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Don't make these mistakes when applying to Oxbridge! Please!! Watch

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    Hey everyone!!

    I make up a tiny percent of last years Cambridge rejects (yes I'm appealing for your sympathy), obviously something went wrong during the application process. That might not have been what I was wanting but it does mean good news for you! How? - I hear you ask (well I don't hear you but I wanted to use a cliche). Well, I've written an article covering where I believe I went wrong in the process and pointing out some mistakes that I've made. The article is up on the Independent (there's a link to it at the bottom of the page). It's not a definitive guide to applying to Oxbridge but I hope it'll prove useful and help you to avoid some mistakes that you might otherwise have made. I know this is a little late in the application process to be of much help when writing personal statements but you'll still find it useful for the other parts of the process.

    If you've got any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to reply!

    Apart from that all the best with your applications and I hope that the article helps

    http://www.independent.co.uk/student...-a7326191.html
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    (Original post by Alasdair.M)
    Hey everyone!!

    I make up a tiny percent of last years Cambridge rejects (yes I'm appealing for your sympathy), obviously something went wrong during the application process. That might not have been what I was wanting but it does mean good news for you! How? - I hear you ask (well I don't hear you but I wanted to use a cliche). Well, I've written an article covering where I believe I went wrong in the process and pointing out some mistakes that I've made. The article is up on the Independent (there's a link to it at the bottom of the page). It's not a definitive guide to applying to Oxbridge but I hope it'll prove useful and help you to avoid some mistakes that you might otherwise have made. I know this is a little late in the application process to be of much help when writing personal statements but you'll still find it useful for the other parts of the process.

    If you've got any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to reply!

    Apart from that all the best with your applications and I hope that the article helps

    http://www.independent.co.uk/student...-a7326191.html
    Regarding the 4 main points in your piece:

    1. You advise writing your PS specifically for Cambridge. This is wrong. You then go on to mention the SAQ - and that's precisely the reason why you should not target your PS at Cambridge. Keep the Cambridge-specific stuff in the SAQ, your PS will be read by 4 other universities. Tailoring it for Cambridge will just annoy the other unis.

    2. Indeed, missing deadlines is obviously not a good idea!

    3. Overpreparing for interviews is also not a good idea.

    4. Can be better expressed by saying "if you need help go on TSR"
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    (Original post by Alasdair.M)
    Hey everyone!!

    I make up a tiny percent of last years Cambridge rejects (yes I'm appealing for your sympathy), obviously something went wrong during the application process. That might not have been what I was wanting but it does mean good news for you! How? - I hear you ask (well I don't hear you but I wanted to use a cliche). Well, I've written an article covering where I believe I went wrong in the process and pointing out some mistakes that I've made. The article is up on the Independent (there's a link to it at the bottom of the page). It's not a definitive guide to applying to Oxbridge but I hope it'll prove useful and help you to avoid some mistakes that you might otherwise have made. I know this is a little late in the application process to be of much help when writing personal statements but you'll still find it useful for the other parts of the process.

    If you've got any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to reply!

    Apart from that all the best with your applications and I hope that the article helps

    http://www.independent.co.uk/student...-a7326191.html
    Very well done for getting your article on the national paper.

    Not sure about emphasising the importance of interview practice. nterview style/content varies a lot, and more crucially unless your 'practice-interviewer' has actually experienced their interview or, better still, supervisions, I don't think they can emulate how interviews might be like. Over-practicing it in a wrong way and them encountering the real thing in a completely diggerent style may even have more negative effect.

    But your advice on treating interview as a lesson is very good.


    So......
    How did you get your article on the independent. I have a friend who's been Education editor for a major newspaper, so I know that sort of thing doesn't happen often.
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    Not sure about how you suggest revising for interviews. Memorising what makes a good economic indicator and the values of tan 30? You make it sound like they do quick-fire questions on how much data you've memorised. That is the opposite of what's tested at interview.
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    Thanks, Alasdair.M, not a bad starting point. Especially on making sure that your PS focuses on subject-relevant material, rather than random 'jolly good chap' extra-curriculars.

    My main suggestion would also be on preparing for interview. As nexttime says, the main pitfall is in seeing it as a test of how many facts one has memorised. The key thing is to show critical, flexible thinking. So rather than memorise the names of the principal vertebrate taxa, or the terms for biogeographical regions, think about how you might answer questions like, "What is the most exciting idea in biology right now? Why?" or, "As you can see, this graph shows how the body size of large carnivores varies with latitude. Can you see a trend? What might explain it?" , or "What kind of lifestyle do you think this animal has?" [presents candidate with large pineapple].

    Prepare by reading review articles of contentious arguments in your field, and practice explaining the thinking behind them.

    Oh, and I'm sure St Andrew's is every bit as good as Cambridge....
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Not sure about how you suggest revising for interviews. Memorising what makes a good economic indicator and the values of tan 30? You make it sound like they do quick-fire questions on how much data you've memorised. That is the opposite of what's tested at interview.
    nexttime, what resources and preperation would you recommend for the interviews?
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    (Original post by AngryRedhead)
    nexttime, what resources and preperation would you recommend for the interviews?
    I recommend being practised at talking about academic topics. Probably the best preparation i did was having nerdy friends who would ask those 'what if x?' kind of questions. Rote learning facts is the opposite of what you need - instead you need to be able to take a question that you do not know the answer to and work through logical and sensible thought process to work out an approximation of the answer. There are videos on the respective websites which show examples of what I mean from a few different subjects.

    So practically speaking I think this means: Reading around your subject, doing some mock interviews to get used to the setting, having a logical mind, and being well rested and relaxed for the interview itself.
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    I would've thought that the Independent would have had a proof reader check these articles.
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    (Original post by Bean sprout)
    I would've thought that the Independent would have had a proof reader check these articles.
    The Independent now consists almost exclusively of listicles and advertorials. This is precisely what you'd expect to find in it.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    The Independent now consists almost exclusively of listicles and advertorials. This is precisely what you'd expect to find in it.
    I have quite a few reasons why I don't like listicles , number 5 will absolutely shock you!
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    (Original post by Bean sprout)
    I have quite a few reasons why I don't like listicles , number 5 will absolutely shock you!
    - exactly.
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    I'm a reject too and for good reason. :P
    Forgot to apply for the pre-interview assessment and didn't find out until a week past the deadline for registering, because I hadn't read their website thoroughly enough. Emailed the college I had been assigned to straight away to find out if there were any alternatives, like doing it at the interview. Waited a week and a half and got no response, so I assumed that meant I was an automatic reject and didn't bother to send in any further forms or samples of work. The day after the deadline for sending those in, I got an email asking why I hadn't sent them. I replied explaining that I had sent an email saying I had missed the deadline and that I had assumed that made me a reject, then got a response saying I should send the forms and samples of work anyway. Then a few weeks later I got the standard letter explaining I wouldn't be invited to an interview.
    I am sorry for sounding bitter, but I would have appreciated a response to my original email so that I could at least have sent the forms and work off in time for the deadline. I can understand taking a few days, maybe a week, to reply since they must have such a high volume of communications, but it was 12 days. Even better would have been to tell me straight up that I didn't stand a chance so I needn't have spent three hours on a bus going home to collect some essays to send off and returning to college to get them signed and posted. The only bit I really regret is those three hours on a bus and that's the thing I'm most annoyed about. I know it was almost entirely my own fault though so can't complain. I'm glad in a way as there's nowhere near as much pressure to do well in A Levels now that I only need AAB grades.
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    not good enough, got rejected after interview
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    (Original post by AKinkAdmirer)
    Emailed the college I had been assigned to straight away to find out if there were any alternatives, like doing it at the interview. Waited a week and a half and got no response,
    You sent one e-mail and nothing else for something as important as that?!

    For future reference, you should have phoned them straight away, and kept contacting them at least twice a day until you had a definitive answer. It was your entire future on the line, and e-mails get forgotten about/not read for a week.

    Good luck with your other choices.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    You sent one e-mail and nothing else for something as important as that?!

    For future reference, you should have phoned them straight away, and kept contacting them at least twice a day until you had a definitive answer. It was your entire future on the line, and e-mails get forgotten about/not read for a week.

    Good luck with your other choices.
    Thank you! I will definitely take that to heart in the future!
    I thought that that would annoy them so much they'd automatically be predisposed against me, even if it wasn't something I could actually be rejected for. The standard emails I received when I first got assigned to that college said that it could take a few days for emails to get replied to, so I thought waiting a few days would be reasonable. Of course I can see now that you're totally right so thanks so much for your reply even if it makes no difference now. It's much more comfortable, in a weird way, to know the blame lies entirely with me.
    I couldn't disagree more about it being my entire future on line though. I'm going to make something of my life no matter what university I go to and I'm not going to let this mistake determine my life in the slightest.
 
 
 
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