Application

 Oxford

 Hertford

 Physics

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (9 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (300 UMS))

(A at AS (287 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (279 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (300 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Physics

AAA, Last A in any subject excluding General Studies

yes

yes

yes

I received an offer from Imperial which is supposed to be next behind Oxbridge for subjects like Physics. I felt I should aim for the best and also I didn’t want to go to Imperial because I didn’t like the University or its surroundings.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I wanted to aim as high as I could and the prestige of Oxbridge attracted me. Also I love both cities and like the idea of the college system and the fact that you can be in the centre of the city and never far away from anything you need.

The course at Cambridge was Natural Sciences rather than Physics so I thought I might be disadvantaged with Cambridge because I did not study either Chemistry or Biology.

I have always wanted to study Physics-it is respected, fascinating and it offers you the chance to study from an experimental and theoretical point of view. If you are a curious person there is no better subject.

Hertford was the college I spent the open day at and I liked the friendly feel to it and the fact that it isn’t large and intimidating. Plus, 4 years guaranteed college accomodation isn’t easy to come by!

Preparation

yes

We had a Mock Interview Morning and I had a few extension lessons in Physics where I learned to consider problems and speak about Physics in a confident manner.

Practice speaking confidently and enthusiastically about your subject rather than directing all your efforts into knowing as much as possible.

Interview

yes

I sat an Oxford Physics entrance exam a month before my interview.

no

no

Much more informal than I expected-more like a chat-I didn’t always have to answer all the questions more show I knew how to tackle them. I had 2 interviews at Hertford and I felt one went well and one not so well.

It was very mathematical and quite short-they basically gave me a pen and paper and gave me as many questions as they could fit into the time.

Mainly mathematical challenge questions-proving the formulae we use in Physics, a few C4 style integration questions.

I wore suit trousers and a blouse. They told us all we did not need to dress formally but I thought it seemed a bit rude to turn up in jeans. The majority of other people just dressed in a casual way.

Impressions

It seemed friendly and more modern in some of its ideas-less formal dining, not having to pay for catering on a termly basis, accommodation for 4 years.

Generally 2 bathrooms between 4-6 rooms with a sink in the room, the rooms varied greatly in size.

Perfectly fine, very varied evening meals and lots of options at breakfast and lunch.

Mostly friendly, some more than others. I only actually met the 4 that interviewed me.

From what I saw the myth of the ‘Oxbridge type’ is just that, a myth. The people I met were all very different and from varied backgrounds.

Final stage

I only had to wait a week! I had put it out of my mind because it was christmas and I wasn’t expecting a result until afterwards. The thing I dreaded was having to open it in front of my family-luckily it came while they were all out!

It was a Tuesday morning and my parents were at work. I saw the letter and for some reason assumed it was rejecting me since it was from Hertford not St Johns where I had had my better interview. I just opened it and phoned just about everyone I knew! I then didn’t hear anything for quite a while from Hertford and after a few weeks my offer came through on UCAS.

Looking back

Yes, I have no regrets and like to think I would feel the same even if I had been rejected.

It’s not as hard as you think. Because of the fact that the interviews are so short I kept telling myself that they would have partly decided already based on your UCAS form so it’s not all down to one interview!