Application

 Cambridge

 Downing

 Natural Sciences (Physical)

 2009

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (8 A*,2 A,1 B)

A-levels

(A at AS (273 UMS))

(A at AS (240 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

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

(A at AS (260 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (257 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Targetted an A* for Maths A2.

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Chemistry, A in Mathematics, A in Physics

Offer was A*AA in Maths, Physics and Chemistry in any order.

yes

Well, I am planning on doing so when all my other responses have come through.

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Oxbridge has a very good reputation and is world recognised. I also wanted the opportunity to study with some of the best physicists in the UK.

I prefered the Natural Sciences course to straight Physics because of the ability to experience a wider variety of sciences in your first year.

Because Physics is amazing! No, seriously, I have always loved Maths and Physics (especially the theoretical side) is doing something really useful with Maths, as well as being very interesting in its own right.

I visited Downing for an open day and the people seemed really nice, as well as the fact it was close to the centre of town and the science labs. It also had good facilites.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview with my head of sixth, but it was not subject based, as both of my Cambridge interviews were, so wasn’t very useful.

Talk about your subject to people! I have a friend who applied (and got an offer) from Oxford for Physics, and I believe talking about lots of different material we’d read about in books really helped.

Interview

no

no

yes

I sat a Maths test on the day of my interviews, but this is unique to Downing for PhysNatSci.

I thought they went alright, but it’s very hard to tell. I said a couple of really silly things, but I talked through what I was thinking a lot, which I think helped. They were hard, but not too hard – generally A level topics expanded upon in different ways.

I wore a smartish jumper, jeans and ugg boots. I wore them because they were warm (it’s cold in Cambridge in December!), looked relatively smart and I was comfortable in them.

Impressions

They were all so posh – like National Trust buildings! They didn’t seem like the type of place you’d live in.

I stayed at Downing twice, once for my interview, once for an open day. For the open day, I had a nice en-suite room, which was pretty big. For the interview, I shared a slightly larger room but it wasn’t a nice and the shared bathroom in the corridor wasn’t all that good.

The food was really good! 😀

The tutors were all friendly and I found myself quite relaxed (well, as relaxed as I could be) in my interviews.

They were quite helpful and pleasant – clearly they could remember the horror of the interview process!

Final stage

I was very anxious; I couldn’t tell at all what the decision would be. I wanted to know, but at the same time I didn’t, because I knew I’d be very upset if I was rejected.

Due to the snow, the post wasn’t being delivered, so I walked to my sorting office and the man there let me have my house’s post for the last couple of days. I told him it was about a Uni application, so he put my Cambridge letter on top (it was obvious from the Downing crest on the envelope). I walked out and went to my local park, where I found a bench, sat down and opened it. When I saw the word ‘pleased’ I knew it was good and I may have screamed a little ;). I then rang my parents in a very happy mood!

Looking back

Yes.

If you think there’s a chance, then go for it! It’s only one space on your UCAS form, and it’s always worth a shot.