Application

 Cambridge

 Corpus Christi

 Natural Sciences (Biological)

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 Other qualifications

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes

Other qualifications

Took the German Abitur.

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

1. The course
2. Supervision system
3. Good research reputation

More flexible course. Oxford´s bio course did not seem too different from other unis, plus i had lived in oxford for some time and not everything people going to or teaching at oxford told me was positive.

I wanted to apply to a small college and it seemed very friendly and supportive on the open day.
Also, there were no written tests at the interview.

Preparation

yes

I had one mock interview which was nothing like the real thing. I received some help with my personal statement.

Be honest, be enthusiastic about your subject, remember no one cares about your handwriting.
Know your personal statement and your AS syllabus really well. Make sure you really understand basic concepts. Read around your subject, with hindsight I didn´t need that but it made me feel more confident. Think about why your subject is important to you and try to bring that up in the interview even if they do not directly ask you about it.

Interview

no

no

no

i had 2 interviews which consisted of both general and subject questions. My interviewers were very friendly but I was too nervous during the first one to really appreciate that. The worst thing was that we had to wait in a freezing cold staircase which made you even more tense and made me more aware of my frozen feet than of the questions.

1st interview: properties of phospholipids, cell membranes and ion channels (and drawing them). Did not seem to go beyond AS syllabus. Then i was asked question like why cambridge? What other courses have you applied to? Did you do any practical work during your course? And some general questions about my hobbies. We talked a bit about one of my lab internships. I was suprised no topical issues were discussed and my interviewer didn´t really seem to push the questions too far, so maybe the first one is just to warm up. 2nd interview:was great fun, they asked questions about some points in my personal statement (what did you do in that quantum physics course you mentioned, why did you start to learn chinese?) and then quickly dipped into a series of little questions about DNA (what is it made of, draw a picture of it), hydrogen bonding, why is the difference in hydrogen bonding between base pairs important for PCRs, enzyme energetics, disulphide bonds and how you break them, protein denaturation, why are disulphide bonds weaker than C-C bonds? It all seemed to relate to thee first module of the AS and i had the feeling that some questions were either you know it or you don´t ones and did not really make you think. The question were not about topics i had never heard of or you couldn´t have prepared for, it seemed to test whether you had really understood important concepts or how fast you can relate topics you already know.

black jumper and smart trouser. i just chose a poshed up version of what i usually wear, i don´t think i would have been comfortable in something very formal. the interviewers don´t seem to dress up for you either which made me feel more comfortable.

Impressions

The bigger colleges were rather anonymous in comparison.

The room I stayed in was spacious and comfortable, the bathrooms and showers were alright (though there was seriously low water pressure on the 3rd floor). Cooking facilities were rather limited.

GOod – the veggie option was nice.

Friendly, lively, younger than I had thought. Tried very hard to give a good impression of the college.

Final stage

I was suprised. Smiled. Told my friends. Continued smiling.

Looking back

Yes, it is my first choice uni and as a post-exam applicant I have no conditional offer stress to face.

Go to open days and get a taste of the atmosphere. Try to get work experience or do some activities related to your subject. If you have specific questions email the admission secretary even if you think your questions are stupid, they didn´t seem to mind my 10 or so random emails!