Humanities

Specimen papers for pre-interview admissions assessments

Note saying 'Register before you apply'

Your school will normally register you.

If you're applying to Cambridge this year then you may have a pre-interview admissions assessment at your school or test centre on 2 November - it depends what course you are applying for.

Information is available on the admissions assessment page, and specimen papers are available if you would like to practice.

Important: Don't forget to make sure that you're registered in time! The registration deadline was 1 October (at 17:00 UK time) if you're applying for Medicine or 15 October (at 18:00 UK time) if you're applying for another subject that requires a pre-interview assessment.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 4 October 2017

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Word of the Day

dictionary word of the day

Credit: Alan Myers

 

There are a few online dictionaries that post a 'word of the day' to help broaden your vocabulary with less common words as well as suggesting some more familiar words whose meanings you might not be so sure on. You can even sign-up to have these emailed to you daily. Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster are just two of the websites that offer these free subscriptions.

And if you're studying a modern language you might want to sign-up for the French, Spanish, Italian or German word of the day. You can find even more languages here.

 

Date posted: 

Monday 18 September 2017

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A good read?

Pile of booksImage credit: Pam loves pie

How do you make the reading you do in your own time count? One way to help yourself think independently and engage critically with your reading is to start or join a reading group. Take your inspiration from Radio 4's A Good Read, where the presenter and her two guests each choose a book they've enjoyed reading, introducing it to and discussing it with the others. Why not swap recommendations with a friend and meet to discuss your responses to each other's choice?

Date posted: 

Friday 16 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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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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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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Reading suggestion

Erruptions that shook the world cover

Clive Oppenheimer,
Eruptions that shook the world
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Volcano eruptions are among the most dramatic and significant geological events. In this fascinating book the vulcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, who is a professor in the department of Geography at Cambridge, considers how volcano eruptions have intersected with key episodes of human and environmental history such as mass extinctions, the fall of empires, or more recent instances of political instability.

Are you interested in studying Geography at Cambridge? Nina and Adam have written about their experiences on the course if you want to find out more about what is involved, and if you are in Year 12, do consider signing up for the Masterclass on 8 April.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 8 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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Robert Walker Prize for Essays in Law 2017

Law books

Find out about Cambridge Law on the course website.

Students interested in applying for Law have a great opportunity coming up to engage with their subject beyond what they are doing at their school at the moment.

Trinity College has launched the Robert Walker Prize for Essays in Law in 2013. The prize is named after an Honorary Fellow of the College, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and former law student at Trinity.

The Robert Walker Prize has three objectives:

  •     to encourage students with an interest in Law to explore that interest by researching, considering and developing an argument about a legal topic of importance to modern society
  •     to encourage those interested in Law to apply for a university course in Law; and
  •     to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students, from whatever background they may come.

The topic for this year’s competition will be announced on Monday 6 February 2017 and the deadline for submission is Monday 24 April 2017.

The full list details of the competition are available on the Trinity College website.

Good luck to those who enter the competition!

Date posted: 

Tuesday 31 January 2017

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