Application Process

Below you can find information about important steps for applicants for the full undergraduate admissions process at King’s College. This also includes useful supporting documentation where appropriate.

We recommend you read this page and additional relevant subpages in their entirety to ensure you know exactly what next steps you need to be taking and when.
 


 

Applying through UCAS

For most students, the first thing to do is to apply through UCAS. This is where you will submit your personal details, your personal statement and ask someone who knows your academic work to submit a reference for you. Although what you submit in your UCAS application is shared to all the universities you apply to (you can choose 5 UK universities to apply to through UCAS), it is very important to note that the Cambridge application deadline is earlier than for most other UK universities. UCAS typically opens up to receive all applications (regardless of whether the university has an early deadline or not) at the beginning of September with the deadline for applications for those applying to Cambridge being 15 October by 18:00 (UK time). To find out more detailed information, please read the page linked below.

All students applying for an undergraduate course must apply through UCAS in the first instance - find out more here.
Thinking of taking a year out before starting University? All the information you need can be found here.

Admissions Assessments

Admissions assessments are used as an additional factor to help us assess the overall strength of an application. There are two types of assessments we use in the application process depending on which subject you apply for: pre-interview written assessments and at-interview written assessments.  If the subject you are applying for has a pre-interview assessment, your school must register you for the assessment by the same deadline as the UCAS application (it is your responsibility to ensure that you are registered for this), then you take the assessment at your school or another assessment centre (this is usually at the end of October / early November). If the subject you are applying for has an at-interview assessment, you sit this test if you are invited for interview as part of the interview process - the arrangements for this assessment will be made for you.

Further information about these assessments, as well as information for those who normally get exam adjustments for a disability/Specific Learning Difficulty/long-term illness, is provided in the pages below.

Find out about how to register for your pre-interview assessment and see specimen papers from previous years.
Advice for applicants with a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty or long-term illness.

The Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA)

The Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) is a questionnaire that allows us to collect useful information from a certain group of applicants that isn’t part of the UCAS application. It also helps us to make arrangements for overseas interviews and Organ Trials. We therefore require the following 3 categories of applicants to complete the COPA:

  • Any applicant applying from outside the European Union (EU)
  • Any applicant  who wishes to be considered for an Organ Scholarship
  • Any Applicant who wishes to be considered for an overseas interview

Applicants may also need to submit a transcript with the COPA. We ask international applicants to provide full details of any exams taken from the age of 15/16 (whether formal exams or internal school exams). We will need to know your result in each subject as well as any overall grades. If you have a certificate showing your results, you will need to submit a copy at the time you apply. Otherwise, you should ask your school to write a document stating the exams you took each year and the grades you achieved (in the UK we call this a high school transcript - see the transcript page). You will be prompted to submit your transcript online when you fill in the Cambridge application forms (COPA / SAQ).

Candidates who have been educated outside of the UK and EU are required to submit a COPA form as part of the application process.
Some applicants will need to send us a transcript of their academic qualifications - find out more here.

The Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

Shortly after submitting your UCAS application, you'll be asked via email to complete an online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ). All students must submit this SAQ form by the deadlines set in order to make a valid application to the University of Cambridge. In the majority of cases this deadline will be 18.00 (UK time) on 22 October. If you wish to be interviewed in Malaysia or Singapore this deadline will be 18.00 (UK time) on 26 September.

The SAQ enables us to collect information that is not part of the UCAS application however is useful for us to know. For example, you will be asked to submit the modules/topics that you have covered as part of you current qualifications (e.g A Levels, IB or equivalent) which can be helpful for interviewers.You may also be asked to send a transcript with your SAQ form - this will be made clear to all those applicants this is needed from. Overall, the SAQ provides us with complete information for all applicants so we can assess an application fully.

The SAQ form allows us to find out more about your academic record and must be submitted by all applicants.
Some applicants will need to send us a transcript of their academic qualifications - find out more here.

Written Work and Forms

Applicants for some subjects will need to send us examples of written work. You can find out which subjects this applies to along with further helpful infomation in the pages linked below. Please note that all documents must be sent by post so it is important to be well-prepared and leave plenty of time to send these in. Applicants will also be required to send a Confidentiality Form and UMS Form by post. Don't worry - applicants will be given full details of the required forms once they have applied. If you are overseas at the point of application and are worried about documents arriving on time, please do contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible so we can provide advice in these circumstances.

Candidates for some subjects are required to submit written work as part of the application process - see more here.
Some documents, such as written work and confidentiality agreements, must be sent to the College by post - find out more here.

The Interview

In November we assess applications and invite applicants for interview (we interview the vast majority of applicants). When you come for interview, we will encourage you to talk about your academic interests and ideas. We are looking for intellectual ability, aptitude for the subject, curiosity and commitment. So expect interviewers to ask a range of questions relating to the work or reading you have done, both at school and outside it. Do not be surprised if they ask you to justify or elaborate on what you say.


If they introduce issues that are new to you, they are not trying to catch you out, but instead wish to discover how you would deal with new ideas or an unfamiliar topic. They will not expect you to know all the answers: simply to think hard and have a go. Similarly, any assessment we ask you to take while here is designed to show us your academic potential and aptitude. Apart from the small number of subjects that require some preparatory reading, the interviews and at-interview admissions assessments require no specific preparation.

We interview most candidates and in some subjects we ask you to send written work (see the subject pages for further details). Interviews are not designed to test a particular syllabus but more generally to find out how you work and how you would respond to the kind of academic challenges you would meet as an undergraduate at King's - interviews are designed to emulate the supervision system here at Cambridge. We can find out a lot about your interests, motivation and potential by discussing your subject with you.

The majority of candidates are interviewed here in Cambridge however, for some overseas candidates there is a potential to apply for and be offered an overseas interview. If you think this might benefit you, please read the page linked below which will provide further information about this option.

It's completely normal to be nervous about coming to interview, but here's some practical advice about how to prepare for the process.
In some cases it is possible to be interviewed overseas, but be aware that the deadline for application may be earlier.

Our Decision

Offers of places are made in January. An offer may be 'conditional' (dependent on you achieving certain exam grades) or, if you have already taken your final school exams, an offer may be 'unconditional' (without academic conditions attached).

If we are not able to make an offer to you, but think that you deserve a place at Cambridge, we place your application in the Pool. Here other colleges can consider your application. Sometimes other colleges make offers to Pool candidates immediately and sometimes they call candidates back for a second interview in early January. King's works hard to support pooled candidates and we are often successful in placing them.
 


 

Further Information

Our applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we aim to provide as much advice as possible to help all prospective students. Some of our advice is tailored to particular groups of you for which you can find information to below. Should you not be able to find the answers you are looking for in these pages or, have a specific question you want answering, we would welcome you to contact the admissions team at: undergraduate.admissions@kings.cam.ac.uk

Not all applicants have access to clear or accurate advice about applying to Cambridge - find out about how we can help.
Candidates from disadvantaged or disrupted educational backgrounds are encouraged to let us know about their individual circumstances.
Advice for applicants with a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty or long-term illness.
You may be able to get additional support with your application if you've previously been in Local Authority Care.
Specific advice for applicants who have been educated at home for the entirety or for part of their schooling.
Advice for applicants who will be 21 or over at the start of their undergraduate course, or who have already taken a degree.
If you are an organist of a high standard and you want to study at King's you may be eligible for a scholarship award.
If you are a good singer and you would like to study at King's you may be eligible for a Choral Award with the Choir or King's Voices.

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