Questions about applying?

students from Durham Schools in Bodley's Court

Thank you to the students from Durham are who recently visited King's. You may remember that we asked you to write down some of your questions and concerns so that we could answer them here - we're sure there will be lots of prospective students who are thinking about exactly the same things!

Course Choice

Quite a few of you raised this concern. The key thing to think about when choosing a course is that, to get the most out of your time at university, it is important to apply for a course that will really suits your interests

Many Cambridge courses are designed around the intensive study of a single subject, such as Archaeology, Geography, Music or Linguistics. Courses are usually structured like a pyramid: 'Part I' provides a wide-ranging one or two- year introduction, covering a range of materials that explore the subject in depth, and equip you with contextual foundations for your third or fourth year. Then you specialise in one or more specific areas of interest and explore these in great detail in 'Part II' – there’s often quite a bit of flexibility with module or ‘paper’ options at this stage. In most subjects there are a number of different routes you can pursue through the course, and sometimes papers that can be studied in related courses according to your interests.

College Choice

All students at the University of Cambridge belong to one of the Colleges. When you apply for an undergraduate course, you can choose a College or you can submit an open application if you don't mind which College you live and study at. Once allocated to a College, your application is treated exactly the same as any other application. For equally well-qualified applicants, making an open application or indicating a preference College makes no difference to your chance of being made an offer.

the path through the back gate of kings

Path from the backs, King's College

At King's, we try to provide as much information as possible on our website so that you can get a sense of the community here. You should find Why King's?, the relevant subject page and the student perspectives particularly useful, and if you've not seen the College, do look at the 360 degree virtual tours and map.

Where can I find resources for developing my interests?

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 (towards the bottom of each page), and you might like to browse this subject resources page further, which includes suggestions for reading, resources and events (hint: use the tags at the top of this page, e.g. Literature and Languages)

Will I need to take a written assessment for my subject?

Most applicants are required to take a written admission assessment, either pre-interview or at interview.

The course-specific written assessments are designed to supplement the information in your application and provide a gauge of your abilities – to assess skills (such as comprehension and thinking skills) and, where appropriate, levels of current knowledge and understanding relevant to the course applied for. The assessments aren’t pass/fail tests – your performance in any required written assessment won’t be considered in isolation, but taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

The first thing to do is to check whether your subject has a written assessment. If your subject has a pre-interview assessment, you'll need to have your assessment centre (normally your school/college) register you for this by the appropriate deadline. For at interview assessments, you don't need to register for these separately - the College you apply to will let you know the arrangements for this if you are invited to interview.

As for the written assessments themselves, you can find specific information for each subject (such as format, content specification and example questions) by following the subject links on this page and clicking on the relevant PDF.

More questions? They can be specific or general. Please don't hesitate to email us!

Date posted: 

Wednesday 20 April 2016