Application

 Cambridge

 St Catharine’s

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (268 UMS))

(A at AS (274 UMS))

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

(A at AS (286 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Physics

AAA, With the third A grade in further maths or chemistry.

yes

no

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I was attracted to the individual teaching provided through the supervision system, and I think that the average intelligence and enthusiasm amoung both lecturers and students there will be greater than other universities.

I wanted to study natural sciences rather than pure physics.

I have always wanted to be a physicist. I chose to study natural science because I think it will be both useful and interesting to have a background in other sciences.

It is close to the centre of town and has a friendly atmosphere.

Preparation

yes

Our school hosted an ‘Oxbridge Applications’ event, so we got places for free.

Practice interviews are useful in terms of nerves, but don’t try to memorise the answers to specific questions or any interview ‘techniques’. For sciences, I think that anything you do to do with your subject is useful in terms of mathematical and scientific fluency and getting in the right frame of mind.

Interview

no

no

no

I was extremely nervous, which meant I couldn’t enjoy what would have otherwise been a good experience. After the first interview, I spent about 5 minutes trying desperately to get out of a door that would only open on the outside before another applicant showed me the way out.
Particularly in the first interview, I thought that I was too nervous to do myself justice. e.g. It took me what felt like 5 minutes to draw y=e^-x.

The ‘general’ interview was actually completely subject based.
I was asked mostly mathematical questions. In the second interview I was asked to choose an area of maths to talk about.

Graph-sketching, calculus (my choice), mechanics

A blouse, a cardigan and grey trousers. I wanted to look smart. I had already worn this outfit to my Imperial interview and got an offer.

Impressions

It was very friendly with nice buildings, and the grass wasn’t to neat or too overgrown.

My interviews took place in the space of an hour, so no food was provided.

Generally friendly and enthusiastic, although possibly slightly perturbed my my extreme nerves.

I didn’t meet any.

Final stage

Oscillating between overly-cocky confidence and intense pessimism.

Looking back

Yes

If at all possible, don’t get too nervous before the interviews. (I have no idea how to achieve this though).