Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Medicine

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 FE College

 yes (8 A*,3 A)

A-levels

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

(A 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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Biology, A in Chemistry, A in French

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Oxford is nearer, family connection, had a good experience on open day.

Somerville was the friendliest college I visited and the only one that let me look around without an appointment.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview, and attended extra chemistry and discussion group sessions which were offered.

For science subjects: read journals because science advances rapidly. I recommend Scientific American, the BMJ, Biological Sciences Review, New Scientist and, if you are doing medicine, subscribe to the student BMJ if you can. It costs about £15 for a year (one issue a month) and you get access to the online archives of all the BMJ publications (a particularly good one is the Journal of Medical Ethics).

Interview

yes

BMAT. It’s pretty tough but my advice is to practise questions in one of the books you can buy: ‘Preparing for the BMAT’ Butterworth/Thwaites is the best I found. Also, revise GCSE Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

no

no

A suit, because I wanted to show that I was taking the interview seriously, and that I had made an effort in all aspects of preparation for the interview including my appearance. Also, I once heard a tutor give the advice to dress as you would if you were a junior doctor, because you have to show that you know how to dress yourself appropriately for, essentially, the job you are applying to train for.

Impressions

Really good. There was a lot of choice as well.

The tutors were very friendly. As far as university interviewers go, I found them incredibly easy to talk to and felt fairly relaxed during the interview.

Final stage

I had had a great time over the two days I was in Oxford. I wasn’t expecting an offer, and in fact I never wanted the letter to come because I was happy just imagining how happy I would be if I did get an offer, and I didn’t want a rejection letter to arrive and spoil that dream!

I screamed and danced around a bit in the hallway and nearly knocked over an old man who was just leaving his flat.

Looking back

Yes, but only because I know what to expect throughout the process. I wanted it so badly that nothing put me off – I had to take a year out of college because of illness but I was determined to go back and apply! If there had been any doubt in my mind whether Oxford was the place for me I’m not sure I would have put myself through it… there was so much work involved.

Read as much as you can about Oxford, download the podcasts from PodOxford on itunes, read books and newspaper articles relevant to your subject, be as enthusiastic as possible when you get to interview (it makes it so much more fun!)