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Welcome to our guide to applying to the University of Cambridge!

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, as well as our Webinar Series webpage, where you can find on-demand webinar recordings providing further advice on each aspect of the process. 


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. 

The following timetable is correct for applicants applying this year for 2024 entry (or deferred 2025 entry).



1 August 2023

LNAT registration opens

1 September 2023

Application and transcript deadline for Organ Scholarship applicants.

Please note that Lucy Cavendish College does not participate in the Organ Scholarship scheme.

11 September 2023

Reference deadline for organ scholarship applicants.

Please note that Lucy Cavendish College does not participate in the Organ Scholarship scheme.

15 September 2023

Registration deadline for modified test papers (e.g. enlarged print) for the BMAT, TMUA, ENGAA and NSAA.

Registration deadline for the LNAT. 

29 September 2023

Registration deadline (6pm UK time) for the BMAT, TMUA, ENGAA and NSAA.

16 October 2023

UCAS application closing date (6pm UK time).

Deadline for Law applicants to take the LNAT.

18 October 2023

Applicants for Medicine sit the BMAT.

Applicants for Computer Science and Economics sit the TMUA.

Applicants for Engineering sit the ENGAA.

Applicants for Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology sit the NSAA. 

23 October 2023

Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF) deadline.

My Cambridge Application form deadline (6pm UK time), which has replaced the SAQ. Some applicants will also have to submit High School transcripts with their application form, more guidance on this can be found here.

TBC - October 2023

Lucy Cavendish Further Information Form deadline. This form asks for additional contextual and course-specific information is for applicants to Lucy Cavendish College only. 

2 November 2023

Written work submission deadline (where written work is requested). Please see our guidance document for more information.

Architecture/Design Portfolio submission deadline. 

Additional Applicant Information (AAIF) form deadline.

22-28 November 2023

Candidates sit Cambridge-College registered admissions assessments.

December 2023

Interviews are expected to take place in the weeks beginning the 5th and 12th of December, although a very small minority of subjects may be scheduled in the week beginning 28th November. Interviews at Lucy Cavendish College will all be taking place online, you can read more about this here

25 January 2024

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

31 January 2024

Foundation Year application deadline (6pm UK time). 

August 2024

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


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 in the dropdown boxes 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.

The following information is correct for applicants applying this year for 2024 entry (or deferred 2025 entry).


Which subjects require pre-registration required admissions assessments?

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


Pre-registration required admissions assessment

Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Natural Sciences Admissions assessment (NSAA)

Computer Science

Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA)


Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA)


Engineering Admissions assessment (ENGAA)


National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)


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

Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA)

Veterinary Medicine

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 (or equivalent).


When and where will the pre-registration required admissions assessments take place?

Pre-registration required admissions assessments are scheduled to take place on the following dates in the UK: 

  • ENGAA (Engineering): 18th October 2023

  • TMUA (Computer Science, Economics): 18th October 2023

  • BMAT (Medicine): 18th October 2023

  • NSAA (Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology): 18th October 2023

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. 

For 2023 entry, the LNAT can be taken from the 1st September onwards, and must be completed by 16th October at the latest. The LNAT is taken at at LNAT test centre. There are over 500 worldwide. You can find out more about test centres here.


When is the registration deadline for pre-registration required assessments?

The registration deadline for the ENGAA (Engineering), TMUA (Computer Science, Economics), BMAT (Medicine) and NSAA (Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology) is the 29th September. Your authorised test centre needs to register you for the above assessments. You cannot register yourself. If you require modified test papers, then the registration deadline is 15th September. You can find out more about registration here.

Registration for the LNAT is available from the 1st August, and must be completed by 15th September. Full registration information is available here.

The following information is correct for applicants applying this year for 2024 entry (or deferred 2025 entry).

At-interview assessments will be arranged by the college to which you applied, and they are currently planned to take place on 22-28 November 2023. Only applicants who are invited to interview will be asked to sit Cambridge College registered admissions assessments.

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


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.


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


All candidates for English are required to sit the Cambridge English Literature 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)

History and Politics

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

History of Art

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


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.


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 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 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.

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
  • History
  • History and Modern Languages
  • History and Politics
  • Human, Social and Political Sciences
  • 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.



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:

  • 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. You will be notified of this in your interview invitation.



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