Application

 Cambridge

 Clare

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2004

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (8 A*,3 A,1 B)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

yes

yes

yes

 offer met

Decisions about the application

The reputation, the sheer scope of the NatSci course. Living with really smart people.

Prefered the Natural Science course at Cambridge, I can continue both physics and chemistry, along with maths and biology.

Very attractive environment and students, also an excellent location. The college has a great reputation for academical achievements. Alumni include David Attenborough and Andrew Wiles. The JCR is underground.

Preparation

yes

Some help with references, but only because I was early(ish) with my form. I had one 30 minute session with one of my chemistry teachers just talking about arenes, which was touched on in my interview. A mock interview which the interviewer talked about Iraq and foxhunting, I was appalling, it wasn’t helpful really.

Basically, I said Cambridge because it has the best science reputation, and the NatSci course becaue it is so broad. I just said I chose Clare because of my experience at an open day. I didn’t mention my work because I’d covered that in my UCAS statement.

Read you’re text books, then look at some old school text books, preferably from the 1970’s as they are more detailed. Talk to your subject teachers. Talk to you parents friends, it helps with confidence in talking to adults.

Interview

no

no

yes

TSA

1 Chemistry 20mins with 2 tutors. I was nervous about this, as it was my first interview. The room was really tiny with sloped ceilings. I got a bit befuddled with polarisation in C-Br bonds, got the electronegativity values wrong. Then I missed the optical activity in reaction products. I did get plenty of stuff right, though I can only remember describing bonding in C-Li. There was a good cop/bad cop routine from the tutors which in hindsight was quite funny. 2 Physics 30mins 2 Tutors. I was confident for this one, I knew I knew the stuff. I felt I could answer anything they asked me. The drag question was fairly trivial, I’d done a project about drag in the previous year so I was familiar. In the electricity questions I did well, because I used the I=navQ equation judiciously. Then I was asked about the thermodynamics chapter from “A Brief History of Time”, I did quite well, but they did prompt me a little, then I was asked about entropy, although I could describe it I couldn’t give a good reason as to why it happens. Then, I was asked about my music, so I said what I’d done, and that I’d like to continue it at university.

1 Skeletal formula, Draw 2-Lithiobutane, reactions with halogenoalkane why and how. Optical isomerism in products and bonding in products. Acid-base Equilibria, buffer solutions. 2 Consider forces on 2 spheres of differing densities falling through air, and related drag. Varying PD across a piece of “conducting plastic” pulled them up on that. Dynamics of electrons in currents.

Cream cord trousers, black long sleeve cotton T-shirt, black matt jacket, and black shoes. It was comfortable, smart-casual, and made me feel confident. I didn’t want to look like the majority with suit and tie. It stood out, but it still showed the respect.

Impressions

I really liked Clare, even though it was raining. It was really central and the JCR was underground, which is rather cool. Students were really cool, and the buildings and gardens were attractive. “Cute” is a good description.

Vary in size, all are acceptable. Facilities are good, especially the library.

Good

The chemistry tutors were intimidating but not unpleasant. The physics tutors seemed really laid back, they didn’t say that much, but were quite friendly.

Very friendly, although that seems constant throughout oxbridge. Very supportive, this medicine 3rd year was prescribing tea, quoting it’s stimulant and anti-oxidant properties etc. so quite funny.

Final stage

Prior to the interview I wasn’t very confident. I was having doubts about my statements, but I knew my grades and reference were good. After the interviews I was quite confident. I’d nailed the TSA, done well in the chemistry interview, and I thought I’d impressed in the physics interview. I was elated when I got the letter. For about a week it didn’t sink in. It provides and incredible incentive to work in school, and enjoy reading the list of books I’ve recieved.

Looking back

Yeah. It made me work really hard at school, and I enjoyed the extra work I did. I’m looking forward to going, it will be the best experience and I’ll meet some excellent people.

There’s nothing stopping you applying. Well, only the fear of rejection, which can be a little harsh if you don’t get your second offer. Just work hard in school, and ask good questions. Ensure you understand everything. Remember: “You don’t have to be a genius to get into Cambridge, but it helps.”