Application

 Oxford

 St Anne’s

 Modern Languages

 2007

 offer made

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

I went to a comprehensive then a 6th form college.

 yes

International Baccalaureate

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 6; gained NA)

( predicted 7; gained NA)

( predicted 6; gained NA)

( predicted 6; gained NA)

( predicted 3; gained NA)

Details about the offer

 conditional

39 points with 776 at HL

yes

no

I got offers from Bristol (insurance), Warwick, Exeter and Manchester.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Great course and teaching, lovely city, academic challenge, international recognition.

Oxford – the course is more literature-based; the city is bigger, more dynamic and nearer to home; the uni is apparently more IB-friendly.

I’ve wanted to study languages for a long time, as I enjoy studying literature as well as learning about other cultures.

I really wasn’t sure which college to go for but I eventually chose St Anne’s because it offered accomodation for the duration of the whole course and seemed unpretentious, state school-oriented and friendly.

Preparation

yes

My teachers helped me choose my sample work.

Send in your sample work as soon as you can! I left it quite late and was really stressed. If you can, pick essays that reflect your interest in an aspect of whichever culture you’re studying.

Interview

no

yes

1 English lit. essay. 2 essays related to German culture and lit (1 in English; 1 in German). Likewise for French.

yes

1 30 minute-long test for each language, which consisted of grammar and translation exercises.

I had one for German then 1 for French, each lasting about half and hour. I had to go to St Hugh’s for the German one because St Anne’s doesn’t have fellow in German. I was quite nervous in that one but much more relaxed by the French one.

In both interviews, we mostly discussed (in English) the books I had read for my studies and in my spare time. The tutors challenged what I said about them but they weren’t confrontational. In the French interview, we talked about translation as well. In both interviews, I was given a random text that I had to analyse (but I was given 5 minutes to prepare) and I also had to talk for a few minutes in the target languages.

“Is it possible to be perfectly fluent in a foreign language?”
“Is it not possible to translate some words/concepts?”
“What do you enjoy reading?”
“Have you studied much literature as part of the IB courses?”

Plain black dress, tights, black boots, denim jacket and a scarf. Smart, comfortable but not over the top.

Impressions

The archiecture of St Anne’s wasn’t beautiful like some of the older colleges but it was modern and comfortable. It’s about 15 minutes on foot from the centre so I guess it’s more peaceful than some of the central colleges. There was a nice welcoming atmosphere.

The modern languages section in the library was very good, especially for French and German (which had an extra room). The JCR was ok; it had a TV and nice sofas. The dining hall was beautiful, as it had a glass roof. I stayed in a 3rd year room which was very comfortable – it even had an en-suite bathroom. I visited a 1st year room, which was ok – but you have to use a communal bathroom.

It was good – plenty of choice and quite healthy e.g. lots of salad an fruit.

Friendly, approachable and down to earth. In the interviews, they wanted to bring the best out of me, not intimidate me.

I didn’t talk much to them because they were so busy getting everyone to the right interviews but they seemed very friendly and nice.

Final stage

I was so annoyed. I had to wait so long because St Anne’s sent the letter to my 6th form college, not my house! I just wanted to know one way or the other.

In the end, I called my college as soon as it reopened in January and was told over the phone. I was quite nervous … then relieved to have been accepted … then worried about having to meet the high offer!

Looking back

Yes definitely. I learnt a lot and found it quite exciting.

Work hard for the interview but don’t half-kill yourself like I did – it’s not worth it. At the end of the day, if it’s meant to be, you’ll get in. Make sure that you have a good grasp of the grammar and read as much lit. and critiques as you can, both in translation and the original language, if possible. Read foreign magazines and watch foreign films to improve your comprehension as well.