Durham

Teaching at Cambridge

Students discuss their work with their supervisior in a King's supervision.A King's supervision in progress

A series of films is being released over the next few weeks to celebrate teaching at Cambridge University.

Here are the first films:

Future films will feature Physics Lecturer Lisa Jardine-Wright;  Zoologist Andrew Balmford; and Design Engineer James Moultrie.

Find out more about the teaching on our how you are taught page and see what students say about it in the student perspectives.

Date posted: 

Friday 23 June 2017

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Questions about applying

Thank you to the students from Durham are who recently visited King's. In one of the sessions 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!

Personal Statement

Several of you brought the personal statement on your UCAS application up. Personal statements give you the chance to tell us about your subject interest(s), and the process of writing a personal statement can often help you to better understand your academic interests and intellectual motivations. We advise you to follow the UCAS advice about what to include in your personal statement, so it is a good idea to look at their FAQ's.

At Cambridge, all admissions decisions are based solely on academic criteria (ability and potential). Therefore, in your personal statement, we’d like you to:

• explain your reasons for wanting to study the subject at university

• demonstrate enthusiasm for and commitment to your chosen course

• express any particular interests within the field

• outline how you’ve pursued your subject interest in their own time

This information is often used as a basis for discussion at interview, but there is no guarantee that this will happen and we also don't give score personal statements. (You can also look at our FAQs for this.)

Course Choice

The course you would like to study is definitely the most important thing to consider when thinking about University. If you want to know what a specific course is like at Cambridge in general you should have a look at the course structure on the relevant faculty page and reading student perspectives can also be a great way to get a more personal insight.

Does Cambridge have to be my firm choice or can I use it as my insurance?

You can of course put Cambridge as your insurance, if you want to. We're just like any other University in that regard. Your firm choice is your preferred university and course and this does not need to be Cambridge. The required grades for your firm choice are usually higher than your insurance choice.
You choose an insurance choice as a back-up choice in case you don't meet the grades for your firm choice.

How much better is having 4 A levels compared to having 3 A levels?

At Cambridge, we standardly make offers on 3 A levels. If a student wants to take an extra A level and is happy with the workload involved, than we have no objections to this. But it does not confer an advantage. 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.

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

Date posted: 

Monday 10 April 2017

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More Year 12 Masterclasses advertised

There are now more subject masterclasses organised by the central Cambridge Admissions Office available for booking.These masterclasses are for students in Year 12 (the penultimate year of school).

The subjects you can book are:

  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion
  • Classics
  • History and Modern Languages
  • History and Politics
  • Law
  • Genetics & Biochemistry
  • English
  • Engineering
  • Land Economy
  • History of Art
  • Education, Psychology and Learning
  • Chemistry
  • Sociology
  • Physics
  • Archaeology
  • Mathematics
  • Geography

For more detail, please read the information about  Subject Masterclasses on the Cambridge Admissions website. If you would like to book a place, the link is available in the table on that page.

Date posted: 

Friday 27 January 2017

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Oxford and Cambridge Year 12 Student Conferences 2017

Lecture

Each year the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford organise a series of joint conferences for Year 12 (or equivalent) students* and their teachers/HE advisers.This year they will be held in Edinburgh, Merseyside. Newcastle, Surrey, Lisburn, Birmingham and Swansea from mid-March to the end of March.

The conferences will cover:

  •     Courses available at Oxford and Cambridge
  •     Applying to Oxford and Cambridge (including Student Life)
  •     Student finance and careers
  •     Interviews
  •     Oxford & Cambridge Admissions for Teachers and HE Advisors - new programme for 2017 at most venues

Booking is now open.

Date posted: 

Thursday 19 January 2017

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Year 12 Saturday Masterclasses available for booking

Lab work

What is studying your subejct at university level really like? Credit: Laurence Livermore

Booking has opened for the February Year 12 Saturday Masterclasses in Cambridge. These events provide you with an opportunity to explore topics of interest beyond what is covered within your school syllabus, and offer the chance to experience typical undergraduate teaching at Cambridge.

4 February:

  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
    (If you're interested in languages, consider giving yourself access to languages, cultures, politics etc outside of Europe. You can study Asian and Middle Eastern languages and cultures on their own, or you can comine with a language that you already study, such as French, German, Spanish)
  • Medicine
  • Physics
  • Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion
    (Recommended if you enjoy subjects such as Philosophy, Ethics as well as Theology. See Why study Theology?)

18 February

  • Classics
    (You don't need to have studied Latin or Greek before - give it a try)
  • History and Politics
  • History and Modern Languages
  • Law
    (You don't need to be studying law at school to apply for Law)
     

For details and booking, please see the Cambridge admissions website, and for more information about the courses, see the courses section or the King's subject page if you're interested in studying at King's specifically.

If you are at a state school from one of the areas listed at the bottom of this post (but not Cambridge), please read about the link area accommodation scheme if you need accommodation the night before the event. Otherwise, if you need accommodation, this page may be helpful.

Date posted: 

Thursday 15 December 2016

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Durham Book Festival

Durham book festival

Credit: summonedbyfells

Durham Book Festival will take place in October, with lots of interesting book-based discussions and events, covering everything from politics to poetry and fiction to feminism! Events include:

  • Writing the first world war
  • Elizabeth: the Forgotten Years (with the author, John Guy from Cambridge History Faculty!)
  • Nikesh Shukla, Coco Khan and Miss L: The Good Immigrant
  • Where does the power lie in the media?
  • A memoir of growing up in the post-war North
  • The best in new Scottish writing
  • Kes, introduced by Andy Miller and Stephen Regan
  • What makes a Classic?
  • The incomplete Shakespeare
  • The Politics of Hope
  • An evening with Alan Johnson (Labour Party MP)

Do visit the Durham Book Festival website for the full programme and details.

Date posted: 

Sunday 11 September 2016

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University of York Subject Conferences

heslington hall university of yorkHeslington Hall, University of York

Credit: John Robinson

The University of York have several Subject Conferences scheduled for June and July this year. These events give Year 12 and mature students the chance to explore a particular subject in depth and have a taste of what university level study is like. The days include lectures, some practical workshops, a campus tour and the opportunity to talk to staff and current students.

13 June 2016 -  Philosophy - includes a keynote talk from leading academic Owen Hulatt, lectures from research academics in the Department of Philosophy, seminar sessions and an optional campus tour. Deadline for applications: Monday 6 June 2016

22 June 2016 - Psychology - an exciting look at the mind, brain, and behaviour. It includes taster lectures on current research, hands-on practicals and demonstrations, as well as the chance to speak with current students about their experience as undergraduates. Booking required, limited places.

6 July 2016 - Chemistry - includes a keynote lecture by a member of academic research staff from the Department of Chemistry, a tour of spectroscopic techniques, molecular modelling workshop, lab activities, advice on applications, and an optional campus tour. Deadline for applications: 27 June 2016

Date posted: 

Friday 13 May 2016

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Subject tasters at Cambridge including an overnight stay

Trinity College

The Wren Library at Trinity College

Are you in Year 12? Do you want to attend subject taster events but struggle because you live some way from Cambridge? Some Cambridge Colleges offer taster events including an overnight stay, which will be very helpful if you want to find out more about what studying your chosen course will be like. There is no obligation to apply to the College organising the event (though you are welcome to if you want to).

All of the following residentials are free of charge, including accommodation and all meals. Do read the full information and check for eligibility criteria before making an application:

At Corpus Christi College:

At Trinity College:

Booking for all events below closes on 23 May. It's an extended deadline - please ignore the part on the page where it says that booking has closed. You'll see the extended deadline on the application form.

Date posted: 

Thursday 5 May 2016

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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

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