FAQs for prospective undergraduates


School Qualifications

Who can apply?

Applying to King's



Can I visit the College at any time?

Yes, you can, except during the brief Christmas closing period. Come to one of our Open Days or an informal meeting for prospective students, combine a visit with a Department Open Day or Saturday masterclass, or visit on any day that suits you.

Admission to King's is free to any prospective applicant. If there is a Visitor Guide at the door, just let him or her know why you have come and do pop into the Porters' Lodge (just inside the entrance) to introduce yourself. The public areas will be open to you and you may like to download and print our self guided tour for prospective students to bring with you when you visit.

If you are in Cambridge in the early evening, you would also be very welcome to attend Choral Evensong in King's Chapel if you want to.

Can I book a meeting with a Director of Studies in my subject?

The best way to see a Director of Studies, and other members of the King's community is to come to one of our Open Days. Other opportunities for subject-specific visits are Department Open Days and Masterclasses.

What if it's not possible for me to visit King's?

Don't worry. It is not essential to visit King's before applying, and many students make a successful application without setting foot in the College beforehand.

School Qualifications


How do I know if I am taking the right school subjects for the course I want to study?

You should consult the King's subject pages. Information about required subjects is towards the end of these pages, in the applying section. If you have further questions please contact King's Admissions Office.

What is King's policy on 'non-traditional' subjects (e.g. Business Studies or Theatre Studies)?

Remember that all Cambridge courses are academically demanding. We therefore look for evidence of intellectual commitment not least in your choice of subjects. You should first of all find out which subjects are required or 'highly desirable' for your chosen course: please see the King's subject pages. Further information (including advice if you have not yet chosen a course) is available on the choosing school subjects page.

How many subjects should I be taking in my final year(s)?

We encourage our applicants to perform strongly in their chosen subjects rather than pursue more subjects and perform less well in them. See the information about developing your interests. Remember that we do not make offers on A level General Studies or Critical Thinking.

What is the usual King's offer?

At King's, our applicants come from countries and examination systems all around the world, and we have considerable expertise in assessing a wide range of qualifications. For details of our most common offers for A levels, IB and other qualifications around the world, please see the entrance requirements.

What happens if I take exams early?

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. 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.

Will exam- or test-resits affect my application?

We do not object to repeated sittings if candidates feel that an existing score does not reflect their actual competence in a subject. However, we will always consider individual scores in the context of your academic profile as a whole. You are required to declare the marks for all relevant examinations you have taken (even if you sit the paper again) as part of your Cambridge application.

Is there a fixed quota for individual subjects?

No, except for Medicine, which operates a university-wide quota set by the government. In all other subjects, we distribute places in line with the strength of the applicant pool.

Is there a language test requirement for applicants with a first language other than English?

Full details of English language requirements are available on the International students page.

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Who can apply?

The Old Lodge

The Old Lodge

Is there a quota for international students?

No. We seek to attract the strongest students, regardless of their background or nationality, and all applicants compete on the basis of academic achievement and potential. In recent years, just over 30% of our offers have gone to applicants from continental Europe and overseas. See the International students page.

How old do I need to be?

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. Applicants who would be 21 or over when they start the course need to apply as a mature student.

What if my school doesn't offer much support for Cambridge applicants?

We can help. If you are studying in the UK, please read the information about applying with limited support or advice, and if you are studying outside the UK, please also read the information for international students.

Can I apply if I am already a student at another University, or have completed a first degree?

We usually do not accept applicants who are currently studying for an undergraduate degree at another UK university. Students who already hold an undergraduate degree can either apply to study for a Cambridge B.A. as an affiliated student (in a year less than regular undergraduates) or consider applying for a postgraduate degree.

Will it be a problem if someone else from my school is applying to King's?

No. We are looking for students who show academic potential to do very well on our courses. We are happy to admit more than one student at a particular school, even in the same subject, if both students deserve a place on academic grounds.

Does King's accept students who have been home-educated?

Yes, as long as you are able to meet our requirements and complete all aspects of the standard application process. Please read our page for home educated applicants for details.

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Applying to King's

Cleaning the fountain

Cleaning the fountain

Does a Cambridge application differ from applications to other UK Universities?

To apply to King's, you need to submit an application to the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The deadline is 15 October rather than the later 15 January deadline for most other British universities. Full details of the application procedure are available on our how to apply page.

Depending on which subject you are applying for, you may also need to be registered for a pre-interview admissions assessment before you apply.

There are additional application forms for certain categories of applicant:

  • Applicants whose education has been significantly disrupted or disadvantaged need to have an Extenuating Circumstances Form submitted by 15 October.
  • Applicants who attend school outside the EU are required to submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) by 19 October. Applicants from outside the EU wishing to be interviewed in China, Malaysia or Singapore must submit applications by an earlier date (20 September). More information is available on the international students page

After the UCAS form, all applicants also send a SAQ form by 18:00 UK time on 22 October.

We interview a large proportion of applicants. Most interviews take place in Cambridge in early December (see the interview section in how to apply) but some international candidates may apply for an overseas interview (see how to apply as an international student).

How can I find out what I need to do for an application to King's in a particular subject?

You should consult the subject page on the King's website. If you have further questions, please contact the King's College Admissions Office.

What is King's looking for in a UCAS personal statement?

We hope that you will use your personal statement to explain your interest in the subject you are applying for, tell us about any particular interests within the field, and say how you have developed your academic interests. This is helpful to interviewers but we do not guarantee that you will be asked about things you mentioned in your personal statement.

When thinking about how you can develop your academic interests, you should find the 'reading, resources and events' section on the relevant subject page useful, as well as the subject resources section. See the following links:

Do you interview all applicants?

We interview most of our applicants who offer appropriate qualifications for their chosen course. We may decide not to take an application to the interview stage if your qualifications either fall short of our required standard or if they are not well suited to your chosen course. In all such cases we will promptly inform candidates of our decision not to interview.

Some subjects ask applicants to submit one or two school essays - what kind of essays should these be?

These should be marked pieces of work which you consider representative of your interests and skills. You interviewers may choose to ask about your essay(s) at interview. Detailed essay guidelines are published with the Applicant Information in September each year.

Will I have to take an admissions assessment when I apply? 

Yes. All courses have a written assessment of some kind during the application process. Before applying, it is important to check if your course requires a pre-interview written assessment, or if the written assessment takes place at interview (for students who are selected for interview).

What will the test in my subject involve?

Information about the written assessments is available in the applying section of the relevant subject page. Please read this first. No advance preparation is needed for written assessments, other than revision of relevant subject knowledge where appropriate. There are specimen papers available.

Do I need to bring anything to the interview?

Some subjects like to see examples of your work (Natural Sciences candidates are asked to bring some notes on experimental work, and candidates for Architecture an art portfolio). We will provide further details when we acknowledge your application.

Do I need to read any specific material for the interview?

There is no specific reading that applicants are required to do for our courses, however most of our successful candidates pursue their interests in a subject by reading books, journals, and newspapers (whether in print or online), or by engaging in other educational activities. See the advice about developing your interests. Many of the subject pages include reading and preparation advice, and you might like to browse the subject resources.

Can I stay overnight if I come for interview?

We offer free accommodation to candidates who cannot come for interview and return comfortably in the same day, either because of their interview and test schedule, or because of their travel arrangements and where they live. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer accommodation to parents or others who accompany candidates. We provide free meals for all candidates while they are at King's.


The UK has voted to leave the European Union in the future. What impact will this have?

Please read this statement from the University of Cambridge about the UK voting to leave the European Union.

Finding out more

For any further queries about studying at King's or the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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