Application

 Oxford

 New

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

Selective state school/grammar school

 yes (11 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

A in Economics, A in Mathematics

BB

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I liked the course while the prestige and quality of Oxford made me apply there specifically.

I already know Oxford quite well and like the fact its a real town. (No offence Cambridge)

It has a very good rep for PPE and is meant to have a good college bar.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview which was nothing like the real thing, being that most of the questions were along the lines of: “Why have you applied here?” etc… My form tutor was very helpful though and full of useful advice.

Errr… spell your name right??? I just put something down along the lines of how commited I am to Oxford and how enthusiastic I am.

Interview

no

yes

Yes – two pieces. The first was a timed essay I did in September 2001 on recession and my forecasts for the UK economy based on previous economic data and events. The other was an essay on oligopolistic competition and how it affects the consumer. This piece I wrote with Oxford in mind and was mammoth. I hand wrote both essays for that personal touch 🙂

yes

Yes. A three part exam which I didn’t and you can’t prepare for. The first part was a comprehension exercise on unity of the individual, the second was a mathematical/game theory problem, and the third was a series of word triplets where the task was to differentiate their meaning. The first question I found the hardest as I didn’t know what unity was so I sat there for the first 10 minutes scratching my head (which was the point I take it?). The second question was okay but be careful not to make loads of assumptions and if you do write them down. The third part was the easiest and didn’t take too long.
I would not worry about the exam though since every one seemed to find it hard and it’s only a small part of the information they gather about you. The interviews are far more important.

I had three separate 20 minute interviews in all three subjects. I was given an article on class-voting 5 minutes before the Politics interview.

Economics – Not very taxing. Just some game theory type problems (seemed to be very popular with all the colleges) and talked about equity and equality. Politics – Went over the article for the first 5 minutes which was harder then it sounds, then talked about deriving nationality, ideology, and a little on Afghanistan. Philosophy – Just chatted for the first 10 minutes about why I am doing Geography A-level and whether I think more Economists should study it. Then we talked about valuing nature and the intrinsic beauty of the environment. Next we talked about morality and whether I could ever morally justify torturing the innocent.

A suit. I wouldn’t feel right not wearing a suit to an interview, although I seemed to be in a minority with everyone else going for the laid back scruffy look.

Impressions

New college was really large and impressive and I was definitely glad I applied there. The ‘Mound’ in the garden also squeaked when you clapped your hands, which was nice.

I got one of the smaller rooms but it was en-suite. Its all luck I suppose.

Edible but not great

Food wasn’t up to much but the hall was being renovated at the time (roof problems??) Visited Merton and BNC and the food was amazing at both. The Merton barman was safe as well.

Very friendly and helpful, although the Politics tutor who interviewed me didn’t put me at ease due to his style.

All very friendly and helpful as well. Organised alot as well for the PPE candidates (since there were 40ish of us)

Final stage

My Mum was pleased for me as I was a bit shocked having built myself up for rejection (the better option if you ask me).

Looking back

Yes. Had a good three days there and I didnt have the nasty taste of rejection.

Sounds like a cliche but DON’T BE NERVOUS. Confidence is the key and I’m not talking about the dutch kind.

If you are applying to do PPE you should be well read anyway. If you are not then just read a good quality broadsheet paper everyday, the Economist and then a couple of Economics or Philosophy books. They didnt actually ask me about any of the books I had read but reading them puts you in the right frame of mind and boosts your confidence (unless reading the books might cause you to realise you are actually thick).