Application

 Oxford

 NA (open application, allocated college)

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

Selective state school/grammar school

 yes (7 A*,3 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

AAA

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I applied to Oxbridge because I wanted to study at one of the best universities in the world – and, more importantly, because PPE is only available at a few universities – namely Oxford and York.

I chose Oxford over Cambridge because only Oxford offered PPE. Plus, I prefer Oxford’s location.

(Administrator’s Note: This user had chosen NOT to reveal his/her college. All Soul’s is just selected due to the rigidity of the system – the actual college is not known.)

I chose this college because it’s fairly central – though not too central, is relatively small and has lovely grounds. Plus, they offer accommodation for all three years, have a good 24-hour library and also have good IT facilities.

Preparation

yes

The only ‘extra tuition’ I received was a practice interview with my headteacher and assistant head.

Not really – just follow the instructions. Oh, and don’t feel as though you have to fill in the “Additional Info” box, as I didn’t, and I still got an offer. I mean, if there is something you feel to be of relevance then do use the space provided, but otherwise don’t stress over it.

Interview

no

yes

Yes, had to submit two essays. Economics – Road Congestion Essay History – Napoleonic Wars Essay I chose these two essays as I thought they were pretty good, and suitable for discussion.

yes

Yes, I had a one hour PPE exam. The only preparation involved obtaining the specimen paper from the university. In the end, the real exam was, I believe, harder than the specimen, but the format was the same – and ultimately, I believe that the exam is something you can’t really prepare for.

I had two interviews. They were both on the same day. The first was with the philosophy tutor, and involved a few general questions followed by some more ‘philosophical’ questions. The second was with the politics and economics tutors, and began with a general question that soon moved onto more economic and political issues. The interviews, both lasting about 20-25 minutes, literally flew by – which at first I perceived to be a bad thing as I didn’t feel as though I’d demonstrated anything “good” – but ultimately you always forget the good stuff you say, and remember the bad!

General: Why do you want to study PPE? etc. Philosophy: What interests you about it? Economics: Related to my essay. Politics: Built on the essays as well.

I was originally going to wear a suit, but on the night before I went to interview I decided to just wear some smart trousers and a smart jumper – as I could not really be bothered to carry a suit all the way to Oxford – plus I don’t think they really mind – because your clothes don’t change your intelligence etc. Therefore, wear what you want, but try to be ‘smart and casual’.

Impressions

Lovely college, with a great atmosphere.

The rooms are, from what I saw, of a really ‘good’ size – larger than most rooms I’ve seen at other universities. Facilities are pretty good – but don’t expect en-suite showers etc.

Good

Really good – plus really quite reasonably priced.

I thought the tutors were great – no complaints (yet! 🙂

Great, fun-loving, ‘normal’ people.

Final stage

I’d prepared myself for the worst – as I felt that I’d not managed to get in – so when I received the letter I was somewhat annoyed… but you soon realise what the letter is saying, and wahey! Over the moon.

Looking back

Yes – most certainly. Why? Well, it’s where I really want to study PPE.

Do some background reading – to make sure you have an idea about the course. But, do not feel as though you have to trawl through Aristotle, Plato, Keynes or Socrates. Ultimately, the Oxford literature on interviews is correct when it says that they are more interested in HOW you think rather than WHAT you know.

Don’t worry.
Don’t panic.
Don’t feel intimidated.
Don’t read anything into anything.
Once you’ve had the interview and exam, forget about it until the letter arrives.