Application

 Cambridge

 Sidney Sussex

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

not known if selective.

 yes (8 A*,2 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)

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA, excluding General Studies.

yes

I have firmly accepted Cambridge’s offer, and I have got Imperial as an insurance offer.

yes

yes

Imperial

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

The unique course; the many opportunities it provides; the supervision system, and because the whole place is steeped in history and tradition.

The course that I wanted was not offered by Oxford.

I spent a lot of time thinking and thinking which college would be the best. In the end my Mum and Dad went through my shortlist with me and we gave each college a mark out of 100.
Sidney Sussex was good academically, it was right in the centre and everyone I had spoken to told me how friendly it was. I liked the idea of a smaller college because there is more chance of playing an active role in sports teams I thought.

Preparation

yes

A week before the interview, I was given a mock interview, where I was asked questions that had been previously asked, and also questions relavent to natural science.

The Forms: Not really, infact there was a big mix-up at one point and everyone had to start again!

The interview(s): Choose a topic that has really interested you in your subjects and read up on it (also try and read around the sillibus).
Think about why you want to do natural science, and what you want to do with it eventually. Read up on topical science issues as well.

Interview

no

no

no

The interviews were conducted in comfy, warm, friendly rooms. In the first interview I sat facing the admissions tutor, and the atmosphere was more informal than I had been expecting.
I thought that I was honoured to be there, having a Cambridge interview, so I made sure that I did my best and tried to get across everything that I knew. This interview was more about what drives you in your studies, what interests you etc.
In my second interview I sat next to the two tutors who were interviewing me. There was an extremely friendly atmosphere, which put me at ease straight away. Again, this was in a room that seemd like lounge more than an office, again , I welcomed the informal atmosphere!

My first interview was about why Cambridge, why natural science, what do I like most about science and biology, how have/are my AS and A levels gone/going., what modules would I choose, tell me about a science book you’ve read, tell me about the genome project etc. My second interview was more subject based. I wa asked about a shell, and the creature that lives inside it. I was asked about boiling water, and adding washing-up liquid to it, then adding oil to it, and would it boil over in either of these cases. I was asked why fish die when they are brought up from deep down in the sea to the surface.My advice is to sit back, think, and explain your thinking behind what you say.

Smart trousers, shirt, tie, and cardigen. I didn’t want to wear a suit because I wanted to stand out from the ‘norm’, and I expected the ‘norm’ to be suits. I wanted to wear something as smart as a suit though so that they knew I had respect for them.

Impressions

I really liked the college. I liked its lay-out, its positioning, its style, and the students and staff were really friendly and helpful.

They were friendly, helpful and they were interested in you. This is a lot different from other universities I have been to.

Looking back

Yes, deffinitely. It’s an experience that can never be taken away. Even if I hadn’t have had an offer, I would still have been to an interview for Cambridge – the best university in the world (probably).

Relax, do your best, enjoy it, have somewhere else in mind if you don’t get in so that you’re not too dissapointed.