Gonville and Caius



 offer made





 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (10 A*)


(A at AS (285 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (299 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (292 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (287 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Details about the offer


A in Music

AAA, A in music and A, A in 2 of chemistry, maths and physics.



 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Erm, it’s probably the best place to do a music degree. Also the opportunity to be taught by experts in a particular field, e.g Robin Holloway for composition. I knew i had the grades, so i thought i shoudl give it a shot.

Cambridge…i preferred it as a town! Well, and it seems to have a slightly better rep for music both in and out of the course.

Music gave me the chance to combine a hobby and an academic subject – i thought i should take full advantage of this. My life also does seem to revolve around music sometimes…

It seemed the most welcoming and accessible, and is pretty central, and looks nice!



A few Oxbridge lessons, mainly discussing scores.

CAF – do a practice one first, I put down on my real one that i had 2 identical GCSEs in French…my teacher wasn’t so pleased when i had to get another one.

Generally, read music-stuff, have a good sense of the chronology of Western music, get used to talking about scores and being able to hear them in your head. Make sure you play in something out of school.




2 essays, harmony exercise (Bach chorale), and i sent in 2 compositions, to play up my strongest point!


Short test in score-reading and harmonising a tonal melody. Nothing too hard. Check for each college though, they are all different – many have a harmony exam.

The music one was very stretching, and I didn’t think it had gone that wonderfully…it started well, but got really hard. But it was interesting, I felt i learnt something from it. The general one was fine. Both were really friendly and relaxed, they do their best to put you at ease.

The music interview was based mostly around these scores (extracts) that I was given an hour beforehand. There was a bit of discussion on the essays I’d sent in, and a small amount on my composing that I’d talked about on my personal statement. Nothing on the books I’d read actually.
The general one was just what you would expect really.

Music – mostly on the scores. Most questions of the what/why? format, e.g “What instruments are unusual/why are they there?” There usually is a definite answer to every qu, but they aren’t looking for you to get that every time – just make a sensible suggestion. Some questions on my essay (What do you think Stravinsky meant by the word *symphony*?).

General – Why music? How will you manage your time at university/cope with the work and independence? How can we study a subject like music when it is so subject to public opinion? For these, just say something, make it convincing, remember the interviewer is not a musician.

Black trousers, dark jumper (but casual), black shoes. Kind of smart-cas. I felt fairly comfortable in it, no need to wear a suit, they don’t judge you on your dress! Don’t walk in in T-shirt and shorts though…


Caius – really nice, quite big & old.

Trinity Hall is really nice as well, quite an eclectic mix of styles but worth a look.

accomodation is mostly in Harvey court or the Stephen Hawking Building, both of which are a 5 minute walk away (20 if the path through Kings is shut!), very near the music faculty! Rooms are quite good, relatively large, decent storage space, get your own sink.


I only had breakfast there, can’t really go wrong. Caius’ rep isn’t the greatest though.

reaaaally nice. Dr. Webber (music DoS) is really interesting, and actually quite funny. The tutor for my gen interview was friendly as well.

Didn’t see much of them to be honest, my interviews were pretty close together so I wasn’t there much. At the open day they seemed pretty helpful.

Final stage

It’s really not fun, especially after Oxford send out their letters. I thought I’d screwed up the music interview, so didn’t really expect to get in. Also wasn’t sure what they would make of the fact that I was 16 when i applied…

Opened the letter, and some bit about payment methods fell out so I knew I’d got in then! actually amazing!! Had convinced myself that i wasnt that bothered but…i was.

Looking back

Definitely, what is there to lose??

At the inteview, don’t worry if you muck up some of it, just try and do well on the rest! Just make some sensible suggestions, but don’t wildly guess, that’s no help.
Also don’t try and assess how you did at the interview, as I learnt, you simply can’t tell.