Application

 Oxford

 University

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2009

 offer made

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (11 A*)

International Baccalaureate

( predicted 7; gained 7)

( predicted 7; gained 7)

( predicted 7; gained 7)

( predicted 7; gained 7)

( predicted 7; gained 7)

( predicted 7; gained 7)

Details about the offer

 conditional

7 in Mathematics

40 points, with a 7 in either HL Physics or Eocnomics

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I wanted a university experience where I would be stretched and challenged to the best of my abilites.

Didn’t have to – I wanted to do PPE!

I couldn’t think of more amazing, interesting course where three subjects linked so well and yet provided so much breadth and scope.

I had visited it a couple of times and felt comfortable there. I liked the location (High Street), the size, the people and the facilities.

Preparation

yes

I had a couple of mock interviews by external people and some extension classes for the purpose of fostering discussion and debate on potential interview topics.

Read widely around your subject and, most importantly, read actively: what is the author trying to say and why? are there holes in the author’s argument? what is your own view?

For the TSA: practise, pracitse, practise…find as many past papers as you can and do them timed. Some of the question types will begin to seem familiar. Do a couple of the essays in one hour to get a sense of how long you have and then I recommend jotting down some ideas for the others or doing essay plans timed (say, five mins?).

Interview

yes

See above for TSA comments.

no

no

I really enjoyed mine although they were challenging. I felt comfortable and the 20 mins seemed to come about very quickly!

Poltics: Given an article 25 mins before and I had to discuss the author’s opinion and why I thought this. I had to then come up with a potential solution to the problem and state what some of the issues with this would be.
Philosophy: Given a problem in the interview concerning a group of people. I had to reason what the best course of action for a particular person involved would be and then discuss any assumptions I had made and how the situation could be different.
Economics: I had to work through a game theory style questions 25 mins before concerning two people. The interview consisted of me discussing my answers and the ones I hadn’t done yet I did on the spot, with guidance where it was needed.

Black trousers and a top. I felt most comfortable with this smart casual look. I wear jeans every day and it didn’t feel right wearing them to interview although many people did and it would have been fine either way. At the end of the day, it’s entirely your personal choice!

Impressions

Univ is really a lovely college but so were many others I visited.

I had a large large room during interviews – it was a bit of an anomaly but I was lucky, not all rooms are that size at all. In general, rooms are a fairly good size at Univ.

I seem to remember it being fine while I was there…

Really friendly and approachable. They organised a meeting for all of us with as many of them as could make it the morning of the first interviews so we could see their faces beforehand which I think put a lot of us at ease.

Friendly as well and eager to be of assistance. They looked after us well and were keen for us to enjoy the experience.

Final stage

It was quite short – a week and a half, but it was still quite torturing – I just wanted to know whether they wanted me or not!

I was coming from interview for a US college when I got a text on my phone from my mum saying that a big letter from Oxford had arrived…never had a journey home taken so long but once I’d opened the envelope I was incredibly happy but also anxious about meeting the offer because of the requirement for maths…

Looking back

Definitely – I took so much away from the whole experience! That would have been the same regardless of an offer or not.

Go for it! The key is good preparation and also confidence in your own abilities. Please don’t let anyone put you down unnecessarily and tell you you’re not good enough when you may indeed be!