Application

 Cambridge

 King’s

 Natural Sciences (Biological)

 2006

 pooled, rejected

Applicant

 Other qualifications

 pre-qualification

 EU

 France

 Comprehensive School

I attended a French lycée with international language sections

 yes

Other qualifications

Epreuve Anticipée de Français: 17.5/20 (French qualification)
TPE: 19/20
Sinon Brevet des Collčges: 17.5

Other universities

no

Decisions about the application

Seemed like such an awesome place, fantastic reputation, beautiful buildings, fun college system, only the best!

I had been told Oxford was even more selective not as good for sciences, so I opted for Cambridge.

well it’s really the course which interested me most

King’s for the pubs!! 😉 and such beautiful buildings, as well as not too high grade expectancies for french baccalaureat candidates (14/20)

Preparation

yes

I had one mock intreview, except it was really only general and not at all subject based, which made it enjoyable but useless for my subsequent interviews.

Don’t waste your time reading magazines, the newspapers or whatever, don’t even try reading too many books, at any rate I only had a tiny question on my last reading and I could really have said anything, it was clear they did not care about what I said at all, it was just a vain attempt to make me feel comfortable. What you should absolutely concentrate on is learning your classes, what they do assess IS your knowledge, not just the way you think as they seem to suggest.

Interview

no

NO

no

NO

no

It was an absolute catastrophe..! Both of them! as simple as that. Both interviews ended up being totally and exclusively subject based, nothing nice and easy at all on my life, my readings, my personal statement, questions like “why cambridge?” or “why King’s?”, “why nat sci?” did absolutely not come up. I stressed out way more than was good for me! Most of what they asked from me were on things i had either only very rapidly or never seen in our french programmes. I had to tell them like at least 10 times that I had not yet covered that topic and it just increased my stress. At the first interview they looked at me rather very pitifully at the end and i was rapidly hushed out of the room, feeling totally devastated for the next interview. I was already sure it was over.

So just to let you know nor me nor my friends were asked any general questions whatsoever, both my interviews were totally subject based a 100%, so be prepared to not randomly chat about your personal statement.

Surprisingly enough at leat half of my first interview was based entirely on maths, whereas i applied for biological nat sci! They asked me really difficult questions like resolve this equation by finding a function that doubly derivated would end up giving the same function plus a constant (?!). Draw the function sin (2x) and etc, real hard maths, something I had not expected in the slightest. I also had to draw some molecules, say why their place in the periodic table could allow them to interact in such a particular way… I also had some rather peculiar questions on organic chemistry, i didn’t understand too well. otherwise I did have some biology (especially in my second interview), including the analysis of some genetically related blood disease in Africa, the creation of hands during the embryonic development… I don’t remember everything but it was so awful. Mind you some people came out saying it was all easy so be brave, take a deep breath and do your best!!

I brought a suit, I saw some people looking so foolish in suits and I felt that if i wore it it would just emphasize the stupidity of some of my answers, there is absolutely no need to look quite so classy. i wore just nice black pants and a shirt, with polished black shoes. better not be dressed too warm because with the stress the temperature rises!!

Impressions

It was just fantastic, thrilling, amazing and magically inspiring. So beautiful, King’s College on the immaculate green lawns seems so surreal.. Some of the King’s students seemed really let’s say, not too smart, i wondered how they ever got in. At any rate there was a major party atmosphere, King’s students all drunk, nice !

I had a well equipped bedroom en suite, was very basic, not very pretty but comfortable. Nothing to get overly excited about.

Really great, I will never speak against English food again!

Some made you feel like you were really stupid, others were kind and smiling. So depends on who you fall! Cross your fingers!

Real party goers, assuring me they never worked much and were just constantly partying. Words of the students! Makes you wonder where Cambridge manages to get such a good reputation.

Final stage

So excited, so tense, i couldn’t get it out of my mind! The more i waited the more some hope crept back to me which depressed me only further when i received the decision. I was really obsessed with getting an answer, imagining myself how happy i would be if i did get an offer. Just try not doing what I did.

At first I found out i was in the winter pool, i had a new surge of hope. When I found out that i wasn’t taken i felt like a real dream had been shattered.

Looking back

DEFINITELY!!! do not let yourself be discouraged and it is really an experience worth living. I had great fun all in all and would re-live it any time. It’s a chance you must not let go by, whatever you do!! Who knows you might be lucky!

Go for it, do your best, and when you’re at Cambridge make sure you enjoy the brilliant location and the awesome pubs, it will give you lifelong souvenirs whether you end up studying there or not! plus it’s fabulous practice for your nerves, for other interviews, and you’ll meet fun people there too. There’s much too much good in the whole process to let it go by. And if you don’t get in, well really there are other universities which are just as good and that will be even more fun, don’t you worry!