Written work guidelines

This page is for current King's applicants, to be read in the context of the Applicant Information 2017.

Written work guidelines

Candidates for some subjects are required to submit written work (with a coversheet ) as part of the application process. Details are given in the relevant subject paragraph below, however for all written work, the general guidelines apply.

No essay(s) required by 8 November 2017

Archaeology; Architecture; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Economics; Engineering; Law; Linguistics; Mathematics; Medicine; Natural Sciences; Philosophy; Psychological and Behavioural Sciences.

General Guidelines

  • The deadline for written work to be received at King's is Wednesday 8 November 2017. We can not receive work before 15 October. Written work must be sent by post, each essay accompanied by a coversheet.

Which essay(s) should I select?

Postbox

Written work must be sent by post to arrive by 8 November. Credit: David (cropped).

  • Unless the subject matter is specified for your subject, any piece of work written for the subjects you study/studied at school or college will be fine, even if the work is not linked to the subject that you propose to study at Cambridge. In general, we would like to see work that best reflects your interests and abilities. We are deliberately flexible about the exact content so that you are free to select pieces that you would like us to read. You can submit work that is also being examined officially as coursework if you want to.
  • We prefer essays to be marked by a member of your school staff. If submitting marked work is not possible for any reason, please add a brief explanatory note on the coversheet . School work must be original work, not re-written or corrected for Cambridge.
  • It is best to submit recent work; however, the essays you submit do not have to have been written in your final year at school. Essays written last academic year would be fine if you have not yet produced anything suitable this year. We do not expect gap year students to produce new work - if you are on a gap year, please send essays from your final year at school.
  • Unless specified in the information for your subject, essays may be either handwritten or typed. We prefer you to submit your work exactly as you produced it at school or college. Accordingly, please do not worry about such details as formatting or whether or not you included a bibliography.
  • Any essays you send should be pieces of work that you would feel happy to discuss in an interview. Your interviewers then decide whether or not to ask you about your written work.
  • There is no word limit. As a guide, and unless otherwise specified in your subject paragraph, most candidates submit essays that are between 1,000 and 3,000 words long. When selecting work, please note that we are looking for quality rather than quantity. If you submit work that is longer than 3,000 words, we are happy to receive it but do not guarantee that the interviewers will read all of it.
  • All essays must be written in English, unless we have requested them to be written in a foreign language that you are applying to study at Cambridge. It is best to submit work that was originally written in English, however any candidate who does not have suitable essays in English may translate work written in another language. We do not mind whether you translate the work yourself or have it officially translated.
  • If, for any reason, you are unable to submit any written work, it is in your interest to write to us before the deadline and to explain your circumstances.

Preparing the work to send

Written work coversheet

You will need a coversheet for each essay that you send.

  • Each essay MUST be accompanied by a signed coversheet  preceding your first page).
  • If you are at school or able to be in contact with your previous school, a member of your school staff must certify the pieces you submit as your own work on the coversheet.
  • Please write on the coversheet any information about the context in which you wrote each essay which may be useful for the person reading it. For example, how long you were given to do it (1 hour / 3 days / 3 weeks etc), whether or not you were allowed to use a dictionary (say, in the case of foreign language essays) or other resources.
  • Anything that you feel needs explaining about the work that you are sending can be explained in a note on the coversheet.
  • Please send legible, single-sided copies rather than original pieces - we will not return submitted work. Please ensure that you keep a copy for your own reference.
  • Please ensure that you photocopy or print your essays single-sided (text on only one side of the paper).
  • Please number the pages.
  • Please do not use any staples, treasury tags or plastic wallets, and do not spiral-bind your work. We prefer you to send us sheets of paper in the right order in an envelope. You may use a paperclip if you want to.

How shall I send the essays?

Admissions Office address

The address for written work (and fee status, data protection and UMS forms etc).

  • Please submit your essays by post. E-mailed attachments or faxed copies are not acceptable. If you are an international student, you must post your essays in time for us to receive them by the deadline.
  • You MUST ensure that you use correct postage when you send your work to us, Within the UK, A4 envelopes require LARGE LETTER stamps otherwise the Post Office will not deliver them. If you are a UK applicant, you can check what postage is required on the Royal Mail website.
  • All applicants who have taken modular A levels must send a UMS form by 3 November - these can be included in the envelope with your written work. See the Applicant Information page for further details (once published).
Brighton postcard

If you include a stamped addressed postcard, we will return it. Your postcard must have a UK postage stamp. Credit: color line

  • Due to the large amount of post we receive, we cannot send individual acknowledgement emails for written work and other post we receive. However, we will email you shortly after the deadline passes to confirm whether we have received your work. If you require more immediate confirmation, there are three ways to ensure that your written work has been received:
    1. You could include a stamped, addressed postcard.
      If you include a stamped postcard addressed to yourself,  we will post this back to you to confirm receipt of your work. Note that due to the large volume of post being received, we cannot guarantee that we will post your postcard on the same day that we receive your envelope, so please do not be concerned if it arrives a day or two later than you expect.
      • International students: Remember that we will post your self-addressed postcard in the UK so the stamp on it must be a UK stamp. If you have a Visa or Mastercard, it is possible to purchase UK stamps from the Royal Mail website (important tip - remember that we (in the UK) will be posting the postcard to you (outside the UK) so when buying stamps you must first select 'overseas' and type in your country).
    2. You could arrange for special delivery
      If you require immediate confirmation that your envelope has arrived or detailed tracking, please arrange for special delivery. The King's porters are happy to sign for post whenever it arrives.
    3. Local candidates could hand-deliver their work
      Candidates who live locally are welcome to hand-deliver essays and other documents at King's Porters' Lodge if they wish. You must not bring your essays to the Admissions Office. Hand-delivered mail should still be addressed to The Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge CB2 1ST.

Subject-specific information

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic

Written work required: Please send a single-sided, legible copy of ONE recent marked essay from your A level, IB Higher, or equivalent coursework in English, History or a language to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Architecture

You do not need to submit any essays for Architecture, and you must not send your portfolio to King's (this is to be brought to your interviews if you are invited, not sent in advance).
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Written work required: Please send single-sided, legible copies of TWO recent marked essays written in English on subjects of your choice to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. If you are applying for a European Language as well as an Asian or Middle Eastern language, please include a THIRD essay written in the European language. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Chemical Engineering

No written work is required from Chemical Engineering candidates.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Classics

Written work required: Please send in a single-sided, legible copy of ONE marked essay or equivalent piece of school work, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheet.

Computer Science

You do not need to submit any essays for Computer Science.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Economics

You do not need to submit any essays for Economics.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Engineering

You do not need to submit any essays for Engineering.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

English

Written work required: Please send single-sided, legible copies of TWO recent marked essays or equivalent pieces of school work (this should not be creative writing), to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Geography

Written work required: Please send a single-sided, legible copy of ONE recent marked essay to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheet.

History

Written work required: Please send single-sided, legible copies of TWO recent marked History essays, but not answers to source of documents questions,  to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. Students who are not taking History at school are asked to send two essays on history nonetheless (whether these be written on historical aspects of another subject you are studying, or History essays written specifically for the application and marked by a teacher). The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

History and Modern Languages

Written work required: Please send single-sided, legible copies of the following:

  • TWO recent marked History essays (but not answers to source of documents questions). Students who are not taking History at school are asked to send two essays on history nonetheless, whether these be written on historical aspects of another subject you are studying, or History essays written specifically for the application and marked by a teacher.
  • ONE essay written on any subject in the post-A level (or equivalent) language you are applying for. Candidates for Russian from scratch do not submit this language essay.

Please send single-sided, legible copies of these THREE essays (or two essays if you are applying for Russian from scratch) to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

History and Politics

Written work required: Please send single-sided legible copies of THREE recent marked essays as follows:

  • At least two of the essays must be History essays. These two essays should normally be from your History A level, IB Higher of equivelent course if you are studying History at school, but they must not be answers to source of documents questions. Students who are not taking History at school are asked to send two essays on history nonetheless, whether these be written on historical aspects of another subject you are studying, or History essays written specifically for the application and marked by a teacher.
  • The third essay can be on a subject of your choice (including History if you like). This could be a piece of work from any of your school subjects on a topic that you have enjoyed writing about.

Please send single-sided, leigible copies of these THREE essays to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

History of Art

Written work required: Please send a single-sided, legible copy of ONE recent marked essay of your choice from any of your A level, IB Higher or equivalent courses to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheet.

Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS)

Written work required: Please send single-sided, legible copies of TWO recent marked essays to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom.  Preferably these essays should be taken from work marked by a teacher and submitted as marked. There is no fixed word limit. You should choose examples which you feel best reflect your interests and abilities. Students taking science subjects should feel free to send in essays from their courses and this can include reports on laboratory experiments or field work. The essays should be pieces of work that you would feel happy to discuss at interview. You are welcome to submit timed essays if you want to, but the conditions under which they were conducted should be stated (e.g. amount of time, open book or not, etc.). Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Law

You do not need to send in any essays for Law.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Linguistics

Candidates for Linguistics do not need to submit written work.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Mathematics

No essays are required for Mathematics.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Medicine

No essays are required to be sent in prior to interviews for Medicine.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Modern and Medieval Languages

Written work required: Candidates studying two languages at A level or equivalent should provide one essay per language, written in the language you are studying, on any topic. A third essay, in English, can be on a subject of your choice, preferably a literary, linguistic, historical or cultural topic. If you are studying only one language at A level, IB Higher or equivalent then submit just one language essay in that language and a second essay in English. Essays need not be more than a couple of pages long (longer essays are possible but not necessarily desirable). You are welcome to submit timed essays if you want to, but the conditions under which they were completed should be stated on the essay itself (e.g. amount of time, open book or not etc. ). Please send single-sided, legible copies of these THREE (for those studying 2 languages at school) or TWO (for those studying one language) recent marked essays to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Music

Written work required: All candidates for Music should send the following written items, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017:

  • A harmony or counterpoint exercise, or an original composition
  • A historical or analytical essay (preferably, though not necessarily, on a musical subject)

Please send single-sided, legible copies of your work to the Admissions Office. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Natural Sciences

Applicants for Natural Sciences do not need to submit any written work by 3 November.

Candidates invited for interviews at King's in Natural Science (Biological) are asked to bring to the interview a note book detailing some recent experimental work you have undertaken, or an account of project work or of a field trip. The interviews may include discussion of some of your own experimental work in science (but they do not always include detailed discussion of the work that you bring). If you do not have any suitable written work or a lab book from school and will not produce any by the time you attend an interview, you will be able to explain this to your interviewers. Please be aware that this only applies to applicants for Natural Sciences (Biological). Applicants for Natural Science (Physical) do not need to bring a notebook with experimental work to interview.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Philosophy

Philosophy applicants do not need to submit any written work.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences

PBS applicants do not need to submit any written work.
Return to the Applicant Information page.

Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion

Written work required: All candidates for Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion are asked to send single-sided, legible copies of TWO recent marked essays to the Admissions Office, to arrive by Wednesday 8 November 2017. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Undergraduate Admissions Office, King's College, Cambridge. CB2 1ST. United Kingdom. Please see the general guidelines above for further details and the coversheets.

Links and Further Information

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