‘You’re completely wrong. I have facts to disprove all that you have told me.’

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UNIVERSITY applicants now have to gain 90 per cent plus A* grades in several A-levels and go on interviews that can last for days.

Plus, fees at the top two universities are expected to rise to £9,000 per year.

So how on earth to our candidates manage it - and what is it that motivates them? David O’Neill finds out...

Alex Rattan, 17, and Emilia Gyles, 18, from Berkhamsted School, and Bruce Guest, 17, head boy at the town’s Ashlyns School, have received offers from Oxford University.

Emilia was given a general interview by one person, two subject interviews – each by two scientists – and a test before Cambridge chiefs chose to make her an offer.

She wants to study natural sciences, but will now have to score one A* and three As in her A-levels before being allowed in.

In her interviews, Emilia was asked to estimate how many molecules are in a glass of water, the mass of the earth – and to describe a bowl.

Emilia, who is thinking of joining the pharmaceuticals industry when she is older, said: “It is about thinking on your feet and responding on the spot.

To read the full feature, buy the Gazette, out tomorrow.