Application

 Cambridge

 Sidney Sussex

 Medicine

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

basically, an old grammar school that has gone private.

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (283 UMS))

(A at AS (300 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (289 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (289 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Biology, A in Chemistry, A in Mathematics

AAA, my school also makes critical thinking AS compulsory- this wasn’t included in my offer terms.

undecided yet

I will more than likely be accepting the offer but I haven’t heard from any of my other universities yet.

N/A

Decisions about the application

The medicine course for Oxbridge is very different in style- a very clear split between pre clinicals/clinicals, much more thorough scientific knowledge etc. Also the methods of teaching appealed to me, particularly supervisions.

Preferred Cam course as it has “proper” dissection and a broader choice of options for intercalated year. I also felt I would prefer living in Cambridge to Oxford.

See above.

Not very helpful I know, but it just ‘felt right’ the moment I walked in. I found the students to be the most helpful and friendly out of all the colleges I had visited.

Preparation

no

My biology teacher gave general advice towards the BMAT, and every Oxbridge applicant was given a mock interview. (Not that it was very useful- the bloke didn’t know what he was talking about.)

I would advise lots of reading round the subject. Try to develop an interest in some specific area, this gives both you and the interviewers something to talk about at interview of which you have a vague understanding. Try and show passion and enthusiasm for the subject, and don’t be afraid to say you don’t understand!

Interview

yes

BMAT- do lots of practice. People say you can’t prepare: not true. Get you’re hands on all the sample questions you can and practise repeatedly untill you can do them all well under the time limit. A word of warning; it is so important you can do the specimen papers well within time limits as the real thing is much harder and much more difficult to complete within the time.

no

no

Better than I thought they would be. Interviewers try really hard to put you at ease, and mine were very good at giving encouragement and/or prompts. By the end, I was beginning to enjoy myself because it becomes vaguely like a tutorial.

What do you know about AIDS? Why medicine? What did you see on your work experience? Describe the trends shown on this graph.
What is this a model? (waves model of amino acid.)Tell me about proteins. How are they produced from DNA?
Some chat about optical isomers and their biological implications. Tell me about an article you have read recently in the New Scientist.

I wore a black polo neck with a dogstooth check pinafore dress over the top and some black heeled boots. I wanted to wear something that was smart and warm, but not just a suit.

Impressions

Everybody so friendly and willing to help at Sidney, and beautiful gardens!
All colleges try their hardest to be friendly on open days- Sidney just felt right for me.

Reasonably sized rooms- not much smaller than my room at home. All head bed, desk chair, lamps and a sink. Bathroom facilities ok and kitchens well equipped. New ensuite rooms in Blundell Court very nice!!

As good as you would expect it to be.

They all seemed like genuinely nice people, and were not nasty or horrible at all in the interviews.

Very friendly, very normal! I was much relieved to find they spent lunchtimes watching Neighbours in the JCR….

Final stage

Not too bad until after New Year as you have Xmas etc to keep your mind off things. The last 2 days were agony!

Was still half asleep when I opened the letter. Read ” we are delighted to tell you…” Screamed. Hugged mum. Rang friends.

Looking back

Yes, because if I hadn’t applied I would always have wondered ‘what if?’

Try to get the best marks possible in AS. Read beyond your syllabus. Keep up to date with medical news. Try and enjoy the experience!