Application

 Oxford

 New

 Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology (PPP)

 2006

 pooled, offer made (St John’s)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (9 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (254 UMS))

(A at AS (284 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (251 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (276 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted Distinction; gained NA)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Art and Design, A in Biology, A in History

AAA, Does not include general studies

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Wanted to be challenged, experience something completely different, really liked the course (as it included Physiology, very few other, highly rated universities do).

My course isn’t offered at Cambridge, but Oxford seemed a more sociable and friendly place, plus it’s closer to home.

Because it gives the oppurtunity to study Physiology alongside Psychology, two subjects I really enjoy

I went to the Oxford open day and one of the New College tutors gave a really great lecture in something that I was really interested in, seemed more laid back than other colleges.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview which wasn’t a great help as the person didn’t know anything about my subject, and I had a couple of teachers look over my personal statement to check for grammar etc.

Participate more in class, for example, answering questions out loud and asking questions about work covered – it helps you to analyse and talk confidently about your subject.
Also read lots – but think critically whilst you’re doing it.

Interview

no

no

yes

Really couldn’t prepare for it which made it a lot less scary and stressful. Seemed pretty informal, which had the same effect.

At New, not what I was expecting. There were no typical ‘subject specific questions’ as such, but more a general discussion that didn’t have much point (but maybe I missed it and hence got pooled!). My interview at St John’s I was far more comfortable with – I got on really well with the interviewers and the interview was more directed – I had to analyse a graph, and draw a diagram of a synapse.

How would you test a drug that allegedly cured Parkinson’s?
If you had a fully functioning neural system in a jar to play with, what would you do with it?
Why was Einstein so intelligent? (I had been to a lecture on this and mentioned it in my personal
statement)
Quite a few questions on how would you devise an experiment to test for x?

I wore black trousers, shirt and black cardigan to my New interview, and a smart silver skirt and brown jumper to my St John’s interview (sounds weird but looked good)

Impressions

It rained all the time and seemed a bit unfriendly, and really began to regret applying there, and then went to St Johns and loved it, then felt like kicking myself, then prayed to be pooled (which i was – hooray!)

My room was HUGE and I even had a fireplace but there wasn’t much furniture and it wasn’t very nice so added to the unfriendly-I’m-imprisoned-in-a-castle feeling. Got kicked out of my room early on my last day but had to stay incase I had more interviews, so I had to sit in a room for 6 hours doing nothing, because it was too rainy and cold to go anywhere.

Alright, particularly enjoyed the guess what’s in the soup game on the first night.

The one I had for my first interview was lovely, the second one was very rapid firing with her questions and questioned everything you said, and was not afraid to interrupt, which got pretty annoying. She really seemed to hate me too.
The one’s at St John’s were lovely, even when they laughed at me for being too arty with the graphs and diagrams I had to draw.

They seemed really bored, and weren’t overly friendly. Again, added to the unfriendly feeling (although they had a pretty boring job to do – can’t really blame them)

Final stage

I was pretty confident because I didn’t feel like I was fooling the interviewers into thinking I was good enough when I wasn’t, I felt I was what they were looking for (however arrogant that sounds – shame on me).

I got a letter from New College first and was slightly pooped when it was only a couple of entences long – then read ahead and they said I had a place somewhere else, and instantly knew that it must be a St John’s, because my interview went so well there. I got the official letter the next day and was pretty calm in my head but couldn’t stop shaking, which was pretty weird.

Looking back

Of course! I’d advise anyone who thinks they have a shot to apply – its worth it for the couple of days off school and a nice trip to Oxford (even if it is rainy and cold). Plus, its a really exciting process waiting for letters and discussing it with other applicants, which I found more exciting than the fact that I actually got an offer.

Definitely go on open days. I didn’t look round my college before I applied and didn’t like it as much when I got there, and luckily fate came through, but that won’t always happen. Know and love your subject and work hard at school and you’re bound to be successful.