Application

 Cambridge

 Pembroke

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2009

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (8 A*,3 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (198 UMS))

(A at AS (298 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (300 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

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

(A at AS (290 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

I self taught Further Maths A2, as I realised that it would probably be helpful for PhysNatSci! Also, I have got an A* in maths, and am predicted A* in my other subjects – this form doesn’t have space for A*.

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAAA, My offer was A*AAA, because I do FM, and that’s Pembroke’s standard offer for PhysNatSci’s doing FM.

yes

yes

yes

I also received an offer from Imperial, which is on par with Cambridge for Physics really. However I’m not really a London person, and couldn’t turn down a Cambridge offer!

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

The people, the prestige, the amazing education, the lifestyle, the facilities, the opportunities, everything.

I never considered Oxford really.. don’t really know why. However in retrospect, it’s because
1)Cambridge suits me better as a person – it’s more ‘my’ kind of city.
2)The course. I don’t think I was quite ready to give up chemistry completely!
3)Further away from home :p

Well I applied for straight physics at all my other universities, but I still love chemistry, so I figured Natsci was a good option for me! I didn’t want to applying for natsci at other universities though, because I felt like Cambridge would be the only place where I could do natsci and not feel like I was going to become ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’, if you know what I mean? Plus, I do like the flexibility of the course, and it’ll mean my first year will have a bit of variety, which is nice.

It’s beauutifulllll <3
But funnily enough, I wasn’t going to apply there originally. I originally wanted to apply to Clare, but when I went to see it on the open day it just didn’t have that ‘spark’ for me. So in a frenzied rush, I went to look at all the other colleges, and Pembroke was just the one which happened to make me think “Yes, I could SO see myself here!”.
The criteria I has though were central, pretty, good accommodation. Pembroke fits all of those excellently 🙂

Preparation

yes

We had a practice interview, but that wasn’t oxbridge-specific, and, to be frank, was a complete waste of time. the questions they asked weren’t ANYTHING like the real thing. So really, I should just say no here XD it couldn’t really be classed as ‘help’.

…outside reading. Lots of it. and make sure you know your subject well! The interview questions all always just an extension of A level knowledge, so as long as you know your subject, you’ll be fine.

Interview

no

no

yes

No – Pembroke doesn’t do the TSA for NatScis. A lot of other colleges do, so it was a pleasant surprise when I found out really!

The first one was HORRIFIC. I just completely froze up, and it went awfully! After that I didn’t think there was any chance I could have gotten in, but then my second one went awesomely, so I guess they balanced out.
The second interview was one of the best scientific discussions I think I’ve ever had actually – it was so enjoyable, and a complete contrast to the first interview. There weren’t many general questions asked though, it was pretty much straight into the “so, sketch this graph”

Some interviewers are friendly. Some are not. Don’t let it put you off!

Uhhmhmmmmm. First interview: Tell me about this book you read. Give me an example of a real life application of particles acting as waves. Use binomial expansion to give me an estimate for root 50. Sketch some quadratic graph. Sketch 1/original graph. Prove, using the idea that photons will take the shortest path, that light will bend towards the normal when it enters a denser material.

Second interview: Few PS questions, mostly about my music, and my Gold D of E expedition to Norway I went on.
Questions about strength of carboxylic acids with the addition of various other molecules, and varying carbon chain length. A bit on NMR. Chirality. Uhhh… relative basic strength of different molecules. A few questions on the environment, and what gases are ‘greenhouse gases’ – Only molecules with polar bonds are, because these are the only ones which absorb infra-red radiation.

Business wear. Because I wear it to school every day anyway, so felt comfortable in it, and wanted to make a good impression. Some people wore jeans though. Really, wear whatever you’re most comfortable in I’d say!

Impressions

Ahh, think I covered this earlier. but Pembroke is BEAUTIFUL <3

Amazing. The room I stayed in for interview was AWESOME. Looking forward to staying there next year hopefully!

Godly. Apparently Pembroke food is some of the best in Cambridge! So, as a big food-fan, that did make me happy :p

I met 2, who were my interviewers. The first one was very abrupt, a little scary, and generally found him a bit unpleasant. However I’m sure that was mostly down to me being stressed out of my mind in the interview scenario! I can imagine that he’d be a nice person 🙂
Second one was lovely. He looked like a lumberjack and was so nice and friendly! I would love to have him as my supervisor next year!

So, so SO nice and friendly. I spend a good few hours chatting to a couple of them ther evening before my interview, so that was nice.

Final stage

I was convinced I hadn’t gotten in, because of my first interview, so I was pretty miserable tbh!

Well the letters were due to arrive in snow week, so all the post was stopped in our area, because posties couldn’t get up our road! I ended up resorting to emailing the admissions office, because I just wanted to get what I thought was my inevitable rejection over and done with. The email arrived, I clicked on it, saw the words ‘We would be delighted to give you an offer’, screamed, sat there in shock, then basically started crying and ran to tell my parents! XD

Looking back

Definitely! It was stressful, sure, but so, SO worth it. It was also a great experience. Even if I hadn’t gotten in, I would say the same. I think I learnt so much from it as well.

Work hard, give it a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose!