Application

 Cambridge

 Trinity

 Oriental Studies

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (8 A*,1 A,2 B)

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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in French, A in German

AAA, As in both languages, and 1 other subject

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Love the idea of the collegiate system and all the tradition (aww!). Cambridge is the best university in the country for oriental studies.

Preferred the Cambridge buildings (petty, I know, but). Cambridge beats Oxford in the league tables. Liked the idea of the tripos system.

Lovely big building and grounds (again) – important to be happy with the surroundings, in which you’ll spend 4 years. Rich college (especially good when considering a language). My VIth form master thought I wouldn’t get in. 🙂

Preparation

yes

I did one interview with headmaster and had to ask repeatedly for another with another teacher. both interviews proved to be prettly pointless in the end, though.

Read, read, read. It was just by chance that I had read a Deng quote in a newspaper the weekend beforehand. Read about the Cultural revolution, but also about classical history. Show interest and smile. Don’t make generalisationse or vague remarks, as these will be questionned! If you make a little mistake, don’t worry (I made plenty!).

Interview

no

yes

Two essays. since i don’t do any essay-based subjects in the english language, i submitted one in French about an environmental issue (only about 400 words). I then researched the Democratic Revolution in China and wrote an essay on that. (i think this may have impressed the interviewer).

yes

I had a short, surprise aptitude test with interviewer from Churchill. I had to memorise in 30 seconds some chinese characters. It was awful and he probably laughed at my attempt afterwards (it was truly pathetic- honestly!). However, I don’t think his decision was going to be based on the outcome of that.

2 interviews. 1 with Trinity, 1 with Churchill (given in case i didn’t get into Trinity and had to be pooled). the first was both college and subject orientated. The second was predominantly subject, although he gave me some general questions.

Why Trinity etc. Talked about Cultural Revolution and Mao. She asked my about a famous quote by Deng Xiaoping (“it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice”). Nice woman really (from Trinity). Then she asked me about my french essay – in french!

Black suit with bright red turle neck jumper worn inside. I chickened out from going casual, as was suggested in the letter because I felt that you can’t go wrong with a suit in general.