Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

it’s a free Grammar school, not private – one of the Haberdasher’s schools.

 yes (9 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

I haven’t bothered with General studies A2, but am doing all the other four AS-levels to A2

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Government and Politics, A in Mathematics

AAA

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Prestige; quality of course

Course

Career potential; chance to study specialist areas of the disciplines in intense depth.

I applied to Merton because of it’s aesthetic qualities, and found out it happened to be the most prestigious academically too afterwards. The Professors’ interests being tightly aligned with mine also made me choose it – e.g. the philosophy tutor at Merton specialises in metaethics, which is what I want to learn most about.

Preparation

yes

Mock interviews with past students

Read one book a week on the subject(s) you’re applying for as soon as you’ve decided your heart is set on it.

Interview

yes

TSA – I prepared for this too through the use of critical-thinking a-level textbooks.

no

no

I felt they all went well, but philosophy was slightly harder to judge. I could see how it could have been viewed negatively. Economics and Politics were categorically positive though.

Philosophy (Merton): Time-travel. Is it a self-contradictory concept?
Philosophy (Somerville): Pairs of statements; situations in which one is true and the other isn’t (e.g. I *think* it is snowing; I *know* it is snowing).

Politics (Merton): collective/public goods: when will they be supplied? examples of some. situations in which they *should* and should *not* be provided.
Politics (Somerville): A discussion on why Marx thought Capitalism was doomed, based on a reference to him in my personal statement.

Economics (Merton): Calculating the optimal effort level based on a graph of costs and benefits; working out the effect of fixed costs. Discussing the relationship between inflation and interest rates and their effects on spending.
Economics (Somerville): A game of guessing a number which is the average of everyone else’s guesses, given certain other pieces of information obviously.

Economics (Merton): How would you draw a line of length root 2?
Politics (Merton): Why Merton? Why Politics?

A smart striped shirt with jeans. Because I seldom wear a suit and tie, and would have focused on that instead if I had done. Even the interviewers themselves dressed smart-casually. In fact, for the Somerville interview (all three disciplines interviewed me at once), I wore an old jumper with jeans, because I’d ran out of shirts! They had no problem with it whatsoever.

Impressions

Splendid!

Small but clean and pretty. Desk with chair, another comfier chair by table (presumably for reading?), and, obviously, a bed. And drawer. and wardrobe. And wash basin hidden in a wardrobe-style pull out thing.

Delicious.

Not at all intimidating; warm and encouraging.

Friendly.

Final stage

I thought I’d done well enough.

? I was happy!

Looking back

Yes.

Read a book a week on your chosen subject to apply for.