Application

 Oxford

 Magdalen

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

Non-selective state 11-18 school

 yes (7 A*,2 A,1 B)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics

AB

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

It was something people always said I should do, plus it does have the ‘elite’ thing going on I thought I’d at least try for.

Although I loved Kings, Cambridge, I opted for the PPE course not SPS

Well, I wanted a wealthier one for financial support, plus it was described as pretty and friendly.

Preparation

no

No.

Well, the things I put in the ‘additional info’ section were pretentious crap, so not really.

Interview

no

yes

Economics- an extended essay on market failure in UK healthcare Politics- a two-part, short essay on Blair’s modernisation of the Labour party, and Hague’s attempt at the same.

yes

There was a 1 hr test. Sample papers were online but I took a glimpse and thought I was better not demoralised. I thought I had screwed the first part up (a comprehension of arguments), the others were logical. Thank god there was no maths!

I was far too relaxed actually, so I wasn’t phased and just kinda tried to keep the rambling to a minimum.

Well, economics was the first; I was asked what aspects of my syllabus interested me, so I talked around the submitted assay while the tutor argued with me and also the minimum wage debate. In Philosophy I was asked to discuss a hyperthetical case about identity, which went off to a tandem of the nature of truth. Finally, Politics he asked about any texts I had read, at which point I was able to talk about the dull, yet worthy book I’d been ploughing through. Then there was discussion of coalition governments, domestic power and the difference in left and right.

I went for ‘presentable’ so wore a long skirt and my least flared trousers with a jumper. No studs, no chunky belt, no cuffs.

Impressions

COLD!!!!! You would have thought someone would have installed some double-glazing in the 13th century cloisters…. The helpers were nice, except they do attempt to censor who you talk to (a fake phone call was made to get a 3rd yr away from me…I don’t know why since he was the most honest person around). They mean well ‘though. The place does have the air of a rich boarding school about it….

I was early so I got the luxury 3rd year set: biiig sitting room and bedroom with a view over the deer park.

Edible but not great

Imposing wood-panelled dining room

Some were very detatched, scribbling their notes away, the Philosophy guy was very young and enthusiastic.

Friendly and gushing about the college…hence being helpers. The other applicants were fun and the clubs and bars in Oxford are great, so go to Pu Na Na and use the side gate when you drag yourself back in at 2am like we did.

Final stage

I felt rather silly and happy, dancing and jumping ensued. Now I have to decide if I take the place or not…..arg…..

Looking back

Yes, the interview process was fun and I met some great people.

Know your subject matter. Honestly, don’t try and name drop or bluff, they will latch onto anything you say and argue with it…I don’t know how I got away with a lot of what I mentioned.

Know your material, don’t have your heart set on it (like me) and RELAX. Be very enthusiastic in the interviews, and, if stumped- use the magic words:
“Well, I’m not familiar with that subject area but my first thought/instinct would be to say……” It goes down far better than sitting getting red in silence.