Application

 Cambridge

 Girton

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2004

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (6 A*,2 A,2 B)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maths taken in years ten and eleven -> A

Details about the offer

 conditional

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

yes

Cambridge firm, imperial college (maths) insurance

yes

yes

Imperial

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Thought that it would be a challenge to study there – to be with people of similar enthusiasm/ability. Obviously the reputaion of cambridge for sciences too.

The natsci course at cambridge seemed better than any of the straight science courses at oxford. Possibly because I hadn’t chosen whether to do maths, physics or chemistry though. It seemed like the sensible choice.

Reccomened by teachers, visited, seemed nice (if far out…) The students there were friendly too, much nicer than any of the other colleges I visited

Preparation

yes

Not really, just obvious stuff such as fill the form in neatly. I had one mock interview with my head of year, which was horrific. She asked nothing but biochemistry (not my strong point)

The Forms: You don’t have to think of anything particularly clever for the additional personal statement/reference. I didn’t put anything down and got in, most people at my school did…and then didn’t. That’s probably coincidence though.

The interview(s): Be confident with the A-level material, it’s just about all I was asked.

Interview

no

no

yes

Thinking skills assesment, and I didn’t prepare for it. I think the point of the thinking skills test is that you can’t prepare though. Or that’s how I justified not preparing to myself when I was in some pub in cambridge the night before…..

I was asked questions about maths, physics, and chemistry in three seperate interviews. Nothing surprisng happened really, except perhaps that one of the interviewers wasn’t very nice.

Maths – Integrate x.sin(ax).dx between 0 and 1. Some really stupid inequality which i’ve forgotten; it was some algebraic fraction is greater than some other algebraic fraction though. After speaking to the other candidates afterwards it seemed he wanted us to multipy across both denominators and then get confused whether or not to change the sign. I didn’t do this though and went with taking one fraction away from the other and having it greater than 0. The interviewer didn’t like this approach and kept suggesting I cross-multiplied, but I persisted, took a common denominator and simplified everything, eventually getting the right answer. Like I say, he wasn’t impressed and went about showing me his way of doing it, which was more confusing and…..surprise surprise….led to the same answers. I think he (grudgingly) gave me the credit. Also I was asked to sketch y=1/theta on the x-theta plane, then y=sin(theta) then finally y= sin(theta) / theta. this interview ended with a ‘discussion’ (argument) about the value of y as theta tended to 0. Physics I was given many circuits and asked to calculate resistance/capacitence etc, was pretty easy actually. Also the boring pendulum…..Ek —> Ep and all the rest, and drawing graphs of vertical and horizontal displacement against time. Chemistry was mainly organic mechanisms, but there was an interesting question on rate equations which I needed help with as we’d not studied these in school.

Suit, it’s what I wear for school and it looked smart.

Impressions

I liked girton, but disliked the taxi fares to get into town. A friend was at fitzwilliam (which looked ghastly) and another friend was at corpus christi , which looked pretty and had a really good location. I think i’d apply there given another chance.

Old but nice, the bathrooms and kitchens were a little grotty though.

Edible but not great

They gave me lots of sandwiches for the train journey home, which was nice of them.

Two were really nice, the other was a bit…unfriendly. He was probably sick of interviewing though.

Friendly and helpful, they were great.

Final stage

They phoned! (I don’t know why!)

Looking back

Yeh, I met some really nice people down there who i’m still in touch with.

Try to relax, and think before you speak (the major criticism of my mock interview)