Application

 Oxford

 Balliol

 Medicine

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (8 A*,3 A)

A-levels

(NA at AS)

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

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

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

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

BMAT
5.6
4.7
10.5

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Chemistry

AAA, General Studies…

yes

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I never really thought I’d get in, but I thought I might as well give it a go, so always try!! I’ve always known it was really prestigious and it could open up a lot of doors for me in the future.

Being honest, I thought Oxford was easier to get into than Cambridge (don’t know why, just gut feeling), so I picked Oxford.

I love working with people and learning about all the mechanisms and things in the human body so becoming a doctor (hopefully) seems like the ideal combination!

To be honest, when I was trying to pick a college, I went on the Oxford website and opened up the list of colleges. I clicked on about 15 of them and then gave up looking at them all, and picked one out of that 15 that looked pretty and was really close to the city centre, and Balliol is as close as it gets, so Balliol it was!

Preparation

yes

There were sessions held after school for BMAT preparation, and at home, I read through a lot of medicine/ethics-related news articles online or in magazines/newspapers. I also brushed up on my Biology from this year and last year, just in case.

Definitely read through news articles. Only a fraction of the Biology that I had prepared came up in my interview, but I have learnt so much from my preparation that it almost seems worthwhile even though barely any of it came up!

Interview

yes

Yes, BMAT. Any questions I didn’t know, I guessed, I ticked all of the ones I didn’t know as A, or B etc (even though some of them have more options than others) I think it’s better to do that as opposed to randomly ticking boxes, as you’re more likely to get some of them right (probability wise). You won’t have time to go back to consider any questions you missed out properly so work efficiently and move on if you can’t answer a question. Also, do a plan for your essay as you only get one sheet of paper and I ended up filling mine with lots of crossing out!

no

No

no

No

I had 4 interviews in total, and on the whole, I thought they had gone ok. This might sound sad, but the interviews are actually really fun, especially problem solving questions. I found my interviews at Balliol a lot more enjoyable and relaxed. They were more ‘hands on’, giving me graphs to analyse and instruments to look at and play with. My interviews at Worcester (randomly allocated college) were more formal and “interview-style”.

If you know which tutors are interviewing you, take a little bit of time to check them out online and see what they specialise in, because I got asked questions that were in their field, so it might give you a bit of a heads up before you get there.

I was asked questions to do with respiratory system (Balliol tutor Piers Nye is doing research into things involving respiration) and it involved analysing ECGs and graphs. I was also asked about X rays and how they work. At my second college, there were a few questions about genetics related diseases (tutor specialised in genetics and molecular biology, i think) and about the different types of diabetes and how you might increase your chances of getting it. In terms of ethics, there was a question about whether the NHS should operate on fat people, and what would I say to a patient who needed an operation but was overweight.

For my first 2 interviews, I wore a checked pencil suit dress and my second, I wore a white shirt and a navy pencil skirt. The choices were pretty formal, but I always feel more confident when I’m dressed for the occasion. It’s hard to say what the college tutors would consider presentable, so I think I just thought I’d be safe, just in case. A lot of the boys were wearing suits, too.

Impressions

I really liked it, it was very central – you were basically in the city centre as soon as you stepped out of the college. I thought I’d be really impartial to the college since I’d pretty much picked it out at random, but as soon as I went to my second college for interviews, I was thinking about how I’d rather be at Balliol! The people are really friendly too! Worcester college has beautiful grounds, very scenic.

My room was average size, quite nice and comfortable, with a sink in the corner.

Balliol’s food was lovely.

The tutors were very nice and approachable, and very friendly overall.

They were very chatty and willing to answer any questions you had. They talked a lot about their own university experience which helped in terms of getting to know what Oxford would be like if we got in. Didn’t get to speak to the undergrads at Worcester, since I wasn’t there for long.

Final stage

I was apprehensive, but was expecting a much later reply than the one I got so I guess I wasn’t given enough to really work up my nerves!

I was absolutely ecstatic, I could not contain my excitement on the phone. When he told me he was Piers Nye calling from Oxford, my heart just sank but when he told me I had an offer, I was over the moon!

Looking back

The interview process is fun and very relaxed – meeting new people from different places applying for different courses. So, yeah, I would still apply and go through it again!

Just relax when you get into the interview, they aren’t trying to catch you out. Enjoy it!