Application

 Cambridge

 Robinson

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2007

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 Taiwan

 Independent – selective

 yes (11 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (300 UMS))

(A at AS (281 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (585 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (583 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (293 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Maths and further maths consisted of 7 modules which I took in the AS year and 6 more in the A2. The UMS I put down is the overall UMS I achieved by the end of A2s.

In my AS year I had achieved 100,100,99,84,100,100,86 in C1,C2,C3,C4,M1,M2,S1 in that order which I had to declare in the CAF form.

Details about the offer

 conditional

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

yes

yes

yes

I had applied to Imperial College as well which is just as good as Cambridge in my opinion academically. However, I wanted to study the natsci course and also wanted to get away from London (as that’s where I live) so Cambridge seemed the natural choice for me.

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Oxbridge is academically challenging and stimulating and great for research: being a university town, it’s also a great way to meet new people and be absorbed into the student life.

I was very undecided between the two. I LOVED the natsci course at cambridge but I also knew it was academically demanding (lectures monday to saturday!) and also very competitive to get in.

Oxford on the other hand, seemed to take a slightly more laid back approach to Chemistry (but nonetheless vigorous) not to mention far easier to get in, and I had heard from many friends that Oxford has a slightly better nightlife.

In the end, I just had to (please excuse the cheezy line) follow my heart and chose Cam as I think I would have regretted not even trying to apply for the natsci course which is what i really wanted to study.

With the risk of sounding pompous and arrogant, I am more of an all-rounder rather than someone who shines out in a particular subject and that is partly because I truly enjoy ALL my subjects: physics, chem, maths, geography…
and Natsci allowed me to continue my studies in all of that (geology to replace geography – even better!)

My Oxbridge advisor (who happened to also be my chem teacher for many years so yes, she knew me pretty well) suggested that the best places for phys natsci for me were Trinity, Robinson, or St John. Since she didn’t think (and I agree) I fit in with the extremely-hardworking stereotype at Trinity, it was down to Robinson and St John. I already had loads of friends at St John and wanted to go somewhere different so it was Robinson for me. But once I saw the accomodation I fell in love with it. Ensuite.. balcony.. <3

Preparation

yes

Extra chemistry and physics classes to help cover the rest of the A2 course before my interview and extra questions which were much more challenging and more similar to interview questions.

Do something you truly have a passion for it. Then show it to them. Afterall, they love their subject, that’s why they are teaching it, and they just want to know if you love it too.

Interview

no

no

yes

VERY maths based. If you do further maths then you should do fine. If not, definitely study ahead and cover the basics of C3/C4.

They went very well. I treated the general interview much more informally, more like a discussion than an interview and even had a few laughs. I found it very enjoyable even though I was shaking down to my toes! The subject interview was a series of questions to work through which was challenging but do-able. Also, the professors help you a lot!

Think out loud, that’s how they know how you think and also how they can help you!

What particular parts of physics to you enjoy the most? Why do you think so few people are interested in science nowadays?

They let you choose what you want to talk about, and go on from there. Prepare some things you want to talk about so you can have more control of the direction of the interview.

White blouse, belt around waist, pink silky skirt (just below the knee) and cardigan (it gets cold).

Something smart, not overly formal and something I was comfortable in.

Impressions

Beautiful grounds and did I mention how amazing the accommodation was?

Reasonably large sized rooms, half are ensuite, the rest shared between one other person. All have balconies 🙂
Very modern and clean and up-to-date.

Through the canteen though there are 2 small kitchens with a microwave in each staircase.

Very friendly and enthusiastic about their subjects.

Extremely relaxed and down-to-earth. It seemed like a fun place to study.

Final stage

Very nervous as always, and skeptical about whether I had made the grades or not.

I was on holiday abroad at the time so found out through Edexcel online (as all my exams were Edexcel). A great sense of relief and much celebrations afterwards 🙂

Looking back

Yes definitely. Worth every sweat and tear.

Be confident and show your passion.