Application

 Oxford

 St John’s

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2005

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (282 UMS))

(A at AS (264 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

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

(A at AS (294 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Beautiful city, best academic reputation, graduate prospects, tutorial system, collegiate system.

Looked into the courses and PPE most appealed, no equivalent course at Cambridge. Also prefer Oxford as it is busier – many more clubs, for example.

Involves both mathemtical thinking and essay writing, extremely interested in all three subjects, prestigious degree.

Consistenly very high in Norrington, large, central, beautiful (mostly!), rich so low rents and financial help, accomodation for all three years provided.

Preparation

yes

Mock interview arranged at another school, a few ‘taster’ classes talking about each discipline.

Be up to speed with current affairs, read relevant books that actually interest you – they do sometimes ask about your understanding of books.

Interview

yes

No

yes

Yes, two essays. I sent up two history essays – an extended work on the roots of Nazism in the 19th Century (3000 words), and a much shorter homework essay we did at the start of the A2 course on German nationalism (850 words).

yes

Yes, the PPE exam which is held the morning after you arrive. 1 hour long with 15 minutes reading time. 3 sections. 1st section, two passages on vegetarianism – asked to summarise one, then write whether we should be vegetarians on moral grounds. 2nd section, asked to define sets of three words, explaining the difference between them. 3rd section, maths/logic about optimisation of resource allocation.

Two interviews – one on politics/economics, other on philosophy. Politcs/economics felt like it went ok, philosophy made me feel like a complete idiot.

No knowledge of economics was required for my interview. Politics was a discussion of global affairs, related to current events. Philosophy discussed the books I had mentioned, which went of on tangents, then I was given a problem.

Economics – half an hour before interviews I was given a problem sheet about allocating money to ruthless pirates. In the interview I answered the questions on the sheet, then worked out more answers to extension questions they gave me on the spot. Politics, we focussed on the future of Europe, how I thought the EU would develop, why, how worried US should be about China. Philosophy, we discussed utilitarianism, which had been the basis of a book I mentioned, then I was given a nasty solipsism to find fault with, which I screwed up horribly.

First interview I wore dark jeans and a nice jumper. Second interview I felt more nervous for some reason so I wore my school suit with a different tie!

Impressions

LOVED St Johns. JCR helpers were friendly, fellow applicants were great, almost immediately there was a group of about 10 of us who were from all over the place. Room was massive and warm. Food was great. I really loved St Johns. Out of the other colleges, Brasenose, Mansfield and Corpus Christi I thought were pretty, although the atmosphere in Brasenose JCR was very tense, people were quite stand offish. Went to New bout didn’t like it much – too open for me.

My room was massive, had a walk in wardrobe! Shared bathroom with about 4 other people. Other rooms I saw were decent sized. JCR was comfortable. Games room with darts, pool and arcade games was useful as an icebreaker. College also had one massive TV in its own room where we watched a match. College pubs (Lamb and Flag and Eagle and Child) were great to wind down at.

Very good.

Very friendly, particularly Dr Mattli (politics) and Dr Debus (philosophy).

Good bunch of people. PPE helper was friendly, law helper was a laugh, kept taking the mickey out of people, including me. Went to a pub quiz with some other students, they were very nice too.

Final stage

Trying hard not to think about it.

Can’t really describe it – over the moon.

Looking back

Absolutely without a doubt.

Go for it.