Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 FE College

 yes (11 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (254 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (292 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (298 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (283 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (288 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (278 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics

AAA, General Studies Excluded

undecided yet

yes

N/A

Decisions about the application

Best for PPE, plus an amazing philosophy course that lets you take pretty much whatever direction you want (compared to LSE for example).

Cambridge doesn’t offer PPE.

PPE lets you keep your options open, and allows for specialisation later in the course. It’s also all about people, how they think, feel, act, choose etc.

Didn’t! Got moved before interview from New (and that was based on the fact that they have a really good choir, so no real reason).

Preparation

yes

Mock interview – not particularly helpful!

Read lots. Anything you can get your hands on. Read a newspaper as often as possible, and try to vary which ones you read. Get used to arguing with friends about things you don’t normally talk about. Take the a-levels!

Interview

yes

TSA – the logic bit is easy if your that type of person, if not, a bit of critical thinking exam practice can help. The essay is the hardest bit, you don’t have much time. Then again, its not really the type of thing you can revise for.

no

no

Really good! There was no intellectual bullying; anything you get stuck on, the tutors will help you out and point out directions you can take. It’s more of an extended discussion than an interview.

Economics – logic-y stuff like game theory. Philosophy – thought experiments & epistemology. Politics – really general, discussed neo-liberalism in Mexico, Margeret Thatcher, anarchism?!

What do you think neo-liberalism is? Are there circumstances where you can be telling untruths, but not lying? What are the main epistemological theories, and how do they relate? If you were in a game where you had to guess two thirds of your competitors’ average, and you could choose between 0 and 100, what would you choose?

I wore work trousers with a shirt & pullover, as I wanted to appear smart but not formal (a lot of people wore full suits and looked really awkward, whereas there were people wearing trackies and hoodies looking really comfortable).

Impressions

They’re all very pretty, and essentially the same. Somerville is very informal, no sub fusc in sight! One thing I liked is the total lack of ‘no walking on the grass’ signs.

Really basic, what you’d expect uni accom to be like. No kitchen facilities to be seen really, showers & toilets shared. The second year accom is apparently much nicer.

Very nice, catering for all tastes.

Engaging, genuinely interested in what you have to say, probing. VERY SMART.

Laid back, informal, seem to like the college.

Final stage

Didn’t think I’d get in, so completely forgot about it!

I immediately started to wonder whether or not I should go to LSE or Oxford – there’s a lot of plus points for both.

Looking back

Yes, of course.

Bring some bright things to decorate your room with – you’ll be spending a lot of time in there, so make it nice. Get to know some students, go to the things that the second & third years put on (we had an open mic night, a quiz, a movie night…). Don’t worry about packing to much stuff; bring anything you think you might need, it’ll stop you worrying when you get there. Wear something comfortable to the interview – the tutors won’t dress up for you, so you’ll just look a bit weird. Lastly, don;t fret too much – I spent most of my time in Oxford having drinks with friends and shopping!