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FAQs

Below is a list of answers to frequently asked questions for applicants. 

I won’t be 18 at the start of the course I want to apply for. Can I still apply?

The vast majority of our applicants will be 18 years old by the start of their second term in Cambridge, and this is a requirement for Medicine applicants due to national restrictions on the clinical element of this course. Occasionally we might admit a slightly younger student for courses other than Medicine if they are judged to have the academic maturity to cope well with a Cambridge degree. We will not normally admit students who would be 16 or younger at the start of their degree, and such applicants may be asked to wait at least a year before being considered for a degree programme here.

What do you think about applicants who want to apply for deferred entry?

We welcome applicants who want to apply for deferred entry, but our advice to these applicants would be to think about your reasons for a gap year and ideally outline any ideas or plans you have for the year in your personal statement or Additional Questionnaire.

What’s your view on applicants with qualifications other than A-levels?

We generally talk in terms of A-levels as these are the qualifications that most of our applicants are taking. However, many of our applicants take other applications such as IB, Pre-U and Scottish Highers, all of which are welcome. A full list of entry requirements for different UK qualifications can be found here, or a full list of international qualifications can be found here.

Should I take 4 A-levels?

We only expect applicants to have 3 A-levels (or equivalent) and do not give preference to applicants who are applying with 4 A-levels. The one exception to this is when applicants are taking Further Maths, a subject which is highly favoured for courses with a strong mathematical element such as Maths, Physical Natural Sciences, Engineering or Economics. We are aware that many schools prefer students to only take Further Maths as a fourth A-level, and in these cases would be beneficial for students to take 4 A-levels if it allows them to take Further Maths.

Do you accept transfers from another university?

Cambridge Colleges cannot accept transfers from another university. In exceptional circumstances, we may consider applicants who are at another university and who want to begin the first year of another course in Cambridge, but these applications would need to be accompanied by a strong letter of recommendation from the current course leader or other academic tutor, outlining their support of the application.

I’m currently studying at another UK university – will Cambridge consider my application?

Cambridge Colleges will only, as a general rule and as a matter of principle, consider applications from students enrolled in a degree course at other UK universities in very exceptional circumstances.  Any application to study at Cambridge would usually need strong support from your Course Director or other academic tutor at your current university. All such applications are subject to the same academic assessment as any other application to the University. Students wishing to apply while enrolled at another UK university are advised to contact the College Admissions Office directly to check whether their application would be considered by the College and what evidence would be required to support it.

Please see this page for further details on applying to the University as an affiliate student.

Do you have any quotas to fulfill for subjects?

The University caps the number of places that are offered in Architecture, History of Art, Music, and Philosophy, and there are government set caps, including on the number of international students, for Medicine and Vet Medicine. Otherwise, there are no quotas. If you’re interested in the typical number of offers made in particular subjects then you may find the tool at the bottom of this page helpful.

How is contextual data used in admissions?

We are committed to ensuring that we offer admission to students of the highest intellectual potential, irrespective of socio-economic background. To achieve this, every applicant is considered individually in a holistic assessment using all the information available to us.  If you want to find out more about this then you can read about the University’s use of contextual data here.

I was due to sit my APs/SATs in the US, but they have been cancelled – how will this affect my application?

If your AP/SAT exams are cancelled, you can sit your exams in the coming year as you don’t need to have taken them all before submitting your application to Cambridge.

I am unable to take my SAT/ACT test in China – how will this affect my application?

We understand that it may not be possible to take SAT/ACT tests in China before applying to Cambridge.  Colleges will still be able to assess all other aspects of your application, including the information provided on high school transcripts and within teacher references.

Still got questions?

The University has also complied a list of answers to commonly asked questions, be sure to check it out and if you still have questions, email us!