It is important to remember some basics in order to maximise your chances of getting a place at Oxford or Cambridge and, above all, avoid fundamental mistakes.
- Be realistic and think ahead.
It is important to be sure that you can achieve the minimum grade requirement (see Oxbridge grade criteria in Stage 4 – FAQ’s). We can advise you on where you stand academically and introduce tutors to help bridge any gaps.
- Talk to your teachers and tutors.
These are the people who know best your academic progress and performance. It is vital that they give a glowing reference, and we can help you ensure that you give them the information they need to do so.
- Do thorough research about the course you are applying for. There is nothing worse than applying for a course just for the sake of applying to Oxford or Cambridge. We can help you discover which is the right course for you and how to maximise your chances of a successful application (possibly involving several unusual initiatives that help you to stand out from the crowd.
Choose your college.
The unique character of Oxbridge education is its collegiate life. A college is your accommodation, place of academic work, and above all your closest student community. Every Oxbridge student belongs to a particular college. It is often underestimated how much your college choice matters in the application. We are aware that the choice between over 30 colleges might be very daunting and have a strategy ready to help you choose the perfect college for you.
Your personal statement.
The Personal Statement (PS) is your gateway to university and probably one of the most important documents you are going to write in your life. Therefore, it is crucial not to postpone it until the UCAS deadline (15 October for Oxbridge each year – see FAQ). Our admissions tutors will help you write an exemplary personal statement.
- Be prepared for admission assessments and/or a written work.
Many undergraduate courses at both Oxford and Cambridge require passing the admission assessments and they often check applicants’ language, mathematical, or reasoning abilities. These exams are quite demanding and very often test both accuracy and how you work under pressure. We can introduce private tutors for the best possible preparation for these assessments.
Depending on which department you apply to there may be an early deadline. We can advise you when you deadline is and help you plan the roadmap for your entire application.
- How to impress at the interview(s).
Interviews (there might be more than one) are considered to be one of the most mysterious and difficult parts of the admission process. They usually take place in early December. Getting an invitation is already a great achievement.
Generally speaking, both Oxford and Cambridge look for students who can demonstrate breadth and depth of reading. For instance, if you apply for a History course it is good to show your academic interviewers that you are aware of various concepts and authors but at the same time you should demonstrate your passion and interest in specific topics. We can advise you on how and what to read for your course.
- Ask us for help.
We hope this short guide clarified some of your questions about the Oxbridge admission process. Our tutors and Educational Consultants can offer you help at any stage of the application process. We have Oxbridge-educated tutors who have considerable insight into all parts of the application process, from personal statements to interviews such as interview techniques and specific types of questions needed for Oxbridge. Knowledge of the process is one thing but practice is another. Practice of tests and interview questions can greatly enhance your chances of getting a place.
“When I came out of the 6th form with a huge lack of confidence having got not very good A-levels. My Simply Learning tutor not only rebuilt my confidence from scratch but really emphasised to me why I wanted to do that subject and ultimately helped me to get a place at Oxford.”