Application

 Cambridge

 Downing

 Medicine

 2004

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (10 A*,1 A)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

Other universities

yes

yes

I’ve had an offer from UCL, which I really like, so I’ll probably go there.

Decisions about the application

Because it is one the best universities worldwide,and I wanted to be part of that. No matter what people say, if you say yo’uve been to oxbridge, it certainly carries some weight.

I didn’t visit both, only Cambridge. To be honest, I’m sure they’re very similar at the end of the day, they both have the same kudos attached to them, so I didn’t mind.

It was absolutely lovely when I visited in the summer, and it’s in a really good central location.

Preparation

no

Revise all of you science A-level stuff, and try and have a couple of practice interviews.

Interview

yes

BMAT. this wasn’t very nice, and you can’t really prepare for it as it tests you on your initiative and common sense. It is very taxing time-wise, so work fast!

no

no

I had two:
The first one was with a cancer specialist and another admissions tutor who was a specialist in pharmaceuticals I think, I reseached them when I got the interview details through.
The second was with a senior chemistry professor (just my luck!) and a biology tutor I think.

I was a bit put off with the surroundings and style of the interview. One was in a room which was stacked all up the walls with papers, and the other had a drum kit in the corner! The interviews weren’t at all interrogatory, as I thought they would be, they were very laid back. I was expecting to have to vehemently defend my answers, but I didn’t. I recommend going there with an open mind and prepared for any style, so any ideas you may have about how it is are not dashed.

In the first one: what I read outside of my English set texts, so I said biological sciences review, and he asked me what I had read etc.. What links cancer and stem cells. How does a cell know when to die? How does a DNA signal tell a cell to die. Many excruciating questions, some about insulin about how cells signal to each other etc… I left feeling pretty ignorant, which wasn’t an encouraging feeling! In the second one, he said “right, im going to ask you lots of chemistry questions’, and he did. About what happened when you reduce an aldehyde, which i knew but my mind froze and he kept having to prompt me. Then I had to draw a Hess’s law cycle on a board, which i undestood so that encouraged me a bit. Then the other man asked me about biology, what dna coded for, how are proteins made etc? then gave me a picture of some birds and asked me about them. I went on about Darwin, which I think was right. they also asked me again why Downing, and both of the interviews were interested in why I took English. I think this may have been my downfall, as the course itself is called Medical Sciences, and most people took the sciences and maths.

A shirt, black trousers and a black jacket. I’m sure the last thing they worry about is what you’re wearing, as long as presentable

Impressions

It was very stunning with neo-classical grounds. Felt like you were walking through rome or greece, especially when the sun was shining!

Very spacious rooms, i was in a double one, but was the only one in there. Also had an ensuite which was nice.

Edible but not great

They were very friendly and encouraging.

They were also friendly, but some were a bit patronising.

Final stage

I was very nervous, and opened it straight away. I thought it wouldn’t be good, cos the letter was thin. When I read that they hadn’t offered me a place I was upset, and cried quite a lot all day. It’s something you cant really prepare for, it’s a bit of a shock.

Looking back

Probably, because the experience was worth it.

Prepare yourself well enough so that you feel confident on the day. If you want clarification, ask for it.