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    Hi everyone! Interview season is back upon us again, and last year I found TSR very helpful in when I was preparing for my interview, so I'm making this thread to answer any questions this year's applicants may have! Feel free to ask me anything, and I will try my best to answer.
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    Which modules did you take?
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    How did you feel your interviews went?
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    (Original post by Annamies)
    Which modules did you take?
    I take physics, chemistry, biology of cells, and maths A!
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    (Original post by Gabzinc)
    How did you feel your interviews went?
    One went okay (although tbh I didn't feel like I was properly challenged by the questions, they only drew on A Level material? But the discussion flowed smoothly and I quite enjoyed it.), the other went absolutely horribly. The questions weren't even difficult - I just had a hard time figuring out where they wanted me to go and had to be prompted repeatedly, which was quite embarassing.

    I'd rate the first interview a 4/10 and the second a 7/10.
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    (Original post by krebscycle)
    One went okay (although tbh I didn't feel like I was properly challenged by the questions, they only drew on A Level material? But the discussion flowed smoothly and I quite enjoyed it.), the other went absolutely horribly. The questions weren't even difficult - I just had a hard time figuring out where they wanted me to go and had to be prompted repeatedly, which was quite embarassing.

    I'd rate the first interview a 4/10 and the second a 7/10.
    That's awesome to hear. I had an interview exactly how you described it, and I was worried that they make take the fact that I had to be prompted negatively. How did your NSAA go?
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    (Original post by Gabzinc)
    That's awesome to hear. I had an interview exactly how you described it, and I was worried that they make take the fact that I had to be prompted negatively. How did your NSAA go?
    Mee too!!
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    (Original post by krebscycle)
    I take physics, chemistry, biology of cells, and maths A!
    Thats exactly what I’m thinking of taking!! Where do your main interests lie, how did you make the decision and how do you Find each module? How do they differ to A level?
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    (Original post by Gabzinc)
    That's awesome to hear. I had an interview exactly how you described it, and I was worried that they make take the fact that I had to be prompted negatively. How did your NSAA go?
    Prompting is what keeps the discussion going. I'm sure the interviewers have to prompt their interviewees more often than not - it's just a question of where you can go with that prompting.

    I actually found the NSAA (2017) easy. But of course I don't know how this year's paper was, so I cannot gauge the difficulty level. The only real concern for me was the time constraints.

    Don't worry if you didn't do as well as you'd like though (I know this doesn't sound very reassuring, but I am being honest). The people I know here have had a broad spectrum of interview and NSAA experiences ranging from "horrendous" to "I think it went okay". The mean score isn't 90% for an A or anything - but if you did do well, it will definitely be a boost to your application.

    (Original post by Annamies)
    Thats exactly what I’m thinking of taking!! Where do your main interests lie, how did you make the decision and how do you Find each module? How do they differ to A level?
    My main interest is chemistry, leaning more towards the biochemical/pharmaceutical side. So chemistry was a no-brainer (and I do think first year chemistry in Cambridge is taught quite well so I'd encourage you to take it if you weren't already planning to), Biology of Cells is an ESSENTIAL requirement for most 2nd- and 3rd-year biochemistry/MB courses. Physics is, honestly, kind of a backup plan for me.

    Like I mentioned, chemistry is taught quite well here, even though the stuff we have learned this semester is still quite fundamental (spectroscopy, molecular orbitals, nucleophilic reactions), the problem sheets/supervisions stimulate you to apply these concepts to more complicated situations and it feels quite rewarding (unlike A level lol). Plus it's a good supplementary subject regardless of what your main interests are. Biology of cells is just a huge chunk of information thrown at you, so if you did not do biology at A level, forgive my bluntness, you are going to suffer (there are still people who do it and do well at it for that matter). If you did do biology A level it will feel like a repeat of sixth form albeit more in-depth. I don't like the exam structure (15 short answer questions, 3 essays), but then again that's how most biology subjects are. Physics in first term is just trying to get everyone up to speed, but I've heard it improves next term so I'm actually looking forward to that. Maths A is okay, but like physics the purpose of the first term is to make sure everyone is on the same starting point, so. A little harder than A level. Not difficult. (Maths B is surprisingly more popular than Maths A (apparently it's taught better), although quite a few people I know who expressed intentions to take Math B at the start of term are struggling in Maths A, so I'd say weigh your priorities. Maths B covers more material, so if you genuinely enjoy maths this is for you. Both courses take the same maths exam.)
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    (Original post by krebscycle)
    Prompting is what keeps the discussion going. I'm sure the interviewers have to prompt their interviewees more often than not - it's just a question of where you can go with that prompting.

    I actually found the NSAA (2017) easy. But of course I don't know how this year's paper was, so I cannot gauge the difficulty level. The only real concern for me was the time constraints.

    Don't worry if you didn't do as well as you'd like though (I know this doesn't sound very reassuring, but I am being honest). The people I know here have had a broad spectrum of interview and NSAA experiences ranging from "horrendous" to "I think it went okay". The mean score isn't 90% for an A or anything - but if you did do well, it will definitely be a boost to your application.


    My main interest is chemistry, leaning more towards the biochemical/pharmaceutical side. So chemistry was a no-brainer (and I do think first year chemistry in Cambridge is taught quite well so I'd encourage you to take it if you weren't already planning to), Biology of Cells is an ESSENTIAL requirement for most 2nd- and 3rd-year biochemistry/MB courses. Physics is, honestly, kind of a backup plan for me.

    Like I mentioned, chemistry is taught quite well here, even though the stuff we have learned this semester is still quite fundamental (spectroscopy, molecular orbitals, nucleophilic reactions), the problem sheets/supervisions stimulate you to apply these concepts to more complicated situations and it feels quite rewarding (unlike A level lol). Plus it's a good supplementary subject regardless of what your main interests are. Biology of cells is just a huge chunk of information thrown at you, so if you did not do biology at A level, forgive my bluntness, you are going to suffer (there are still people who do it and do well at it for that matter). If you did do biology A level it will feel like a repeat of sixth form albeit more in-depth. I don't like the exam structure (15 short answer questions, 3 essays), but then again that's how most biology subjects are. Physics in first term is just trying to get everyone up to speed, but I've heard it improves next term so I'm actually looking forward to that. Maths A is okay, but like physics the purpose of the first term is to make sure everyone is on the same starting point, so. A little harder than A level. Not difficult. (Maths B is surprisingly more popular than Maths A (apparently it's taught better), although quite a few people I know who expressed intentions to take Math B at the start of term are struggling in Maths A, so I'd say weigh your priorities. Maths B covers more material, so if you genuinely enjoy maths this is for you. Both courses take the same maths exam.)
    That sounds great. I'm also interested in biochemistry/chemistry. I do physics in school, but I dont really like it. Only after my further maths teacher started teaching some quantum mechanics that I realised I really like physics when it's taught more mathematically. I really love maths, so actually, I might consider at least trying maths B..
 
 
 
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