Application

 Oxford

 NA

 Oriental Studies

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – non-selective

Not known whether selective or not.

 yes (1 A,2 B,4 C,1 D)

A-levels

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

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

A2 level in Chinese Studies – Predicted A, achieved B.
A2 level in Mandarin – Predicted A, achieved B.

Details about the offer

 conditional

ABB

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Because I thought I could get in, and because they’re the UK’s best universities.

Oxford did the course I liked.

Preparation

no

Read around your subject – ask friends to ask you probing questions.

Interview

no

no

no

Testing ones! I was asked questions on Mandarin history, Chinese economic policy, Asian literature, and Far East communist politics.

I wore a leather jacket over a pale green vest.

Impressions

I liked most of them – they had character, style, history, etc.

Edible but not great

Friendly, if slightly eccentric.

I saw precious few – exam time I think. Those that I met were friendly and helpful, as they should have been.

Final stage

At first I thought it was a joke, as I didn’t expect to get in, but the I was very pleased and celebrated with my family afterwards.

Looking back

Most certainly – it was stressful, nervous and prolonged – but it was definitely worth it.

Make sure you’re fully prepared for the toughest interview you’ll ever have!