Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Mathematics

 2001

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (1 A*,7 A,3 B)

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)

Other universities

N/A

Decisions about the application

At first i was reluctant to apply, because my gcses didnt seem to be oxbridge material. but in the end i was convinced, and went for it.

I went to the sutton trust summer school in Oxford over the summer, and it seemed nice enough. i had nothing to judge Cambridge on so just stuck with oxford. (it makes sense in my head)

i stayed there for the summer school, and thought that i might have a better chance of getting in and it seemed to be a liberal and non formal college.

Preparation

yes

My maths teacher bombarded me with maths books, videos(yes some sicko made maths videos), and a cassette of the history of zero(good cure for insomnia)

be good at maths. there isn’t really a way of preparing for it, as they can ask you anything. also make sure you enjoy yourself, as you don’t know if you will get in or not, but you should be able to have a great time. make sure you know questions such as differentiating x^x, always a popular one.

Interview

no

no

yes

I prepared by doing the past papers on the maths department website. i found those quite straight forward. however, when it came to the real thing, my mind went numb. (beer before exam does not help, i speak from experience)

i had an exam the first day. the next day i had 2 interviews at somerville, then went out to a few pubs one of which was Ł1 a drink. the next day i was totally free, so watched neighbours and diagnosis murder all day, as well as venturing out to the city. that night got pissed again. the last day i had an interview at trinity

My first at Somerville, I was asked to integrate e^x * x^2 between limits of 1 and 0. Easy enough and got through that easily. Next question was to draw that graph, this graph looks very weird, and again my mind went numb and I didn’t think about it always having to be positive. I was kicking myself at that mistake! I was also asked to prove why, when x is odd, x^2-1 is divisible by 8. I used proof by induction, however there are other ways. The next interview at Somerville, the woman asked me about the exam I had done the day before. I told her the problems I had, and we went over them, (again kicking myself over careless mistakes I made). She then asked me to integrate x^-2 between limits of 1 and -1. It comes to -2 I think, and she then asked me to draw the graph. I thought this is too easy to be true. THEN she asks, why is it -2 and not infinity, as it appears to be on the graph. I hadn’t the slightest idea, and said, I don’t know! But still she kept on going, WHY WHY WHY! In the end she “lead”(told) me to the answer, and then asked if I understood. Even though I didn’t understand at the time, I said yes. Now the next interview was at trinity, after meeting some of the people who were applying there the night before, I didn’t think it was my kind of place. Ie: they were tossers. In the room were 2 interviewers. Both bombarding me with questions. One was differentiating x^x which I done straight away. Another was this old probability question about the car being behind one of 3 doors. It’s quite famous, so I knew the answer. They asked me another strange question. They said, write down 3 digits, then write the number again next to itself, eg: 145145. They then asked why is it divisible by 13. I didn’t have a clue! But after a hint I got it. To get that 6-digit number you multiply the 3 digit one by 1001. And 1001 is 7*11*13, hey presto! I was then asked about the book I had claimed to have read, but I didn’t. So that bit didn’t go too well!

shirt, tie, trousers, boxers, socks, shoes, watch, belt. shirt and tie because my mum told me

Impressions

somerville college had a very friendly atmosphere. i made some really good friends there, who i am still in contact with now

mine was a simple bed, a carpet, wardrobe, desk, chairs. other people had a sink.nice enough size

Good

i had coco pops for dinner one day, where else can you do that? they also have coke on tap.

They provided you with directions. or a student helped you find the tutors.

They were all friendly people and would chat away to you. i would specially like to thank those 2 students who carried me back to my room one night and helped me put my key in my door.

Final stage

I got home and seen the letter on the table opened, my dad had a peek. i already knew the outcome, REJECTED!

Looking back

I definitely would apply again. i found it to be a holiday but with interviews here and there. i went out 2 of the nights there, got pissed, and had a great time. and the other applicants i met there were great people, and i’m glad i got to know them

Have a look at the past papers for the exam, closest thing you will get to the real exam. i’m not really the best person to ask for this interviewing advice!