An Interview with Jenna*
Successful Cambridge Law applicant and Oxbridge Applications Access Scheme Client
What kind of school did you go to?
A state comprehensive.
How did your school support you with your application to Cambridge?
My school read over the final draft of my personal statement and suggested small changes.
How many students go to Oxbridge from your school in a typical year? What about in your year group?
In year 13, there are usually 100 students. Most years no one goes to Oxbridge. I was the only person from my year group to get an interview and an offer out of 4 applicants.
The mock interviews gave me a lot of confidence because I knew I was now as prepared as most of the candidates and they really helped me learn how to go about answering the quite open questions thrown at you by an interviewer.
What were your grades at the time of application (GCSE and AS)?
At GCSE I had 7A*s, 4As and a Distinction. I sat 1 GCSE early in year 9.
What aspect of the application process were you most worried about?
The interview was the scariest part! My school didn’t know anything about what happens at interview so were unable to give me a mock interview of any sort, which is something the vast majority of candidates seem to have had! Before I had the mock interview sessions with Oxbridge Applications, I felt like my application was doomed before it had really started.
How did you find the Oxbridge Applications preparation helped to make a difference to your application?
Oxbridge Applications were my main source of guidance and information regarding the admissions process and I don’t believe I would have gotten an offer without the help they provided. The mock interviews gave me a lot of confidence because I knew I was now as prepared as most of the candidates and they really helped me learn how to go about answering the quite open questions thrown at you by an interviewer.
The Cambridge Law Test seminar was also really helpful and I used the techniques learned in my actual test. The mock questions posted by Cambridge, at first glance, are daunting; after my preparation session, I found myself able to deconstruct the questions and answer something only days before I thought were unanswerable!
What advice would you give to a potential Law applicant?
Although it’s said that no legal knowledge is required for interview, it is definitely good to know how the legal system works and to have looked a bit into the main categories of law. I wouldn’t have been able to answer some of the questions asked if I wasn’t aware of how the legal system works.
This is a great website to help you do that: http://mcbridesguides.com/
Also, read more than the introductory books. Most introductory books are more or less the same and give little depth. I’d also recommend reading Utilitarianism and On Liberty by John Stuart Mill; the arguments presented are very applicable and I found myself referring back to them a lot during my answers at interview/in the Cambridge Law Test.
*Jenna’s name has been changed to protect her identity, on request.
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A Note From Bhavin
Bhavin (pictured right and above) attended an Aimhigher funded Oxbridge Preparation Day Access Event in 2008, where students attend for free. He has subsequently tutored and mock interviewed students on that very event and spoke to the students about how it had had an impact on him:
“My first (and only) Oxbridge interview practice was with Oxbridge Applications. The questions and the interviewers were intensely challenging, and the feedback provided a very helpful platform to build on. I remember going away and realising that I found Law more interesting than I thought I did. I was really surprised at how closely the practice sessions resembled the real interview. If anyone has any concerns or doubts about interviewing for Oxbridge, one session with Oxbridge Applications will convince you to go for it.”
Bhavin completed a training contract with the Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance – on secondment in Dubai.