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Welcome to our guide to applying to undergraduate courses at Lucy Cavendish College!

On this page, we have put together some useful information and advice on the different aspects of the application process. You may wish to explore this page in conjunction with the University of Cambridge's Undergraduate Study website, on which the application process for undergraduates is fully described. 

 

Key Dates and Deadlines

Before beginning your application to the University of Cambridge, it is important that you understand the timeline for the admissions process, and the key deadlines which you must meet. Please see here for important dates and deadlines for 2025 (or deferred 2026) entry.

Admissions Assessments

Most applicants are required to take a subject-specific written admissions assessment, which is either pre-registration required or Cambridge-College registered. Information about the two types of admissions assessments can be found below. 

Admissions assessments are designed to stretch and challenge applicants to assess their potential, and to provide a universal, benchmark assessment for all applicants to that subject, regardless of the qualifications they are studying in school. They are designed to gauge applicants’ abilities to assess skills (such as comprehension and thinking skills), to see how applicants respond to new information beyond their current stimuli, and, where appropriate, to assess levels of current knowledge and understanding relevant to the course applied for.

Pre-registration required Assessments

The following information is correct for applicants applying this year for 2025 entry (or deferred 2026 entry).

All applicants for the below courses are required to sit the corresponding pre-registration required admissions assessment.

Course

Pre-registration required admissions assessment

Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)

Computer Science

Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA)

Economics

Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA)

Engineering

Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) 

Law

National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)

Medicine

Candidates for Medicine (Standard Course) and the Graduate Course in Medicine are required to sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)

Natural Sciences

Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)

Veterinary Medicine

Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)

Mathematics applicants are required to sit the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP). This test takes place in June of Year 13 (or equivalent).

When do I need to register for the ESAT by?

Online registration for the ESAT begins on 1st August 2024 closes on the 16th September 2024. Booking via phone only is then available until 1st October 2024. We strongly recommend candidates book their test by the 16th September in order to stand the best chance of a slot in their preferred test centre.

The deadline to apply for access adjustments is 29th August 2024. 

UK candidates in financial need can apply for bursary funding to meet the costs of the test. Do this before booking so that you can use your bursary voucher code to pay for your test. It can take up to five working days for evidence to be reviewed. For further details, see here.

Where and when will I sit the ESAT?

You will take the test on 15th or 16th October 2024. This is a computer-based test that is taken in an authorised test centre local to you. You can find your nearest test centre when you register for the test online.

When do I need to register for the TMUA by?

Online registration for the TMUA begins on 1st August 2024 and closes on the 16th September 2024. Booking via phone only is then available until 1st October 2024. We strongly recommend candidates book their test by the 16th September in order to stand the best chance of a slot in their preferred test centre.

The deadline to apply for access adjustments is 29th August 2024. 

UK candidates in financial need can apply for bursary funding to meet the costs of the test. Do this before booking so that you can use your bursary voucher code to pay for your test. It can take up to five working days for evidence to be reviewed. For further details, see here.

Where and when will I sit the TMUA?

You will take the test on 16th or 17th October 2024. This is a computer-based test that is taken in an authorised test centre local to you. You can find your nearest test centre when you register for the test online.

When do I need to register for the LNAT by?

Online registration for the LNAT begins on 1st August 2024 and closes on the 15th September 2024. 

Candidates with examination access requirements should register for the LNAT online by 15th September 2024, but not book their test online. Please note that some examination access arrangements, such as extra time, can be verified and accommodated within a few days. Others such as booking a reader recorder will take at least three weeks. Please allow for this extra time when planning to take your LNAT. For more on this, see here.

UK or EU candidates in financial need can apply for bursary funding to meet the costs of the test. Do this before booking so that you can use your bursary voucher code to pay for your test. It can take up to five working days for evidence to be reviewed. For further details, see here.

Where and when will I sit the LNAT?

You must sit the test by 15th October 2024 at the latest. You can take the test from 1st September 2024. This is a computer-based test that is taken in an authorised test centre local to you. You can find your nearest test centre here

When do I need to register for the UCAT by?

Online registration for these assessments begins on 18th June 2024 closes on the 12noon (BST) on 19th September 2024. 

Candidates in financial need can apply for bursary funding to meet the costs of the test. Aim to do this before booking so that you can use your bursary voucher code to pay for your test. It can take up to three working days for evidence to be reviewed. Otherwise, refunds can be applied for up to 25th October, but you must have applied and sent evidence for the bursary by 27th September. For furth details, see here

The deadline to apply for access adjustments is 15th September 2024. 

Where and when will I sit the UCAT?

You must take the test by 26th September 2024. You can sit the test from 8th July 2024. This is a computer-based test that is taken in an authorised test centre local to you. You can find your nearest test centre here

The following information is correct for applicants applying this year for 2025 entry (or deferred 2026 entry).

Only applicants who are invited to interview will be asked to sit the relevant College Admissions Assessment. Applicants to Lucy Cavendish College are required to sit the following assessments:

Course

College Admissions Assessment

Archaeology

All candidates for Archaeology are required to sit the Archaeology Admissions Assessment.

Architecture

All candidates for Architecture are required to sit the Architecture Admissions Assessment.

Classics (3-year)

All candidates for Classics (3-year) are required to sit the Classics 3-year course Admissions Assessment.

Classics (4-year)

All candidates for Classics (4-year) are required to sit the Classics 4-year course Admissions Assessment.

Design 

All candidates for Architecture are required to sit the Architecture Admissions Assessment.

English 

All candidates for English are required to sit the English Literature Admissions Assessment.

History and Modern Languages

All candidates for History and Modern Languages are required to sit the Modern Languages Assessment. 

Linguistics

All candidates for Linguistics are required to sit the Linguistics Admissions Assessment.

Modern and Medieval Languages

All candidates for Modern and Medieval Languages are required to sit the Modern Languages Assessment.

Philosophy

All candidates for Philosophy are required to sit the Philosophy Admissions Assessment.

Personal Statements

For top universities such as Cambridge, your personal statement should be academic in focus, and explore supracurricular activites which you have engaged with. It should indicate:

  • Your enthusiasm for your subject, as well as particular interests within the field

  • Your academic ability, with a sound knowledge base and range of skills 

  • Your potential to go beyond the syllabus and use knowledge in unfamiliar situations

  • Your self-discipline, self-motivation and commitment

  • In subjects such as Architecture, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, evidence of vocational (as well as academic) commitment is also important

We recommend taking a look at our comprehensive guide to supracurricular exploration too so you have an idea of what you can include in the main body of your personal statement. 

Supracurricular exploration guide

 

 

 

References

References play an important role in our decision-making process, and we always require a reference on the UCAS application. A reference written for some other purpose, or an open letter of recommendation is not acceptable. 

Your UCAS reference should be written by someone who is familiar with your academic work, as well as your recent history, for example, a teacher or tutor. Guidance for teachers and advisors who are writing UCAS references can be found here

We can only accept a reference via the UCAS application, written by the applicant's designated UCAS referee. 

For the Graduate Course in Medicine, we do require a second reference. More information is available here

More information on what references should contain can be found here.

Section 3 of the UCAS reference is most helpful to us when they focus on academic ability, levels of motivation for study, and relevant analytical and/or technical competencies. Almost all applicants are predicted top grades in the qualifications they are studying, and words such as ‘outstanding’ carry more weight if they are accompanied by specific information about performance, progress and potential, such as:

  • Observations from subject teachers or lecturers (‘Her Biology Teacher writes…’)

  • Comments on written English, verbal skills and intellectual flexibility

  • A rank order in class (e.g. ‘top of 20’ or ‘in the top four out of 23’) or a comparison with current or previous applicants (for instance, ‘one of our top 10 university applicants this year’)

  • Evidence of improvement ('has progressed rapidly from Merit to Distinction standard')

  • Evidence of willingness to explore and discuss ideas outside the confines of the curriculum

  • Evidence of self-discipline, maturity and commitment

  • Possible reasons for past underachievement at GCSE, AS-/A-level, or equivalent

  • Details of any personal or health issues of that have affected, or may adversely affect, applicant performance.

Written work

Samples of your written work may be required depending on the subject you have applied for. This written work must be received by 2nd November 2023.

Please see our guidance document for further information on the submission of written work.

Applicants for Design and Architecture do not need to submit written work, but they do need to submit a portfolio.

If you are applying to Lucy Cavendish College, then the following subjects require samples of your written work:

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic
  • Archaeology
  • Classics
  • Education
  • English
  • Geography (TBC)
  • History
  • History and Modern Languages
  • History and Politics
  • Human, Social and Political Sciences
  • Law (TBC)
  • Land Economy
  • Modern and Medieval Languages
  • Psychological and Behavioural Sciences
  • Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion

What kind of work can I submit?

Please do not write something especially for Cambridge. You should submit work marked by a teacher/professor that has been produced as recently as possible during the normal course of your studies in school/college. In other words, it should have been as part of the qualifications you are currently working towards, and that you have entered as yet to be completed on your UCAS form. If you are applying during a gap year, then you can submit work from your last year in education.

Where possible, the work should be from subjects within or relating to your chosen degree course. If that is not possible and you are applying for a course that you do not study in school, then try to pick something that is as closely related as possible, and that demonstrates some of your best work.

How long can the work be?

Your written work will be reviewed by our Admissions Panel during an incredibly busy period, so we do please ask that you please keep your written work to a reasonable length. Normally, written work should not exceed more than 2500 words. If you are submitting work as part of an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or International Baccalaureate, then we would ask you to please pick an extract that does not exceed the above limit. We do reserve the right to stop reading beyond 2,500 of any submitted written work.

What if I am an international applicant and have no written work in English to submit?

International applicants with no written work in English are asked to complete the following steps:

  • Submit two essays written in the original language
  • Produce a translation of the two essays
  • Include a 500 word statement for each translation on what you gained academically from writing the two pieces of work, and what you found challenging.

Subject-specific information

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML)

Applicants planning to continue one language they already study plus an ab initio (from scratch) language are asked to submit one essay in the language you are continuing, plus a piece of work in English. Ideally this would come from a related subject like English or History, although if this is not possible then please do not worry. The essay will be used primarily to assess your ability in discursive writing, so the subject matter is less crucial.

If you are applying to continue two languages that you already study then please submit an essay from both languages. You therefore do not need to submit a piece of written work in English.

Interviews

Admissions decisions at the University of Cambridge are based solely on academic criteria - your ability and your potential. Along with all the other information you provide, interviews help Admissions Tutors to assess your application. 

Interviews allow us to distinguish amongst excellent applicants by assessing the skills and aptitudes essential for successful study in higher education, and your academic qualities – essentially, how do you think?

At Lucy Cavendish College, interviews for all applicants, whether UK or overseas-based, will take place virtually. The aims and content will still be the same as in-person interviews. 

 

Each candidate typically has two interviews, conducted over Zoom Interviews typically last between twenty and thirty minutes. In some cases, you will be given preparatory reading or material to work through beforehand. Some subjects will be looking for evidence that you have grasped enough of the mathematical or scientific concepts necessary to thrive on our degree course. Others will be testing your analytical skills and ability to develop, illustrate and sustain an argument. 

 

 

 

We recommend that you prepare for your interviews at Lucy Cavendish by:

Our interviews are intended to be challenging but their primary purpose is to show us how you think, not whether you can offer an immediate, polished answer. Remember that interviews are only one element in the selection process.

Interviews take place in early to mid December. Some candidates who have been placed in the Winter Pool by their first preference college may be invited for a single, additional interview in January.

Thinking of studying with us?

Further guidance on making a competitive application to Lucy Cavendish College