day the very nice porter brought in an electric heater.

Edible but not great

I’m from Pakistan and we usually eat spicy stuff. I found the food totally bland. But others were enjoying it so I guess it wasnt that bad. Plus, it was free.

Very friendly. I developed quite a nice rapport with the pure maths tutor.

Well, they all very friendly and down to earth.

Final stage

I was out of town so my sister told me over the internet. I was jumping up and down. Was really pleased. Alhamdulillah.

Looking back

Definitely. I went there and fell in love with the place. Even though it would have been depressing had I not gotten a place, I think the experience would still be very valuable.

It’s important to show that you do have a genuine interest in your subject. Dont take a bored face to the tutor and show your excitement about your subject at the interview. I think that some people with 9A*s get rejected not becaue they didnt know the answers of the questions in the interview but because they dont show enthusiasm.