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Use your local library!

Student studying in King's College Library

King's graduate Zadie Smith (English, 1994-1997) celebrated and defended local libraries in this 2012 essay, explaining that:

"Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay."

At Cambridge, our students have 114 libraries to choose from.  You can take a virtual tour of the King's College Library and watch Cambridge students' quest for the perfect desk.

As your exams come to an end and a lovely, long Summer beckons, you'll have more time to read around your subject.  If you don't already use your local library, you will find out where it is and what it has to offer here.  If your local library doesn't have what you're looking for, you can request an inter-library loan.

Your local university library may be able to help, too.  For example, Newcastle University's Sixth Form Access Scheme provides reference facilities for Year 12s and 13s in the North East of England. 

Date posted: 

Tuesday 6 June 2017

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Introduction to Archives

Rupert Brooke in uniformRupert Brooke in uniform, at Blandford, Dorset. 1914. Archive Centre, King’s College, Cambridge. RCB/Ph/262

Why not access and use primary sources to explore and develop your academic interests this Summer?

King's College Archive Centre has developed an Introduction to Archives, using the papers of King's student and First World War poet Rupert Brooke as a case study.

The website is divided into two parts:

  1. Introduction to archives: What archives are, the key principles of archival research and how to access primary sources (sections 1-6).
  2. Rupert Brooke case study: How these ideas apply to the papers of Rupert Brooke, through interpretation activities focussing on different aspects of his life and a few of his most famous poems (sections 7-10).

Once you've worked through the online resources, you'll be ready to visit an archive near you to do some research of your own.

Date posted: 

Friday 2 June 2017

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What is it really like to study Engineering?

Reading lists!

Books on a bookshelf

Doing some reading is a good way to develop your academic interests, but don't get overwhelmed! Credit: Les Chatfield

We're sometimes asked for advice about what prospective students should read.

If you are looking for reading suggestions (particularly as you approach the summer, when you may have a bit more time), you may find the reading lists for all subjects in the offer-holders' section useful. Depending on your subject, you will find useful book sugestions or problem-solving websites and other advice. These 'lists' can be particularly useful if you don't know where to start, or if you'll be studying a subject at Cambridge that you don't already study at school, such as Human, Social and Political Sciences, Law, Philosophy, Engineering, Linguistics, Medicine or Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.

Do:

  1. Be yourself and follow your interests
    None of the Cambridge courses have books that you have to read before you apply, so if you've already found some material that you're finding interesting and engaging, and is developing your academic interests, don't stop!
  2. Make a few brief notes
    Making a list of the points that interest you, or any thoughts on the arguments you encounter, is a good thing to do as you read if you can (even if you keep them very brief). This will help you to remember the most important points, and also to notice where your interests lie.
  3. Explain to somebody else
    Are you taking it in? A good way to ensure that you've understood something is to try to explain it to somebody else. Do you have any friends or relatives who might be interested in what you're reading? If you can explain the main points in an idea to somebody who does not know about the subject, that is normally a good sign that you've got it clear in your own head!

Try to avoid:

  1. Being daunted
    The lists we provide are meant to be helpful for those looking for suggestions. We're not trying to overwhelm you. Just like the kinds of suggestions you get from supervisors and lecturers when you're studying at Cambridge, some of the subject lists are quite long so that you can pick and choose according to your interests. Don't be put off by this!
  2. The tick-box approach
    The important point about your reading is not which books you've read but what you get out of them. So our advice is: don't rush to read as many books as possible in order to tick them off a reading list. It is much more important that you take time to enjoy the material and think about it. Remember that the best things to mention on the personal statement or your UCAS application form are the things that genuinely interest you.

Date posted: 

Friday 26 May 2017

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STEP Mathematics resources

Graph

Credit: Electric-Eye

Cambridge University has a free online STEP Mathematics course designed for students preparing to take STEP papers (STEP exams are required if you are applying for Mathematics or Computer Science with Mathematics at King's).

The course has online modules for individual study, which are open to everyone.

STEP is very important because it helps you to make the transition from school maths to the kinds of matheamtical thinking that you will do at Cambridge. 

More about STEP.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 16 May 2017

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Booking open for Maths Open Day on Saturday 6 May 2017

Students at an Open Day

Tour of King's with a current student

Students in Y12 who are interested in studying Mathematics at University have the great opportinity to visit the Maths Open Day at King's on 6 May 2017! Prospective mathematics students arrive for a talk and Q&A with a King's academic in Mathematics starting at 12:00 noon. Afterwards there will be a chance to meet a current King's undergraduate studying Maths, who will give you a tour of King's College then take you from King's to the Centre for Mathematical Studies (outside King's) for the Mathematics Faculty Open Afternoon (a series of taster lectures and information about STEP). The event ends at 16:50.

If you would like to attend, you need to complete two booking forms:

Date posted: 

Wednesday 12 April 2017

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Newnham College Essay Prizes

Inside Newnham CollegeNewnham is one of Cambridge's women's colleges, along with Murray Edwards and Lucy Cavendish (for women aged 21 and over).

Entries for Newnham College's annual Essay Prizes are open. The prizes are designed to give students the opportunity to think and work at a university level and in a university style.

All female students currently in Year 12 at a UK school may enter the prizes, which are being offered in Architecture, Engineering, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, Philosophy, Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences, as well as the annual ‘Woolf Essay Prize’ with questions inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. See the questions and information.

Date posted: 

Friday 24 February 2017

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God-Curious: Asking Eternal Questions

The Dean of King’s Stephen Cherry, has this week published a book intended to encourage sixth formers to consider studying theology. Called God-Curious: Asking Eternal Questions, the book came out of Stephen’s observation that, ‘on the whole, introductory books about theology are not as interesting or attractive as the subject itself.’

So, encouraged by our undergraduate admissions team, Stephen wrote some material for the King’s website that put forward the idea that theology is fascinating, fun and important: 

Stephen explains how the book itself emerged.

‘I was aware, as I wrote the new webpages, that there are those who think that theology is only possibly of interest to people who follow one religion or another. So I also wrote some material that made the point that even if you think religion is absurd it’s not going to go away any time soon, so it might be good idea to discover a bit more about how it all hangs together.

I hadn’t been writing for long when I realised that I had more than a few webpages on my hands and so – partly because I had just broken my ankle – I decided to see what happened if I tried to write something more extensive. It wasn’t long before I had the first draft of a little book that argued that theology is fascinating, fun and important, and that it is, in fact, the antidote to fundamentalism.’

Stephen has written more extensively about the book on his blog Another Angle.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 21 February 2017

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Ancient World / Classics essay competition

Ruined arch

Porta Maggiore in the Aurelian walls

Fitzwilliam College is running a Ancient World / Classics Year 12 essay competition. It you think that you might be interested in studying Classics at Cambridge, it's a good opportunity to explore a topic. Possible questions include:

  • How important is authorial intention in our understanding and appreciation of ancient literature?
  • “Ancient texts just give us the perspectives of the rich and famous. Archaeology shows us everyone.” Discuss.
  • "In the ancient world, the sea always linked rather than divided people." Discuss.

For more information and how to enter, please see

Date posted: 

Tuesday 7 February 2017

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