Home-Educated Applicants

In most years we have a very small number of applicants who have been educated at home for all or part of their schooling. If you have been home-educated we strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with the entrance requirements for your chosen subject and how the application process differs if you are not currently enrolled at a school or college. The most important differences to note are listed below:

Taking A-Levels or Equivalent Qualifications

It can be tempting for some home-educated students to take exams early, particularly in your strongest subjects. However, please bear in mind the following:

  • We will need to see evidence that students have a workload equivalent to three full A-level subjects in their final year, even if they have already passed the qualifications in the previous year. Normally a student who takes an A-level or equivalent qualification in their penultimate year would take three further A-level or equivalent qualifications in their final year.

  • It depends on the full context of an application whether we would count such early qualifications as part of a conditional offer. Either way, you should do what you can to give yourself a good chance to achieve high scores in your final year.

  • Where a subject is relevant or required for your degree (e.g. Maths for Economics), you will need to ensure you can maintain your knowledge if you are not taking the qualification in your final year.

  • If you are applying for a sciences course at Cambridge, do bear in mind that your science qualifications should include the practical elements. This may require some extra thought for home-educated applicants.

  • Most of our students are at least 18 years old when they begin their first term of study at King's. We usually ask candidates who would at that stage be younger than 18 to apply for deferred entry. We are always happy to discuss plans for a gap year with potential students.

Your UCAS Form and Reference

When you apply through UCAS, you will need a teacher or equivalent to provide a reference. Your UCAS referee will need to comment in detail on your academic work and potential for the course you are applying for, as well as providing predicted grades for any exams that you have yet to take. The referee cannot be a relative.

Admissions Assessments: Pre-Registration Required

About half of the courses require candidates to sit a Written Assessment: Pre-Registration Required in late October/ early November. If you are home-educated, you will need the help of a local school or college, or another authorised assessment centre. The school or assessment centre will need to register you for the relevant assessment, and also let you sit it in early November on their site.

Extenuating Circumstances

We realise that people choose home education for all kinds of reasons, whether these be educational preferences or life circumstances. If you will be 21 or over at the point of application, are applying with a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty or long-term illness, or have other extenuating circumstances, please ensure you read the relevant information on this site.


You will need to ensure that you are available for interview in Cambridge. International students may be able to apply for an overseas interview at a handful of overseas locations.

Thinking of applying to King's? See here for a breakdown of the process, from submitting your UCAS application to receiving your offer.
Not all applicants have access to clear or accurate advice about applying to Cambridge - find out about how we can help.
Whether you're studying A-Level, the IB, or any other qualification, find out what our standard requirements are here.
Advice for applicants with a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty or long-term illness.

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