Application

 Cambridge

 New Hall

 Natural Sciences (Biological)

 2006

 pooled, rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (7 A*,4 A,1 B)

A-levels

(B at AS (239 UMS))

(NA at AS)

(NA at AS)

(A at AS (273 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (283 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (286 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained NA)

(predicted NA; gained NA)

BA Gold Crest
BA Silver Science Communicators
Millenium volunteers 200hrs

Other universities

no

Decisions about the application

A teacher reccommended that i think about it.

The flexibility of the course.

I went on the CUSU shadowing scheme where I attended natski lectures, practicals and supervisions for a couple of days and loved every minute of it.

I didn’t have A-level maths/ 3 sciences at A-level which is a severe disadvantage if you want to be a natski! New Hall was the only college who actually said that they didn’t mind on their prospectus.

Preparation

no

Mock interview was scheduled, but cancelled because of illness.

Revise AS Biology as you would before an exam. Also read ahead in your A2 course as a lot of stuff came up which we just hadn’t covered at that point.

Interview

no

no

no

Written Biology Essay. Just very broad questions e.g does human obesity matter?. You are given a selection and can choose to do 1 or 2 in the hour.

Fun actually. I think New Hall are really nice and friendly about your interviews. Although i still managed to talk absolute rubbish.

Phospholipid bilayer, DNA and action potentials.

I wasn’t really asked questions I just had to reason along with them. The problems were based on the topics above.

Grey trousers that looked a bit like jeans and a purple cardigan. I wanted to look smart but informal.

Impressions

Very calm and airy.

Very nice, large selection and lots of salad.

Really friendly and helpful.

Final stage

A mixture of excitement and agony.

The post arrived when I was at school so my mum opened it and told me over the phone. I knew what she was going to say, I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. Everything was just going badly that day anyway. I was surprised I wasn’t more upset really but I suppose that I knew all along.

Looking back

Definitely. Even once my rejection had sunk and I mulled it all over the thought “oh I wish I hadn’t applied” never occured to me. I had a great time at interview and I think that it is probably a useful process to have been through.

If you think that you have a shot, go for it, a lot of it is luck anyway. Just give it all that can on the day and then you can say to yourself, well what more could I do? Equally don’t make your oxbridge application your life because there are factors which you can’t control and although it would be nice to get in it really isn’t everything.