Application

 Cambridge

 Clare (open application, allocated college)

 Medicine

 2001 (deferred entry)

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – non-selective

Not known if selective

 yes (10 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

AAA, Not including German

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Because I wanted a challenge, and I really liked the idea of a traditional science based course before getting into clinical training. Plus it’s obviously very prestigious!

Shallow really, but a few other people (uncles, cousins etc) had been to Cambridge, so I always knew that if I did go for one of the two, it would be Cambridge

Combination of factors – healthy gender balance, reasonable ratio of state:private sector (I didn’t want one where the amount of private school pupils was either too high or too low), good academic rep and very good musical reputation and choir.

Preparation

no

Make sure you know your A-level stuff back to front and be prepared to think beyond all that.

Interview

yes

The MVAT beforehand. I read up on Physics because I didn’t do AS/A2, and read through all my course books, as well as a little background research but not much. I feel chronically unprepared compared with what some other people did.

no

no

I had two interviews, the first one with the Clinical DoS and some other random guy, the second with the pre-clinical DoS and an older Fellow of the college. They were both pretty much science based, and only talked a little about where I was from etc at the end of the second one.

I was given various pictures (a brain scan, a LM of small intestine, an EM of a pancreas cell) and they asked me questions about them, and then on the theory and principles behind them – e.g. protein structure and synthesis for the pancreatic one. They asked me a little about my work experience and what I wanted to do in my Gap year, but not too much.

A suit, because I thought it would be expected, and I felt comfortable like that.

Impressions

Well, I’m here now, and I’m very happy. At the time, it was freezing, but very nice and the few people that were around were very friendly.

The interview candidates’ rooms are lovely – the first years live in them normally. The second/third year accommodation is less nice but there are still some nice bits.

Edible but not great

Friendly, but always pushing you.

Didn’t meet any – they’d all gone home.

Final stage

I think my parents must have been waiting by the letterbox because they brought the letter straight up at some ungodly hour of the morning. I opened it, saw “A in Biology, A in Chemistry… ” and yelled “YESSSS!” which woke up the rest of the house.

Looking back

Of course 🙂