Application

 Cambridge

 Robinson

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2005 (deferred entry)

 pooled, offer made (New Hall)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 Israel

 Grammar School

A selective girls school

 yes (8 A*,3 A,1 B)

A-levels

(A at AS (261 UMS))

(A at AS (267 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (291 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(B at AS (219 UMS); predicted A; gained B at A2)

(A at AS (261 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Chemistry, A in Mathematics, A in Physics

yes

yes

yes

Durham offered AAA in the same subjects as Cambridge, so I accepted the Cambridge offer.

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Broad and academically rigorous course, prestige and history, beautiful setting, amazing extracurricular music, collegiate system

The Cambridge course (Physical Natural Sciences) suits me much better than Oxford’s physics courses

Lots of choice and breadth but no one can say it’s not as good as a straight Physics degree

Robinson has good accomodation and food, a choir of the kind of standard I want to join, not too traditional, and the walk to and from the centre of the city to the college is lovely. I didn’t want a very posh or central college.

Preparation

yes

Mock interview and example interview questions

For my subject and for maths, study trigonometry, calculus and make sure you know thoroughly everything you have covered.

Interview

yes

Robinson is the only college in Cambridge to set this exam – it tests maths, chemistry and physics, and you sit it on the same day as your interview while you are there.

no

no

There were two interviews at Robinson – a general interview with a tutor who would not be teaching me (she was a vetinary science teacher), and an academic interview with a chemistry professor and a physics professor.

After I was pooled to New Hall I had two academic interviews there, one on chemistry and one on physics and maths.

In the general interview:
Why apply to Robinson? Am I sure that this is the right course for me (she seemed to think I might want to transfer to music or straight physics)? Have I ever visited the college (I hadn’t — you should, in case they ask!)? If all the science departments in the UK closed down, what would I do then? What am I hoping to get out of my degree here, both academically and generally? What are my plans for my gap year?

In my academic interview at Robinson:
Questions about organic chemistry – they didn’t ask anything that I didn’t end up covering in teh A2 course, so I recommend reading ahead..
Questions about electrical circuits – this turned from physics to maths, I hadn’t covered the maths (differential equations) but I believe most of the students there had

In New Hall, I was asked about optical isomers (again, I hadn’t covered this), other isomers, and benzene rings.
My physics interview was very fun, it was about pushing things uphill, and he checked on my maths as well (calculus).

Black trousers, a nice shirt, and a heavy coat – because you don’t want to be scruffy, and December in Cambridge is too cold for dresses!

Impressions

Robinson was lovely, very friendly and relaxed. I liked New Hall less, but I specifically wanted to go to a mixed college so I can’t really blame them for that – everyone was very kind.

New Hall has very interesting accommodation – many of the first year rooms are split levels and so give the illusion of lots of space. The kitchens were good, lots of the rooms have sinks, and second- and third- years live in small but very modern rooms. The rooms are very small but fine.

I expect they make it better for the sake of teh prospective students, but I enjoyed it a lot, especially formal hall.

The physics tutor at New Hall is incredible and one of the deciding factors in my decision to go there. All the tutors I met were competent and pleasant.

Final stage

From Roninson, resigned and sad – I was very unhappy about my Robinson interview and test.
After New Hall, very nervous but not miserable – I wasn’t sure to accept the place if I got one, but I thought I’d done well. Mostly I was scared they wouldn’t let me take a gap year, as one of my friends got a pool offer for deferred entry when she hadn’t asked for deferred.

I got a letter on teh same day as everyone else telling me I had been turned down by Robinson, but was in the pool. It included lots of statistics on what was likely to happen, and dates for when I coudl expect to hear anything more.

I got a phone call from New Hall on the first day listed, asking me very politely and almost apologetically if I would like to come up for an interview shortly afterwards. I said yes, she told me time and place. I got a letter from New Hall shortly afterwards with lots moee detail.
I got the offer from New Hall by letter two weeks after the interview.

Looking back

Definitely! But I’d work harder for my Robinson test and interviews and hopefully get in.

Study hard for your interviews – make it a real priority. And find out the kind of thing that gets asked – matsh students want to know a lot fo trig and calculus. Try a teacher at your school, ask what previous students experiences have been.