Home-educated applicants

A student room

A room in Garden Hostel. See Accommodation

In most years we have a very small number of applicants who have been educated at home for all or part of their schooling. We have put this page together for you and encourage you to get in touch with more specific questions.

What do you need to apply?

You are welcome to apply to King's if:

  • You have researched your options and found a course at King's that you are interested in.
  • You have met, or are on course to meet, our entrance requirements.
  • You are taking suitable subjects for your chosen course. NB. If you are applying for a sciences course at Cambridge, do bear in mind that your science qualifications should include the practical elements. This may require some extra thought for home-educated applicants.
  • You have somebody who knows your academic work and is able to write a UCAS reference and predict grades for any exams that you have yet to take.
  • You have checked whether there is a pre-interview assessment for your chosen course and made arrangements to take it in an authorised centre.
  • You would be available for interview, if invited.
front court

Front court seen from the Chapel roof. You can see the entrance (left).

We strongly recommend that you read the online prospectus and the how to apply page thoroughly as you will be applying with limited advice or support, and will need to take responsibility for finding out what you need to do and meeting the various deadlines. We also recommend that you read the FAQ's page.

If you do not have much recent experience of studying in a school environment, it may be particularly useful to attend an open day or masterclass in Cambridge if you can. Amongst the King's Student Perspectives, Jack's account of studying Classics here may be particularly useful for getting a sense of the academic expectations and priorities here at Cambridge.

Further notes:

UCAS form and UCAS referee

Your UCAS referee will need to comment in detail on your academic work and potential for the course you are applying for, as well as providing predicted grades for any exams that you have yet to take. The referee cannot be a relative.

Although written for international students, you may find parts of the following pages useful:

Pre-interview written assessments

About half of the courses require candidates to sit a pre-interview written assessment in early November. If you are home educated, you will need the help of a local school or college, or you could use an authorised assessment centre. Most schools are already (or can become) assessment centres, or otherwise you can search for a centre on the Admissions Testing Service website. The school or assessment centre will need to register you for the relevant pre-interview written assessement, and also let you sit it in early November on their site.

GCSE (and equivalent) exams

The Cambridge Admissions website has a useful information page on GCSE and A levels. Although we will look at GCSE / IGCSE results (or equivalent qualifications), as part of the assessment process, there are no grade requirements.

If you are applying from the UK, we will a require transcript if you have not taken six or more GCSEs / IGCSEs, or five or more Scottish National Qualifications, in the last three years. The information is on the Cambridge Admissions website and do get in touch with any questions.

If you are applying from outside the UK, you are likely to need to send a transcript. Please see the information as well as the whole of the section for international students.

Extenuating circumstances and other specific cases

We realise that people choose home education for all kinds of reasons, whether these be educational preferences or life circumstances. If one of the following apply to you, please ensure that you have read the information at the link:

The timing of exams and your age

It can be tempting for some home-educated students to take exams early, particularly in your strongest subjects. This can sometimes lead to frustration later on, however - do ensure that you are aware of the following points before you make decisions:

  • We will need to see evidence that students have a workload equivalent to three full A level subjects in their final year, even if they have already passed the qualifications in the previous year. Normally a student who takes an A level or equivalent qualification in their penultimate year would take three further A level or equivalent qualifications in their final year.
  • It depends on the full context of an application whether we would count such early qualifications as part of a conditional offer. Either way, you should do what you can to give yourself a good chance to achieve high scores in your final year.
  • Where a subject is relevant or required for your degree (e.g. Maths for Economics), you will need to ensure you can maintain your knowledge if you are not taking the qualification in your final year.
  • Most of our students are at least 18 years old when they begin their first term of study at King's. We usually ask candidates who would at that stage be younger than 18 to apply for deferred entry. We are always happy to discuss plans for a gap year with potential students.

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