students happy

Scholarship student fulfils her dream of studying at Oxford

Posted: 14th March 2024

University of Oxford

My name is Eliana, and I studied GCSEs and A levels at Brampton from 2019 to2022. I achieved grades 999999999 in my GCSEs and A*A*A* in my A-levels and I am now studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford.


I first visited Brampton in summer 2019 when I was fifteen years old, looking for a one-year GCSE programme to allow me to assimilate back into the British school system after living abroad for six years. I chose Brampton because, unlike other colleges I visited, the staff at Brampton never discouraged me from taking the number of subjects I wanted to take, nor attempted to sway me towards ‘easier’ courses. I made it clear in this first meeting that it was my goal to attend Oxbridge and, from the beginning, the staff at Brampton believed in my ability of achieving this and assured me that they would do everything they could to support me.

My GCSE year was riddled with obstacles: I had never written an essay in English before, I took up multiple completely new subjects, and the one-year programme was severely interrupted by COVID as well as significant tumult in my personal life. My teachers at Brampton believed in me and worked incredibly hard to support me both academically and personally, constantly pushing me to reach my potential. It is through the amazing support I received that, despite the difficult circumstances, I was able to achieve nine 9 grades in Maths, Further Maths, English Language, English Literature, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, and Modern Hebrew.


I chose to stay at Brampton for A level because of my teachers’ commitment to helping me reach my fullest potential. Brampton allowed me to study five subjects at AS, constantly making accommodations for me, including 1-on-1 lessons during lunch and before and after the regular academic day, to help me stay on top of all my subjects. Furthermore, I was enticed by Brampton’s Oxbridge forum, which promised specialist support during the university application process. Staff at Brampton reiterated to me their commitment to helping me achieve my goals, setting the college apart from other sixth form options I had explored.

During my time at Brampton, I was able to improve my study skills significantly. Small classes allowed me to improve my focus skills as well as to build closer relationships with my teachers, allowing them to offer me more individual help with topics I struggled with. I was also able to take advantage of tutorial hours, receiving 1-on-1 help from my teachers in topics I had struggled with, as well as in areas beyond the ordinary curriculum, allowing me to cultivate and expand my knowledge in preparation for both my A-levels and my university application.

As someone who struggled a lot with exam anxiety, I was not initially the biggest fan of Brampton’s weekly testing system. Throughout my two years of sixth form, however, weekly testing allowed me to work on my anxiety through exposure and, by my final exams, my anxiety reduced significantly. Moreover, regular testing enabled me to maintain an acute awareness of my performance level, my knowledge of individual topics, and my readiness for final exams. Weekly tests also improved my time management skills, as it meant I needed to consolidate my understanding of individual topics on a weekly basis, breaking down my revision throughout the year and reducing my workload and, subsequently, my stress in the run-up to exams.

These unique academic features allowed me to constantly improve throughout sixth form and, despite complicated circumstances in my home life, to consistently stay on top of my studies and my workload.

In addition to academic features, Brampton also enhanced my sixth form experience through social opportunities and the people I met. Coming from a single-sex faith school, I was excited to meet interesting people from many different backgrounds at Brampton. I made many great friends at Brampton, some of whom I am still in touch with.

A level subjects:

I studied English, History, and Economics at A level. Studying English at Brampton, I was not only taught to understand my set texts but to understand and appreciate literature as an art form. Rather than simply memorising quotes, Anu and Dave focused on the analytical skills required to interpret any English text, and I was able to harness my creativity and come up with my own interpretations of texts. English A level rekindled my love of reading and of literature, which has since enhanced my daily life, improved my knowledge and creativity, and inspired many hobbies and extracurricular pursuits at university.  Though sadly I no longer study English, I find the skills I learnt at English A level constantly help me in my PPE degree and give me an edge over my peers. The analytical and essay-writing skills from English allow me to understand and interpret academic texts, analyse language, and construct creative and persuasive arguments in my essays.

Studying History at Brampton, I focused on Modern European political history- predominantly revolutions and totalitarian regimes. This improved my general knowledge and majorly helped me in my Oxford interviews – in which I had an entire interview on revolutions – and in my degree thus far. Whilst I enjoyed all my history studies, I particularly loved the A2 interpretations paper on the Holocaust. Through the study of historical interpretations, I learnt the basics of historiography, which I deepened through extra reading recommended by Judi. I learnt to interpret, contextualise, and analyse academic historical and political texts, and was able to achieve full marks in my A-level paper. Historiography skills have been particularly helpful during my degree, in which I constantly encounter complex academic texts, which I am now able to contextualise and dissect in my university essays.

I had never studied Economics before A level and immediately fell in love with the subject. The multifaceted nature of economics A-level enabled me to cultivate both vertical and lateral thinking skills, improving logical thinking skills as well as creative essay writing. Niraj and Ruben constantly pushed me, providing me with additional resources and reading beyond the A-level specification, allowing me to develop a fascination with Economics and Political Economy as a whole, inspiring my choice of university course.

University applications:

Throughout sixth form, I participated in weekly Oxbridge forum sessions to work on my university application. John, alongside speakers who came in, helped me to make the crucial decision about which university to apply to and which course to choose. Due to my broad range of interests and general indecisiveness, I chose to apply for Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford.

The staff at Brampton, particularly John and Niraj, helped me significantly with my personal statement. My teachers supported me through various essay competitions and other super-curricular endeavours. Niraj recommended me many books and held a weekly discussion group to debate the ideas and conflicts which arose from them. Both he and John spent many hours helping me condense my personal statement and express my ideas concisely, dedicating much of their free time to my application. I truly believe that I could not have submitted such a strong application – which awarded me offers for all 5 of my Russell Group choices – without their help and expertise.

Through Oxbridge forum and our discussion groups, I was also able to work alongside the other Oxbridge applicants, including three other PPE applicants. Though we all helped each other to prepare, we also pushed each other to work harder and were motivated by one another. Through Niraj’s discussion group, my stances were challenged, and I was forced to defend them to my peers. This experience of being around other people with similar ambitions to my own prepared me for the brutal Oxford tutorial experience, in which I continue to defend my ideas to similarly motivated peers.

In the lead-up to admissions tests, the Oxbridge forum focussed on how to approach these exams and helped us all to prepare as best as possible. My economics teachers helped me with past papers in their spare time and were willing to mark my practice essays and give me helpful feedback. Due to my exam anxiety, the TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) was the part of the admissions process I most dreaded, however my teachers at Brampton made sure I was as prepared as I could be, allowing me to perform at my potential and receive an invitation to interview at my first-choice college.

As I prepared for my interviews, John and Niraj, amongst other Brampton teachers, offered me many practice interviews, allowing me to calm my nerves and improve my communication and expression of ideas. Through Oxbridge forum, I also received several practice interviews with an external expert who gave me helpful feedback. Throughout these practices, my interview skills improved significantly, and by the time my interviews arrived, I felt confident and prepared. During my interviews, I was able to remain calm and focused, answer questions clearly and creatively, and apply the skills and advice I had been given by my teachers at Brampton. It is largely because of all this support and encouragement that I was able to fulfil my childhood dream, receiving an offer to study PPE at Merton College, Oxford.

A-level results/outcome:

The dedication of the staff at Brampton and the study skills I learnt allowed me to massively exceed my own expectations at A level. I achieved A* grades in all three of my A levels in English, History, and Economics, meeting my offer to study PPE at Oxford. I have enjoyed my time at Oxford thus far, maintaining strong academic results and engaging in lots of new academic and extracurricular activities. I am currently completing my BA (MA Oxon) in PPE and hoping to begin the Graduate Diploma in Law after I graduate.

I am beyond grateful to all the staff at Brampton for their continuous support. Throughout my three years at the college, staff constantly went above and beyond to enable me to reach my potential, achieve the highest possible grades, and fulfil my dream of studying at Oxbridge.

By Eliana Wolfson, scholarship student 2020-2022