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FAQs for prospective undergraduates

Visiting

School Qualifications

Who can apply?

Applying to King's

Visiting

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, combine a visit with a Department Open Day or visit on any day that suits you.

Admission to King's is free to any prospective applicant. If there is a custodian 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 in the Subject Matters leaflet.  

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?

Please consult the University's general statement here (you'll need to scroll down). 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?

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. We welcome applications from all students who have or are taking appropriate qualifications for our courses. The trickiest thing for home educated students is sometimes finding somebody who can comment in detail on your academic ability and potential to be your UCAS referee (the UCAS reference cannot be written by somebody who is related to you). Please feel free to email King's Admissions Office with any questions.

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Applying to King's

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.

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 15 October. Applicants from outside the EU wishing to be interviewed overseas must submit applications by an earlier date depending on the country. More information is available on the international students page

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. For further information, the UCAS website has a page on personal statements.

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. If you would like detailed information, please see the previous essay guidelines. The updated version is published on the Applicant Information page each September.

Some subjects ask applicants to take a test when they come for interview - what kind of test will this be?

These are not tests that require additional preparation. They are designed to test your aptitude for a chosen course rather than your existing knowledge.

  • The only subject which requires applicants to take a test before interviews is Medicine. Prospective Medicine students are required take the BMAT test. You must register before you submit your submit your UCAS application, and the test is sat in schools and at test centres (both nationally and internationally) in early November. For details, see the Medicine page.
  • For some other subjects there are tests to be sat whilst candidates are in Cambridge for interviews. These include The Cambridge Law Test, an MML test, and a number of other college tests. Details of test requirements (if any) for each subject are given on the subject pages.

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.

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.

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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