Application

 Oxford

 Exeter

 Modern Languages

 2005

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (8 A*,2 A,1 B)

A-levels

(B at AS (236 UMS))

(A at AS (296 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (296 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (251 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(B at AS (228 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted Distinction; gained Distinction)

(predicted Distinction; gained Distinction)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in French, A in German

AAA

yes

yes

yes

Got an offer for ABB from UCL, which I took as my insurance

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Best university in country, course was primarily literature-based, which is what I was looking for. Also, idea of a collegiate university was very appealing.

Oxford was more what I wanted in terms of course and academic environment. My school ran an open day to the college I eventually applied to, and I was really impressed by the tutors I met, as well as the college itself.

Good at languages at school, and good at english so thought I would enjoy the literary aspects of the course. Nearly applied for classics, but my latin AS level wasn’t really good enough.

I’d visited it and was really impressed. It was in summer and the college looked really gorgeous, so I was kind of hooked. And there’s a link between the area I live in at home and the college’s origins, which I thought was quite nice.

Preparation

yes

Lunchtime oxbridge sessions and practice interviews and general advice.

Read some literature in the appropriate language, and more generally develop a feeling for literature and literary analysis. Brush up grammar.

Interview

no

yes

Two pieces for each language in the language, one of which was an A2 essay and one of which was some answers for A2 oral questions. And I sent an English literature essay for good measure

yes

Half-hour grammar test for each language.

Fine. Both tutors were really friendly and engaging, and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.

I had two poems in each language (French and German) which I had to briefly summarise and then they asked me further, more specific questions. They asked some more general questions about things like literature and the role of literary analysis. Had to speak in each language as well: quite casually in german (Haben sie schon mal Deutschland besuchen?) and slightly more advanced in French, presumably because they expect you to have done more French at school, which was certainly true in my case.

What’s the difference between history and literature? What’s the point in studying literature? Why this combination? Why not, say, French and Latin? There were a lot of questions specific to the books I’d mentioned on my personal statement, as well as highly specific questions on the texts I had to analyse.

Jumper, shirt, trousers and a jacket. Smarter side of casual, but still quite casual. A suit would have been excessive.

Impressions

Really beautiful. Grand yet quite intimate at the same time. Other colleges of the same age were a great deal more imposing, and there was a markedly lesser sense of a congenial atmosphere.

Fine. Pretty much what you’d expect from a university room. Some of the double sets are much more ‘luxurious’ than the single ones, however.

Good to excellent.

Really friendly and helpful. They were really good about things like giving you help with difficult vocabulary or putting you at ease. You got the sense as the same time that they were really in control.

Friendly, helpful, approachable. They organised things to do in the evening, which was really nice of them.

Final stage

I know this sounds arrogant, but I was fairly sure I was going to get in. The interview was right at the end of the period and I only had one, which went really well and I thought I got on with the interviewers, and I was told I could go home fairly soon afterwards. It’s still quite scary, however well the interview went.

I was delighted. It made my christmas.

Looking back

Definitely. The intellectual challenge of the interview was worth it on its own.

Grammar. Reading. Be prepared to talk about anything you mention.