Application

 Cambridge

 Emmanuel

 Natural Sciences (Biological)

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (6 A*,3 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(NA at AS)

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

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

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

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

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained NA)

(predicted NA; gained NA)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAAEE from Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Physics

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Mainly for the quality of teaching and research there, i.e. the tutorial system, although they’re also beautiful places.

I’ve always wanted to go to Cambridge and I prefer the Natural Sciences course to anything that Oxford do. Also at Cambridge you can do History & Philosophy of Science as part of the Natural Sciences degree which (I think) is very interesting

I earmarked about five of the colleges in the prospectus and then went to the University open day and looked around them all. I though Emmanuel was by far the nicest, not too annonymous like some of the large colleges, and very friendly student guides so I applied there.

Preparation

yes

I had an interview with the Headmaster but it was of no use at all, he just made me feel uncomfortable. I also had several interviews at other universities leading up to the Cambridge one (UCL, Manchester, Bristol)

Yes, make sure you revise your AS level notes beause they will ask questions about it !

Interview

no

no

yes

I had to sit a Thinking Skills Assessment which is basically a critical thinking test. It’s the sort that is imposible to tell how you did, but I answered all the questions which is all I can say about it really.

First one was ok, one of the interviewers was like a TV presenter,very friendly, but the other one was quite offputting, he kept on looking at his watch and gave me the feeling he wasn’t really interested.
Second interview went scarily well, they even ran out of questions to ask me ! Although it was slightly odd because the interview was split into two halves, each one talking exclusively to one interviewer while the other made notes.

First interview was about a topic I’d selected from a list, second interview was about an article I had to read.

The first interview we started off talking about my chosen topic “How does science progress: Theory or Experiment?”. I feel as if I got slightly confused on this topic but then we moved onto evolution and talked about things such as evidence for the evolution of the eye.
The second interview I had to read an article from Nature about biodiversity, and I was then asked to summarise it. The interviewer then took a tangent on part of it and we ended up talking about genes. The other interviewer then started asking me questions on nerve synapses and impulses which gradually got more and more difficult.

A cardigan, as my friend who got into Oxford a few years ago said that everyone who wore a cardigan got in. It may well be an urban myth but you can’t be too safe

Impressions

Very pretty and lots of ducks !

The room I stayed in was quite big, with its own desk, a few seats and a minifridge (!)

The food was excellent. When I arrived we were waitress served a three course meal, and breakfast and lunch the next day were also good. The only problem was there was too much food. It may not be the real world but I’d be quite happy to live there.

Generally nice, although there were a few odd ones

They were all very friendly, we had the medics showing us around, they were very helpful and got us all to our inreviews on time in the right place.

Final stage

I forgot about it for a bit and then remembered after New Years and couldn’t really sleep for the next few days.

I thought I hadn’t got in when I saw the letter as it was a small letter, and two of my friends who were rejected from Oxford got small letters, but I opened it and screamed and rung everyone !

Looking back

Yes, the interview practice is invaluable, as no matter what University you go to you will be interviewed for a job at some point in your life.

Just try and stay calm in the interviews and wear a cardigan !