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Cambridge Anglo Saxon Norse and Celtic (ASNC) Students and Applicants

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    I know I shouldn't resurrect dead threads but are there any 2012 offer holders out there?
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    MEEEE! *is decidedly still not over this fact* Unconditional, because I sat my exams last year like you.

    Did you meet any other ASNACs at the interview? There was only one other person at Pembroke that I could find. I thought my interviewers were all lovely and the general one very nearly verged on fun. Have to say, I was *not* expecting to be presented with primary sources and asked what I thought of them, so I was kind of... off-balance for the subject interview, but apparently I wasn't as hopeless as I thought. Was kind of amused and dismayed that they asked me to look at the sources with my 'medieval historian's hat on', because they say good subjects to have for ASNAC are English, a language, and History. Guess which one I didn't take to A level?

    What are you doing for your gap year? I'm au pairing in Iceland and attempting to learn Icelandic as I go, because of its similarity to Old Norse. And visiting all the museums and generally being a gigantic ASNAC dork.

    I like your idea of info for future applicants, so, uh, here's my Things I Now Know But Didn't At The Start.

    - You can almost entirely avoid taking languages or history or literature if you don't like that one aspect, just pick your papers carefully.
    - On the word of a friend taking ASNAC, there are no speaking exams for the languages, and most translation work is done into English.
    - When the department website calls their booklist one of easy-to-find, relatively inexpensive books, they are lying. My local university library only had a couple, and one I had to borrow from a library in Wales. But it's definitely worth it.
    - Addendum to the point above: ebooks are brilliant. The original literature and translations are, on the whole, out of copyright, so you can get them free from Project Gutenberg. Even if you don't have an e-reader, you can read them on your computer.
    - ASNAC has marvellous admissions stats for Cambridge, if this sort of thing interests you. (It did me, I'll admit.) The ratio of applicants to offers is about 2:1.
    - Be prepared to be possibly the only person in your college applying for ASNAC. (Positive: no one to fight for the good books. Negative: no one to argue with about the merits of Geoffrey of Monmouth.)
    - Go to the Open Day. No really, even if, like me, you hate talking to people and will just lurk awkwardly by the sandwiches until engaged in conversation, DO IT. I think the entire department were there, and meeting them that one time made the prospect of the interview that little bit less terrifying.
    - Corpus Christi have the most fantastic collection of original manuscripts which you can see at said Open Day, if this is an incentive.
    - Retakes are not necessarily the mark of doom. A professor at the Open Day told me it was rare for them to see a candidate with no retakes at all, which was very reassuring.
    - If you have that one awful module mark that you couldn't face retaking (oh hi there, E in C4), that's also not necessarily going to doom you.

    And that's all I can think of right now.
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    Hello all! I'm an American student thinking about applying to Cambridge for Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic. I do have a few questions though, that you may be able to answer if you're a Cambridge ASNaC student or an American student at Cambridge (or both! ). I'd really appreciate any answers. Here they are:

    For ASNaCs:
    1. How much studying and preparing did you do before applying of the cultures? I'm currently reading various history books on the region, as well as reading Icelandic sagas and other Norse literature, as well as some old English literature? Is this enough?

    2. Do certain colleges take in more ASNaCs than others?

    3. I'm currently taking Spanish and I'm going to take AP Spanish and AP Spanish literature (I think APs are a little like A-levels), and I'm also planning on taking some college courses in Latin and other subjects. Is this enough to prove I'm language-proficient enough for ASNaCs?

    4. Did any of you do any extracurricular or summer programs in a similar area that you think helped you in the admissions process? How much does Cambridge ASNaCs admissions look at your extracurriculars?

    5. Many colleges ask for school writing samples? How formal and long should these be, and do they have to be related to the subject?

    For Americans/International Students at Cambridge:

    1. Are there certain colleges that are more friendly/responsive to international students? I'm thinking about applying to Newnham. How are they in this regard?

    2. I've heard that Cambridge can often look unfavorably on current American high school students. Are these rumors true? Should I apply my senior year or wait till after high school?

    3. I plan to take around 6 or 7 APs before senior year and 5 my senior year. Is this enough?

    4. How much does Cambridge look at your APs/SAT II/ACT scores? Do they have preferences regarding the SAT or the ACT?

    Thanks so much in advance!
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    Excuse me while I flail for a bit over finding another ASNAC.

    1. Have you found the department reading list? I found it pretty useful for getting a basic grounding in each paper the course offers - I read one or two books per paper, then looked through the bibliography for the author's recommendations if I found it interesting. It sounds like you're doing at least as much as I did on that front.

    2. Cambridge have all their admissions stats on their website, which is something I love them for. This is the ASNAC page. You need to make sure the college you like offers ASNAC, of course, and I was advised to go for a college with a resident Director of Studies, rather than an external one. I ignored that bit of advice because ah, Pembroke <3, but I think having a resident DoS means most of your supervisions will be in the college, whereas I probably have to trek over to the faculty building for all mine.

    I don't think there are any colleges where there are loads of ASNACs - in the smaller ones, apparently it's quite common to be the only one in your year.

    3. Sounds good to me! It's not like they insist on any subjects, and it sounds - correct me if I'm wrong? - like you're taking some of these courses outside of school, which shows Enthusiasm and Determination and all that stuff.

    4. Sorry, no idea about any of that. The only extra-curricular thing mentioned at interview was my gap year, though, and I've heard rumours that Oxbridge really aren't too fussed about extras unless you can relate them directly to your chosen course.

    5. My writing sample was about 2000 words, I think. About the presentation of class conflict in 'Birdsong' and 'Regeneration', so no, they don't have to be related to the subject. Graded-essay-level formality, I'd say.

    Aaand that's all I can help with. Best of luck with your application! The ASNAC department all seem lovely, and it's definitely the best degree out there! (Says the girl who hasn't even started the course yet.)
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    Thanks! and yeah, I found the reading list. This is really helpful!
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    Congratulations on your unconditional! I'm still a little dazzled by the whole experience I must admit, but I'm very much looking forward to studying the subject!

    I met the parents of an interviewee when I came out of my own interview, and reassured them that their daughter would be fine! Other than that I haven't seen any students or applicants which is a shame, but that's what you get with a niche subject I suppose! Likewise I haven't seen any other offer holders or applicants to King's. I'm guessing you were accepted by Pembroke then? I was a little surprised to find you had a general interview! I traveled all the way to Cambridge for a twenty minute subject interview and that was it. I thought my interview was a disaster but luckily I suppose I was wrong! My language skills aren't great and I didn't take a language at A level; and so they conveniently decided to make me writhe under my limited knowledge of Latin! I was also dismayed when they pulled out a source, as nothing had been said of it prior to the interview. I think it was my decent source analysis which pulled me through however. I'm more of a history person! I'm guessing you'll mould your degree so it's more language orientated?

    I only wish my gap year sounded as exciting as yours! I'm doing some voluntary work at my local museum which houses a number of Anglo-Saxon and Norse exhibits. Other than that I'll be reading up on every history period offered and be learning Latin, which as yet is progressing... slowly. Although in a different ways and means, I will also be living the life of the ASNaC dork!

    But to future applicants, the interview process as I experienced it was very friendly. Yes, on those YouTube mock-up Cambridge interviews you get comfy chairs, but the interviewers are sat at the other end of the room and still look pretty intimidating. I entered a small room and me and two lecturers sat in a circle on some stools and essentially chatted about my interest, experiences and suitability for the subject. Some of my questions were pressing - it's an interview - but it's important to be relaxed. A good interviewer will no doubt relax you, in any case, as my interviewers did. I would go as far as to say my excessive formality was unnecessary! Just get lots of reading done for context, don't worry about exam performance too much (if they give up their time for you, they appreciate that your predicted/attained grades are at least sufficient!) and for god's sake don't lie on your personal statement, it can get you in a sticky situation!
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    Hey, I've been reading various ASNaC posts and BiscuitGirl, I'm in a very similar situation as you were last year
    Just been rejected by Oxford for English and now taking a gap year and applying for ASNac (Probably at King's, not sure) (Not because I'm trying to find a back door into Cambridge with the 2:1 statistics btw I genuinely love Anglo-Saxons/Vikings but didn't see the course until I'd sent off my application)
    Thanks for all the info about what to expect etc.!
    Also, congratulations to both of you on your offers!
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    (Original post by magwitch)
    Hey, I've been reading various ASNaC posts and BiscuitGirl, I'm in a very similar situation as you were last year
    Just been rejected by Oxford for English and now taking a gap year and applying for ASNac (Probably at King's, not sure) (Not because I'm trying to find a back door into Cambridge with the 2:1 statistics btw I genuinely love Anglo-Saxons/Vikings but didn't see the course until I'd sent off my application)
    Thanks for all the info about what to expect etc.!
    Also, congratulations to both of you on your offers!
    Ahaha, you really are in the same situation! (Out of interest, what college at Oxford? I tried for Oriel, and when they rejected me they addressed the feedback email to my headteacher. I'm still bitter about that.)

    Aw, King's is lovely - I have a friend there so I've visited it quite a bit, and oh, so amazing. Go for it! (Unless I can tempt you to consider Pembroke? Even lovelier, IMO, and conveniently situated across the road from Fitzbillies.)
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    (Original post by Tom Grant)
    Congratulations on your unconditional! I'm still a little dazzled by the whole experience I must admit, but I'm very much looking forward to studying the subject!

    I met the parents of an interviewee when I came out of my own interview, and reassured them that their daughter would be fine! Other than that I haven't seen any students or applicants which is a shame, but that's what you get with a niche subject I suppose! Likewise I haven't seen any other offer holders or applicants to King's. I'm guessing you were accepted by Pembroke then? I was a little surprised to find you had a general interview! I traveled all the way to Cambridge for a twenty minute subject interview and that was it. I thought my interview was a disaster but luckily I suppose I was wrong! My language skills aren't great and I didn't take a language at A level; and so they conveniently decided to make me writhe under my limited knowledge of Latin! I was also dismayed when they pulled out a source, as nothing had been said of it prior to the interview. I think it was my decent source analysis which pulled me through however. I'm more of a history person! I'm guessing you'll mould your degree so it's more language orientated?

    I only wish my gap year sounded as exciting as yours! I'm doing some voluntary work at my local museum which houses a number of Anglo-Saxon and Norse exhibits. Other than that I'll be reading up on every history period offered and be learning Latin, which as yet is progressing... slowly. Although in a different ways and means, I will also be living the life of the ASNaC dork!

    But to future applicants, the interview process as I experienced it was very friendly. Yes, on those YouTube mock-up Cambridge interviews you get comfy chairs, but the interviewers are sat at the other end of the room and still look pretty intimidating. I entered a small room and me and two lecturers sat in a circle on some stools and essentially chatted about my interest, experiences and suitability for the subject. Some of my questions were pressing - it's an interview - but it's important to be relaxed. A good interviewer will no doubt relax you, in any case, as my interviewers did. I would go as far as to say my excessive formality was unnecessary! Just get lots of reading done for context, don't worry about exam performance too much (if they give up their time for you, they appreciate that your predicted/attained grades are at least sufficient!) and for god's sake don't lie on your personal statement, it can get you in a sticky situation!
    Oh wow, you only got one interview? And twenty minutes is no time at all, really. o_0 (Just thinking how badly I'd have crashed and burned if they'd only had my subject interview to consider.) The source thing surprised me too - I wonder if that's a new thing this year, and that's why we never heard about it before? They gave it to me and I was just desperately trying to dredge up GCSE History, going 'Nature, origin purpose. Nature, origin, purpose! Ahhh!' And did they spring linguistics on you too? *shudder*

    I actually don't know what balance I want from the course. I really just want a timeturner so I can take all the papers, but I think I'll probably end up with a fairly even split. What are you thoughts on palaeography? That's the one paper I'm absolutely dead set on taking. It sounds almost like code-breaking to me, which appeals to the more science-y parts of my brain.

    Your gap year sounds pretty awesome too! If I'd managed to find any museum work near me, I'd probably have stayed in England. (In case it's not obvious yet, I really like museums.) And as for your Latin progressing slowly - it can hardly be slower than my Icelandic, where I know about three verbs and a handful of household nouns after two months living out here. Tip-top candidate I am.

    My subject interview was surprisingly cosy too, and I liked that they let us wait in the ASNAC common room, rather than a corridor. And my general interview was just really nice and very informal and gave me more scope to talk about my interests (cue monologue about Geoffrey of Monmouth, currently my favourite historian), rather than asking me questions about the sources. So yes, applicants, take heart! The ASNAC department will not eat you (although I do believe they have a deparmental sword, so watch out for that).
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    My son (sorry cant talk him into posting here himself) is going to be a fellow Asnacer (depending on grades he is currently doing A levels) he interviewed at Clare and was pooled but was given an offer from Homerton.
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    (Original post by Jan2555)
    My son (sorry cant talk him into posting here himself) is going to be a fellow Asnacer (depending on grades he is currently doing A levels) he interviewed at Clare and was pooled but was given an offer from Homerton.
    Good for him! Yay, that makes a whole... three of us on here?
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    Oh wow, you only got one interview? And twenty minutes is no time at all, really. o_0 (Just thinking how badly I'd have crashed and burned if they'd only had my subject interview to consider.) The source thing surprised me too - I wonder if that's a new thing this year, and that's why we never heard about it before? They gave it to me and I was just desperately trying to dredge up GCSE History, going 'Nature, origin purpose. Nature, origin, purpose! Ahhh!' And did they spring linguistics on you too? *shudder*

    I actually don't know what balance I want from the course. I really just want a timeturner so I can take all the papers, but I think I'll probably end up with a fairly even split. What are you thoughts on palaeography? That's the one paper I'm absolutely dead set on taking. It sounds almost like code-breaking to me, which appeals to the more science-y parts of my brain.

    Your gap year sounds pretty awesome too! If I'd managed to find any museum work near me, I'd probably have stayed in England. (In case it's not obvious yet, I really like museums.) And as for your Latin progressing slowly - it can hardly be slower than my Icelandic, where I know about three verbs and a handful of household nouns after two months living out here. Tip-top candidate I am.

    My subject interview was surprisingly cosy too, and I liked that they let us wait in the ASNAC common room, rather than a corridor. And my general interview was just really nice and very informal and gave me more scope to talk about my interests (cue monologue about Geoffrey of Monmouth, currently my favourite historian), rather than asking me questions about the sources. So yes, applicants, take heart! The ASNAC department will not eat you (although I do believe they have a deparmental sword, so watch out for that).
    I know, twenty minutes certainly felt remarkably short, and it seemed as though they could only scratch the surface of my suitability in that time! Perhaps it was providence that it was so short. :P Thankfully my interviewers were light on linguistics! They asked me a little bit about the components of the English language which was pretty straightforward. I almost stumbled into a linguistics debate when I quite foolhardily asserted that if the Battle of Edington was lost, there would likely be no universal English language. Luckily they asked instead what the nation would be like under Viking rule, after which they spent 5 minutes educating me. Initially, it was an enlightening AND easy ride

    I believe I'll be taking every history paper available and the palaeography paper (which incidentally I inquired about in my interview) plus the mandatory one or two languages. I'm much more of a history person I think, not least because I can't do languages too well but also because history sparks my interest more! I'm very set on the palaeography paper because as you say it should liven up the tripos with a dash of science and investigative spirit!

    Unfortunately, and much to my surprise, my museum work is excruciatingly boring! My job is to walk around a room generally devoid of people but filled with exhibits (initially exciting, but less so after excessive study) and conversing with guests when they do trickle in. Except it's somewhat awkward as they aren't keen on being pestered by a volunteer. And I heard Islenska is one of the most difficult of the world's languages to learn, so don't feel like you're making slow progress! At least unlike Latin no prior knowledge is assumed of Old Norse. Somehow now I'm less inclined towards it :P
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    I have an offer from Robinson Conditional A*AA, so it's quite scary :/ Still can't believe it, though...
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    (Original post by BiscuitGirl)
    Ahaha, you really are in the same situation! (Out of interest, what college at Oxford? I tried for Oriel, and when they rejected me they addressed the feedback email to my headteacher. I'm still bitter about that.)

    Aw, King's is lovely - I have a friend there so I've visited it quite a bit, and oh, so amazing. Go for it! (Unless I can tempt you to consider Pembroke? Even lovelier, IMO, and conveniently situated across the road from Fitzbillies.)
    I applied to Univ at Oxford and got rejected after interview but haven't had any feedback yet... I really hope it's not addressed to my headteacher! haha :bricks:
    I actually emailed a few weeks ago asking them to send it directly to me but no reply ahh

    Out of interest, does anyone who applied/has an offer for ASNaC have Latin at GCSE or A Level? I don't have any relevant languages (apart from an A in GCSE French) so I'm a bit worried about how they'd assess my language capability if I got an interview and how much it would affect any potential offer...
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    I have an offer from Robinson
    Hey nice job Mozza! I'm sure we'll all be seeing you in October!

    Out of interest, does anyone who applied/has an offer for ASNaC have Latin at GCSE or A Level? I don't have any relevant languages (apart from an A in GCSE French) so I'm a bit worried about how they'd assess my language capability if I got an interview and how much it would affect any potential offer...
    They will only test your capability in languages if you indicate on your personal statement that you've been learning one. Since Latin is realistically the only language you could develop an aptitude in, and thus the only one they'd query you about, if you don't say you're learning it they probably won't ask you! As for my language portfolio, I got a C in GCSE French (My GCSE days were... odd) and I took no languages for A level. They raised this in interview and I could only pledge to them that I'd work hard at Latin, which I have been learning. I don't think it would affect your offer much (just look at me!) but would rather create a more history-based interview. Just make sure you do your reading . Remember, no prior knowledge is assumed!
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    (Original post by MozzaTheUnready)
    I have an offer from Robinson Conditional A*AA, so it's quite scary :/ Still can't believe it, though...
    Yeahhh, another joining our cult happy band!

    (Original post by magwitch)
    I applied to Univ at Oxford and got rejected after interview but haven't had any feedback yet... I really hope it's not addressed to my headteacher! haha :bricks:
    I actually emailed a few weeks ago asking them to send it directly to me but no reply ahh

    Out of interest, does anyone who applied/has an offer for ASNaC have Latin at GCSE or A Level? I don't have any relevant languages (apart from an A in GCSE French) so I'm a bit worried about how they'd assess my language capability if I got an interview and how much it would affect any potential offer...
    I don't really know, sorry. I mean, I got asked a *lot* of history questions, even though I didn't take History A level, but they were general 'here is a source, extrapolate from it' questions and didn't assume any prior knowledge, unlike my language and literature ones. So something similar will probably apply to you? As for it affecting your offer, they don't specify any compulsory subject, so can't very well refuse to give offers to people without A level X. If you're really worried, you could always try to teach yourself a language to show Self-Motivation and suchlike. Latin's quite a good one to learn - lots of resources, and a lot of very similar words because of the Romans invading everywhere.

    ETA: Also, what Tom said!
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    (Original post by magwitch)
    I applied to Univ at Oxford and got rejected after interview but haven't had any feedback yet... I really hope it's not addressed to my headteacher! haha :bricks:
    I actually emailed a few weeks ago asking them to send it directly to me but no reply ahh

    Out of interest, does anyone who applied/has an offer for ASNaC have Latin at GCSE or A Level? I don't have any relevant languages (apart from an A in GCSE French) so I'm a bit worried about how they'd assess my language capability if I got an interview and how much it would affect any potential offer...
    I did Latin AS from scratch. If you're really serious about the course and learning an ancient language, then you might be interested in a summer school. I went to the one at KCL, which is good if you want the basics of the language. Another really good one is Bryanston. It's more expensive, but much more intensive, and you get accommodation included I think both have bursaries to help with the costs. My friend went to Bryanston and loved it, and the language itself is phenomenal. Best of luck!! XD
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    (Original post by magwitch)
    I applied to Univ at Oxford and got rejected after interview but haven't had any feedback yet... I really hope it's not addressed to my headteacher! haha :bricks:
    I actually emailed a few weeks ago asking them to send it directly to me but no reply ahh

    Out of interest, does anyone who applied/has an offer for ASNaC have Latin at GCSE or A Level? I don't have any relevant languages (apart from an A in GCSE French) so I'm a bit worried about how they'd assess my language capability if I got an interview and how much it would affect any potential offer...

    My son (offer for ASNAC from Homerton) has no language background apart from English at A Level. He was worried that it might hinder his chances, even though its not a requirement for application, but it hasnt seemed to make any difference to his application and I dont think it was flagged as an issue at interview even though he thought it might be.
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    Well, hey, this thread actually exists!

    ASNAC-offer holder here, at St Catz! Unconditional as far as I know (graduated in june). It didn't actually say on my letter. :K:
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    Wow a grand total of three unconditionals and one conditional!

    Congratulations CSG!

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