Application

 Oxford

 Merton (open application, allocated college)

 Medicine

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – non-selective

Not known if selective

 yes

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)

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Biology, A in Chemistry

A, in Maths or Physics

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

They are in a league of their own in the UK.

Oxford medicine was ranked higher than Cambridge medicine (Times Good University Guide 2001)
Oxford is prettier, and there is more to do there – Cambridge feels so stuffy
The Oxford medical school intake is smaller (150 as opposed to 250).
The course looks better
The Cambridge – science, Oxford -arts stereotype is largely a myth nowadays. It was probably so a couple of centuries ago – (even though Oxford has made enormous contributions to science over the centuries – especially in medicine e.g. the synthesis of penicillin. I think Oxford Medicine has 12 Nobel Prizes so far)
Basically, the two universities are so similar, and in a league of their own, so whichever one you go to won’t make a difference.
So I chose the one that gave me the best gut feeling, and that was Oxford and Merton.

Academically the best college – might as well go for gold. Topped the Oxford Academic tables (Norrington tables) most frequently.
Beautiful college
Historical and traditional
The college is very rich ( in the top 5 richest colleges)
Relatively small – therefore more close-knit and friendly

Preparation

yes

A couple of mock interviews

OAF: left the mini-personal statement bit blank.
Interview: I think despite questions they may ask you on the NHS / ethics… the one thing that they are most interested in are your general intelligence and scientific ability / passion. Make sure you have lots to talk about in terms of interests in medicine and science.
Try to be articulate and confident when answering questions. If they ask you a question and you have no idea about the answer – don’t just shrug/look completely lost and say “I don’t know” – you will look very stupid.

Interview

no

no

yes

Yes. Rather short paper on verbal reasoning / scientific reasoning. Relatively straightforward. No preparation needed.

Stayed for 3 nights and had 3 interviews (20 min each) + 1 test. Spent most of my time doing nothing.

Lots. Can’t remember them all. Got asked questions on maths, science (medically orientated), NHS and ethics-type stuff.

Formal – seemed to be the obvious thing to do.

Impressions

Liked Merton a lot.. seemed cosy and friendly. Had a look at some other colleges… wouldn’t have minded going to: New, Magdalen, Balliol, St. John’s, Christ Church, Univ.

Large room. en suite bathroom and shower. Was impressed.

Good. Food at Merton is reputed to be good.

They seemed nice enough.

Friendly

Final stage

Elated.

Looking back

Definitely – because I wouldn’t want to go to any other university.

Just enjoy it and be confident. Better to look slightly over-confident than completely lost.