Application

 Oxford

 Queen’s

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 overseas

 Hong Kong

 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 A 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

AA, Already achieved an A for Mathematics in Year 12.

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I wanted to try my luck… and it is undoubtedly a great university.

PPE – at first I considered Economics at Cambridge but decided I didn’t want to study “only” Economics for three years… I’d be bored… besides, I really wanted to study Philosophy!

Scholarship restrictions (choice of 4), ethernet connections in every room, good choir, proximity to libraries, liked the name, heard that the food was good etc. etc.

Preparation

yes

One practice interview. To tell the truth, the practice interview was nothing like my real Oxford interview! I could’ve asked my teachers to help me with my personal statement but I didn’t feel like it… after all, it is a “personal” statement.

Be yourself. Be sincere. Concentrate on why exactly you want to study that subject.

Interview

no

yes

Actually, my interview took place before I had to submit written work because I’m an international student. I submitted 2 pieces of written work – around 1300 words each. One was an economics essay on the causes of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. I’m interested in development economics… The second was on free will – something that was brought up during my interview. I didn’t really know much about free will, so I did some research and came up with an essay on free will and women.

yes

I had my exam in early December after my interview (which took place in late October). I didn’t prepare for it because:
a) I didn’t know I had an exam and,
b) Even if I knew, there’d be nothing to prepare for.

I read an article on economics (something about pricing in the secondary and tertiary sector) while the previous candidate was having his interview.

Then, when it was my turn, the interviewer asked the usual questions – why Oxford, why PPE, why Queen’s etc. etc. I remember saying something about the unpredictability of humans when answering one of the initial questions and he just pounced on that remark. He asked me to prove it! Now I was rather stuck… but I thought aloud and rambled on for a bit. He then guided me to what he *really* wanted to talk about, which was the concept of free will. I didn’t know much about free will during the interview but I tried to respond. I think he sensed my lack of knowledge on the subject and moved on to the economics article. The question wasn’t particularly difficult and didn’t require background reading (i.e. you didn’t have to study economics to answer it). That one question took up the rest of the interview.

Black shirt, black trousers, black coat, black shoes… I like black. ^^

Impressions

N/A

I’m an international student – had my interview in Hong Kong.

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Final stage

What do you think? ^^

Looking back

Of course.

Think aloud, and read up on subjects that you haven’t studied before.

The Economist is always a good read… though I sometimes prefer Time because there are more pictures…

Think carefully about why you want to apply.