> anonymous

Application

 Cambridge

 Christ's

 Modern & Medieval Languages

 2009

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (11 A*)

A-levels

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in French, A in German

A*AA

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I always wanted to go to Cambridge. Oxford never really came into it. The course was better for me at Cambridge, and also Oxford is too close to home.

Because I love the subject, and the choice of modules is really good.

When I went on the open day, it seemed really friendly and welcoming, very beautiful. When I talked to people there, they were really nice and positive about the college. It has great resources too.

Preparation

yes

They arranged a mock interview with a teacher from another school.

Definitely do a mock interview with someone you don't know, who is knowledgable about the subject. It gives you a lot of confidence and also highlights any weak spots you need to cover before the real one. E.g. if you give a really rubbish answer to a question, then think how you could improve it, if you do get asked it in the interview.

Interview

no

yes

4 essays. 2 in French and 2 in English.

yes

A written test in the foreign language, took place an hour or so after the interviews.

I thought the first one (which was in English, for my ab initio language) went quite well. A bit scary at first, but once I relaxed, it was just like a conversation. The questions were designed to make you think - and they wanted to know why you thought that. The woman who interviewed me was really lovely.

The second one was fairly awful. I was given a short piece of French writing and then asked to talk about it. I hadn't really done anything like this, so it was pretty much thrown in the deep end. Some parts of it were ok, but I felt really intimidated by the 2 interviewers. Their questionning style felt a bit intimidating. It was probably just because it was going badly, but I just got the feeling that they didn't like me. Afterwards, they asked me questions in French about books I said I'd read in my personal statement. This was pretty rubbish too. I got tongue-tied and kept forgetting words that I needed.

For the ab initio one: we talked about who owns rights to a written work, and who takes responsibility for it's content - and how this changes if it is translated by someone else. Who decides how a book is received by the audience? How does a story change when it is adapted to a film? What has a deeper effect, a book or a film? Current political issues were briefly mentioned, and she showed me a few pictures of artwork and asked me what I thought they were about. She asked what I would do to prepare to come to Cambridge.

The French one: Talk about the piece of writing for as long as you can, and then we'll prompt you. Why do you think the writer has used imagery? What kind of ritual involves 'standing stones'? (This sounds weird out of context but it was in the text.)
For the books: Tell me about the plot. Why do you think he wrote this story? Why did you find it interesting? What kind of play is it?

A smart dress with a suit jacket. I wanted to look smart and create a good first impression.

Impressions

Very nice - it was the place I wanted to apply to. I couldn't see myself at any of the other colleges I visited.

Facilities were very good. Rooms were fairly spacious, some were massive.

From the interviewers, the first one was very nice, the second two were probably nice, I just felt a little intimidated by them, and didn't really talk to them apart from answering the questions.

Very nice, though only really met 1 or 2.

Final stage

Nervous and terrified - like anyone else.

I got pooled - and I was completely devestated. The 3 days it took to hear that I had a place at another college were the longest of my life. But I was over the moon when I found out, and am still very happy now.

Looking back

Definitely. Even if I hadn't got in, I still would. You can't get in if you don't even try.

Do LOADS of preparation. I thought I had covered all of the bases, but I hadn't even thought about what I might say if they asked me certain questions, even about stuff I'd written about on my personal statement. Make sure you're prepared to talk about anything you've studied, or anything you've mentioned on your statement or SAQ. Do TONS of reading. One criticism was that I hadn't read any translated literature from my ab initio language.

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