Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Modern Languages

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (9 A*,2 A)

International Baccalaureate

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 6; gained NA)

( predicted 3; gained NA)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained Merit)

Details about the offer

 conditional

6 in English, 6 in French (B), 6 in History

38 including bonus points

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

The usual – collegiate system, great teaching, nice city.

Initially I considered doing English and French, which you couldn’t do at Cambridge. Afterwards I changed my mind, but I’d visited Oxford and liked it, so decided to stick with it.

I love languages and literature.

Visited it on an open day and thought it looked really nice, has one of the best libraries, right opposite the languages centre and down the road from the Taylorian, has fellows in French and Italian.

Preparation

yes

I had two practice interviews, which were helpful in making me comfortable speaking in an interview situation, but weren’t nearly as challenging as the real interviews.

Read literature, read newspapers and learn grammar.

Interview

no

yes

I submitted 1 French essay, some Italian writing, and English and a History essay.

yes

Had to take a French and Italian grammar test.

Quite good, although it’s hard to tell how you’ve done afterwards.

I had three. In the Italian one I was given a short poem beforehand, which I then had to read aloud in Italian and summarise in English. I could ask about any words I didn’t know. We then talked about the meaning of the poem and so on. We also talked about an Italian film I liked, and what I thought of Italian newspapers. I then had to speak in Italian about where I’d like to go in Italy.

In the French one I was given a passage from a book beforehand, which I then read a small amount of aloud and summarised in English. Then talked about meaning, significance of various elements, etc. Talked about authors I liked, and spoke in French about what I like about the IB.

In the general interview we talked about why I chose Oxford, what I liked about languages. We discussed newspapers and how you can tell what their political stance is, and so on. Then talked about TOK, and how reason and imagination worked in languages.

A jacket, trousers one time and a dress the other. Maybe avoid wearing scruffy jeans and trainers, but I really don’t think it matters much.

Impressions

Very nice, laidback atmosphere.

Quite large rooms, but no sink. Baths and showers are in the corridor. Lots of mice in the common room (really!).

Suprisingly good. Quite nasty and healthy.

Nice, not agressive in their questioning!

Nice, eager to help.

Final stage

Impatience! My letter was so late.

Happiness, hugs from mother, etc.

Looking back

Yes.

Be positive but realistic. Even if you don’t get in, it’s a good experience. Oh, and turn off your mobile phone before going into the interview, seriously.