We extend the earlier model of condensate growth of Davis et al (Davis M J, Gardiner C W and Ballagh R J 2000 Phys. Rev. A 62 063608) to include the effect of gravity in a magnetic trap. We carry out calculations to model the experiment reported by Köhl et al (Köhl M, Davis M J, Gardiner C W, Hänsch T and Esslinger T 2001 Preprint cond-mat/0106642) who study the formation of a rubidium Bose-Einstein condensate for a range of evaporative cooling parameters. We find that, in the regime where our model is valid, the theoretical curves agree with all the experimental data with no fitting parameters. However, for the slowest cooling of the gas the theoretical curve deviates significantly from the experimental curves. It is possible that this discrepancy may be related to the formation of a quasicondensate.