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We would be delighted if you were to apply for an undergraduate degree at Cambridge University and named Lucy Cavendish College as your first choice.


The application process for undergraduates is fully described on the University’s website. However, we have put together some useful information and advice on different aspects of the application process. 


The Cambridge and Oxford Admissions Process

Watch the presentation below for an overview of all aspects of the application process, including some of our top tips for submitting a competitive application. 

Admissions Assessments

Most applicants are required to take a subject-specific written admissions assessment, either pre-interview or at interview. 

Admissions assessments stretches and challenges applicants to assess their potential and provides 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.

Lucy Cavendish College does not require applicants for Anglo-Saxon, Norse & CelticAsian and Middle Eastern StudiesEducationGeographyHuman, Social & Political SciencesMusic, or Psychological & Behavioural Sciences to sit an admissions assessment. 

Which subjects require pre-interview assessments?

All information is correct for candidates applying for 2022 entry.


Course Pre-interview Assessment

Chemical Engineering

Candidates for Chemical Engineering via Engineering (H810) are required to sit the Engineering Admissions assessment (ENGAA)

Candidates for Chemical Engineering via Natural Science (H813) are required to sit the Natural Sciences Admissions assessment (NSAA)

Computer Science

Candidates for Computer Sciences are required to sit the Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA)


Candidates for Economics are required to sit the Economics Admissions Assessment (ECAA)


Candidates for Engineering are required to sit the Engineering Admissions assessment (ENGAA)


Candidates for English are required to sit the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)

Land Economy

Candidates for Land Economy are required to sit the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) (Section 1 -Critical Thinking and Problem Solving)


Candidates for Medicine (Standard Course) are required to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

Assessment for the Graduate Course in Medicine takes place at the School of Clinical Medicine in late November, in the multiple mini interview format. Candidates for this course are not required to sit the BMAT.

Natural Sciences

Candidates for Natural Sciences are required to sit the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA)

Veterinary Medicine

Candidates for Veterinary Medicine are required to sit the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA)


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

When and where will the pre-interview assessments take place?

For 2022 entry, the pre-interview written assessments are scheduled to take place on the following dates in the UK: 

  • Wednesday, 3 November 2021 - BMAT, ECAA, ENGAA, NSAA

  • Thursday, 4 November 2021 - TSA, TMUA, ELAT

These assessments are organised by Cambridge Assessment Admissions testing and are taken at an authorised centre. It's very likely that your local authorised centre will be your school/college - check with your school/college to see if this is the case. Otherwise, you'll need to find an open authorised centre instead. 

When is the registration deadline for pre-interview assessments?

The registration deadline is dependent on the course you're applying for. 

  • For the BMAT, the registration deadline is 1 October 2021

  • For all other courses requiring a pre-interview assessment, the registration deadline is 15 October 2021

  • If you require access arrangements, you must be registered by 30 September 2021

At-interview assessments will be arranged by the college to which you applied, and they will take place on or near the date of your interview. If you are invited for interview at Lucy Cavendish, you will be given information about the type and length of assessment when we invite you to interview. 

What subjects require at-interview assessments?

All information is correct for candidates applying to Lucy Cavendish for 2022 entry.



At-interview assessment and format


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


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


Candidates to Lucy Cavendish for History are required to sit the History Admissions Assessment (HAA)

History and Modern Languages

All candidates for History and Modern Languages are required to sit the Modern Languages Assessment. Candidates to Lucy Cavendish for History and Modern Languages are also required to sit the History Admissions Assessment (HAA). See above for the format of this assessment. 

History and Politics

Candidates to Lucy Cavendish for History and Politics are required to sit the History Admissions Assessment (HAA). See above for the format of this assessment. 

History of Art

All candidates for History of Art are required to sit the History of Art Admissions Assessment


All candidates for Law are required to sit the Cambridge Law Test


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


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

Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion

All candidates for Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion are required to sit the Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion Admissions Assessment.



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?

In 2021-22, interviews will take place virtually. However, the aims and content will still be the same as in-person interviews. 

Each candidate has two interviews:

  • One interview with the relevant Director of Studies and another academic in your chosen subject

  • One interview with the Admissions Director and an academic in your chosen subject, or related field

Interviews last between twenty and thirty minutes. In some cases, you will be given preparatory reading beforehand. Both interviews focus primarily on academic matters, although the questions you are asked in your interview with the Admissions Director may be less technical.  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. 

In a few subjects, you will be interviewed by more than one College or in the Faculty. You will be notified of this in your interview invitation.

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.

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.

Candidates in Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and Hong Kong may use the Overseas Interview Scheme and are encouraged to request an interview in their country of residence. Other candidates based overseas may be offered interviews by Skype.

Mature applicants who wish to be interviewed as part of the University's Overseas interviews scheme must register for the assessment in advance and sit any required pre-interview assessment. Applicants taking the pre-interview written assessments overseas must check the Admissions Testing Service website as the scheduled start times for international centres may vary. Please note that for some overseas interview locations, pre-interview assessments may take place after your interview. In this situation, your written assessment will be considered by your Cambridge College with your overseas interview report.


Personal Statements

Here you will find our guide to writing a competitive personal statement for top universities such as Cambridge. We have included a worksheet too which you can use alongside the guide. 

Your personal statement 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 supra-curricular exploration too so you have an idea of what you can include in the main body of your personal statement. 



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.

We do not routinely request a second reference for other courses unless the reference included as part of your UCAS application does not meet our needs. This may occur if the reference is out of date, generic, or very short. Sometimes, a referee will suggest we contact them for more extensive comments further into the academic year. These do not have to be in hard copy; we will accept a recommendation originating from your referee's e-mail account.

For the Graduate Course in Medicine, we do require a second reference.

References are 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.



It is essential to ensure your application is in on time.

We have put together the following summary of key dates. The summary is intended to be helpful but individuals’ circumstances can differ and the information on the University website is always the most comprehensive and definitive. The timetable below is for 2020 and as soon as the 2022 timetable is available we will show it here.  The dates are likely to be similar.

Timetable for applications for 2022 entry

Early September 2021

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) opens for applications.

20 September 2021

COPA, UCAS and transcript deadline for those wishing to be interviewed in China, Malaysia, or Singapore.

1 October 2021

Medicine and Computer Science applicants: Registration deadline for the BMAT and TMUA.

15 October 2021

UCAS deadline for applicants (except those wishing to be interviewed in China, Malaysia, or Singapore: see above). 

Deadline for registration for all other pre-interview assessments.

22 October 2021

The deadline for submitting the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) and transcripts.

Extenuating Circumstances Form deadline for applicants who have experienced particular personal or educational disadvantage.

Graduate Course in Medicine application deadline.

3 November 2021

BMAT, ECAA, ENGAA and NSAA pre-interview assessments taken.

4 November 2021

ELAT, TMUA and TSA pre-interview assessments taken.

December 2021

Most interviews will fall during the first three weeks of December, as well any pre-interview assessments you might have.

January 2022

We’ll let you know if you have been offered a place or if you’re application has been unsuccessful. 

August 2022

Once examination results have been published, conditional offers will be confirmed.

Thinking of studying with us?

Further guidance on making a competitive application to Lucy Cavendish College