Application

 Cambridge

 St John’s

 Medicine

 2001

 pooled, offer made (Fitzwilliam)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (6 A*,3 A)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Biology, A in Chemistry, A in Mathematics

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

My sister was already at Cambridge, and I’d got better GCSE’s than her, so I thought I’d be in with a chance. I’d visited & loved it, and my school encouraged me.

My sister was at Cambridge, and I fell in love with the place when I visited her. I like the fact that the town is much smaller, so friendlier and less impersonal. Cambridge is better for pre-clinical medicine.

I looked through the table at the back of the prospectus and found all the colleges that had lower applications for Medicine, then went and looked round all the ones I thought seemed nice. The day I went, they were setting up for the may ball, so I think that swayed my vote a little. I basically chose John’s because it’s pretty, but am glad I’m at Fitz. It may not be so pretty from the outside, but I’ve totally learnt to love it.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview with my head teacher and my chemistry teacher. My head teacher also helped me to improve my personal statement.

CAF: Check it before you send it off…I nearly didn’t write down any of my A-levels. I didn’t write anything extra personal statement-wise, because I thought I’d said all I needed to on the UCAS form, so don’t be scared of just leaving it blank.

Interview

yes

MVAT-it covered Biology, Chemistry, Maths & Physics, so I revised those subjects (especially physics, which I didn’t do at A-level)

no

no

The first interview was general, and was pretty friendly. Two interviewers, who were talking to me about why I wanted to do medicine, relevant things I’d read recently, and generally asking about me. The second was subject based, and was scarier. Just one interviewer, who asked me one of the essays I hadn’t answered in the MVAT paper. Also asked me about nerves – a topic I hadn’t covered yet in Biology. He was looking for what I could work out, rather than what I knew.

knee length skirt and shirt. For medical interviews you need to look like a future doctor.

Impressions

John’s is pretty, and very big. It’s worth looking past the architecture to the actual college, what the atmosphere is like. It may be cheesey, but some of them really are warm & friendly, and it tends to be the smaller, not quite so prestigious ones.

It’s all fairly standard. Some ensuite rooms, but not til 2nd/3rd year (but they were renovating some of the rooms & building new ones, so it’s all changed)

Good

Really friendly

John’s-didn’t really see many. There were some in the JCR chatting to interviewees to try to put us at ease, that was really nice. At Fitz, it’s surprising how normal everyone is (helped by the high proportion from state school?)

Final stage

I got a letter just before New Year, saying I’d been pooled, and I didn’t expect to get an offer after that. On about 2nd Jan, I got a phone call from Fitz, offering me a place, I don’t think I could have thanked the woman more times if I’d tried.

Looking back

Definitely, Cambridge rocks!

Don’t apply if you can’t face being rejected. It is a bit of a lottery, some very good candidates get rejected, while worse ones get offers, you just have to deal with that. But what have you got to lose? Apart from a space on your UCAS form. I think it’s worth having a go, but remember that the world isn’t going to end if you don’t get in.