Application

 Cambridge

 Pembroke

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2002

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

not known if selective.

 yes (6 A*,4 A)

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 NA at A2)

Other universities

yes

yes

Got 5 other offers, highest BBB (Imperial and Durham) and lowest CCD (Edinburgh) for Chemistry. I think I’ll take BBC from Bristol but we’ll see. I’m dissapointed about Cambridge but everywhere else seems to want me so i’m happy with that.

Decisions about the application

The reputation and the general experience of it.

Natsci at Cambridge meant i could do Geology and Materials, not only Chemistry

NIce, old, people from my school had applied there before.

Preparation

yes

Yes, but it was useless. I got help on English Lit, Philosophy, Music but no science…

The Forms: Do not bullshit on extra parts. Only write what you feel necessary and keep it concise.

The interview(s): Learn as much as you can about your subjects!! I did too little and i paid for it by not getting an offer. Make sure you have valid and fairly extensive reasons for wanting to go to Cambridge and more specifically why you want to do the subject. Unless you are supremely confident about being able to get in, applying for the ‘less academic’ colleges is a good idea – after all still is Cambridge isn’t it.

Interview

no

no

yes

A strange Thinking Skills Assessment (aptitude test basically). 50 multiple choice questions in 90mins, based around which statement summarises this paragraph best etc. A mix of maths and english.

Both were in the tutors rooms, fortunately they were warm and comfy. Had a half-hour grilling from both…

The first was all organic chemistry mechanisms. Variations on nucleophilic substitution of Cl- into CH3. Nothing personal other than why Natsci. The 2nd was 15mins why Natsci and why do you love science. Other 15mins was resolving the forces acting on the top bar of a picture frame and then what would happen if the bar was cut in half and put back together.

Smart jumper and trousers. It said a suit was too formal that was that. For some reason half of the other applicants were still wearing suits despite being told not to..

Impressions

Cold and dreary. It was mid-december and absolutely freezing though. The porter seemed very unapproachable and it was almost deserted when i found my room.

Room was ok size, had a bed (lucky that), desk, table, comfy seat and sixties style bar heater and sink in a cupboard. The room was in an old part of the college so was freezing and the windows wouln’t close..

Good

It was a little strange to go through self-service into the hall where it seemed very formal and a sort of ‘if you don’t use the right cutlery you won’t stand a chance of getting in’ atmosphere

Both were nice but definately tried their best to get a lot out of me. I think i asked to many questions when i was stuck, it makes sense to do that although but I wouldn’t advise it.

A guy was speaking to applicants in the JCR for about 3 hours, so fairly amiable.

Final stage

Got a plain letter, opened it, *heart sinks* Oh well. It was formal but did say that it would give a summary of your application later.

Looking back

Yes, because I made a few wrong decisions ie applying for one of the best colleges which also happens to be on the small side and I didn’t do enough revision to do myself justice. When you believe you have the ability but you get in then you can only blame yourself.

Work your ass off. If you don’t try and don’t get in then what was the point?? If you try and don’t get in then at least you know you gave it your best shot. Don’t be intimidated by the tutors, they are only human. Oxbridge are good institutions but in the end there are 5 other places on the form and there’s nothing wrong with giving it a go.