Application

 Cambridge

 Queens’

 Natural Sciences (Biological)

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (9 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Biology, A in Chemistry, A in Mathematics (Further)

Pooled to Newnham

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Because I really liked the flexibility which the Natural Sciences course offers (no other universities offer the same course).

It was Cambridge right from the start, as it did Natural Sciences rather that having to choose a particular science subject.

I visited it on an open day, and it seemed really welcoming and friendly…also has attractive old buildings and accommodation for all 3 years.

Preparation

yes

Yes, we had Biology and Chemistry Oxbridge lessons, which although interesting, weren’t particularly useful.

Write about things which are specific to your Cambridge application, on the Cambridge form… if you have some kind of addition application form to fill in, on academic interests, put some A level topics, and then research them thoroughly.

Interview

no

no

no

Queens’-1 interview with the DofS, and a cell biologist( 25 minutes)
Newnham-2 interview, one with the DofS, and the other with the vice principal of the college(each 20 minutes)

Queens’ – What are action potentials? How are they generated? How do they pass along the axon? How do synapses work? Asked detailed questions on biology coursework.. Do you want to take a gap year? Queens’ are very keen on gap years. Newnham- What areas of science are you interested in? I said neuroscience, so we got talking about mental illnesses(and books I had read recently) Why not medicine?(because of my work experience at Barts’) Interview 2 Got asked about my work experience in a stem cell lab, and then about genetics (which we have’t done since GCSE)…what is a gene? If i gave you a test tube full of DNA, devise an experiment to show that it contains genes….Why is DNA the genetic code? Why not proteins? Then she showed me an electron micrograph (it might have been a cell from the adipose tissue…) and asked me what it was.

Grey trousers, and my favourite red jumper. I didn’t want to look too smart, but I didn’t want to look too casual either.

Impressions

Queens’- lovely college, centrally located by the river, v. friendly.
Newnham-seemed pretty nice, beautiful gardens, friendly too, and not too far from the centre of Cambridge( but off the tourist trail).

The accommodation at Queens’ seemed really good, the rooms in Cripps court were huge.

At Newnham, the rooms were smaller, but still a decent size, and had more individual character.

Good. The food at both colleges seemed really decently priced.

At both colleges the tutors really tried to put me at ease. I just hope I get my grades so that I can go there next year.

They were really keen to show us about and seemed really enthusiastic about their colleges.

Final stage

I found out over the phone and I was ecstatic!

Looking back

Definately, because I love the town, and course, and despite all the stressing, especially if you are pooled…it is worth it in the end.

Go for it 🙂