How to apply

A brief overview

  1. Read the 'Study at King's' section of this website thoroughly (in particular, please read the relevant subject page and also check whether you need to be registered for a pre-interview written assessment).
  2. If you will apply for an overseas interview, check the information and application deadlines, which may be earlier than the ones listed below.
  3. By 1 October (17:00 UK time):
    • If you are applying for Medicine, ensure that you are registered for the BMAT by 17:00 UK time.
  4. By 15 October (18:00 UK time):
    • Submit a UCAS form online by 18:00 UK time. 
    • Ensure that you are registered for the relevant pre-interview assessment by 18:00 UK time if relevant for your subject.
    • For applicants from disadvantaged educational, personal or medical backgrounds, your school should submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form.
  5. By 19 October (18:00 UK time):
    • If you do not attend a school or college in the UK or EU, please also submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) and a transcript online (if relevant) by 18:00 UK time. The COPA/UCAS deadlines are earlier if you apply for overseas interviews in China, Malaysia or Singapore.
  6. By 20 October:
    • King's Admissions Office will send a welcome email to you including a link to the online Applicant Information section.
  7. By 22 October (18:00 UK time):
    • Submit the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) online by 18:00 UK time. You will receive your SAQ log-in details by email within 36 hours after you submit your UCAS form. You will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of submitting your SAQ.
    • Upload a transcript online via the SAQ form if relevant (most UK students applying with more than six GCSE's or five or more
      Scottish National Qualifications will not need to do this).
    • All applicants who declared a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty or long-term illness on their UCAS form, or who receive adjustments for exams at school for any reason, must submit an adjustment form and documents (even if only to confirm that no adjustments are required).
  8. On 2 November: pre-interview assessments in schools, colleges and other assessment centres.
  9. By 3 November: we must receive any written work required, and the fee status, data protection and UMS form (all applicants). All forms and details will be available on the Applicant Information page from late September.
  10. You will find out by late November if you have been invited to an interview.
  11. Students invited for interviews in Cambridge submit an interview attendance confirmation form. The deadline and details of  how to do this are given in your invitation to interview. There are also two further forms to request meals and accommodation if needed.
  12. Come to the interview. Most of the interviews will take place from 5 to 13 December 2016 so please keep these dates free.
  13. Decisions are sent out in mid-January.

Note: Further detail is given below. The deadlines above apply to standard applicants. Applicants for Organ Scholarships and for overseas interviews in China, Malaysia or Singapore need to apply earlier.

The application

Application deadlines: You must apply before the 15 October for entry the following October. You can also apply before the 15 October for deferred entry in the October two years ahead if you plan to take a gap year. The UCAS form deadline is 18:00 UK time on 15 October. We do not consider late UCAS applications under any circumstances. Some students apply earlier: For Organ Awards the deadline is 1 September (please read the Organ Scholarships page). Applicants who would like to be interviewed overseas must apply by 20 September for interviews in China, Malaysia and Singapore, or by 15 October for interviews in all other locations. All applicants should also check if a pre-interview admissions assessment is needed for your subject. Registration for these is required by 17:00 UK time on 1 October (Medicine candidates) or 18:00 UK time on 15 October (candidates for other subjects that require a pre-interview assessment). If you do not attend a school or college in the UK or EU, please also submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) by 18:00 UK time on the 19 October. The deadline for the SAQ and adjustments form is 18:00 UK time on the 22 October.

UCAS Application:  You must apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applicants with King's College [Institution name: CAM, Institution code: C05, College code: K] as their preference College will have their online application sent directly to King's. The earliest you can submit a UCAS form is early September (applications are now open). You complete the UCAS form well ahead of 15 October and submit it, then your school/college completes the reference section and submits the whole form by 18:00 UK time on 15 October. It is your responsibility to leave your school/college enough time for them to complete and submit the referenced section by the deadline (and you must check that this has been done). We do not consider late UCAS applications under any corcumstances. Application through UCAS is essential even for those resident outside the UK (additional UCAS advice is available for international students). It is crucial that you include an email address that you check regularly in your UCAS application unless there is a good reason why this is not possible.

Pre-interview admissions assessment:
See the list of courses for which a pre-interview assessment is required. If you are applying for a course with a pre-interview assessment, you must be registered for this by your school (or other authorised assessment centre) by the relevant deadline. The registration deadlines are 17:00 UK time on 1 October for Medicine, or  18:00 UK time on 15 October for other subjects with a pre-interview admissions assessment. Pre-interview admissions assessments are then sat in schools (or assessment centres) on 2 November. Full details are on the admissions assessments page, which includes links to detailed information about the assessment in each subject and how to register.

Extenuating Circumstances form: If you are from a disadvantaged educational, personal or medical background, this form must be submitted by your school/college by 15 October. Please pass on the form and information to your school. All enquiries about your eligibility should come from your school/college. Where relevant, please also read about applying with a disability, learning difficulty or long-term illness.

Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) and High School Transcript: The COPA form is available from early July each year, and must be submitted by candidates who attend schools outside of the UK/EU and by organ award applicants. The form and further information is available on the Cambridge Undergraduate Admissions website. If you have questions or problems with this form, please consult the guide (published in July each year) or contact the COPA Helpdesk (email copahelp@admin.cam.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1223 333308). Please read the instructions with the form very carefully - most international students must submit a transcript online via the COPA form too and will need to organise this in advance to have it ready. See the flowchart and the transcript page for details. For students applying for an overseas interview in China, Malaysia or Singapore, we will contact your referee directly to ask them to upload a copy of their reference directly to us as well as submitting it via UCAS.

Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ): Within 36 hours of submitting your UCAS form, you will receive an email giving you log-in details for the Supplementary Application Questionnaire, which you must submit online by 18:00 UK time on 22 October. You have not submitted a valid application to Cambridge/King's if you fail to meet this deadline and we will not pursue your application any further. In addition, we can start working on your application as soon as we receive your SAQ and encourage you to submit it as soon as you are able (though please do not rush it). If you have any problems, please consult the guide or contact the SAQ helpdesk (email saqhelp@admin.cam.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1223 333308). Within 24 hours of submitting your SAQ you will receive a confirmation email. Please ensure that you have received this.

High School Transcript for EU students, university students and those with few GCSE's: Some students will be asked to attach a transcript when you fill in the SAQ. Please check the flowchart to see if this is relevant in your case. The deadline is 18:00 UK time on 22 October. Information about preparing and submitting your transcript is available on the Cambridge Admissions website, and if you are an international student, do read the King's international transcript page for further details.

Adjustments form: We will need to receive an adjustments form by 22 October if either of the following points applies to you:

  • you declared a disability, learning difficulty or long-term illness on your UCAS form.
  • you receive adjustments for exams at school.

The form will be available to download on the Applicant Information page from September, and please also read about applying with a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty or long-term illness.

Applicant Information: By 20 October you will receive a welcome email from King's Admissions Office including a link to the Applicant Information section. This section contains information about the next stages of your application including written work which we must receive by 3 November (where relevant) and how interviews will work in each subject. It is essential that you read all the information in this section and the various documents linked from it very carefully. Please do not send any written work before you have received this email.

The Applicant Information section is the main source of information for you once you have submitted your UCAS form and will be updated as new information becomes available or if lots of applicants are asking the same questions. It is therefore important that you keep an eye on this section throughout the application process.

The interview

In November we assess applications and invite applicants for interview (we interview the vast majority of applicants). When you come for interview, we will encourage you to talk about your academic interests and ideas. We are looking for intellectual ability, aptitude for the subject, curiosity and commitment. So expect interviewers to ask a range of questions relating to the work or reading you have done, both at school and outside it. Do not be surprised if they ask you to justify or elaborate on what you say.

If they introduce issues that are new to you, they are not trying to catch you out, but to discover how you would deal with new ideas or an unfamiliar topic. They will not expect you to know all the answers: simply to think hard and have a go. Similarly, any test we ask you to take while here is designed to show us your academic potential and aptitude. Apart from the small number of subjects that require some preparatory reading, the interviews and at-interview admissions assessments or tests require no specific preparation.

The offer

Offers of places are made in January. An offer may be 'conditional' (dependent on you achieving certain exam grades). Or, if you have already taken your final school exams, an offer may be 'firm' (without academic conditions attached).

The pool

If we are not able to make an offer to you, but think that you deserve a place at Cambridge, we place your application in the Pool. Here other colleges can consider your application. Sometimes other colleges make offers to Pool candidates immediately and sometimes they call candidates back for a second interview in early January. King's works hard to support pooled candidates and we are often successful in placing them.

What are we looking for?

At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admission, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge. All candidates are considered strictly on the basis of their academic promise.

Since the 1960s, King's has been highly successful in encouraging applications from the state sector. We are pleased that many of our applicants continue to come from state schools. You should understand, however, that we judge all applicants on the same academic grounds. We welcome applications from strong candidates, regardless of their background, school type, or country of origin.

Further Information

Some of our advice is tailored to particular groups of you. Do any of these apply in your case?

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