Application

 Oxford

 Magdalen

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (7 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(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)

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAB

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Oxford is very good for PPE.

Oxford did the course I wanted to do.

It’s got really attractive buildings and there was a really friendly atmosphere at the open day. It’s also good for music, I play the saxophone and piano, so there are likely to be lots of musical opportunities. Teachers at my school recommended it, as well as friends I knew who were already at Oxford and someone from my school already doing PPE at Magdalen.

Preparation

yes

I had a practice interview, and both my personal statement and Oxford statement were read through and discussed prior to their submission. I also had regular discussions with one of my teachers on possible interview questions.

Interview

no

yes

An essay in Politics and one in Economics. The essays had to be in relevant subjects if possible, so I had to have one from these two subjects.

yes

I had a one hour written test on the morning before my interviews. Although there was a specimen paper available on the internet which gave an idea of the format, it did not really prepare me for the test itself.

I had three, one in each of Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Each was about 15-20 minutes long.

The economics interviewer asked which bits of my A level course I had enjoyed most and then gave me an abstract problem to think about. The Politics tutor asked me if I had read any books relevant to Politics and this lead onto a discussion about the views expressed in it. The philosophy interview consisted of disucssing an abstract problem and thinking about how it could be extended and how the arguments could be improved.

Shirt and suit trousers to the first two, a suit to the last one. I had been told by my school to wear something I felt comfortable in, and as I wear a suit to school it seemed the obvious choice.

Impressions

Really friendly.

Quite spacious, and there were showers and toilets on the corridor. I had my own sink and mirror in my room.

Good

Lots of choice, all provided free of charge

Fairly approachable. They tried to put you at your ease during the interview, but I didn’t see much of them apart from during the interviews.

They were really nice, I talked to quite a few during dinner and lunch and they seemed to be enjoying their courses and university life in general.

Final stage

I had to get one of my teachers to ring up as the letter was a bit late in arriving. It was quite nervewracking but I was ecstatic to find out I’d got.

Looking back

Yes, for all the reasons I applied this year.

Discuss your personal statement with a teacher in one of the subjects and think of routes the interviewer could take you down following the interests you have put on your statement. If you say you are interested in something, read up about it as you are likely to be asked about it.

Be yourself, it’s what they’ll accept you for. The interviewers will be able to see through candidates who are trying to be something they’re not. Don’t worry if the written test is hard, mine was impossible but all the other candidates found it hard as well.