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).
  2. Check whether your subject has a pre-interview assessment. If so, you will need to be registered for this by the relevant deadline.
  3. By 1 October:
    • If you are applying for Medicine, ensure that you are registered for the BMAT by 17:00 UK time.
  4. By 15 October:
    • Submit a UCAS form online by 18:00 UK time (after applications open in mid-September). 
    • 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:
    • 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 by midnight UK time. The COPA form will be available from early July. The COPA/UCAS deadlines are earlier if you apply for overseas interviews in China, Malaysia or Singapore.
  6. Within a week of the main application deadline (15 October) King's Admissions Office will email you with a link to the online Applicant Information.
  7. By 12 noon on 22 October:
    • Submit the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) online. 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.
    • Applicants who attend / attended schools in European Union countries outside the UK, or who are taking exams in the UK which do not have external assessment at the end of Year 12, also upload a transcript online via the SAQ form.
    • All applicants who declared a disability, 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. 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 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. The UCAS form deadline is 18:00 UK time on 15 October. We do not consider late UCAS applications. 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. See the University overseas application pages. If you do not attend a school or college in the UK or EU, please also submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) by midnight UK time on the 19 October. The deadline for the SAQ and adjustments form is 12 noon BST 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 on-line application sent directly to King's. The earliest you can submit a UCAS form is mid-September. 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. 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 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 5pm on 1 October for Medicine, or  6pm on 15 October for other subjects with a pre-interview written assessment. Pre-interview written assessments are then sat in schools (or assessment centres) on 2 November. Full details are on the written 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 (contact details are on the right of this page). Please read the instructions with the form very carefully - you must submit a transcript online via the COPA form too and will need to organise this in advance to have it ready. See 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 12 noon 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 (contact details are on the right of this page). 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, IB students etc: If any of the following criteria apply, you will be asked to attach a transcript when you fill in the SAQ:

  • you attend/attended school in an EU country outside the UK.
  • you are taking the International Baccalaureate (see information), linear A levels (A levels with no AS levels), or another UK qualification which does not have external exams at the end of Year 12 (e.g. Pre-U).

The deadline is 12 noon 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, learning difficulty or long-term illness.

Applicant Information: Between 15 and 22 October you will receive an email from King's Admissions Office giving you 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 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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