Year 12

Sutton Trust Summer School

Beside the river cam in summer By the river Cam in summer

Applications for the University of Cambridge’s summer schools – run in conjunction with the Sutton Trust – are now open.  Offering twenty five different subject streams across four weeks of July and August, these week-long residentials give students a real insight into what life at the University is like. The residentials are specifically designed to increase the educational opportunities of gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds - please check the eligibility criteria. All costs for the week (and travel to and from Cambridge) are covered, so there is a zero cost to participants.

More information about the application process can be found on the website. As well as covering traditional subjects, the summer schools also include a number of new topics that students may enjoy.  Details of these subjects can be found via the links below:

Applications are open until the 11 March 2016 and should be completed online through the Sutton Trust's website.

Date posted: 

Thursday 11 February 2016


What's a Language, Anyway?

Pile of booksCredit: Alan Myers

In a recent article for The Atlantic, John McWhorter considers the differences between a language and a dialect, and how linguists might distinguish between them.

"It turns out that it’s impossible to determine precisely where one “language” leaves off and another begins."

"The serendipities of history chose one “dialect” as a standard and enshrined it on the page."

"Is a dialect, on some level, unsophisticated, as if it doesn’t have a literature because it is unsuited to extended thought and abstraction?"

Read the full article online here. If you're curious about Linguistics, you might also be interested in:


Date posted: 

Wednesday 10 February 2016


21st Century Challenges

Disgarded plastic bottle

Credit: Kate Ter Haar

If you are interested in current environmental, social and economic issues, do look at the Royal Geography Society's 21st Century Challenges website, which brings together expert opinion, facts, videos and interviews and shows the importance of geographical research and approaches to key issues.

See, for example, this section on plastic pollution in the ocean - were you aware of the facts included in this page? What do you think of David de Rothschild's approach? What questions do you think are the most important when discussing plastic pollution?

Date posted: 

Saturday 6 February 2016


What does it look like? Virtual tours!

A supervision with two students

A supervision in an academic's room in King's - lots of books!

Increasingly, UK universities are offering virtual tours so that prospective students who can't visit have the opportunity to look around.

If you are thinking about studying at Cambridge University, you may have read about the Cambridge Colleges where students live, socialise and have subject supervisions in small groups with an academic, but sometimes we know that it can be hard to imagine what they look like if you've not had a chance to visit.

Students by a bicycle rack

At King's, we have virtual tours so that you can look around the grounds, the College library and our Chapel. In each case, you can use the 'navigate' button in the top left of the screen to move from place to place. You may also find our map and facilities section useful.

Newnham College

Newnham College. Credit: Steve Cadman (cropped)

You may also want to look inside some of the other Cambridge Colleges. Thanks to Google Streetview, you can look inside: Trinity Hall, Newnham College, Queens' College, Gonville & Caius College, and St John's College. In each case once you are on Googlemaps, you need to look out for the yellow man in the bottom right corner of the screen, and drag and drop him onto the map where the College is in order to look inside.

Fitzwilliam College

Fitzwilliam College. Credit: Alvin Leong

Other Colleges have tours more like the King's ones, such as Selwyn College, Pembroke College, Fitzwilliam College, and Sidney Sussex College. Although there is much more to a College community than the buildings and gardens, sometimes liking how a College looks can be the thing that inspires you to find out more on the College websites.

As well as belonging one of the Colleges, all students at Cambridge also go to the relevant faculty for their course (there's a building for each subject), where you are taught in lectures and can use any labs, studios or equipment that is needed, as well as the specialist faculty library. In your faculty, you are taught with students from all of the Colleges who study the same subject as you, so it's also a good chance to meet more people who share your academic interests.

Foyer in the Music Faculty

Foyer in the Music Faculty

For example, in the Music Faculty, as well as lecture theatres and classrooms, the spaces and facilities include the entrance foyer, Music library and Concert Hall, which you can look at (click on the pictures at the bottom to change place).

Date posted: 

Friday 5 February 2016


INSIGHTS Public Lectures

Image credit: Marijn de Vries Hoogerwe

Do you live near a university? Do check for public lectures. For example, the INSIGHTS lectures at Newcastle University are free and open to all.

Attending university lectures is a brilliant way to inform, stimulate, and excite debate.  These lectures aim to cover a wide range of disciplines and are a great way for you to explore contemporary issues, particularly those that affect our daily lives. Here is a taster of what is on offer:

Upcoming Lectures

You can also listen to recordings of previous lectures if you explore the archive section. You may find the recordings ordered by theme especially useful (click on the headings in the menu on the left of the page).

Date posted: 

Friday 5 February 2016


7 Things you need to know about prime numbers (filmed lecture)

Number 11

Credit: Maret Hosemann (cropped)

Prime numbers are fundamentally important in mathematics. In this Year 12 talk by Dr Vicky Neale (Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford), discover some of the beautiful properties of prime numbers, and learn about some of the unsolved problems that mathematicians are working on today.

For more maths talks and other online resources, see the Millenium Maths Project website.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 3 February 2016


Thomas Campion English Prize

An Archway in Peterhouse CollegePeterhouse is setting some more interesting questions for Year 12  students to discuss for its Thomas Campion English Prize.

Students are asked to write an essay on one of nine given questions, focussing on one or two literary texts that they haven't studied at school before.

Here are just a few of the questions:

“The novel, which is a work of art, exists, not by its resemblances to life, which are forced and material, as a shoe must still consist of leather, but by its immeasurable difference from life, which is designed and significant, and is both the method and the meaning of the work”. (Robert Louis Stevenson).
Do you agree?

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness”. (Beckett). Discuss.

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all”. (Wilde).
Do you agree?

'The poet's voice is not the voice of the person who happens to be the poet.' What is it then?

The full list of questions and details of the competition are available on the Peterhouse website in the Thomas Campion English Prize pdf, and please also read the details of eligibility of the Peterhouse essay prizes. The deadline is 14 March 2016. Best of luck to those who choose to explore these questions, whether just for curiosity or to enter the competition!

Date posted: 

Tuesday 2 February 2016


Friday 19 February - Informal Meeting for Prospective Students

View of Bodley's CourtAre you thinking of making an application to Cambridge this October, and would it help to come and talk to us at King's? Friday 19 February would be a good time if you're able to come to Cambridge as we're holding a meeting for prospective students for an hour that day. It's nothing complicated - just a chance to meet Heather (one of our Admissions Officers) and ask any questions that you have at this stage. The meeting will be followed by a short tour of the college, or if you'd prefer to walk around the grounds of King's using our self-guided tour, you'll be very welcome to.

If you're interested in attending this informal meeting, do send us a quick email to book a place, including your name and the course you're interested in. We'll then send you further information.

Date posted: 

Monday 1 February 2016


Veterinary Medicine Open Day

The Department of Veterinary Medicine, perhaps surprisingly, has a long tradition of studying infectious diseases. Their work is wide-reaching, and combines leading experts in veterinary and biological sciences, public health and social sciences, ecology and wildlife health. - To find out more you can book a place on their open day (Bookings will open at 10.30am on Monday 8 February)

For more science events, do browse the Cambridge Science Festival programme. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

Date posted: 

Friday 29 January 2016



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